Among the initiated, Chase’s 5/24 Rule has grown quite the reputation for itself. Point-chasers know the term, most often via firsthand knowledge. And the most experienced of the experienced grasp the cold, hard truth of it all: There’s really no great way around it.

A Brief History of the 5/24 Rule

A few years back, murmurs of the 5/24 Rule began circulating. Voices from the credit card community (this one, included) began to notice a small, but nettlesome quirk in applying for Chase-issued credit cards that became known as the 5/24 rule.

The 5/24 rule is this: Account holders who’d opened five personal credit cards with any issuer within the last 24 months would not be approved for a sixth if it’s a Chase card. Those 5 personal cards could have been issued from any bank — if your application for a sixth was submitted to Chase, invariably, the answer was a big fat “thanks but no thanks.” In order to qualify for a Chase card you would need to have less than 5 cards open, or if you have 5-or-more, have opened them more than two years ago.

What’s with that?

It’s a question we grappled with ourselves. Ultimately, most suspect Chase instituted the 5/24 rule to deter churners — the applicants who open and close new accounts in quick succession to reap the flashy sign-up bonuses alone. And for that, it’s tough to cast blame.

Big name cards such as the Sapphire Reserve® and miles-heavy co-branded cards were at the time offering colossal incentives for new cardholders. Free flights, dining points, cash-in-hand — you name it.

Which reminds us…

Not All Cards Are Subject to the 5/24 Rule

It’s not all doom and gloom. A handful of Chase cards are still eligible candidates for that sixth spot in your wallet. We’ve heard from experts, bloggers, and staffers of our very own, that a variety of Chase’s co-branded cards (a sampling: Hyatt, British Airways, and Ritz-Carlton) are exceptions to the rule. That being said applying to too many cards can lead to extra scrutiny from Chase so make sure to leave enough time between your credit card applications. What qualifies as “enough time” will vary depending on your circumstance, if you’re under the 5/25 rule then you could wait for less time than if you’re over when about six months would seem prudent.

What You Can Do About It

The best solution isn’t necessarily the one you want to hear: Wait it out. We hate to play Mom here, but if there’s a card you’re after, patience is your virtue. For most existing cardholders, it shouldn’t take much longer than a few months until you’re out of the 24-month zone. We’ve yet to hear squawks about any 4/24 rule.

Moreover, business cards are exempt. Most major card issuers won’t attribute business cards to your personal credit report, which keeps you free and clear from 5/24 snags. If you’re a current or prospective small business owner, take a peek at what’s out there and see if the card you’re eyeing has a business-grade equivalent.

If the only reason you fall foul of the 5/24 rule is because of an authorized user card then it’s best to call and a Chase agent will often make an exception for this.

To this day, many debate the merits of certain loopholes and workarounds that, ultimately, close down quickly or never really existed at all. You’ll catch wind of applicants applying through banner ads or enrolling as Private Clients as a backdoor into the ever-coveted sixth card, but our advice is to keep it simple and play the game as it was meant to be played.

The good news is that our free credit report can save you some time from the jump. There, you’ll be able to monitor not just how many cards you have, but when exactly you opened them. A little head math can tell you if you fall into 5/24 territory.