Is It Worth It to Apply for Non-Chase Cards Before You’ve Reached 5/24?

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I often urge people to pursue Chase cards before ever applying for cards from other banks like American Express, Citi, Barclaycard, etc. The reason has to do with the 5/24 rule. This rule automatically excludes you form certain Chase cards if you’ve opened up 5 or more credit cards within the past 24 months. 

An issue that often arises is whether or not you should ever jump on a card from another bank before you reach 5/24. This often comes up when a leaked credit card offer like the 100K Platinum comes around. On the one hand, people want to jump on such a great offer before it vanishes but on the other hand they don’t want to be excluded from Chase cards due to 5/24. This article will look at if and when it’s ever worth it to apply for non-Chase cards before you’ve reached 5/24. 

Cards affected by the 5/24 Rule

First, the basics (shout out to the Doctor of Credit for this).

These are the Chase cards that are affected by the 5/24 rule:

  • Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase Slate
  • Chase Ink Preferred

The rule also affects Chase co-branded cards, such as the following:

  • Chase Marriott (only the personal)
  • Chase Southwest Plus and Premier (including the business version)
  • Chase United MileagePlus cards Club (all personal and the business version)

So with the affected cards in mind, let’s take a look at some different considerations that would factor into your decisions. 

Is the offer worth chasing? 

The first question to ask yourself is whether or not the offer from a non-Chase bank is worth applying for that will count against 5/24?

If I had not hit 5/24 yet, I don’t think I’d ever pursue an offer with another bank that is known to always come around unless I just absolutely had to have the card to complete a dream booking that was coming up or something. In some cases, however, you might receive a targeted offer in the mail that will expire and is known to be among the highest bonus ever offered. In that situation, it might be worth it. Another situation where it’s often worth it is when an offer leaks and you get access to a sign-up bonus that is extremely lucrative and otherwise not available. 

In the end, the judgment call will be yours but I think a lot of other people would agree that most publicly available offers from other banks will not be worth pursuing before you hit 5/24 simply because those offers will still be around later on (or will be virtually guaranteed to return). 

Do you want to earn as many Ultimate Rewards as possible?

If your goal is to earn as many Ultimate Rewards as possible then you may want to consider jumping on the following Chase cards:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve (100K bonus)
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred (50K+ bonus)
  • Chase Ink Preferred (80K bonus but small business credit card)
  • Chase Freedom (15K+)
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited (15K+)

Those are five cards that would put you at 5/24 so you’d no longer be eligible to be approved for another card affected by 5/24 and in that case you would not want to ever jump on offers from other banks until you’ve hit 5/24.

However, I don’t think everyone would necessarily apply for all five cards even if they were concerned with earning a lot of Ultimate Rewards. Here’s why. 

Are you okay with applying for a business card?

The Ink Preferred is a business credit card and I think a lot of people don’t want to deal with applying for a business card so that can be scratched off the list for many.

Product changing into a Freedom card

I also don’t think a lot of people should worry about applying for both Freedom cards.

This is because the sign-up bonuses on them are typically low (around 15,000) and if you had both the Sapphire Preferred and the Sapphire Reserve, you could always product change one to a Freedom card eliminating the need to apply for an additional Freedom card.

If you had the option of the more elusive 30,000 sign-up bonus, it might be a little different, but if you’re just talking about a 15,000 sign-up bonus, I don’t think it’s a big loss. Sure, you lose out on a potential 15,000 points but you leave the option open for getting another card. This can be beneficial once you’re eyeing another Chase card affected by 5/24 or once you’ve opened up a lot of Chase cards and need “room” to get approved for another card. 

I think this shows that most people will likely be looking at applying for 3 or 4 Chase Ultimate Rewards earning cards, leaving one or two slots open for other cards.

But now let’s look at the co-branded cards. I’m going to assume that you’re interested in both the Chase branded cards and the co-branded cards for the below analysis, since if you’re just interested in Chase co-branded cards, it’s a lot easier to make your judgment call. 

Do you want the Southwest Companion Pass?

If you really want the Southwest Companion Pass then you might want to leave two slots for 5/24. That’s because with two Chase Southwest credit cards it’s really easy to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.

This will work perfectly for someone going after the trio of the Sapphire Reserve, Preferred, and a Freedom card. In that case, you could do the product change of a Sapphire Reserve or Preferred to a Freedom, so that you end up with two Southwest credit cards, two Freedom cards, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This means that if you really value domestic/Caribbean travel on Southwest and want a powerful trio of Ultimate Reward earning cards, you might want to heed to the 5/24 rule.

Tip: Keep in mind that right now even if you are over 5/24, you can earn the Southwest Companion Pass with the SPG cards (and the Marriott business card if needed as well). 

Are you interested in United?

United MileagePlus Explorer

Since all of the United cards are subject to 5/24 (even the business version), you’ll want to consider if those cards are worth it to you. I think the United MileagePlus Explorer is a great co-branded card if you fly United often since it confers you with elite-like benefits.

Benefits included with the United MileagePlus Explorer are: 

  • First checked bag free
  • Priority boarding
  • 2 United club passes per year
  • Increased award space for United awards
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases

United MileagePlus Club

The United  MileagePlus Clubs is a more premium card that provides you with even heftier elite status benefits, such as:

  • First and second checked bag free
  • Priority boarding and other Premier services 
  • Access to United club lounges ($550 in value)
  • Increased award space for United awards
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases
  • 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Elite status with Hyatt 

It will be up to you to decide if these cards have benefits that you want/need, but if you have no interest in flying United, then aside from the MileagePlus Explorer’s bonus (which can be used on partners), these cards won’t do you too much good. 

