My Chase Credit Card Strategy (2019)

Filed Under: Chase, Credit Cards
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There are lots of aspects to maximizing your credit card rewards, including taking advantage of the best welcome bonuses, spending categories, and card perks.

Sometimes I think it’s interesting to break down credit card strategies by card issuer, so in this post I wanted to share my Chase card strategy for the year. Which cards do I have, which do I spend money on, etc.?

Chase has some of the best points earning credit cards out there, though they can also be among the toughest to be approved for. So here’s a rundown of what you need to know to be approved for a Chase card, and also a summary of my strategy.

How Many Chase Cards Can You Have?

There’s no set limit to how many Chase cards you can have. For example, I have eight, though I know people who have more than that. With Chase the limiting factor is typically the total amount of credit they’re willing to extend you.

This means that if you apply for a new card and are maxed out in terms of the credit Chase is willing to issue you, you may be asked to switch credit lines around.

The other big restrictions involve their application process, as I’ll explain below.

Restrictions On Applying For Chase Cards?

There are a few major restrictions to be aware of when applying for Chase cards:

The 5/24 Rule

Chase has what’s known as the “5/24 rule,” where they typically won’t approve you for a new card if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months. For this reason it often makes sense to apply for as many Chase cards as possible early in your credit card journey, since these are cards you may not be able to pick up in the future.

Note that as a general rule of thumb, business credit cards won’t count towards that limit, whether issued by Chase or another card issuer. So when you are applying for Chase cards, you’ll want to prioritize business applications ahead of personal applications.

See this post for details on how to check if you’re under or over 5/24.

Waiting Between Applications

As a general rule of thumb you won’t be approved for more than two Chase cards in a 30 day period. Some report only being able to get approved for one Chase card in that period.

Personally to be on the safe side I wouldn’t apply for more than one personal and one business card in a 30 day period.

Chase 24/48 Month Rule

The exact terms will vary by card, so you’ll always want to carefully check the terms of your credit card application. Generally speaking Chase will only approve you for a card if you don’t currently have it, and if you haven’t received a new cardmember bonus on the card in the past 24 months.

However, for some cards (like the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve) that waiting period is even longer, up to 48 months.

“Family” Card Rules

For some of their cards, Chase has a “family card” rule. Essentially Chase won’t approve you for a card if you’ve had a similar card in the past 24-48 months.

This is the case with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for example. If you have one one of those cards then you can’t be approved for the other card, and vice versa.

Similar restrictions apply on some Marriott and Southwest cards.

Which Chase Cards Do I Have?

At the moment I have the following eight Chase cards (as you can see, there’s a heavy focus on cards earning Ultimate Rewards points):

For years the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card was my “go to” credit card, though I product changed that to the Sapphire Reserve a few years back.

How Do I Use My Chase Cards?

There are a couple of different reasons I have the Chase cards that I do. Some I have for the ongoing perks that they offer, while I have others for the return on spending they offer, while others I have for a combination of the two factors.

Chase Cards I Have For The Perks

I have the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card, which I like for the anniversary free night certificate valid at IHG properties costing up to 40,000 points. That alone more than justifies the annual fee, and it’s a reason to have this card, and also a reason to pick up the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card is also pretty compelling for the perks. It has a $95 annual fee, and I keep it because it offers an annual free night certificate valid at a Category 1-4 property, plus five elite nights towards status annually. That more than justifies the annual fee, in my opinion.

But I also end up putting some spending on the card, given that for spending $15,000 you can earn a second Category 1-4 free night certificate, plus an additional six elite nights towards status.

Chase Cards I Have For Spending Bonuses

The other six Chase cards I have for the return on spending that they offer. I’d say that the other six Chase cards I have make up the “Chase holy grail.”

More specifically:

I don’t think there’s a more ideal combination of cards to be had with any issuer, as Chase cards get everything from much of my bonused spending, to much of my everyday, non-bonused spending.

Some of my favorite cards earning Ultimate Rewards points

Which Chase Cards Do I Most Want?

At this point I’m really happy with my portfolio of Chase credit cards. It was only in late 2018 that I got approved for the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit CardInk Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card, and The World of Hyatt Credit Card, all of which were on my radar for a long time.

At this point there’s really only one more Chase card I want, and that’s the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (at the moment the card even has a special welcome offer).

I already have the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card, which is no longer being issued to new card members. While I could product change from the IHG Select to the IHG Premier, the reality is that the two cards are complements, and there’s lots of value to having both cards.

Yesterday I checked my 5/24 “status,” and it looks like I fall under the 5/24 limit as of September 23, 2019. So I feel like I should just not apply for any more cards until October 1, 2019, and then hopefully be able to pick up that card.

Use the anniversary free night certificate at the Crowne Plaza Changi

Chase Card Strategy Summary

I’d say Chase has the all around most compelling portfolio of rewards cards at the moment. Between their excellent co-brand cards and also their cards earning Ultimate Rewards points, there are so many great opportunities to maximize points with them.

The main thing to keep in mind is that Chase cards are also among the toughest to get approved for, so consider the timing of applying for Chase cards.

I didn’t realize I was so close to falling under the 5/24 limit, so in just over a month I should be eligible to apply for the IHG Premier Card, which I plan to do.

