What Card Should You Get After the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

One of the most common questions we get is, “What card should I get after the Chase Sapphire Reserve?”

Our best advice is to focus on cards affected by “Chase 5/24”. One caveat: If a non-5/24 card adds more value than a 5/24 card, definitely go for it. Again, this is more of a framework for thinking through the current rules and constraints.

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What is the Chase 5/24 Rule?

Chase has a rule that it will automatically reject you for some of their credit cards if you have 5 or more new accounts on your credit report in the past 24 months. The five accounts can be with any bank and are not exclusive to Chase.

As long as you have five new accounts on your credit report in the last 24 months, you will be rejected for the affected cards.

Note: Business cards will NOT count against 5/24 in most cases since they won’t go on your credit report.

Previous data points said that store cards did NOT count towards 5/24, but recent phone calls to the reconsideration lines included that, “store cards are still cards.” YMMV.
Cards that fall under 5/24 include:

Chase Branded Cards

  • Chase Freedom
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • Chase Slate
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Branded Cards (Business)

  • Chase Ink Cash
  • Chase Ink Plus
  • Chase Ink Preferred

Southwest Cards

  • Chase Southwest Plus
  • Chase Southwest Premier
  • Chase Southwest Premier (Business)

Marriott Cards (Personal)

  • Chase Marriott

United Cards

  • Chase United Explorer
  • Chase United Club
  • Chase United Explorer (Business)

How to Get Around 5/24

There are some limited exemptions to 5/24, but it’s a very specific rule that’s difficult to get around.

The exceptions:

  1. Be a Chase Private Client. This means you have $250,000+ in assets with Chase; OR
  2. Pre-approvals. You can find out if you’re pre-approved in-branch. The only “science” to pre-approvals is that they typically show up 3–6 months after your last Chase new account — if you want to get pre-approved for something under 5/24, stop applying to Chase cards.

Sign-up Bonuses vs. Cash Back

So why should you even get another card? If you already have the Chase Sapphire Reserve and something like the Citi Double Cash card, aren’t you set?

Again, if a card that doesn’t fall under 5/24 makes sense for you, go for it. At the end of the day, the goal is to optimize your cards for YOUR specific circumstance — to make sure you’re getting positive expected value from your cards.

For instance, let’s assume you have $20,000 in spend, and you’re not applying for a mortgage in the next six months (you want to stop credit card applications ~6–12 months before applying for a mortgage):

With the Citi Double Cash, you’ll get $400 cash back from the $20,000 in spend ($20,000 spend * 2% = $400 cash back). The Double Cash is considered one of the best straight cash back cards on the market.

With Chase 5/24 alternatives:

  1. Chase Sapphire Reserve = 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $4,000 in spend within 3 months
  2. Chase Sapphire Preferred (downgrade to Freedom after Y1) = 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $4,000 within three months
  3. Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card (used with the next card)
  4. Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card+ add’l spend = 110,000 Rapid Rewards+ Companion Pass

These cards, in total, yield:

  1. 100,000 Ultimate Rewards = $1,500 in travel/hotels
  2. 110,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards = $1,500 in flights
  3. Southwest Companion Pass = 50% off Southwest flights for this year and next year

The real cost, if we consider the opportunity cost, is four inquiries. So the question is whether four inquiries is worth:

  • $2,600 in value ($1,500 from Ultimate Rewards + $1,500 from Southwest — $400 opportunity cost from Citi Double Cash)
  • Southwest Companion Pass = 50% off Southwest flights for this year and next year

What Cards Are Worth Considering?

If you’re still reading this, you probably realize the value of getting the right cards. With this, I think these are the next cards worth considering:

  • Southwest Premier + Southwest Plus (for Companion Pass)
  • Chase United Explorer
  • Chase Marriott
  • Chase Ink Cash, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Preferred
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve

Cards not worth an application (and I have a good reason for this!):

  • Chase Freedom
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • Chase Slate

Southwest Companion Pass

This involves getting two cards, but I think it’s very worthwhile given that you’re effectively getting 50% off Southwest flights (when your companion is flying with you) for the next two years.

Although getting two cards might seem excessive, it will be one of the only two ways to get the Companion Pass (you need 110k SW points in a year to get Companion Pass for the remaining year and until Dec 31 of the next year).

To get this after March 31, 2017, you’ll either have to:

  1. Spend $55,000 on Southwest flights or spend $110,000 on a Southwest credit card
  2. Use the two credit card signup bonus approach

Since the first option is impossible (or at the least, extremely difficult) for most people, the second option is the easiest way to gain Companion Pass.

As a side note, you’re able to change companions three times each calendar year — so you aren’t necessarily stuck with them!

Chase United MileagePlus Explorer

If you’re a frequent flyer of United Airlines, consider getting the United MileagePlus Explorer.

I would avoid the business variation since most people only can get one business card from Chase, and you’re likely better off with one of the Ink cards.

I would also avoid the United MileagePlus Club card since, for the average person, this card doesn’t make any sense. Unless you’re at the airport every week (hi management consultants!), it’s hard to get positive expected value since the main perk is free access to the United lounge. Why does this suck? The Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you free access to Priority Pass lounges. The Amex Platinum, depending on your airport, provides amazing lounges via Centurion Lounge at a similar annual fee (with significantly more benefits).

The reason I recommend the United Explorer card is for the signup bonus, but also with the loom of basic economy fare.

Sign-up Bonus
The signup bonus of 50k United points (could be as low as 30k or at high as 70k, depending on what offer you get targeted for) is enough for a round-trip flight domestically or a one-way trip internationally:

Basic Economy
Basic economy fare promises cheaper rates but with more restrictions, specifically that you can't carry a full-sized carry-on bag (or use the overhead compartments). United cardholders are exempt from this rule.

This means that you can take advantage of the lower rate without any downside risk.

Free checked bags for domestic flights helps too.

 basic economy details

basic economy details

Chase Marriott Rewards

The Marriott card comes with a 75k point signup bonus, which is valued lower than most other hotel credit cards. The reason why it would make sense to get it is that you can transfer points for more value.

It’s a keeper card because even with an $85 annual fee (waived the first year) because you get a free night on your card anniversary.

You can apply for other hotel cards like the Ritz-Carlton and Hyatt because they don’t fall under the 5/24 rule.

Chase Ink cards

The Chase Ink cards, like most business cards, don’t go on your credit report as a “new account” meaning they won’t count towards 5/24, even though they’re affected by 5/24.

This means that if you are at 4/24, you could apply and get approved for an Ink card, and still be at 4/24.

For an unnecessarily convoluted example:

The bartender says they won’t serve you any more alcoholic drinks if you’ve had five beers in the last 24 minutes. You’ve had four beers in the last… 4 minutes. You order a shot since “technically” doesn’t count towards the five beer rule.

What’s considered a business? Any sole proprietorship that constitutes as a business on the side. Depending on the state you live in, you may or may not need business documents (DBA docs).

If you’re focused on the bonus, I recommend aiming for the Ink Preferred (or the one with the highest bonus at the time you’re checking). After the first year, you can product change to the variation that makes more sense to you, or the Ink Cash if you want a no annual fee equivalent.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

It might seem weird to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred if you have the Reserve, but it’s worth getting because the $95 annual fee is waived the first year, and you get the 50k UR points sign up bonus.

50k UR points x 1.5x with Chase Sapphire Reserve travel portal = $750 in travel (flights, hotels, car rentals)

After the first year, you can product change from the Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited to avoid the annual fee.

Again, pick the card that makes the most sense for you.

Don’t Apply for the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited

I wouldn’t recommend applying directly to get the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited because the sign-up bonus isn’t worth it compared to other cards.

Instead, consider product changing the Chase Sapphire Preferred into a Freedom or Freedom Unlimited. You don’t get the bonus, but you get the benefits of the two cards.

I’m looking at it from a value perspective, not liquidity of a 5/24 slot:

  • Freedom = “$150” (really 15,000 UR) = $150 cash // $225 portal // $300 transfer
  • Freedom Unlimited = same thing

Compare this to 5/24 alternatives:

  • United = 50,000 United miles = ~$750 in flight value
  • Southwest Cards = 100,000 Rapid Rewards = ~$1,500 in flight value
  • Companion Pass = 0.5c in value (c = $$$ spent on companion trips)

Assuming you’re focused on value rather than cashing out (liquidity), the answer should be obvious.