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Update: Please be aware of Chase's new terms for the availability of Sapphire-family credit cards.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you are likely aware of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. The Sapphire Reserve is an exceptional rewards card. Unfortunately, even if you have an excellent credit score, a perfect credit history, and a high income, you are not by any means guaranteed to be approved for the Sapphire Reserve if you've added several new credit card accounts to your credit reports in the past couple of years.
However, based on the reported experience of hundreds who have already applied for this product, it seems like there are fortunately are a few steps you can take to maximize your chances of getting approved for what many consider to be the best credit card around.
“Too Many New Accounts”
Last year, Chase began restricting credit card approvals on some of their products for customers who had opened “too many credit cards” within the previous two years. While Chase has never officially defined what constitutes “too many credit cards,” the consensus from others sharing their experience is that five (5) is the magic number.
As such, if four or less new credit card accounts have been added to your credit reports within the previous two years, you are not likely to be denied for having opened too many new accounts. If over that same period, you have five or more new accounts on your credit reports, you're highly likely to be denied due to “too many new accounts.”
An important point to keep in mind is that this restriction is the number of accounts opened within the previous two years and not the number of credit inquiries that show on your credit report. With that said, business credit/charge cards issued by banks other than Chase will not count towards this total as business card accounts in good standing do not show up on a personal credit report. That said, keep in mind that any new Chase business bank accounts would likely be counted as these records might be available to anyone reviewing your application.
Also, any personal account or Chase business account where you are an authorized user would be counted — remember, authorized user card accounts show up on your credit report. If you're concerned about this, you should be removed from the account and ask that the account is purged from your credit report. While being an authorized user can help you build credit, and help the primary card account holder generate additional rewards, you're not liable for the account, and you might want it removed from your credit report. Remember, that only accounts opened during the previous two years are used in the count when completing this calculation.
While not all Chase cards are subjected to the “too many new accounts” restriction, many of their best products are, including the Sapphire Reserve. For more information about this restriction as well as which Chase cards are affected, please check out our post on the 5/24 rule.
How to Know How Many Accounts You Have Opened
Naturally, the first thing you need to do is count the number of credit card accounts you have added to your credit report within the previous two years. You'll want to check your credit reports; the easiest we've found is CreditKarma. If five or more new accounts have been added to your credit reports within the past two years, you'll want to calculate when you would fall under that number — two years after your fifth-most-recent account addition.
If you will be under the five-card threshold soon, you should probably wait until that happens to apply for the Sapphire Reserve.
The screenshot below is a recent snapshot of a CreditKarma account. There are a few things to note:
- All accounts added within the last 24 months are added (Five in total)
- Four are credit card accounts; one is a home equity line of credit
- One credit card account is closed
As an FYI, the owner of this credit report recently received an instant approval for the Sapphire Reserve.
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