Marriott cards

Both the personal and the business Marriott cards offer the same 80,000 sign-up bonus (although the personal has the added 7,500 points for adding an authorized user) and they both come with the free anniversary night. They are very similar although the annual fee is lower on the personal card ($85) versus the business version ($99). Also, the business version earns 2X on more categories like office supplies, internet, cable, etc. 

Since the business version is not subject to 5/24 and you can get the 80,000 bonus from the business version along with the free anniversary night, I think there’s less of a necessity to get the personal card. Also, there’s the Ritz-Carlton card (not subject to 5/24) that will offer you gold elite status for one year and up to 3 free nights at a Ritz-Carlton (although the annual fee is admittedly high on that card). 

Thus, in most cases I probably would not consider the personal Marriott a “must have” for 5/24 purposes. The exception to that would be if I really wanted to score two Marriott bonuses from both the personal and business card. Since Marriott points can be transferred to SPG at a rate of 3:1, some people might be interested in converting their 80,000 sign-up bonuses into 26,666 SPG points. 

With that run down complete, here are a few scenarios that I think could play out for different people. 

Different Chase card scenarios 

Scenario 1

If the Southwest, United, Marriott, and any business credit cards don’t appeal to you but you want to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards then your goals would look like: 

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred (eventual product change to Freedom)
  • Freedom Unlimited

That means you’d have two open slots to do you whatever you wanted with and you should feel free to jump on any two non-Chase offers that you feel like are worth it, despite being under 5/24.

Scenario 2 

If the Southwest, United, Marriott, and but business credit cards do appeal to you and you want to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards then your goals would look like: 

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred (eventual product change to Freedom)
  • Freedom Unlimited
  • Chase Ink Preferred 

Even in this scenario you still have room to jump on one open slot before 5/24 kicks in

Scenario 3

If the United, Marriott, or any business credit cards don’t appeal to you but you want to earn the Southwest Companion Pass and Chase Ultimate Rewards then your goals would look like:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred (Product change to Freedom)
  • Freedom Unlimited
  • Chase Southwest Plus
  • Chase Southwest Premier 

In this case, you’d need to probably stick to applying for Chase cards until you get over 5/24. And obviously if you wanted a Chase business card you’d have to consider how that application would fit into the mix.

The good news is that as previously stated you can still get the Companion Pass with the SPG/Marriott business card. So even if you wanted the Companion Pass, you still don’t have to put all non-Chase bank applications on hold while you’re under 5/24.  

Scenario 4

If the United, Marriott, and Chase Ultimate Rewards appeal to you then your goals might look like:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred (Product change to Freedom)
  • Freedom Unlimited
  • United MileagePlus Explorer Card
  • Marriott Rewards* 

The asterisk is there because the personal card is not  necessarily a must-have even if you want Marriott points. 

Findings 

I think this shows that unless you have specific needs for Southwest, United, or Marriott, then you can probably pursue a non-Chase credit card before you hit 5/24 and still not miss out on a Chase card you really need/want. In some circumstances, you could even get two non-Chase cards. And even if you wanted to get on board with the Companion Pass or a Marriott card, there are still ways to not let 5/24 restrict your applications for cards from other banks so long as you’re open to getting business cards. 

Three things to consider 

In-branch pre-approvals 

Don’t forget that you can get around 5/24 with in-branch pre-approvals. While it’s never guaranteed, it’s just another reason why the 5/24 rule is not the end all be all of your credit card dreams with Chase.  

Amex cards take a while to show up 

For whatever reason, American Express cards can take a long time to show up on your credit report. How long it will take just depends, but I’ve had accounts take 1.5 months to show up! This means that if you saw an offer like the 100K Platinum Card from American Express show up, you could probably jump on that offer and then still apply and get approved for 5/24 affected Chase cards a couple of weeks later (remember, YMMV).  

Your goals and interests might change

This is especially applicable to newbies. Just because you don’t think you’d want Southwest cards or a United card, that doesn’t mean that you won’t change your mind. So just try not to jump to conclusions as to which cards you might not want, since in the beginning it’s easy to dismiss cards before you really understand the various ways they can fit into your redemption plans. Consider erring on the side of complying with 5/24 first.  

Final word

So to recap, here are some of the relevant findings: 

  • Not everyone will want or need five of the cards affected by 5/24
  • You don’t need to apply for two Freedom cards since they often come with a low bonus and you can product change a Sapphire to one of them
  • Even if you wanted the Southwest Companion Pass you can still get it without Chase cards
  • The Marriott business and Ritz-Carlton are not subject to 5/24 
  • You can still get pre-approved in-branch for cards affected by 5/24
  • Amex cards can take a couple of months to appear on credit reports

Based on these findings, I think it’s safe to say that for a lot of people, it’s okay to apply for a card from another bank (especially Amex) before you hit 5/24. Obviously, a lot of specific factors come into play so this won’t apply to everyone, but for a lot of people, I think they’ll be okay with jumping on a “flash offer” even if it means adding one strike against their 5/24 count. 

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