Understanding Rewards Credit Card Application Rules and Restrictions [2023] Understanding Rewards Credit Card Application Rules and Restrictions [2023]

Understanding Rewards Credit Card Application Rules and Restrictions [2023]

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Alongside keeping track of rewards card applications and managing your credit score, it’s essential to understand the credit card application rules for each issuing bank. How many cards can you hold? Are there restrictions on how many cards you can apply for in a certain time? Can you hold more than one of the same card? These rules and restrictions vary by issuer.

The internet is rife with incomplete information about what you can and cannot do. Some financial institutions and card issuers have publicly available rules. However, sometimes nothing “official” is published. In this guide, we combine what is available regarding credit card application rules and restrictions with the experiences and data points of the award travel community — all in one place.

What Effect Do Credit Card Application Rules Have?

These rules have an enormous impact on how you approach your credit card application strategy. In light of these rules, it may make sense to apply for certain cards before others — especially if you are new to credit card rewards. Thoroughly understanding application rules will help you plan a long-term, sustainable approach to earning points and miles for excellent travel experiences.

Credit card application rules can affect:

  • Whether you'll be approved for a new card.
  • How many credit cards you can hold at any one time from the same issuer.
  • If you can receive a bonus more than once on the same card.
  • How much credit you can access across all cards you hold with that provider.

We’ll update this post as rules change or new information comes to light. If you have a data point to add to one of the listed providers, please reach out in the comments at the bottom of the post.

Credit Card Application Rules by Bank or Credit Provider

Before we dig in, it’s important to note that not all the restrictions here are hard and fast “rules.” To be abundantly clear, financial institutions don't publish many official rules. Rather, we must consider anecdotal evidence supported by data from the points and miles community, including readers like you.

There are clearly communicated restrictions — such as Amex's “one bonus per card per lifetime.” Others, like the Chase 5/24 rule, are derived from a combination of data points supplied by the points and miles community, guidelines described by the provider, and policies printed in error and then retracted.

American Express Application Rules

American Express logo

Credit cards vs. “Pay Over Time” cards

Before we jump into the rules, we need to clarify the two types of American Express cards. Some American Express cards function like traditional credit cards. For example, each cardholder has a credit limit and the option to finance charges that aren’t paid in full.

Other Amex cards only allow you to carry a balance for certain charges with a feature called “Pay Over Time.” Amex used to call this second group of cards “charge cards.” However, Amex decided to move away from that term to avoid confusion. We refer to these as cards with the option to Pay Over Time. If you don't enable this feature, you must pay your balance in full each month. These cards are also referred to as having no preset spending limit.

Maximum number of cards

The Amex rules about how many cards you can hold are a bit complicated. With respect to the number of Amex cards you can hold, here's what we understand:

  • Each individual can hold five traditional credit cards.
  • You can hold up to ten cards with no preset spending limit.

Both limits apply to the total number of American Express cards held by a single person. This includes both small business and consumer cards.

Application frequency

There are no published rules for application frequency. Based on anecdotal reports, you can safely apply for two Amex cards in a single day. However, one will likely be held up for review as a fraud prevention measure.

Amex restricts credit card applications to two every 90 days. However, we've seen exceptions when applying for a combination of credit cards and no-preset-spending-limit cards.

Related: Earn 20,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points for Enrolling in Pay Over Time

Welcome offer restrictions

Amex has some of the most restrictive rules for who can earn a new cardmember bonus — thought at least they're straightforward. Here's the typical language that you'll see on welcome offer restrictions:

Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.”

The “not available to applicants who have or have had this Card” statement is often referred to as the ‘once-per-lifetime' restriction. But a ‘lifetime' isn't what you might think it is.

Amex periodically purges old cardholder data, unlocking the ability to earn another welcome offer on the same card. The downside is that it may be several years (generally five to seven) after closing an account before this happens. There's no way of knowing exactly how long you need to wait.

Amex has updated the application restrictions on The Platinum Card® from American Express to now include rules based on the family of Platinum cards:

You may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer if you have or have had this Card, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Charles Schwab, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley or previous versions of these Cards. You also may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer based on various factors, such as your history with credit card balance transfers, your history as an American Express Card Member, the number of credit cards that you have opened and closed and other factors. If you are not eligible for a welcome offer, we will notify you prior to processing your application so you have the option to withdraw your application.