What does your Chase card strategy look like nowadays?

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  1. A somewhat interesting side point – I’ve always enjoyed the Ink Business card, as it’s been giving me 20K for anyone I refer to it. In 2018 I referred 5 or 6 people, and ended up with 100k extra points for that. Last week I got a letter from Chase with a delayed 1099 form saying the value of the point referrals I received was $1800. The letter also said that I could submit a receipt for the cost of an amended tax return with my tax preparer and that they would reimburse because the 1099 came so late. Wow. Disappointing, but I guess not surprising.

  2. @ Tim I don’t understand how Chase can claim that 100k UR points are worth more than 100,000*.0125 on a business card. Maybe they’re getting their valuations from TPG.

  3. Anyone know how much credit Chase will allocate based on your reported income? 50%?

    Also, what about minimum credit limits? I’ve read that the CSR minimum is $10k.

    I’m just trying to figure out how much credit you’d need to build a multiple-card portfolio with Chase.

  4. I am like 20/24, but have the major non-cobrand chase cards (Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Reserve). I would like a few of the other cards (Hyatt, IHG, maybe a United or BA card). I have maybe one AMEX and one Capital One application do to later this year, then I will wait until 2021 before opening any new cards. Will get to 0/24, start again with Chase. The cool thing is that I have never had any Sapphire bonus, so I should be able to downgrade my Reserve to something and reapply for the bonus.

  5. WOH has become a must-have card. The benefits are nearly perfect for a $95 annual fee, including the 2 nights towards elite status for every $5000 in spend. It’s the right balance in encouraging spend ($15,000 is a nice sweet spot), while keeping the milestones reasonable. WOH and the Aspire are clearly the class of the co-branded hotel cards, imo.

  6. Lots of Chase posts this week, right around the annual fee renewal for us CSR early adopters … Coincidence, or not?

    I just canceled my CSR, something that would have seemed unfathomable even a few months ago. However, there was no reason for both my wife and me to carry it, so in looking for alternatives I discovered the CNB Crystal Visa. Magically, we’re going from $900 in fees w/ $600 in travel expenses back to $400 with $1K back in AA gift cards (after I add my parents as AUs ;). Already have the CIB, so now I just need to find a way to get back my 3x transferrable points on dining, and am leaning towards the AmEx Gold.

    Think outside the box, people! Don’t be swayed by Chase’s massive marketing muscle!!!

  7. We have a similar strategy. I try to maximize earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points, too! They are so valuable.

    Here are the Chase cards that I currently have:
    – Ink Business Plus (kept this old card)
    – Ink Business Preferred
    – Ink Business Unlimited
    – Ink Business Cash
    – Sapphire preferred
    – Freedom
    – IHG Rewards Club card (the old one)
    – Hyatt card (the old one)

    Considering getting the new IHG rewards club premier card too because of the limited time increased sign up bonus. But I’m 4/24 right now and I don’t think I want to use the final slot for that card.

    Instead, I’m going to sign up for the Chase Southwest Performance Business Card with the 80,000 bonus sign up points. I’m going to time my application just right and sign up in October, then sign up for a Chase Southwest personal card. Then hopefully I will earn at least 110,000 points to earn the Southwest Companion Pass for 2020 through 2022!

  8. I currently have CSR, IHG Select , IHG Premier, United (no Annual Fee version) and United Business Explorer card with Chase.
    With most of my spending now on my employer’s corporate card, my cc spending has come to a screeching halt

  9. For the last two years I’ve tried, when I was under 5/24, to get Chase business cards and each time I’ve applied they’ve turned me down because they included business cards from Chase or other vendors in my 5/24 number. And each time I’ve questioned them about that and they stood fast.

  10. Chase just emailed my Reserve earnings & redemptions YTD. Their 1.5x travel portal has provided so much more value than I ever hoped, discounts on discounts! No other program comes close to Chase.

  11. No one seems to mention the following via Chase UR Travel Portal.

    If you hold CSR your points earned on any card are bonuses at 1.5. With poor award availability, now you can get your $800 to $1,000 ticket and not have to worry about award availability. So if you earned Chase UR points at an average of 3 per $1.00, then a $1,000 ticket costs you 22,222 Chase Points given the 1.5 bonus on the 3 point average earn per dollar.

    No other strategy does that.

  12. @ Carol I had a similar experience recently.
    I was 4/24 and applied and was approved for the Ink Preferred card. Five months later, I applied for a Sapphire Reserve Card and was denied because of too many recent accounts opened (aka 5/24). I had no other applications during those five months, so it must be that Chase counted the Ink Business card against my 5/24. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.
    I was applying for the CSR primarily for the 3X dining bonus category (and the 50K UR point welcome bonus), particularly because of plans to spend much of the summer out of the country.
    When Chase rejected me, I turned around and immediately got the Amex Gold with its 4X dining and groceries bonus category (and a 50K MR point bonus). Even better, weeks later the Amex Gold dining bonus expanded internationally!

    Chase is missing out on a huge amount of swipe fees because my family spends more on food than almost anything else that we charge. 5/24 is bad for business.
    They also finance rainforest destruction, which Amex does not.

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