Ready to Apply for Chase Credit Cards? (Tips to Get Approved) [2018]

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. 

Chase offers arguably the best batch of credit cards on the market and travel rewards but you might not get approved for their cards if don’t know about special Chase application rules.

So if you’re getting ready to apply for Chase credit cards, please take a moment to read the information in this article.

I’ll give you specific tips for how to avoid getting your application denied and get approved. I’ll also show you which cards you should be pursuing first to maximize the value of your rewards.

Update: Some offers are no longer available — click here for the latest deals!


Table of Contents

Chase Credit Card Applications Rules

The first major tip is that you need to brush up on the Chase credit card application rules.

Current cardholder?

Chase states that cards are available to you only if you do not have the card you are applying for. So for example if you already hold the Sapphire Preferred, you’d have to cancel that card before applying for it again.

The Chase 24 month and 48 month rule

Chase will only allow you to receive a sign-up bonus for a given product every 24 months. There is also a new special rule that won’t allow you to receive two Sapphire bonuses within 48 months.

The Chase 30 day rule

You can only be approved for two Chase cards within a rolling 30 day period. There are some exceptions but it’s very rare to get approved for three cards within 30 days.

Update: Chase sometimes only allows you to be approved for one card in a 30 day period (usually this involves business credit cards). . 

Combing inquiries

The credit bureaus will usually combine the hard inquiries when you apply for two Chase cards at the same time or within the a reasonable time period.

This is important because it means that you minimize the damage done to your credit score by hard inquiries simply by applying for two cards at the same time (or within a couple of hours of each other).

This is why a lot of people apply for two Chase cards at once. 

Update: Chase no longer allows you to apply for multiple cards at once.

The Chase 5/24 rule

  • If you have opened up five or more revolving credit accounts (e.g., credit cards, trade lines, etc.) in the past 24 months you will be denied for certain cards.
  • Installment accounts (e.g., car loans, student loans, etc.) do NOT count towards your 5/24 status.
  • Many business credit cards do not affect your 5/24 status since they don’t report to your personal credit report.
  • Check your credit report using Credit Karma or FreeCreditReport.com to check when you opened your accounts.

The credit cards subject to 5/24 include:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Chase Freedom cards
  • Chase Slate
  • Chase Ink Preferred
  • Chase Ink Cash
  • Chase Marriott Rewards Card (only personal)
  • Chase Southwest cards
  • Chase United cards

Update: More (possibly all) Chase cards are now subject to the 5/24 rule.

Exceptions to 5/24

  • One authorized user account usually won’t count towards 5/24 (subject to Chase’s discretion)
  • Chase business cards don’t count towards 5/24
  • You can check your “Selected Offers for You” when logging into your Chase account for offers that might allow you to get around 5/24. Update: doesn’t seem to work anymore
  • For business cards, applying with a “business relationship manager” might be able to allow you to get around the 5/24 rule.
  • You can get pre-approved in branch for certain cards and circumvent 5/24. (Sometimes these in-branch pre-approvals even result in higher targeted offers, too.) You can check for pre-approvals for the following credit cards:
    • Chase Freedom
    • Chase Freedom Unlimited
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred
    • United Explorer
    • United Club
    • Chase Ink Preferred
    • Chase Ink Cash
    • United Explorer (all of them)

You can read more about the Chase 5/24 rule and all of its exceptions here

Messages: 30 day, 2 weeks, 7 to 10 days, etc.

When you’re not instantly approved for a Chase credit card application, you’ll receive certain messages from Chase that can reveal whether or not you will be approved. Click here to read about what those messages mean.

Once you’ve got the rules out of the way, it’s time for the exciting part: applying for a Chase credit card! 


Applying for a Chase credit card

Credit history?

Chase really likes you to have established credit history when you apply for their cards. This is especially true for its premium cards. If your credit history is paper thin you might struggle to get approved. If you’re in doubt, it’s probably best to start off with a Chase Freedom card and build up a good 6-12 months of history with Chase before trying other cards.

Chase reconsideration line

When you are not automatically approved for a Chase credit card chances are that you might need to call in to the Chase reconsideration line. This is a phone line where you can talk to a credit analyst and try to provide them with information on why you should be approved for your credit card.

