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While I write quite a bit about credit card sign-up bonuses, that’s only one aspect of maximizing the rewards you can get from credit cards. So I’m writing a brief series about my credit card spend strategy with the major issuers. Over the past several days I’ve shard my American Express card strategy and Citi card strategy, and in this post I’ll share my Chase card strategy. Which cards do I have, why do I have them, etc.?
Chase has some of the best points earning credit cards out there, though is also among the strictest when it comes to approving people. Here’s what you need to know:
How many total Chase cards can you have?
There’s no set limit to how many Chase cards you can have. For example, I have six, though I know people who have more than that. With Chase the limiting factor is typically the total amount of credit they’re willing to extend you. This means that if you apply for a new card and are maxed out in terms of the credit Chase is willing to issue you, you may be asked to switch credit lines around.
The other big restrictions involve their application process, as I’ll explain below.
What are the restrictions when it comes to applying for Chase cards?
There doesn’t seem to be a consistently applied limit as to how many Chase cards you can be approved for in a given period. Some report not being able to apply for more than two cards in a 30 day period, while others suggest you can be approved for at most one personal and one business card in a 90 day period.
Personally I’d wait at least a month between two Chase card applications, but that’s just me.
The much bigger restriction when it comes to Chase card approvals involves their “5/24 rule.” As a general rule of thumb, this means you won’t be approved for many Chase cards if you’ve opened for than five accounts in the past 24 months. There are a couple of things to be aware of regarding this:
- Generally opening non-Chase business cards won’t count towards this limit
- The 5/24 rule doesn’t apply to all Chase cards — for example, it doesn’t apply to the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, The Hyatt Credit Card, and British Airways Visa Signature® Card
Which Chase cards do I have?
At the moment I have the following six Chase cards:
- IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- The Hyatt Credit Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve℠
- Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
- Chase Freedom® Card
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Which Chase cards do I use most?
To start, there are two Chase cards I have for the rewards they offer, though I don’t put much spend on them. That includes the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, which has just a $49 annual fee, and offers an annual free night certificate valid at any IHG property worldwide. The card also offers IHG Rewards Club Platinum status for as long as you have the card, and a 10% refund on points redemptions. The card is an absolute no brainer, and is a card almost anyone would benefit from having, in my opinion (especially since it’s not subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule).
The Hyatt Credit Card is also pretty compelling. It has a $75 annual fee, and I keep it because it offers an annual free night certificate valid at a Category 1-4 property. That more than justifies the annual fee, in my opinion.
So those are the two Chase cards that I keep just for the perks, while the other four Chase cards I use for maximizing my spend. I like to call the other cards the perfect credit card quadfecta. Only one of the four cards has an annual fee, and I use them as follows:
- Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card: 5x points on the first $25,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services; 2x points on the first $25,000 spent annually at gas stations and restaurants
- Chase Freedom® Card: 5x points in rotating quarterly categories
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®: 1.5x points on everyday spend
- Chase Sapphire Reserve℠: 3x points on dining and travel
I don’t think there’s a more ideal combination of cards to be had with any issuer.
As it stands, I put most of my dining, travel, and cell phone spend on Chase cards. Then I do everything I can to maximize the quarterly Freedom bonus categories. Lastly, the Freedom Unlimited gets a lot of my everyday spend, along with The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, given that they offer up to 1.5 points per dollar spent.
Which Chase cards do I most want?
Overall I’m extremely happy with my current portfolio of Chase cards. I have two great hotel cards that get me annual free nights, and four great cards that help me maximize my Ultimate Rewards points.
However, there are two Chase cards I’d most like to get.
The card offers triple points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. But best of all it offers great protection, and has a unique cell phone protection benefit that’s not offered by another card.
Unfortunately this card is subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so I’m not eligible for it at the moment.
I’m also very tempted by The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card. For the time being I haven’t applied, given that Ford recently picked up the card. I can potentially see this card being worthwhile for maintaining top tier status with the Marriott/Ritz-Carlton, assuming benefits stay the same. The card is on my radar, and given that it’s not subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, I shouldn’t have much trouble getting approved.
I’d say Chase has the all around most compelling portfolio of rewards cards at the moment. Between their excellent co-brand cards and also their cards earning Ultimate Rewards points, there are so many great opportunities to maximize points with them.
The main thing to keep in mind is that Chase cards are also among the toughest to be approved for. If you’ve opened more than five new personal accounts in the past 24 months, you’re unlikely to be approved for many of their cards.
Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card and the AmEx Everyday Preferred has been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.