Before applying to Chase credit cards, it’s important to understand the rules for applications (2/30 Rule), eligibility (5/24 Rule), and bonuses (once every two years).
The 2/30 rule says that you can only have two applications every 30 days or else you’ll automatically be rejected.
If you don’t have a high credit score (700+), your chances of getting approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve is slim. Chase usually looks for a great credit score or a banking relationship. It’s a lot easier and less risky for Chase to give you a credit line of $1,000 with the Chase Freedom, as opposed to the minimum $10,000 credit limit with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
[ Update : As of 2018, douple dipping applications no longer work. One application will automatically get declined. ]
A good strategy is to apply for two cards at the same time, that way you can combine hard pulls on the same day and minimize the credit inquiries on your credit report. If you apply for more than one card on the same day with the same issuer, they’ll only pull your credit once.
Something to consider is just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. If your credit profile doesn’t qualify for certain cards, you still won’t get approved. For example, if you’re someone who has a new credit history or doesn’t have a relationship with Chase, then Chase will most likely only grant you one card.
The most infamous rule is the Chase 5/24 rule. The idea is if you have more than five new credit cards in the past 24 months, from any issuer, you’ll automatically get rejected for certain Chase cards.
For example, if you received 4 Bank of America credit cards and 1 Citi credit card in the past 24 months, then your Chase application will be automatically rejected because of 5/24.
The main exception to this is Chase business cards because they don’t go on your credit report. Even though Chase can see them on your report, they don’t care.
Regarding intro bonuses, you can qualify for a new bonus every 24 months. For example, if you received the Hyatt sign up bonus in 2013 and applied for the card again in 2017, you would be eligible to receive a new bonus.
If you’re currently an authorized user for a card you want to apply for, you should remove yourself to qualify for the intro bonus.
“One Sapphire Rule”
The one exception to the intro bonus rule in the section above is the Chase Sapphire family of cards.
You can have an open Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, OR a Chase Sapphire card, but not more than one at a time.
The exception is if you had more than one Chase Sapphire card before the rule kicked in August 2018; then your cards are grandfathered.
Chase Sapphire 48-Month Rule
In addition to the “One Sapphire Rule,” you can only receive an intro bonus to a Chase Sapphire card once every 48 months (4 years).
For example, if you receive an intro bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred in Jan 2018, you would have to wait until Jan 2022 to receive another Chase Sapphire bonus.
If you were to downgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred in Jan 2019 to a Chase Freedom card and apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you would not qualify for the bonus due to the 48-month rule.
Again, the 48-month rule only applies to the Chase Sapphire family of cards.
If you are an authorized user on a Chase Sapphire card and you want to get your own, be sure to remove yourself as an authorized user before applying.
“One Southwest Rule”
You are not eligible for a personal Southwest credit card intro bonus if you:
Currently have any (personal) Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card
Received a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card intro bonus in the past 24 months
The above rules do not apply to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business card. There are currently 3 personal Southwest credit cards, so you can only get the intro bonus for one every 24 months.
However, if you want to earn Southwest Companion Pass from credit cards, you can apply for one personal and one business Southwest card.
If you’re looking for the optimal strategy, go for the Chase cards you want first based on your goals (travel or cash back) before any other credit issuer.
The benefit of going for Chase cards first is that unlike other card issuers, most of the core Chase cards have no annual fee product change options to keep your credit history alive.
At the end of the day, we recommend applying for cards that make sense for you and add value based on what you’re trying to achieve.