In some instances you want to call while in others you may want to hold off. You also need to know what to say (and what not to say). You can find out more about everything you need to know about Chase reconsideration here.

Cash back vs travel?

Chase has superb cash back and travel rewards credit cards.

I’ll discuss the travel credit cards first because those are the best, IMO. The chase travel cards come in two forms: co-branded and Chase Ultimate Rewards earning cards.

Chase Co-branded credit cards

The co-branded credit cards are those super-popular cards like the Southwest cards, Hyatt card, etc. These are cards associated with an airline or hotel loyalty program and they will only earn you points that you can use on those programs (and their partners).

Chase Ultimate Rewards earning cards

Chase Ultimate Rewards earning cards on the other hand will earn you Ultimate Rewards. These can be used to book travel through the Chase travel portal or transferred to a number of very solid airline partners and to some of the very best hotel partners like Hyatt.

Ultimate Rewards earning cards have a major advantage over the co-branded cards because they offer you flexibility and more opportunities to maximize your value.

Also, Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to other people in your household so it’s really easy to start earning rewards as a couple or even a family since the points can flow freely between household members.

Which type of travel card is for you?

If you know you want to travel but have no idea of how, when, etc., then it’s probably better to go with Chase Ultimate Rewards earning cards. If you have a specific loyalty brand you like, such as Southwest, then it could make sense to go for a co-branded card.

Formulate a strategy

Always, always consider how getting a Chase card (or a card from any issuer) will affect your 5/24 status.

You may not think that you will be interested in a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve but when you learn about its benefits you might change your mind later. But if you already applied for other credit cards without thinking about your strategy for Chase cards, you may have ruined your chances to apply for Chase credit cards with the best bonuses and perks.

The general advice is to apply for Chase credit cards subject to 5/24 first. After that, you can pursue cards that aren’t restricted by 5/24.  

Don’t forget about referrals

After you’re approved for certain Chase cards, you can utilize Chase referrals to earn additional points! Click here to read more about the Chase refer a friend program.


Chase Ultimate Rewards Earning Travel Cards

Chase has two of the top travel credit cards on the market. Both the Sapphire Reserve and the Sapphire Preferred are cards you want consider if you want to apply for Chase credit cards.

These two cards earn valuable Ultimate Rewards. They also both give you access to the Chase Shopping portal where you can further maximize your earnings. Read more about that portal here.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in 3 months
  • $300 travel credit
  • 3X on dining and travel
  • Priority Pass access
  • Great purchase and travel protections

Arguably the best travel credit card from any bank

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is arguably the best travel rewards credit card.

It comes with a great 50,000 point sign-up bonus, earns 3X on dining and travel, allows you to redeem points for travel at 1.5 cents per point, gives you primary rental car coverage (along with other great purchase and travel protections), and comes with a $300 travel credit that can be used on just about anything travel related.

The Reserve also gives you (and your traveling companions) lounge access at over 1,000 lounges around the world with the Priority Pass benefit. All of these perks make it very easy to make up for the $450 annual fee of this card. And that’s why I feature the Reserve as my #1 travel rewards credit card in my list of top travel credit cards.

Because this card so valuable and it’s subject to 5/24, it’s usually one of the first credit cards I recommend for people with established credit profiles.


Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in 3 months 
  • 2X on dining and travel
  • Great purchase and travel protections
  • Low annual fee

A great travel card with a lower annual fee

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the little brother of the Reserve but it still packs a hard punch. It offers 2X on dining and travel, allows you to redeem points for travel at 1.25 cents per point, gives you primary rental car coverage, and only comes with a $95 annual fee that you don’t even have to pay the first year.

For some people, coughing up $450 for a credit card is just too much to ask. If you’re not feeling the $450 annual fee of the Reserve then the Sapphire Preferred can be one of the best credit cards, especially since the annual fee is waived the first year.

With that said, I implore you to consider the Sapphire Reserve. If you spend close to $3,000 a year in dining and travel, then the additional rewards earned by the Sapphire Reserve will outweigh its higher annual fee. Read more about when it makes economic sense to go with the Reserve over the Preferred.


