Strategies Before Chase Drops the Axe
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In May 2015, Chase began restricting it’s proprietary Chase products to customers who have had more than 5 cards in the period of 24 months, from any bank. At that time, co-branded (United, Hyatt, Southwest, etc.) and business cards were exempt from this rule. In late 2016, Doctor of Credit reported that in March 2016, Chase Ink business cards would fall under this restriction. Still, co-branded cards were safe.
Then just last week, he reported that co-branded cards would come under the rule in April of 2016. For churners (those who open and close a lot of cards in a short period of time to earn and re-earn their bonuses), this was devastating news.
(Read here if this is new to you.)
Since that post, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about strategies moving forward. I thought I’d outline some scenarios. Of course, these may not work for you, but there are general patterns.
Twenty-four months prior to today (2/17/16) is 2/14/14.
You’ve (like me and my wife) opened up more than five cards in the past 24 months.
Step 1: Apply TODAY
- If you can, apply for the Chase Ink business card.
- If you cannot, apply for any of the co-branded cards that make sense for your future travel plans.
- Apply for two cards (if you have good credit), as Chase will merge pulls. Be willing to close a card (not your Sapphire or Ink–otherwise you lose the ability to transfer your Ultimate Rewards to partners) or shift credit lines for approvals.
Step 2: Apply in 31 days (no more than 43 days) from now for two more cards.
- So you’ve gotten one (or hopefully two) cards approved from the application one month ago.
- Apply for the next card you want/need, get approved and then apply for a second card that same day. Remember, they’ll be merged. You may not get approved, but at that point, you have nothing to lose.
- The last day to apply, if DoC is right, is March 31 (43 days from now).
You’ve opened up 4 cards over the past 24 months, but that’s it.
Step 1: Apply TODAY
- Apply TODAY for two cards, because once you pass that 5th card, you’ll be ineligible based on Chase’s new rules.If you do not have the Chase Sapphire, get it first.
- Follow the rest of the steps as Scenario A.
Step 2: Apply for the Chase
You have 0, 1 or 2 credit cards, but after reading this, and other blogs like it, you want to get into the game.
Step 1: Apply… When the offer is right, but only apply for Chase cards.
- Your first five cards should be Chase Cards
- I know that’s hard to swallow: Chase CAN give you a hard time if you’ve never had a card, but it’s not impossible. My first card was the Chase Slate (I don’t recommend this card, as it does not earn any rewards). Try not to apply for this.
- Do not apply for cards from other banks, as they will count against your total of 5. After five, move on to the other banks and rewards.
- This is a long-term rewards earning strategy.
Note regarding apply for two cards on the same day: As long as they are within the same calendar day, pulls will be merged. However, apply for the card you actually want approved first, before applying for the second card.
As I always say, what rewards you earn should be based off of your travel goals. If you fall into Scenario B or C, you can’t go wrong opening up the Chase Freedom and Sapphire card or Chase Ink Business cards, as they’ll give you the ability to transfer to partners and constantly earn Ultimate rewards.
After that? Here are the Chase co-branded cards and why I would open them if you have not already:
- Southwest Premier or Business–Ability to earn Companion Pass/excellent for domestic fliers with a partner
- Southwest Plus or Business–Ability to earn Companion Pass/excellent for domestic fliers with a partner
- United Mileage Plus Explorer–50,000 sign up is excellent and great access to Star Alliance partner flights
- Hyatt–Two sign up nights to be used at any Hyatt worldwide/excellent card for top-tier Hyatts but nights expire within one year of earning
- British Airways–Highest sign-up of 100,000 miles after spending $20,000 in one year from opening the card/great for medium-short haul flights in the U.S. and other intra-country destinations.
- IHG–Sign-up fluctuates between 60,000-80,000 points, good for two-three nights at a solid property/great card to keep every year, as you receive a certificate to be used at ANY IHG property, worldwide after paying the cheap annual fee of $49.
- Marriott–Solid sign-up can be good for two-three good to very good Marriott properties
- Ritz-Carlton–Two sign up nights to be used at Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton properties/Best Ritz-Carlton properties are Tier 5; only apply for if specific redemption, or no other options, in mind
- Fairmont–Two sign up nights to be used at certain Fairmont properties/ capacity controlled redemptions; only use if specific redemption in mind
I’ve had every Chase rewards card in the past two years except the Ink, Ritz and Fairmont. I’ll apply in that order. And for my wife, she’s already applied for the British and IHG cards. Next up on March 31? Probably Southwest cards.