My 2017 Chase Credit Card Strategy

In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!

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:

Which Chase cards do I have?

At the moment I have the following six Chase cards:

For years the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card was my “go to” credit card, though I product changed since I was so excited about the Sapphire Reserve.

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:

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 first is the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, which is Chase’s newest business card. Not only does the card have a huge sign-up bonus, but it actually offers lots of great long term perks.

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.

Bottom line

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 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.

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. @Lucky – How much do you actually spend on all of these cards you supposedly hold?

    You promote a lot of cards with similar earning rates in various categories across Chase, Amex, etc, and a lot of cards with bonuses in categories you surely spend minimally in…

  2. Just saw on the news that DL 2350 left ATL this morning and flew all the way to the Maryland border before realizing they couldn’t land in the storm and now their flying all the way back to ATL, just about to land… that sucks!

    Good luck and safe travels everyone!

  3. Lucky, I was wondering what you opinion is on the Chase 5/24 rule in regards to whether store branded credit cards(like Lowe’s) count towards the limit. I would be at 4/24 in early March if not for this card that I unwisely applied for last July because I thought I was going to purchase new appliances through them.

  4. @Lucky — I am interested in the Chase Freedom Unlimited as my card to use for all non-dining and non-travel purchases, but I have a question.

    On Chase’s website, the Freedom Unlimited is advertised as a “card back” card, which awards 1.5% cash back on everyday purchases — essentially 1.5 cents back on the dollar. Since Chase equates 100 “points” to $1, this means that one would earn 1.5 “points”/$, as you stated.

    Here is my question: are the 1.5 “points”/$ earned with this card the same as Chase’s UR points? If yes, does Chase automatically combine the Freedom Unlimited “points” with one’s other UR points (e.g., from the CSR)? If not, is there a way to combine them?

    The question has probably been asked and answered before but I did not pay attention. However, now my circumstances have changed and I could use a card like the Freedom Unlimited.

    Thx!

  5. Lucky, you keep saying “more than five” which means 6 or more. The fact is that you cannot have more than 4 cards opened before applying so you should fix this article and say from now on “you won’t be approved if you have FIVE OR MORE credit cards in the past 24 months”.

  6. @DCS – Yes, the “cash back” points on both the Freedom and the Freedom Unlimited can be converted to UR points…assuming you have one of the UR earning cards (Sapphire Preferred/Reserve). They are not automatically converted, but it is a pretty simple process to do so. When you log into your chase account, jump over to the Ultimate Rewards section, and then select “Combine Points” in the upper right hand corner. Cool thing is that you can combine points from a family member’s card as well (assuming they are at the same address I believe). Works well for me and my wife. I transfer her Freedom Cash points to my CSR Ultimate Rewards balance all the time.

  7. I’m going through 2017 questions myself with Chase. I have Ink Plus, Ink Bold, Marriott Biz, Fairmont, Freedom Unlimited, United Explorer, British Airways, Hyatt and Ritz-Carlton. I just closed BA’s and saved the $95 AF since I wasn’t using it. I might combine Inks into one (no reason to keep two) and I’ll keep Unlimited for 1.5 per dollar on regular spend. I used to always get value out of Fairmont’s night and suite but I didn’t use either this year. United and Hyatt are easy keeps without heavy spend and I can get the value out of Ritz. Marriott Biz may not be necessary either at this point with Ritz. Decisions decisions.

    Wife has Marriott card too and we haven’t really found value out of the 1-5 cert so that might have to go too.

  8. @Ben – totally unrelated question, but did you have a look at Air Canadas new livery and branding? Totally hate it, so backward.

  9. @Buck T — Wonderful! That’s precisely what I needed to know. I am going for the Freedom Unlimited, and approval should be automatic since I just freed quite a bit of credit by canceling a Chase card as a result of a dispute…

    Cheers!

  10. Going to apply for the CSR in branch early next month and then for the CSP in late Spring. I’ll probably pick up the Marriott card to transfer 1:3 to SPG or to help top off a Marriott travel package before SPG rolls into Marriott for good.

  11. @Lucky – As a newcomer to churning, I’ve mainly stuck to the Chase line of cards for UR points. Do you consider it to be THE best rewards credit card program? I don’t see the sign up bonuses of other cards to be that fascinating (AR for example). The reason I ask is because after I’ve achieved the spend bonus limit for CSR, I’m looking to look for another rewards program to join. (currently using Freedom & FU by Chase).

