Curing 5/24

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Recent developments have made me think more about Chase’s 5/24 Rule (where they deny applicants who have opened 5 or more cards in the past 24 months).  First, Chase released two new and very attractive cards: the Sapphire Reserve card and the Ink Business Preferred card, Then, they promised to release more new cards.  Soon thereafter, those with Chase Private Client status lost their immunity to 5/24.  Then, seemingly unrelated, one of the best options for earning a Southwest Companion pass died and we are left primarily with the Chase two-card solution.  And, finally, we learned that Chase would soon cut in half the Sapphire Reserve’s signup bonus.

All of the above has led me to rethink the question of whether it makes sense for those who are over 5/24 to go on a credit card signup diet.  Should you stop signing up for (most) cards until you’re under 5/24?


Considering the Southwest Companion Pass

Southwest’s Companion Pass is one of the best travel deals available today. If you earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year, you will earn a Southwest Companion Pass that is good for an unlimited number of flights for the rest of that year and all of the next. This means that it is possible to bring a companion with you, for free, on all flights for almost two years if you obtain the pass early in a calendar year.

As reported earlier this week, though, the Southwest Companion Pass has become harder to get. Points transferred from hotel and car rental programs no longer qualify.

The best alternative (but one hard to achieve due to 5/24) is to sign up for two 50,000 point Southwest credit card offers and to meet the spend requirements early in the calendar year. This will give you at least 104,000 points towards the Companion Pass. You can earn the remaining points through credit card spend, Southwest flights, or other means.  This is great, but if you’re over 5/24, you can’t do it.

Clearly, those who fly Southwest often with a companion (or would like to do so) have strong motivation to cure their 5/24 condition.

Considering the next big Chase offers

On the heels of the Sapphire Reserve card’s success, Chase’s CEO says that Chase will introduce additional new cards. They already followed the Sapphire Reserve with the new Ink Business Preferred card. Both were introduced with jaw-dropping signup bonuses (100K and 80K, respectively). It’s reasonable to assume that additional new cards will also have fantastic signup offers.

Recently we learned that Chase will soon cut the Sapphire Reserve’s bonus in half. This means that many who currently suffer from 5/24 will most likely never get the exciting 100,000 point bonus. But, it may be worth rehabilitating your 5/24 condition now in order to prepare for new product launches. Maybe you’ll be lucky and some new products won’t appear for a couple of years.

How to cure 5/24

The key is simply to stop applying for cards that contribute to your 5/24 condition. All new personal credit cards, from any bank, count towards your 5/24 condition. And, being an authorized user on a personal credit card counts (but often can be argued away with a reconsideration call). For details on assessing your 5/24 condition, see: How to count your 5/24 status.

Not all business cards count towards 5/24. Only those that are reported to the big three credit bureaus count. This means that applying for business cards from the following banks will not hurt your 5/24 condition:

  • American Express (except for Canadian Amex)
  • Bank of America
  • Barclaycard
  • Chase
  • Citi
  • US Bank
  • Wells Fargo

The banks listed above offer quite a few great signup offers. At the time of this writing, Amex has a public 100K offer for their Business Platinum card.  Bank of America has quite a few good business card offers including 30K miles for the Alaska business card and 25K for the Travel Rewards business card. Citi regularly offers 50K for their CitiBusiness AAdvantage card. And US Bank offers 20K for their FlexPerks business card and 85K for their Club Carlson for Business card.

Interestingly, even though most Chase business cards are subject to the 5/24 rule, they do not add to your 5/24 count. If you are over 5/24, you probably won’t get approved for the 80K Ink Business Preferred card, for example, but if you do manage to get approved for the card, it won’t add to your 5/24 condition.  UPDATE 1/15/2017: Recent evidence suggests that Chase business cards do count.  YMMV.

The above has been a long way of saying that you can cure your 5/24 condition without giving up on signup bonuses. Keep in mind, though, that some banks do report business cards to the credit bureaus. Business cards from Capital One, and Discover business cards do count towards your 5/24 condition.

For a list of the best business card offers, please see: Best Business Card Offers.

