The counterpoint is our monthly column, dedicated to having a look at a contrarian view at some of the commonly held beliefs in the miles and points space. Our previous column was geared at examining whether deals offered on Prime Day are really deals in the real sense or just a play on reference pricing. This month, we’re going to talk about Chase’s 5/24 and why you may be missing out on valuable miles and points as you wait to drop under Chase’s 5/24 rule.
What’s Chase 5/24
Chase has expanded this rule to apply to almost all of their credit cards. Simply put, Chase will not approve you for a card if you’ve been approved for five or more credit cards in the last 24 months. I recently wrote about how Chase is also tightening rules on card approvals and bonus requirements.
One Sapphire Rule
In addition to 5/24, the new rule that Chase has instituted is the One Sapphire Card only rule. In essence, you cannot have more than one sapphire card at any given point of time. For example, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll not be approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and vice versa.
If you’re looking to get the bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred, then you have to wait longer. Not only do you have to drop under 5/24, but it also should’ve been more than 48 months since you got your previous Sapphire Card bonus.
So, here’s what’s happening. In addition to having to wait for 24 months to drop under 5/24, you still cannot get those Ultimate Rewards points from the Sapphire Card for at least 48 months.
Business Credit Cards
Thankfully, Business credit cards are an exception. This is primarily because they appear on your business credit report. That creates and odd situation. If you’re currently under 5/24, then you’re in luck. Applying for a business credit card will not affect your 5/24 status. However, if you’re 5/24 or above, then Chase will not approve for their business credit cards as well.
For example, you can get the limited time 100,000 Membership Rewards points bonus that the Business Platinum Card is currently offering, without having to worry about its impact on your 5/24 status.
I’m guessing that Chase’s 5/24 rule is here to stay. However, if the economy heads south, we may see an easing of restrictions. When Chase instituted these rules, they felt that they’d already spent way too much on customer acquisition costs. Hence, they instituted this rule to only approve customers they think will stick around in the long run. In short, they wanted to shut out ‘churners’.
Also, I don’t think the rule is viable in the long run. Amex gives you a card bonus once per lifetime. However, Amex still approves you for that card. With 5/24, Chase is simply shutting a lot of people away from being customers. 5/24 would’ve been more sensible if Chase would’ve instituted terms that approved you for the card but didn’t give you the bonus.
Other Card Options
Given how other banks are also jumping into the game, it’s no longer worth waiting for Chase cards. You need to examine the opportunity cost. Would you wait to drop under 5/24 for Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus of 50,000 points at the cost of foregoing an Amex Platinum bonus of 100,000 Points, which people often get targeted for?
We see most credit card bonuses average around 50-60k miles/points. Sometimes, you’ll see bonuses touch 100k, depending on the points currency. With so many different banks and so many card option, what’s the point in waiting to drop under 5/24? Yes, Chase has an amazing portfolio of cards, but it’s not the be all and end all of travel credit cards.
Real Life Example
I always advocate maintaining a diverse portfolio or cards and flexible points currencies. It gives you flexibility and helps you use your points depending on how your travel needs or destination may change. For example, I was recently looking to book a flight from Cartagena, Colombia to San Diego, CA. There was no saver availability on American. As a result, I couldn’t use my British Airways Avios on the way back.
Since I also had a decent stash of Amex Membership Rewards points, I was able to transfer them to Avianca LifeMiles and fly United on the way back. If I’d been captive to Chase and had only Ultimate Rewards points, I would’ve had to transfer my points to United MileagePlus. United was asking for almost twice the miles for the same itinerary.
The Pundit’s Mantra
Chase’s cards are great, but they’re not the only ones out there. Limited time offers and high sign-up bonuses appear at multiple times during each year. It’s just the cyclical nature of business. If you’re wedded to just one bank and one currency, then you’re missing the boat and getting boxed in a particular pattern of travel. So unless you really want a specific Chase card which has a specific practical use for you, then by all means waiting for 5/24 isn’t worth your time.
What do you think about Chase’s 5/24? Do you plan your credit card strategy with 5/24 in mind? Let us know in the comments section.