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 total 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.
What are the 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.
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 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.
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:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Chase Freedom® Card
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
- Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
- Ink Business UnlimitedSM Credit Card
- The World of Hyatt Credit Card
- IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card
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 the 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.”
- The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card has a $450 annual fee and offers 3x points on dining and travel, plus all kinds of perks, including a $300 annual travel credit, a Priority Pass membership, and more
- The Chase Freedom® has no annual fee and offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, on up to $1,500 of spend
- The Chase Freedom Unlimited® has no annual fee and offers 1.5x points on all purchases
- The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has a $95 annual fee and offers 3x points on the first $150,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
- The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card has no annual fee and offers 5x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on office supply stores, internet, cable TV, mobile phones, and landlines, and 2x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on restaurants and gas stations
- The Ink Business UnlimitedSM Credit Card has no annual fee and offers 1.5x points on all purchases
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 Card, Ink Business UnlimitedSM 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.
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.
So I hope that eventually I can apply for that card and then have them both.
Use the anniversary free night certificate at the Crowne Plaza Changi
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 keep that in mind when you consider the timing of applying for Chase cards.