News of the Year: Chase Fights Churners with Strict New Limits for Credit Card Approvals

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Chase already automatically denies applications for Chase-branded personal cards (ie Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Slate) if you have opened five new credit cards of any type from any bank in the last 24 months.

Soon, Chase will automatically deny applications for all Chase-issued credit cards (ie United Explorer, British Airways, Ink Plus) if you have opened five new credit cards of any type from any bank in the last 24 months.

Doctor of Credit says:

  • Currently, once past 5/24, [Scott: five credit cards opened in 24 months] you can not get Freedom, Sapphire, or Slate. You can get all other cards.
  • At some point in March, the INK cards will be restricted as well. We can still get personal and business co-branded cards.
  • At some point in April, all Chase credit cards will be included in the rule, and those past 5/24 won’t be approved for anything.

This development is based on a source of Doctor of Credit. I have no information beyond what Doctor of Credit has said above. While I can’t guarantee this will happen, I am living my life as if it will happen based on Doctor of Credit’s past record of expertise on matters related to credit cards.

  • Why is Chase doing this?
  • What’s the new best strategy to open Chase cards?

Starting in June 2015, Chase began to deny applications for its proprietary personal cards–the best of which are the Sapphire Preferred and Freedom–by people who had recently opened too many credit card accounts. Presumably Chase did this because if you open a card for its bonus and then cancel the card without becoming a multi-year customer, you are an unprofitable customer. If you have opened several cards recently, you’re obviously more likely to be a person who just gets a bonus and then closes a card.

Presumably after eight months of testing, Chase found that their new rules increased profits, so they want to roll it out to all of their credit card portfolio.

Current Rules to Be Approved for Chase-Issued Cards

If you are applying for a Chase-branded personal credit card (ie Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Slate), and you have 5+ new card accounts in the last two years, you will be denied.

If you are applying for a co-branded airline or hotel card from Chase (ie United, Southwest, Amtrak, British Airways) or business card, old rules for approval apply. A Chase rep told one redditor about this distinction explicitly.

  • There is no maximum number of new accounts you can have open and still be approved.
  • If you get a “pending” response to your application and call reconsideration, the agent may say you have too much credit from Chase or too many cards open in which case you can get the new card approved by moving credit lines or closing an old card.

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). Do not apply for the new card again until 24 months from your last bonus on that card. Also, if you still have your old card, you are ineligible for the bonus, so cancel it before re-applying.

What’s Changing

The current rules for Chase-branded personal cards will soon apply to co-branded personal cards and all Chase-issued business cards. Doctor of Credit estimated March and April for when those rules will take effect.

New Best Practices for Chase Cards

Been in milesphere a while

If you are a person who has opened a lot of rewards cards, try to get Chase-issued co-branded personal cards and Chase-issued business cards now before the new rules come into effect.

I’ve gotten more than 20 cards in the last two years. I should get another Ink Plus soon. I’ll never have the chance again because I can’t imagine a two-year period in which I have fewer than five new accounts. There are just way too many good card offers out there.

Since I can’t get new ones, I’ll hold onto my Freedom and last Ink Plus. My Freedom has no annual fee, and I occasionally use it for its 5x categories. My Ink Plus has a $95 annual fee, but I occasionally use it for its 5x categories. Furthermore Freedom points are only worth a penny without an Ink Plus or Sapphire Preferred; with one, though, you can transfer Freedom’s points to the Ink Plus or Sapphire Preferred and from there to airline miles or hotel points.

New to miles

Everyone should have a Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus for their big sign up bonuses, generous category bonuses, and transferability to top programs like United, Hyatt, British Airways, Southwest, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic, Korean, and more. If you’re new to earning frequent flyer miles, these should be the first cards you get even though they are not at the top of my Top Ten List because if you don’t get them early in your card-opening lifetime, you’ll never be able to get them.

Bottom Line

Terrible news from Chase: you will soon be denied for all Chase cards like if you have 5+ other new credit card accounts in the last two years.

This would be truly catastrophic if it spread to other banks.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

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47 COMMENTS

    • This is from the article right above your comment:

      “The current rules for Chase-branded personal cards will soon apply to co-branded personal cards and all Chase-issued business cards.”

  1. I currently have an Ink card, what are the rules for churning and getting that bonus again? Just close the card now, wait 2 weeks, then reapply?

  2. This is awful news. Stupid question, can I apply for a new set of UR cards (Sapphire/Ink) and get bonuses without cancelling my current cards first? It’s definitely been more than 24 mo with those cards.

  3. I don’t think so. Assuming you mean you currently have Sapphire, the terms state that you can’t get the bonus if you are a current cardholder or have gotten the bonus in the past 24 months. so you would have to close your account first and then apply. of course, if you’ve gotten 5 cards in 24 months from any issuer, don’t close the accounts, because you’ll get autodenied for the new onces and will no longer have the card and its benefits (assuming you want to keep it open).

  4. The points game from churning is coming to an end…. Been coming for a while but suddenly accelerating. Citi, Amex and now chase.

  5. Maybe bow tie guy and or TPG or whatever other blog was pimping Chase Sapphire Preferred can offer a workaround. If they want to continue to get paid that is.

  6. I was unaware of the new rules and was denied a Sapphire Preferred card last night. I want to apply for the Southwest card before co-branded cards are included in the new rules. I believe I’m safe to re-apply today after a denial last night, but any guidance appreciated. Thanks!

  7. […] What do Southwest Rapid Rewards, British Airways Avios, Korean Air SKYPASS, and Singapore Krisflyer all have in common? They’re transfer partners of Ultimate Rewards. There are so many easy ways to get Ultimate Rewards right now, from the Sapphire Reserve, with its 100,000 point sign up bonus, to the brand new Ink Business Preferred with its 80,000 point bonus, and the good ole Sapphire Preferred with its 50,000 point bonus. These are the five Chase cards you should apply for if you’re not blocked out by the 5/24 rule. […]

  8. Transferring Chase Preferred to CSR
    I still have my Chase Sapphire Preferred. If I transfer those points acquired with that card to my newly acquired CSR will the points increase in value?

    • If you plan to redeem them like cash toward paid fares, then yes. If you plan to redeem them by transferring them to miles like United or Singapore miles, then no.

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