  12. The following is posted by an unhinged imposter, who started impersonating the real ‘DCS’ last night and I, the real thing posting this as ‘XYZ’ urged IT to stop:

    “DCS says:
    February 9, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    I might as well pick up another card while I’m at it. Any recommendations on cards from Comenity?”

    I’d also implored @Lucky put an end to the stupidity by banning this bastard. However, since this is clearly someone who is unhinged and determined to keep breaching the most basic ethical standard of online commenting and no one seems willing to do anything about it, you, whoever you are, can appropriate the ‘DCS’ handle. It is all yours since, as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Have fun with it!

    Now, I will be posting my usual incisive and erudite comments using any random combination of 3 alphanumeric characters.

    Two can play that dumb game.

    G’day!

  13. @Buddy – it is any new accounts open unfortunately. I was all excited for the Reserve until I got denied. I recounted all my credit cards and should have been fine so gave them a call. They mentioned the accounts that were opened for two new A/C handlers I had to purchase over the past two years, both of which were financed through an interest free plan. Neither were credit cards per se, but they were open accounts that Chase counted towards the rule. I think these might role off just before the 100k bonus miles promo for in branch apps expires so fingers crossed!

  14. Lucky,
    I haven’t applied for any cards until the Chase Sapphire Reserve last month and then the Chase SW Business recently. I initially got denied for the SW Business but the after a 15 minute reconsideration call, I got approved. How long do you suggest I wait to apply for the Chase SW Personal? 30 or 90 days? Thanks!

  15. @Lucky: Yow! How much do you spend on each card (minimally) to have a good ROI on each? How do you plan and manage that spending? I’m OCD, but not “tote six cards around” on point…

  16. Interested to read that the Hyatt and BA cards do not count towards the 5/24 rule. I have had 6 new cards in the past 24 months including those two, but when I applied for the CSR I was denied and the reason given was that I have opened too many new cards in the past 24 months. Is it worth applying again?

  17. @CLH – CSR is subject to 5/24. When you apply for the CSR, Chase will look at all cards you have opened in the last 24 months. This also includes authorized users cards. When a card is not subject to 5/24, that only means when they are reviewing your application for that card, they do not look at the quantity of cards opened in the last 24 months. Opening a Hyatt, IHG, BA and other cards will still count towards cards opened in the last 24 months when Chase is reviewing an application of a card subject to 5/24 rules, like the CSP, CSR, CF, CFU.

  18. @ DCS (the real one) — Sorry, we can’t reserve handles without forcing everyone to register, and the site isn’t set up for that.

    I’ll try to catch the imposters and edit. It’s annoying and dumb, but it’s easy to tell who is the “real you” from the backend as long as I see it.

  19. @Kenny – thanks so much for the clarification. That’s a bummer though. Now I am wondering if the CSR is worth holding out for? I’d have to wait until Sep 2017 and I think I’d only be able to apply for 1 more card between now and then. I think the only additional benefit would be the 3x on dining, since I have Amex Platinum for flights, and the Citi Prestige for other travel (as well as the CSP).

  20. Have had the Ink Plus for a couple yrs, and recently product changed my CSP to CSR. To cut down on annual fees, thinking about downgrading to Ink Cash. Any difference between the 2 other than the annual fee and the lower spend amount for bonus pts at office stores, cellphone bill, internet, etc?

  21. @Tiffany — I did not come back here after posting in disgust as ‘XYZ’, so I did not see your post. Remembering the imposter, I decided to check back and just saw it. I appreciate that you’ll try to catch the imposter and believe that it’s dumb. Because of what you just said about the requirement to register to post comments and your being to see who is who from the back end , I am certain that ALREADY know who the imposter is. In fact, I know that you could easily find out, which had frustrated me that nothing was being done about it.

    I am not one to want to muzzle free speech but pretending to speak for someone you are NOT is NOT free speech that should protected. It is unethical, it borders on the identity theft-type illegality, and, yes, it is utterly dumb. This imposter should either quit it or be muzzled for good.

    The system let me post as XYZ after moderation but I see that you changed that post back to DCS, which is fine with me, especially since I am glad to see some action taken and the site responding.

    Cheers and best,

    DCS (the real one) 🙂

  22. When I logged in into my chase account in the second half of February 2017, an offer for Chase Saphire popped up. I could swear it was 50,000 points for $3,000 spent in 3 months. Approval was instant. Later on I could not find the date the 3 months period started on any of the paperwork. Chase employee tells me the offer was $4000 in three months. If there is anyone else who experienced same thing I would want to hear it. Thanks. Yolanda

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *