In January of 2018, I began a credit card fast that lasted for nine months. In other words, I stopped applying for new credit cards. At that point I had been cutoff from Chase credit cards for a long time, years, and was tired of it. I had opened a number of new credit cards, more than five in the prior two 24 months, which is where the Chase 5/24 rule gets its name from. With enough rewards on hand for the trips I had planned, plus a little cushion, I decided to hold off on any applications to drop my Chase 5/24 total back under the threshold where I would be eligible for their credit cards again. Read Why I Credit Card Fasted for all the details of the journey.
Now it’s almost April of 2019 and I’m in the throes of carrying out my “get as many Chase bonuses as possible” plan, as outlined in The Five Chase Card to Apply for if You’re a Points Omnivore.
Optimizing Application Order
My first priority was to line up a card I want to hold in my wallet permanently, the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I opted to get there via the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which was a surer bet for approval than the Sapphire Reserve considering my credit card churner record. The plan is to upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve in October of 2019, which is 13 months after I opened it and when I’ll be eligible to do so. Upgrading from a Preferred to a Reserve is easier than getting approved for a Reserve outright. It was a tentative foot in the door to a scorned lover.
Second in line: Chase Ink Business Preferred. With the biggest Chase bonus available, 85,000 Ultimate Rewards for spending $5,000 in three months, it was a given for me to prioritize the Ink Business Preferred before other Chase business cards. Now I’m on the business card train, as Chase doesn’t count business credit cards (no, not even their own) in one’s 5/24 total as they do not show up on your personal credit report. Chase business cards are subject to the 5/24 rule however, so you must be under 5/24 to be eligible for them.
I’m following my own advice outlined in The Five Chase Card to Apply for if You’re a Points Omnivore, with the ultimate goal of raking in as many Chase bonuses as possible before getting cut off from 5/24. If you opened all Chase consumer cards first, your total would add up to 5/24 much quicker and you’d be locked out of consumer cards. But snipe the business cards and, theoretically, they won’t count in your total and you can go for the consumer cards later. The exception with this strategy is to prioritize any Chase consumer cards you’d like to hold long term…ones you wouldn’t forsake just for a bonus on a card you likely wouldn’t spend on beyond meeting the required minimum.
When you hold multiple Chase cards and apply for another, it’s first important look at how much credit the bank already lends you. The rule of thumb is to hold no more than 50 to 60% of your total income in credit lines at one time (from Chase), or else risk of denial for more increases significantly. Even though I hadn’t quite reached that maximum, I opted to call Chase and lower my existing credit lines on the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred preemptively.
This week I was approved for the United Explorer Business Card, after a little back and forth verifying my identity with Chase. I had to fax a copy of the front and back of my driver’s license, and I called to check in on the application once after no word for a couple weeks. While I still haven’t received the card in the mail yet (to my home address in the US), when I signed into my Chase account earlier this week I noticed the United Explorer Business Card had been added. The following day I received an email from Chase that two one-time United Club passes, a benefit of my new card, had been added to my MileagePlus account.
I applied a couple days before the 75,000 United mile bonus for spending $5,000 in three months dropped to the current 50,000 miles bonus for spending $3,000 in three months. I’m looking forward to the big boost to my MileagePlus balance soon.
For Points Omnivores on the Same Plan
These are my recommendations, in order, for those who are under 5/24 and attempting to rake in as many Chase bonuses as possible:
- Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card
- Chase United Explorer Business Card (when bonus is 50k or above)
- Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business
After you’ve applied for all the business cards that appeal, move on to consumer cards.
Now that the bonus for the United Explorer Business has dropped to 50k, I wouldn’t prioritize it over the Ink Business Cash or Ink Business Unlimited cards. While their bonuses are also 50k, you are earning Ultimate Rewards that are–as long as you move them to an Ink Business Preferred, Sapphire Preferred, or Sapphire Reserve account–a transferrable point currency. You not only have the option to transfer them to United, making the 50k bonus at least equally valuable to the current United Explorer Business Card’s bonus, but also to eight other airline mileage programs. Options = value. Depending on the available award space, you can choose the program that will cost you the least amount of your points for redemption.
As long I can time my next application around either a trip to the US or a time when I have some significant domestic purchases, I will go for the Ink Business Cash. If things don’t work out that way, I’ll target the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card for it’s bonus of 60,000 Rapid Rewards for a $3,000 in three month minimum spending requirement.
It’s not necessary to ensure my eligibility, but I will likely wait three months before applying for another Chase card.