Eligibility tool information

But there is a bit of good news: You don't have to second-guess whether or not you're eligible for a given offer. Amex added an eligibility tool to help applicants determine if they qualify for a new cardmember welcome offer. This is where Amex may consider ‘other factors' into their decision. If Amex determines you are ineligible for a welcome offer, a warning will pop up during the application process to let you know.

Although the welcome offer rule is restrictive, Amex has a wide variety of cards available. And, unlike some other banks, applying for one Amex card won't disqualify you from cards that earn the same type of points. For example, if you've received the welcome offer on American Express® Gold Card, you still can receive the bonus on the American Express® Green Card.

The one exception is with Marriott co-brand cards. The Marriott credit card application rules are confusing, to say the least. Thankfully, we have a dedicated post breaking down the eligibility requirements for each card.

Bank of America Application Rules

Bank of America logo

Maximum number of cards

Bank of America used to be the most generous credit provider for opening and holding multiple cards. However, this is no longer the case.

The data for a maximum number of cards is inconsistent. Currently, Bank of America appears to restrict the majority of account holders to a maximum of four cards. If you have any data points for holding additional, please let us know in the comments.

You're also likely to run into a cap on the credit limit Bank of America is willing to extend to you. If this happens, reducing your credit limit on existing cards may help you be approved for a new one.

Application frequency

Bank of America's 2/3/4 rule restrictions your applications as follows:

  • Two new cards per two-month period
  • Three new cards per rolling 12-month period
  • Four new cards per rolling 24-month period

These numbers are specific to Bank of America cards. Other bank-issued cards aren't counted when calculating the 2/3/4 rule.

Bank of America used to accept multiple applications in a single day —sometimes even for the same card. However, with reports of applications denied — and sometimes accounts closed and points forfeited — we’d recommend holding off on applying for multiple cards at the same time. Be mindful of your long-term strategy.

Another application rule concerns the number of accounts you have opened recently at any bank — not just Bank of America. As with so many of these rules, this is not written and is not always enforced. This rule varies by whether or not you have banking accounts with Bank of America:

  • If you have a deposit account with Bank of America: Your credit card application will be denied if you have opened seven new cards in the past 12 months, based on what they see on your credit report.
  • If you do NOT have a deposit account with Bank of America: Your credit card application will be denied if you have three new cards in the past 12 months.

Business cards may not play into this calculation. But keep these general limits in mind. It may be worth opening a deposit account with Bank of America to be eligible for a higher limit.

Sign-up bonus restrictions

Most cards are subject to a 24-month waiting period. Thus, you cannot get a card if you currently have (or had in the previous 24 months) the same card.

Barclays Application Rules

Barclays logo

Maximum number of cards

There is no set limit, but Barclays is pretty stringent on how many total credit cards you can hold. Barclays appears to factor in how often you use current cards, in addition to standard considerations when deciding on new card applications. If you have lots of new inquiries or high balances, you're less likely to be approved.

Additionally, Barclays won’t allow you to hold more than one of the same card.

Application frequency

Barclays has an inconsistent “6/24 rule” that may apply to new applications. This is analogous to the Chase 5/24 rule, considering all new accounts opened within the past 24 months. If you have more than six new accounts, don't count on being approved. However, do know that data points indicate this is far less “hard-and-fast” than Chase's 5/24 rule.

Barclays considers existing cards, spending on those cards, and their credit limit(s) during the application decision. You can apply for multiple Barclays cards in a short period — even more than one in a day — but we don't recommend it. A best practice is to stick to one card every six months and only one card at a time.

Sign-up bonus restrictions

The language on some cards is ambiguous as to whether you can earn a second bonus, but you generally can. If you're approved for a card, you're typically eligible to earn the bonus.

If you already hold the card, you must cancel it and wait a minimum of 24 months to get the card again. Barclays will not let you downgrade to a card within the same family to get the sign-up bonus on the current card.

Capital One Application Rules

Capital One log for discussion of its credit card application rules and restrictions

Maximum number of cards

From the information available, you can hold a maximum of two personal Capital One branded cards at any one time. This does not apply to business cards.

For example, you can hold a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card alongside a Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. But you could not obtain a Capital One Venture X at this point. This rule appears hard and fast, but we would welcome more data. If you have specific examples, please let us know in the comments.

Since the two-card maximum doesn't apply to business cards, you could hold a Capital One Spark Cash Plus in addition to your personal portfolio.

