In the olden days of higher flying, it was possible to earn thousands upon thousands of points through a process called “churning.” The premise was simple enough: apply for a compelling credit card, complete the minimum spend and earn the signing bonus, then cancel the account. Shortly thereafter, reapply for that same card. Repeat over and over again to collect an unlimited amount of points.

Unfortunately, you can’t do that anymore.

Because doling out shares of miles and points is quite expensive, Chase, building on earlier restrictions implemented by Citi and American Express, created the infamous 5/24 Rule to deter churners. As per the fine print, any applicant who applies for more than five credit cards over the course of 24 months is immediately denied by Chase. It doesn’t matter if you were accepted by other lenders or not, whether or not the accounts are still open, or even which bank opened your account. If there are five (or more) recent requests on your credit score, you will not be approved for a Chase card.

That seems harsh, and it is, but I’m not going to say “no exceptions.”

As is the case with many other things in higher flying, if you know where to look and what to do, you can take advantage of exceptions to the 5/24 Rule.

Mailer & Pre-Approval Opportunities

Have you ever gotten something like this from Chase (or any other bank) in the mail before?

Chase Mailer
A Chase targeted offer for the United MileagePlus Explorer Card

If so, there’s a good chance that Chase is willing to make an exception for you regarding the 5/24 Rule. If you receive a mailer like the one shown above, also known as a targeted offer, it means that Chase values you as a customer and thinks that you could be enticed (with good incentives) to do further business. I’ve heard plenty of reports of people who have opened far more than five accounts over the course of two years, but still got approved after responding to a special offer from Chase.

You might also be pre-approved for credit outright, which is even better than a simple mailer. You can learn of these opportunities by going in to a Chase bank and simply asking if you’ve been pre-approved for any cards. If you have, you will most likely bypass the 5/24 Rule. If you haven’t, you can see about becoming pre-approved without risking/hurting your credit score.

Chase Bank
Come to a Chase branch to be pre-approved for a credit card

Beware: you are not guaranteed a new credit card when you get a mailer from the bank, or even pre-approved in person. Usually they’re both signs of good things to come, but proceed with caution. Even if you are rejected, the failed application will be added to your 5/24 “number,” and your credit score will also go down.

Check your status as an authorized user

If you are an authorized user on somebody else’s credit card, that’ll show up on your credit report and Chase will count it against your 5/24. That may not seem fair, especially given that you are not obligated to pay for the charges to that account, but thankfully, you can appeal the restriction. If your credit request is denied, call the Chase Reconsideration Line (1-888-270-2127), and ask that you be removed from any accounts in which you are an authorized user. Reports indicate that the person answering the call may not be able to help you, and if that’s the case, request to speak to a supervisor. You’ll have a better chance of being approved then, but remember, nothing is guaranteed!

Non-Restricted Cards

While most credit cards issued by Chase fall under the 5/24 Rule, there are a few exceptions. In terms of personal cards, there is strong anecdotal evidence that the…

  • British Airways Signature Visa
  • Intercontinental Hotel Group Rewards Club Select
  • The Hyatt Rewards
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards

…cards are all exempt from the restriction. This means that if you have opened more than five accounts in the past two years, you won’t automatically be denied for any of these four. So, if you want more than the maximum amount allowed, be sure to plan out how and when you apply for each of the first ones, and then make sure the ones listed above come last.

Chase Ink Business Prefered
The Chase Ink Business Preferred: one of the best cards available for business people.

The other way you can bypass the 5/24 Rule and still earn valuable signing bonuses is by collecting business credit cards. Granted, Chase doesn’t make it easy to get these, because, well, it doesn’t want to hand out cards to non-business owners. Million Mile Secrets has an interesting, albeit two-year-old, post about how to apply for them successfully, even if you’re not necessarily a self-made entrepreneur. That article can be found here. Better yet, business cards typically don’t show up on your personal credit report either, so you can request a good number of them without any greater consequences beyond the usual hit to your (or rather, your company’s) score.

While the 5/24 Rule may seem overly restricting and frustrating, you shouldn’t feel totally flattened by it. There are ways to work around it, and you, by all means, should exploit these loopholes to your advantage. Doing so is not illegal, nor is it frowned upon, but rather not very well known by most everyone else. That sort of crafty behavior is required for successful endeavors in higher flying, but remember to not behave too recklessly — you don’t want to sacrifice your credit score or your ability to get Chase credit cards!

What are your experiences in applying for Chase credit cards while negotiating the challenges of the 5/24 Rule?