Updated 9/5/17 with information regarding Chase Sapphire-branded cards and Bank of America’s Alaska card.
Will you be approved for a new card? Will you get its bonus?
What if you’ve already had that card and gotten its bonus before?
The answer to these questions depends on the issuing bank of the credit card. The issuing bank is not the payment network like Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. The issuing bank is the bank that gives you the card, collects interest, and provides customer service. For rewards cards, the main issuing banks are Chase, Citi, American Express, Barclaycard, and Bank of America.
Let’s look at the rules for each issuing bank, which vary widely.
- If you have 5+ new credit card accounts with any bank (not counting many business cards) in the last 24 months, you will be denied most Chase personal and business credit cards (with the exception of these cards). However if you were targeted for a Chase offer, you can still be approved even if you have 5+ new credit cards in the last 24 months.
- Specific rule for the Sapphire branded cards (i.e. the Sapphire, Sapphire Preferred, and Sapphire Reserve): New applicants will not be approved for another credit card in the Sapphire family if they already have one open. In other words, if you currently hold a Sapphire card, you’re not eligible for a Sapphire Preferred nor a Sapphire Reserve. If you currently hold a Sapphire Preferred, you’re not eligible for a Sapphire Reserve. If you currently hold a Sapphire Reserve, you’re not eligible for a Sapphire Preferred.
- You can only get the bonus on the same Chase card once every 24 months. This 24 month clock starts when you got the last bonus (which may be several months after you got the card).
- You probably shouldn’t apply for more than two cards in a 30 day period. Chase is known for denying people who apply for more than that. That being said, I know people who have been approved for two personal and one business card from Chase on their first ever credit card applications. It is likely however that for any applications past the second in a 30 day period, you’ll have to make a reconsideration call for a pending application response if you want it approved. Reconsideration calls with Chase aren’t known for going as smoothly as they often do with other banks.
- You can only get the bonus on an American Express card once per lifetime. However if you were targeted for an American Express offer, you can still be approved even if you have had the card before.
- You can be approved for no more than one Amex card in a five day period. If you want two Amex cards, get them on days 1 and 6.
- You can be approved for no more than two Amex cards in a 90 day period. If you want more than two Amex cards, apply for them on days 1, 6, and 91.
- You are limited to holding four to five American Express credit cards. Both personal and business count toward this limit. (AMEX Everyday, Delta, and SPG are credit cards.)
- Separately, you are limited to holding four to five American Express charge cards. Both personal and business count toward this limit. (AMEX Platinum is a charge card.)
- If you’re on the verge and contemplating a fifth credit or charge card, read this post–you can apply basically risk-free.
- You can be approved for no more than one Citi card in an eight day period. If you want two Citi cards, get them on days 1 and 9.
- You can be approved for no more than two Citi cards in a 65 day period. If you want three Citi cards, get them on days 1, 9, and 66.
- You are only eligible to earn a sign up bonus if you haven’t opened or closed a card from the same type (brand or co-brand) within the last 24 months. For example, Let’s say you opened a Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card seven months ago. That means for the next 17 months (a full 24 months after you opened it) you are not eligible for the sign up bonus from the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card, the other Hilton co-branded card issued by Citi. If you close that Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card, the 24 month clock will start over again and you won’t be eligible for any other Citi Hilton cards for 24 months past the date you closed it.
- Applicants with zero Barclaycards may be able to get several at once.
- Applicants who have a Barclaycard will not be approved for another for at least six months since the last application.
- Barclaycard denies people for having too many Barclaycards, not enough spending on existing Barclaycards, too much credit with Barclaycard, or too many accounts with other banks.
Bank of America
- At least for the Alaska Airlines personal cards, you are very likely to be denied for another unless you close the existing one first. The best practice is to wait at least 90 days between applications. Read Are the Alaska Cards Still Churnable? to learn all best practices for this card, which have changed recently.
Every issuing bank has different rules on how often you can apply for its cards and how often you can get a new bonus on a card you’ve had previously. The rules are changing, and the general trend is toward a tightening of the rules. The rules are sometimes written down and sometimes figured out by aggregating data points on FlyerTalk or good, old-fashioned experimentation.