Application frequency

Capital One’s application rules are simple: one card every six months. There is no distinction between personal and business cards. By all reports, Capital One doesn’t even perform a hard pull on your credit report if you try to apply for more cards. Instead, it flags additional applications that follow the first one as “duplicates.”

You can apply for the same card after six months. When applying for Capital One credit cards, keep in mind that the issuer pulls from all three credit bureaus. Additionally, Capital One business cards are reported on your personal credit report and will count toward your Chase 5/24 count.

It's also worth noting that Capital One is one of the most stringent banks when it comes to the number of new card approvals. Recent inquiries on your credit report are a major factor. Even people with otherwise stellar credit have been denied for a Capital One card because of the number of new accounts. We recommend holding off on applying for other cards for a few months before applying for a Capital One card.

Bonus restrictions

The general rule for Capital One cards is that you'll receive the bonus if you’re approved for the card. Capital One's small business cards have this vague terminology: “The bonus may not be available for existing or previous account holders.”

However, personal credit cards have this more defined 48-month rule:

“Card offers with a cash or miles rewards bonus are available by clicking the “Apply Now” button on this page, and may not be available if you navigate away from or close this page. Existing or previous cardmembers are not eligible for this product if they have received a new cardmember bonus for this product in the past 48 months.”

It doesn't appear to apply across families of cards or prevent you from ever receiving the same card's bonus for a second time in the future, but you are limited to a 48-month period.

Chase Application Rules

Chase applies its 5/24 policy across its full range of credit cards. It applies to both Ultimate Rewards-earning and co-branded travel credit cards. Check out our dedicated post on everything Chase 5/24. We also cover how to check your Chase 5/24 status. Even though the rule is unwritten, it's one of the most well-known credit card application rules.

Maximum number of cards

Chase has no formal policy on the number of cards you can hold. Plenty of cardholders possess multiple co-branded travel cards in addition to a full stable of Chase products. There also aren't any restrictions on having multiple cards within the same family (e.g. you can hold both the United℠ Explorer Card and United Quest℠ Card simultaneously). The exception to this is the Sapphire card family: You can't hold two cards in this family at the same time.

However, Chase restricts the total line of credit available to you across all Chase personal cards. For example, if you have six cards totaling $80,000 in credit limits, Chase may consider this the ceiling for your current income and liabilities. To open another card, you'd likely need to chat with a Chase representative to reallocate your credit from already existing lines of credit to a new line. I've done this more than once in order to open a new Chase card.

Application frequency

Again, Chase doesn't have a formal rule in writing. However, Chase's credit card application rules can be quite restrictive.

The chief policy affecting Chase applicants is the 5/24 rule. If you've opened five or more credit cards in the previous 24 months from any card issuer, it is extremely unlikely you will be approved when applying for a new Chase card. This counts any cards that show on your credit report, meaning it doesn't apply to most business credit cards.

The restriction applies to virtually all Chase cards — including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and families of cards, such as  Southwest, Marriott, and Hyatt. You'll know this is the reason you are denied if the letter you receive states: “too many credit cards opened within the past 2 years.”

It’s important to distinguish between cards subject to 5/24, and those that count towards your 5/24 status. You'll need to be under 5/24 to apply for Chase cards, though Chase's business cards won't add to your total number.

Besides 5/24, Chase also restricts the number of cards you can apply for in 30- and 90-day periods. You can get no more than two personal cards every 30 days. The 30-day limit for business cards is one.

Applying for too many Chase cards in a short period is a red flag for the bank. You can find reports of people having their Chase accounts closed due to this sort of behavior. We recommend only applying for one personal and one business card from Chase in a 90-day period. This will maximize your chance of having applications accepted and minimize your risk of scrutiny by the bank.

Sign-up bonus restrictions

The majority of Chase products state you can earn the bonus again 24 months after you last received it, as long as you're not a current cardholder of that product.

“This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months.”

The exception to this rule is the Sapphire cards. See a full write-up in our detailed post to Sapphire card restrictions. If you already have a Sapphire card or have received a Sapphire card sign-up bonus anytime in the previous 48 months, you can no longer apply for a second Sapphire product:

“This product is available to you if you do not have any Sapphire card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 48 months.”

Other card families also have their own restrictions. For instance, you can't get another personal Southwest card if you've earned a sign-up bonus on another Southwest card within 24 months:

“The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Cardmembers of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card and Employee Credit Card products.”

The application restrictions on Marriott co-brand cards are a different beast altogether, confounding even the most experienced points and miles fans. We've put together a post detailing the rules, plus a fantastic guide from Award Travel 101 founder Richard Kerr detailing the best application strategy for Marriott cards.

Citibank Application Rules

Citi logo in a discussion of its Credit Card Application Rules

Maximum number of cards

Much like Chase, Citi doesn’t have a hard and fast rule on the number of cards you can have. Instead, it restricts the combined total credit limit extended across all of your Citi cards. If you get the “Application Pending” notice, Citi typically provides an application reference number and a phone number to call for an immediate review of the application.

It is possible to hold more than one of the same card, at least for most cards. Some cards — such as the Citi Custom Cash® Card — explicitly state that Citi will not approve you for more than one.

Application frequency

Citi has tight restrictions on application frequency, and they're easy to understand — if a little frustrating. You can only apply for one personal card per eight-day period and only two cards in a 65-day period. Business accounts are even harder to get, with Citi accepting just one business card application every 90–95 days.

Sign-up bonus restrictions

Citi has a 48-month restriction for the majority of its cards. This includes Citi-branded cards, such as the Citi Premier® Card, and the AAdvantage family of cards. You must wait at least 48 months before being eligible for a new cardmember bonus. For example, these are terms and conditions from the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®:

“American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have received a new account bonus for a Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® account in the past 48 months.”

Citi dropped the restriction for applying for other cards within card families. So, you could get a bonus on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® even if ineligible for the AA Platinum Select. Or you could get a Citi Premier and still be eligible for the offer on the Citi Custom Cash.

Likewise, the previous rules that factored in the timing of both account opening and closure no longer apply.

Discover Application Rules

Discover logo for discussion of Credit Card Application Rules and Restrictions

Maximum number of cards

The known rules for Discover are straightforward: You can have no more than two Discover cards at any given time. They can, however, be two of the same card. This may be useful if you like 5% rotating cash back cards.

Application frequency

You can only get one new Discover card every 12 months. If you want a second card, you'll have to wait a full year to apply for it.

Sign-up bonus restrictions

Discover doesn't appear to have any restrictions on receiving the sign-up bonus for a given card more than once. However, given their limits of the total number of cards and application frequency, this is limiting enough.

U.S. Bank Application Rules

U.S. Bank logo

Maximum Number of Cards

Like Chase and Citi, U.S. Bank doesn't provide a formal limit on the number of cards you can hold. Instead, the bank limits the total line of credit for each customer.

Application frequency

You can't find any written rules on application frequency. That being said, unwritten rules and consumer experiences show that U.S. Bank is sensitive to how many credit inquiries and new accounts are visible on your credit report. U.S. Bank is likely to deny your application if you are applying for and opening numerous accounts — even if these are with other banks.

Anecdotal evidence also indicates U.S. Bank factors in your overall banking relationship into its decision to approve you for a new card. Having a deposit account with U.S. Bank may not be a bad idea.

Sign-up bonus restrictions

U.S. Bank doesn't have rules about earning bonuses within the same “card family.” However, you will see this restriction on most cards:

“The bonus is not available to Cardmembers who currently have, or had…”

That means you may not qualify for a second sign-up bonus on a card that you had in the past. Additionally, there is a strict rule for U.S. Bank's premium card, the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card. The application page for this card says “Exclusive to U.S. Bank customers.”

If you are approved for the card, you should receive the bonus after completing the spending requirements.

Wells Fargo Application Rules

Wells Fargo - Credit Card Application Rules

Maximum number of cards

Wells Fargo doesn't provide a formal limit on the number of cards you can hold. Additionally, the language present in some card application terms is ambiguous:

“We may also limit how many open Wells Fargo Credit Card accounts you have.”

However, the bank is known to limit the total line of credit extended to each customer.

Given the inflexible application restrictions, applying for too many Wells Fargo cards is not likely to present much of an issue for most folks. You simply won't be approved for multiple cards or sign-up bonuses each year.

Application frequency

Wells Fargo restricts applicants to one credit card every six months. Although the language is a little vague, the application restrictions are strictly enforced from all reports.

“If you opened a Wells Fargo Credit Card account within the last six months, then you may not qualify to open an additional Wells Fargo Credit Card account.”

There are reports that Wells Fargo considers your total banking relationship into new card approvals. This is similar to both U.S. Bank and Bank of America.

Sign-up Bonus Restrictions

Again, the Wells Fargo language is a little vague, but you'll only receive one introductory offer on a Wells Fargo credit card product every 15 months, and that includes intro APR offers. If you're looking to bank Wells Fargo sign-up bonuses, you'll need to stagger your applications and space them out at least 15+ months apart.

“Eligibility for introductory rate(s), fees, and bonus rewards offers. You may not be eligible for introductory annual percentage rates, fees, and/or bonus rewards offers if you opened a Wells Fargo Credit Card within the last 15 months from the date of this application, and you received introductory APR(s), fees, and/or bonus rewards offers, even if that account is closed and has a $0 balance.”

Likewise, the new Choice Privileges cards are subject to this 15-month restriction:

“If you opened a Choice Privileges Mastercard Credit Card or a Choice Privileges Select Mastercard Credit Card within the last 15 months, you may not be eligible for an introductory bonus rewards offer.”

Final Thoughts

Understanding each provider's credit card application rules and restrictions will help you develop a successful long-term rewards travel strategy. In addition, with this knowledge, you'll be less likely to waste “hard pulls” (credit inquiries) on cards you aren’t likely to get approved for. Remember, many of these restrictions aren't written rules. Instead, they are pulled from community data. If you receive conflicting information from providers, we’d love to hear about it.

Again, if you have questions about the information we’ve provided in this post, please get in touch in the comments below. We will do our best to find you an answer and update this guide.

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  • Amex has a new rule. If you have closed a similar type of card in the last 24 months, they will not pay a bonus if that happened. I closed a Gold card last year. I had for 18 months. In that 18 month period, I acquired the Amex Platinum card. I decided to not keep both. I recently applied for the Green card. The pop-up occurred and said that I could open the account as I was pre-approved, but I would not receive the SUB. I never had the Green card before this application.

    • Ryan Smith says:

      John – I’m also seeing the pop-up window for the Amex Green card. However, I’m not sure the reason for this is what you’re suggesting. I earned a “similar type of card” bonus after closing another Marriott card within the previous year. If we start seeing more data points on this, it could be something, but at this point I just think they’re being strict with the Amex Green card (several friends also got the pop-up window).

  • Thank you for this information. I knew about the Chase 5/24 rule, but the rest of these rules…wow! This is a lot of work!

  • I knew Chase have this as they told me when I got approved for Sapphire reserve Card but didn’t know about others. Now I know other banks also have similar rules. This is very helpful. Thanks !

  • I just received a sign up bonus for my AMEX PLAT in the mail for 100k bonus plus 10x on grocery and gas. I called AMEX and the first lady said yes! This bonus is for you (even though I told her I already have the Plat card). I was still worried so I called again an hour later another lady said no it wont work and that when I apply, there will be a notification that will pop up saying I do not qualify for the sign up bonus. I decided to apply anyways to see if I get the pop up and I did not get the notification. I read the terms and conditions thoroughly and did not see anything about having more than one Plat. card restrictions to bonuses. I guess I will have to wait and see if i get the sign up bonus.

    P.S my social is locked so they didn’t even do a hard pull, according to the applications after I finished, they did a soft pull a month before I locked it. This is so weird. I wonder if there are ever “special rare” times when they do this for their clients?

    • ***Update***

      So I can confirm that this lovely offer has worked for me based on my spend and involvement within American Express. I believe they offer same card, same sign up bonuses for certain members. American Express has been really impressing me lately, I really wish their points platform and redemption were more polished however.

  • I just cancelled my SW Premier card after holding for 2 years, 9 months. A week later I called to see if I was eligible for the SW welcome bonus (I knew I was based on many articles and the terms language). Well, the phone rep said SW is changing the language from 24 months after receiving the bonus to 24 months after last Credit Activity aka closure! Thought I was getting companion pass this year, guess not. Was she wrong? Did I misunderstand?

    • Hi Claudia, I haven’t heard anything about a policy change. I would imagine this will start coming up in a lot of online forums if it’s true. Hopefully just a misinformed rep.

  • I had the business Aviator card, canceled it March 2019 and applied for it Dec 15, 2019, got a denial letter stating ” record shows you’ve already established the maximum allowable number of this product with us” Has anyone had this experience?

  • Marlin Seevers says:

    Are there features within AwardWallet that would help with keeping track of the unique features of each of my credit cards?

  • Excellent and very thorough summary of all the crazy written and unwritten rules.

  • The issuer is not the credit card application – it is about the $200 yearly bonus from Charles Schwab on the Schwab Platinum card. We have different SSN (obviously) so I don’t think there is an issue with to respect getting approved but we share the same Schwab account number. If I close my account before she applies one would think her account should qualify for the bonus, but these things don’t always work based upon logic. I was wondering whether someone really KNOWS the answer. If not I’ll have to call AMEX/Schwab.

  • If you sign up for the Schwab AMEX Platinum card and get the AMEX welcome bonus and $200 annual bonus from Schwab if you close the card account can your spouse sign up and get both bonuses?

  • Barclays “one card” includes other company’s credit cards or just Barclays card???

    >Application Frequency – Stick to one card every six months and only one card at a time. Barclays is not flexible on application frequency.

  • Nai`a NEWLIGHT says:

    WOW! Incredibly useful info. Mahalo from Maui.

  • I did apply and was approved for the Barclay’s Aviator business card. To get 40K bonus miles I only have to make the first purchase and pay the $95 annual fee. Thinking of AA’s award structure, the difference between a business and first class one way ticket from US to SE Asia is 40K miles. So in other words I just got an upgrade from business to first for the $95 annual fee price. Not bad!

  • Wonderful information. Thanks.

  • bookmarked this page! so useful!!!

  • Great overview, especially the summary table! Really helpful to keep straight and organized when planning apps.

  • it’s so important to read through these conditions. I got burned badly when I missed the conditon that the amex surpass stated that you cannot have the card previously to get the promo points. 🙁

  • Howie, I’d like to join other members in thanking you and your crew for doing an incredible service for those of us who like to travel in style!

  • Kindly clarify – I have had the Barclay’s Aviator Red card for a few years and got AA miles as a sign up bonus. Should I be able to get the 40K bonus for the Barclay’s AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard (if approved, make the first purchase and pay the $95 annual fee)?

  • Great stuff here. Howie, you are the new Rick Ingersoll in my book.

  • Great insider tips!

  • These rules usually make my head spin. Now with this post I have a valuable resource to go to.

  • Finally reading this and will save for reference to evernote.

  • Apologies if this has already been answered. However,, am I reading it correctly that one can keep earning the sign-up bonus on BoA cards, even if one is already holding the same card, as long as one is within the 2/3/4 rules? I.e. approved for AK card today, earn sign-up bonus, and keep account open; apply for AK card again in, say, 6 months and earn sign-up bonus again?

    • That is correct — if you’re approved.

      • Thanks. Any particular reason to think one wouldn’t be approved outside of non-compliance with the 2/3/4 rule?

        • any other normal reason you might be declined. Too many recent inquiries. Credit utilization. Sufficient credit already established with the bank. Etc.

          • Okay, so no hidden pitfalls. The way your previous reply was phrased, it sounded like perhaps there were some additional concern in getting BoA cards approved. At any rate, since none of the things you mention have ever been an issue for me, nor have I, ever, been declined for any card, personal or business, from any issuer, I imagine I’d be equally as successful going for a series of BoA cards. Thanks

  • thank you for posting this information

  • Lee Ann Bixler says:

    Great analysis to keep in mind when applying for credit cards.

  • this is so important. i tend to gloss over the t&c and gotten screwed for it before.

  • This could not be more timely for me as just this morning I was contemplating cancelling one of my Barclay cc’s but wondered what my wait time would be before I could reapply. I googled it. Found an answer. Should have come to this site first, obviously!!

  • Very helpful roundup. Thanks!

  • Thanks for the detailed post!

  • I seem to be on some sort of BoA blacklist. I applied for the Alaska card, got it (having just gotten over the 2/3/4 bump), got the card in the mail and then got a letter saying that it was cancelled

  • Thank you for updating this information. this is masterful.

  • This is the article of the year right here. Wonderfully put together. Well done!

  • Very helpful guide, thank you!

  • Thanks for putting this guide together. It’s so helpful to have all this information in my document.

  • Arguably the most important part of this points hobby of ours. Thanks for the post.

  • Hi Howie. I just closed my Capital one Venture card. I first opened the account 3-26-16. How long should I wait to reapply for it again to get the sign up bonus?? Also a side note: I recently got the AA aviator red card and CITI AA platinum card for 120k total AA miles. And am planning a trip to Bangkok in Nov 2018. What cards should I get to maximize my points to fly business class of first class one way for one set of miles then maybe one way back for another set of cards or miles or combo of cash and miles. I would appreciate any guidance so my girlfriend and i can plan accordingly. tyvm!

  • I keep receiving large bonus mail offers for the Delta AMEX card, and I know I had one at least 5 years ago that had a signup bonus. But I don’t remember which one I had. So i never end up applying for it because I don’t want to be denied the bonus just in case it’s the one I previously had. With the others, I’ll just wait a year or 2 (for chase) before applying again.

  • Bill from Maine says:

    I believe this blog has become the premiere go to for all things credit card and travel related. Thanks for all the information you provide.

  • One quick question about the Capital One 1 in 6 rule. Does the 1 in 6 only count for denials as well as acceptances? In other words, if I am denied can I apply again in less than 6 months and be approved if I havent been approved by Cap one in the last 6 months?

  • Will you be updating this page with the new Chase Sapphire Family card rules?

  • Thank you, this is helpful.

  • I receive approval for 3 BofA cards in one day. These were the first BofA cards I ever applied for and one went to pending but was approved the next days.

  • Wow…great summary! Thanks for putting this together.

  • Thank you so much for breaking this down. I am amazed at the complexity involved in being able to utilize all these credit cards. Great credit score and history doesn’t hurt. But it certainly isn’t enough to take advantage of these bonuses being offered.

  • This article says, “Chase also restricts the number of cards you can apply for in 30 and 90 day periods.” What are the 30 day restrictions versus 90 day restriction?

    • Typically you can apply for no more than 2 chase cards in a 30 day period. 90 days is typically considered a window in which you might get dinged for too many recent inquiries. While this isn’t a written rule, it is supported through evidence over time.

  • I’ve bookmarked this page for continuing reference. Will this information be updated if/when a bank’s application rules change?

  • Learning the rules is an important part of the game. This is a helpful summary.

  • Howie, I have the Barclay Aviator red card. I’m aware of the Barclay arrivals card, which is a cash back card. Is there any other Barclay card like the Aviator red which will give me a nice AA miles sign up bonus? Thanks

  • Great to have this all in one place! I appreciate the award wallet service, just realized some miles were about to expire! I’ll have to keep better track in the future!

  • Thank you for this info. I’m thinking about applying for a new card from several of these companies and did not know their specific rules. It is helpful.

  • Very informative and thorough. Did not know that BOA had become so restrictive. I guess I know why chase UR denied me now. Well done article

  • Good article. I have one question about Citi. The article states the following:

    “Citi has a 24-month cycle for collecting sign-up bonuses, with a twist. If you open a card and receive the sign-up bonus, you can receive the bonus again after 24 months of having the card open”

    So are you saying I can keep the card open for say 25 months and then call Citi to request a bonus if I charge $xxxx in the next 3 months?

    Thanks for clarifying.

  • Thanks for this post, super helpful!

  • Thanks for the valuable info. Current and all in one place!

  • joyce kaufmann says:

    Thank you for this wealth of information. Most helpful.

  • I love these that have meat to them to read! It really helps move my work day along :o) Truly I’ve started reading through historical blog posts to pass the time at work…so many distract my brain well enough to give it a break from work issues.

    I do love these in depth posts. It really helpsS us figure out what we can get easily. I listen to CN Traveler and they mention ya’ll several times to monitor and track :o) It’s cool!

    I have gotten several wonderful tips and tricks! So thank you very much!

  • Any chance of a Canadian version of this?

  • Kind of nice to have these rules in one comparable place. Thanks!

  • Is it difficult to get a second account/card with Citi? What reason would you give (other than admitting you want another signup bonus) for applying for a card you already have?

    • I personally had two of the same card because I wanted the rewards the card offered and needed to keep my expenses 100% separate for accounting purposes with work. I would spend and be reimbursed.

  • Electric Wayfarer says:

    Very helpful article indeed!

    What would make this an excellent reference is having a table at the end that summarizes the key points.

    So the rows could be something along the lines of:
    1. Max # of cards allowed
    2. Application Frequency – personal
    3. Application Frequency – business
    4. Signup Bonus Available (Y/N) – this row is only needed because of AmEx
    5. Signup Bonus waiting period

    And the columns would be the Issuing Banks.