The cost of the cure

The “cure” means giving up many great personal credit card offers and some great business card offers (mostly from Capital One).  That may sound rough to those who earn points primarily through signup bonuses, but keep in mind that you won’t have to go completely cold turkey.  For example, you could sign up for one personal card every 6 months or so without ruining your 5/24 recovery.  And you can sign up for as many 5/24-safe business cards as you want.  What you can’t do is go on a crazy application spree like I did recently, unless you restrict those applications to 5/24-safe cards.

Which offers would be painful to resist?  From my overall Top 10+ Credit Card Offers page, here are the current (at the time of original publication) Top 10 cards which are not Chase cards, and whether or not they count towards 5/24:

Card / Offer Counts towards 5/24?
Amex Business Platinum 100K No
BOA Virgin Atlantic 75K Yes
Amex Business Gold Rewards 50K No
BOA Amtrak 30K Yes
Avianca Vuela 60K Yes
BOA Merrill+ 50K Yes
Amex Delta Platinum 35K Yes
Amex Delta Platinum Business 35K No
Citi Platinum AAdvantage 50K Yes
CitiBusiness AAdvantage 50K No

Six out of ten do count towards 5/24.  So the “cure” means giving up, or largely delaying, some terrific offers.

Decision Time

I don’t fly Southwest often, so the Companion Pass pursuit is not a heavy motivator for me.  Plus, since I recently signed up for a bunch of cards, it would take me 2 full years to get under 5/24.  And, I wouldn’t count on this 2 card Companion Pass strategy working that far in the future.

Despite not caring about the Companion Pass deal for myself, I still have motivation to cure my 5/24 condition. I’m a big fan of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program, and if they’re going to introduce more cards to the Ultimate Rewards family, I’m going to want them.  So, I do think I’ll try to cure my 5/24 status, and my wife’s too.  If I counted correctly, she’ll be under 5/24 a bit sooner than me: April 2018.

How about you?  Will you give up on Chase or try to cure your 5/24 condition?

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It looks as if Alaska does not fly anywhere near Louisville. I’m pretty much in agreement that I’d rather just deal with flying with American for a year for the convenience (since they seem to be only ones with direct flights between PHL and SDF), and my gf even more so. So, my question is how to take advantage of the frequent flyer situation with American Airlines? My thought was that, since I already have one Southwest card and I’ve made minimum spending on it, to go ahead and use it for remainder of year for any travel needs outside of PHL-SDF, maybe try to go for companion pass again at beginning of 2018 by opening business +personal card combo if sign-up bonuses are still there, and my gf currently sign up for an American frequent flyer card (not sure which one) to max points that way. I am going to use my Chase Sapphire Preferred for business expenses, including my flights, for the remainder of the year at which time I will try again for southwest business in conjunction with southwest personal card, but I’m not sure if this is an unnecessarily complicated approach or if it will be beneficial to try something else. Thoughts?


I am trying for the companion pass through Southwest by having two sign up bonuses. I applied for the southwest premier card and the business card same day earlier this month. However, I got approved for the personal card and denied for the business card because my business is too new with no revenue, so my plan is to continue using the premier card for flying benefits through the end of the year and try to double up on sign up bonus by opening the personal plus and the business cards through Chase.

The only thing is that I have opened a Sapphire preferred with an authorized user earlier this year and the Southwest premier card also has an authorized user. I didn’t realize that they counted towards 5/24 rule. Would calling and having the authorized user removed from those cards and/or closing my premier card at end of year before opening the other two cards in 2018 help?


Thanks for your quick response and clarification. I am in a bit of a unique situation and could use your advise. I was looking into the Southwest points deals because I’m doing independent contract work in Philadelphia for a year while planning on frequently traveling back and forth from my hometown of Louisville. The plan was to use the Southwest card to take advantage of points gained from my and my girlfriend’s flights between the two cities, but it seems that there are no direct flights, so travel time is a bit longer (5-6 hrs) as opposed to a direct flight from American (2 hrs).

