Chase credit cards are so popular that Chase has set limits on how many each consumer can have. While the card issuer itself has been tight-lipped about their approval process, rewards enthusiasts commonly refer to this limit as the “Chase 5/24 rule.”

This rule is in place to prevent people from signing up for valuable Chase credit card offers, earning the bonuses, then canceling their cards and moving on. But, while the Chase 5/24 rule might mean some extra planning when submitting applications, you can still get plenty of value out of Chase credit cards if you can stay under this threshold or learn to maximize the credit cards you have.

What is the Chase 5/24 rule?

According to the Chase card 5/24 rule, if you’ve opened five credit cards in the past 24 months, you will likely not be eligible to open a new Chase credit card. Interestingly, this rule applies to any new credit cards on your credit report, even if they’re from another issuer like Citi or American Express.

Chase sets this limit for the same reason American Express has its once-per-lifetime limit on their card welcome bonuses — and why Citi only lets you earn the bonus on Citi products within certain families of cards every 24 or 48 months.

So, what does Chase 5/24 mean? The idea behind the Chase card 5/24 rule is simple: By only giving new cards to consumers who have had less than five new credit cards during the last two-year period, Chase can cut down on the number of credit card “churners” who only sign up for cards to earn their initial sign-up bonuses.

Chase cards that follow the 5/24 rule

Generally speaking, all credit cards from Chase fall under the 5/24 rule. This includes co-branded hotel and airline credit cards offered through Chase. Popular Chase credit cards this rule applies to include the following:

  • Chase Freedom Flex℠*
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®*
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
  • Chase’s Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards
  • Chase’s United credit cards
  • Prime Visa
  • British Airways Visa Signature® Card*
  • Chase’s Disney credit cards
  • The World of Hyatt Credit Card*
  • Chase’s IHG credit cards
  • Chase’s Marriott credit cards

Do Chase business cards count toward the rule?

The issuer does treat their business credit cards differently when it comes to the Chase 5/24 rule. While you need to fall under the 5/24 rule to qualify for a new business credit card, getting one won’t count toward your future 5/24 status.

How to check your 5/24 status

If you don’t know how many new credit cards you’ve had in the last few years off the top of your head, you can find out for sure by checking your credit reports with all three credit bureaus. The website lets you do this for free.

Once you have time to review your Experian, Equifax and TransUnion credit reports, you can count how many new credit card accounts you’ve opened in the last 24 months. However, keep in mind that new accounts may not all be reported to the same credit bureaus, so your 5/24 status could be different with each reporting agency.

Can you avoid the Chase 5/24 rule?

There aren’t any Chase 5/24 rule exceptions per se, but you can space out your credit card applications to keep a spot open for a new Chase card, if you want to apply. By applying for a new rewards credit card for personal or business use every six months or so, you can spread out applications enough to stay below this threshold.

In the meantime, take steps to increase your chances for approval. Moves you can make now include paying down debt to decrease your credit utilization and keeping tabs on your credit score.

What about product changes and upgrades?

One potential workaround for the Chase 5/24 rule involves switching credit card products, either by upgrading or moving laterally to a similar card. For example, consumers often switch between the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred, exchanging the luxury travel perks of the Sapphire Reserve for the lower annual fee of the Sapphire Preferred when they’re no longer traveling enough to justify the higher expense.

Just keep in mind that when you upgrade or make a product change among Chase credit card products, you won’t be eligible for the bonus on your new card. This makes switching cards slightly less incentivizing, but there are still plenty of situations where doing so can make a lot of sense. And remember, if you use any of the issuer’s credit cards, you can still earn valuable rewards through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

Tips to keep in mind when applying for Chase cards

Before applying for a Chase credit card, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances for approval. Here are the key moves you should consider right away.

Don’t assume you know your 5/24 status

If you’re not entirely sure how many new cards you’ve had in the last 24 months, refrain from making a wild guess and take the time to check. Remember that a credit card application will put a hard inquiry on your credit report, so there’s no sense in adding a hard inquiry if you won’t qualify.

Look over your credit reports

Since you’re already taking the time to check your credit reports for new cards opened in the last 24 months, go ahead and check for errors, as well. Then, if you find any incorrect information on your credit reports that could hurt your score, take the time to dispute this information.

Check your credit score

Since Chase credit cards usually only go to consumers with good or excellent credit, you should check your credit score to see where you stand before applying.

See if you can get preapproved

Chase does let you check whether you can get preapproved for some of their credit cards online. While preapproval doesn’t guarantee you’ll qualify, it can give you a better idea either way.

The bottom line

The Chase 5/24 rule might limit the number of new Chase credit cards you can qualify for, but it shouldn’t mess up your rewards goals too much. After all, you may not need more than one or two new credit cards in a given year, and sometimes it’s nice to keep things simple and focus on maximizing rewards with the cards you already have.

Also, don’t despair if you don’t qualify — there are plenty of rewards credit cards from other issuers that don’t have the same requirement.

*The information about the Chase Freedom Flex℠, Chase Freedom Unlimited®,  British Airways Visa Signature® Card and The World of Hyatt Credit Card has been collected independently by The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.