  • Chase also checks for criminal records. Unfortunately, I had a run in with the law about 20 years (white collar and fine/probation), and Chase recently canceled all my credit cards with them. According to Chase, I am a reputational risk to the bank. They did this even though I had had the cards for some time, paid balance in full monthly and have a credit score in excess of 800.

  • Very helpful. Thank you! I’m actually comparing cards to apply for.

  • Alice Chen says:

    This is the best up-to-date guide! I hate that the banks don’t just clearly tell you what their policies are but this is a great review

  • Just check Chase Ink and T&C does not mention the 24 months bonus restriction.

  • thank you for this important information for us regular consumers. I hope you have plans to update the information periodically.

  • this information is really helpful. thanks for the great info.

  • Also, the 2 cards in one day mentioned is only for credit cards, you can apply for as many charge cards per day as you want.

  • Where did you guys get the amex 4 charge card limit from? it’s incorrect. and the 4 cc limit is now 5 cc’s according to many reports.

  • This is pretty legit- one of the better posts I’ve read in a while. Keep up the good work!

  • Super useful, thank you! I didn’t find out about the Chase 5/24 rule util it was too late, so now I’m playing the waiting game.

  • So many credit cards so little time… This article may encourage me to up my points game

  • Liliana Isoe says:

    The Advantage Executive 450 per year. I got it for the bonus 50k too and the admiral club for my family and I. Can I have it for a year and reapply to get the bonus?

  • This is a very informative and helpful article on flyer club cards. It’s very easy to get carried away and get one card and then apply for another with all the recent promo offers going round but it’s the background we probably do not think about like what it’s doing to our credit ratings etc.
    Best advise, keep this article and go steady when applying for various cards.

  • This is a pretty good guide and one that includes other banks than the usual suspects.

  • DaWoodMan1 says:

    As far as I know there is no limit on Amex charge cards, only the credit cards. For example, I currently have a Platinum, PRG, Gold, Green, BRG, and Biz Platinum. I have run into the Amex credit card limit though. I actually had 6 credit cards and applied for the recently released Blue for Business credit card but couldn’t get approved. To make matters worse, no one in normal customer service understood what was happening with my denial considering my excellent credit and track record with Amex. It wasn’t until I researched on DoC, that I finally found out about the limit, because of course, even Amex weren’t fully transparent about the limit when I called into the business reconsideration line… I spent several calls and several hours moving credit lines around and reducing credit lines to get more available credit which was obviously all for not.

    • I am opening a case with them about this and should know back in a week if they will settle with me or if there will be a class action. If I have to pursue further recourse would you be interested in sharing your experience about the lack of transparency regarding credit limits?

  • I wish I had been aware of the 5/24 rule… ruined my shot at an Aviator Red card with it! Hope a good bonus for it still exists in a year or so.

  • All great info in one place.

  • good guideline info

  • Thanks for a great overview of various types of card restrictions! Without your help I’d be searching the internet forever.

  • This is a great article. Makes it that much easier for those managing multiple cards from multiple providers.

  • Any good way to track which cards i might have opened in the past so as to avoid opening a card that WONT be able to give me bonus miles?

  • Thanks for compiling this in one place, easy to understand!

    I’ve been interested to see recent reports on Chase in-bank employees letting slip the 5/24 as the unofficially official policy.

  • Really good information. Thanks!

  • Great information!! This is a great guide. Wish I could sticky it!

  • Thank you so much for the info. This is a uaeful guide as we tend to get cards often.

  • Well done. Thank you.

  • Jinyoung Park says:

    I have a question about Citi.

    You said “Citi has a 24-month cycle for collecting sign-up bonuses, with a twist. If you open a card and receive the sign-up bonus, you can receive the bonus again after 24 months of having the card open.” Does this mean I can ask to receive a bonus again while the card has been open the whole time/without cancelling and getting a new card? How does this work? Do I call customer service?

    • You’d need to get an additional card. You won’t receive a 2nd bonus on the same card, but rather you’d need a new card account to get the bonus.

      • I know someone who received a code from Citibank (I guess) which allowed him to bypass any time limit and received another sign up bonus for a card he just received very recently. I assume it was targeted and I don’t know how or why he received it, but, even though I can’t provide more information, it is possible to bypass any time limits for receiving a bonus.

  • Thank you so much for this wonderful article!!!

  • Thank you for this information. I knew about the Chase 5/24 rule, however I did not know the rules for the other banks credit cards.