Today is May 24 or 5/24, a nomenclature that many in the award travel community look to with both fear and reverence. It refers to the unpublished policy of JP Morgan Chase to only approve new credit card applications if a consumer has not opened more than 5 personal cards with ANY bank in the past 24 months. Even though there is no specific documentation on it, experience says that it is indeed very real.
Virtually all personal cards count towards 5/24 status but most business cards do not. The rule is if it appears on your personal credit report then it’s eligible to be included in your 5/24 count. 5/24 is always an important factor to consider when mapping out your personal points strategy to support your travel goals. Cards from Chase can be some of the most lucrative so adhering to their rules is key for a healthy relationship with them.
How to calculate 5/24
Traditionally, Credit Karma offered a quick way to calculate 5/24. While it is still possible with some effort, it’s not as easy to get the full picture of the age of your open and closed accounts in one shot.
Luckily, Experian, one of the three credit reporting bureaus, has come out with their own free mobile app that more concisely lists all of your open and closed accounts by age in ascending order, enabling a straightforward calculation of 5/24. This visual aid will help guide you in 5 easy steps.
Once you determine that you are under 5/24 and you are ready for a new Chase card there are still a few things to consider. Chase may still not approve you if you opened more than 2 new personal cards or 1 business card in the past 30 days. This is the so called 2/30 rule. The key lesson to be learned is points accumulation is a marathon not a sprint, opening up too many cards with multiple issuers could look like risky behavior to banks and they won’t want to acquire or maintain you for a customer for long. My personal practice is wait at least 3 months between opening new accounts.
So if you keep a steady pace and your credit is otherwise healthy you should be in good shape to be approved for a new card.
What to Do If you Are Over 5/24
If you check your credit report and determine that you are over 5/24, all is not lost. There are still things you can do to further your award travel goals.
If you have your eyes set on a shiny new Chase card, waiting it out is one thing you can do. In the meantime you can still accumulate points through your other cards, shopping portals or referral bonuses. You can also open cards from other banks but this may further your sentence in 5/24 jail, unless it is a business card.
Once you do fall below 5/24 and you are eligible for business cards then those would be the next ones you would want to consider opening. That is because while approval for Chase business cards is subject to 5/24, once you open them, they do not count AGAINST 5/24. Business cards from Amex and Citi also do not count towards 5/24. Employing this strategy can help you open several new cards over the course of two years where you may otherwise be limited on personal cards.
5/24 status is important rule to consider when applying for Chase cards. If you have opened more than 5 cards from any bank in the past two years, Chase will not approve you forms new card. However, often folks get too hung up on it and potentially limit their moves in wait of falling below the mark. Do what makes sense to your overall strategy and don’t let the hype over 5/24 drive you to make irrational moves.