The catch is that I had originally planned on taking advantage of the Southwest card sign up bonuses to achieve companion pass status for my gf and me (for future joint travel) in addition to rapid rewards from card expenses, but could not get approved for the business card so now I just have one personal card. I had been planning on trying again with opening the other personal card and the business card at beginning of calendar year but now I’m questioning whether or not it’s worth the effort given the longer travel times with Southwest between the two cities. I have not had good experiences with American, but I’m willing to consider using them if it is still to my advantage to try their frequent flier program/cards and the shorter direct flights.

Do you have any thoughts on this? Basically, I know for a fact that we’ll be averaging two round trips between the two cities each month for the next year (and my trips will count as business expenses), so I’m just trying to figure out the best way to take advantage of this frequent flyer situation. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Hi Greg,

Sorry for digging up a post thats few months old.

Do you know whether Business card authorized user count towards 5/24? I assume the answer is No, since business card itself does not count, but would like to check with you and see if you have any DP.


Dave D

Greg, do you happen to know if anything has changed with regards to the 5/24 rule and the business cards mentioned above, or is it all still the same?
Thanks in advance!


Hi Greg,

Do you know if a card from a Canadian bank in Canadian dollars would cause a 5/24 hit? Even if Chase doesn’t normally check Canadian credit reports, I would ask them to, in order to establish creditworthiness.


Dave F

Will you describe the secure message you sent to chase, for me?
Just curious.

Thank you


Mentioned to them that I have a gr8 score and existing long relationship with chase (I have multiple chase cards).
I told them about my new accounts (ex. mortgage / authorized user / closed accounts).
Asked them to take a detailed look at my account to see if i can be approved for chase sapphire reserve.
Also mentioned that i was not looking for new credit but just the benefits of the card.


Can I ask, did you apply in branch or on line?



Online , a week before the 100k offer expired


If it helps anyone – since i had more than 5 accounts in last 24 months, I contacted chase via secure message center first before submitting my application for sapphire reserve 100k.

They asked me to go ahead and submit one. A chase specialist called me in a week , discussed few things about my current income and credit line and approved my application. I did mention that I wasn’t looking for new credit which may have helped as well.


I had 7 accounts in last 24 months.


Not all personal cards. 2 were mortgage accounts. Rest were amex spg, amex gold,sapphire,ihg and pottery barn.


Okay, may be then. The credit journey shows 7 accounts so I thought they are included. The pottery barn card is the comenity bank credit account.


Greg….You were right. Getting that message was not an issue. I received my card today!!




Hi Greg…After waiting and waiting I finally pulled the trigger and applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I think I am 3/24 and 4/24 with ink business card. I received the 7-10 day message…which surprised me. I haven’t applied for anything in forever. My credit is excellent. I never carry any balance over on my credit cards, paying them off every month. I do have quite a bit on my sapphire right now from Christmas, but will pay it off as well closer to the due date. Would that have anything to do with me not being approved? What should my next steps be…should I call the reconsideration line?


Yes…I received the message at the end of the application.

Thanks for your help!!!


Received the pending email last week, and then a denial letter from Chase yesterday for the Sapphire Reserve. I do fall under the 5/24 with 5 cards between March and June of 2015, but nothing since then. Called the reconsideration line and there appears to be no flexibility with regards to this. They would not entertain it until my three March 2015 cards fall outside of the window.


Decided to try for Sapphire Reserve even though my 5th(latest) 5/24 eligible card was accepted in June 2015. I was instantly accepted! Here are the last 5 (personal) cards I signed up for:

BOA Travel Awards 12/13/2016
BOA Merril+ 12/13/2016
Comenity Total Rewards 3/25/2016
Cap One Venture 01/06/2016
Citi Advantage Platinum Select 6/29/2015

Cool….now to sign up the wifey and figure out how best to manufacture some spend to meet the 4K requirement.

Zac Hood

Gary, would the Merill + biz card be considered BoA and thus NOT 5/24? And, are there any live links to that offer?


I applied for the new Ink card. Got a notice that I needed to verify the biz address by sending in a document. I didn’t follow up.

Is that a hard pull and how significant is a hard pull? I’m not much of a churner – so only a couple of apps a year.


You may be able to call recon if you’re 4/24 in the next 30 days


Didn’t know that. Good info, but my date is Feb 17……
So, too late?