Chase Co-Branded Airlines Credit Cards

United MileagePlus Explorer

  • High sign-up bonus (varies over time)
  • Annual United Club lounge pass for two people
  • Free checked bag and priority boarding
  • Increased award inventory
  • Great purchase and travel protections

One of the best airline credit cards

Chase is known for its airline credit cards which often offer superb sign-up bonuses. The MileagePlus Explorer Card stands out because it often comes with a very high sign-up bonus — sometimes as high as 70,000 miles! 70,000 miles could you get you domestic roundtrip in first class to anywhere in the mainland USA.

The Explorer Card also comes with a day pass to a United Club lounge (worth $100) and perks like free checked bags and priority boarding (also worth $100). And you get access to more award seats than the public which can a huge benefit at times.

You get all these perks for a card that only comes with a $95 that’s sometimes even waived. But this card and it’s business sibling are affected by 5/24 so you’d need to pick this up before going over 5/24.


United MileagePlus Club

  • 50,000 mile sign-up bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Access to all United Club locations and participating Star Alliance affiliated lounges worldwide
  • Priority check-in, security screening (where available), boarding and baggage handling privileges
  • The primary Cardmember and one companion traveling on the same reservation will each receive their first and second standard checked bags free
  • World of Hyatt: Discoverist Status (the same status offered by the Hyatt card)
  • Hertz President’s Circle® Elite Status

Good card for United Club access

This $450 credit card never used to come with a sign-up bonus. So now that you can get it with 50,000 miles —  that’s huge. This is a premium card that is designed for those who will frequent United Club lounges. It will give you access to all United Club locations and participating Star Alliance affiliated lounges worldwide.

It’s bonus categories of 2X on United purchases and 1.5X everywhere else are so-so considering that Ultimate Rewards transfer to United and you could earn these rates or better if you decided to apply for Chase credit cards like the Freedom Unlimited or Sapphire Reserve.

Still, this card is loaded with perks like Hyatt Discoverist Status, Hertz President’s Circle Elite Status, priority check-in, security screening (where available), two free checked bags, and a few others. If you really dig United Airlines and their lounges (or other Star Alliance lounges), this might be a decent option for you. You can read my full review on this credit card here.

Get United Club Lounge access with this card.

Chase Southwest credit cards

  • 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
  • $69 Annual fee
  • 3,000 anniversary points
  • Perfect for getting the Southwest Companion Pass

Tremendous value potential with the Companion Pass

Chase has two different types of personal Southwest credit cards. The Premier comes with a higher annual fee of $99 but it comes with some additional perks like credits toward A-List status and a better anniversary bonus. Meanwhile, the Plus comes with a lower annual fee of $69.

Since ALL of the Southwest cards are subject to 5/24, you need to apply for the Southwest credit cards early on if you’re interested in those cards for the Companion Pass.

Explore the Caribbean with the Southwest Companion Pass.

British Airways Visa Signature Card

  • Earn a “Travel Together Ticket” after spending $30,000 within the first year of account opening.
  • Earn 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways, Iberia and OpenSkies purchases.
  • Earn 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $95 Annual fee (not waived)

Perfect card for flying American Airlines

The British Airways Visa sometimes comes with a sign-up bonus that allows you to earn up to 100,000 British Airways Avios, plus an opportunity for a unique “Travel Together Ticket” benefit.

If you’re a fan of American Airlines (AA) and/or live near an AA hub, this credit card can be great for you. That’s because you can use Avios to book AA flights for ridiculously cheap prices like 7,500 Avios one-way. These rates cannot be beat by any other program in many cases so you’re able to get bargains left and right. You can learn more about some of the Avios sweet spots here.

Keep in mind this card is not subject to 5/24 like the other airline credit cards.


Chase Hotel Credit Cards

Chase stands out above the competition when it comes to its hotel partners. And so it’s no surprise to see that Chase offers some of the most lucrative hotel rewards credit cards.

I’ve kept some of the expired cards in the article since many people were grandfathered in to the cards and might need a refresher for the perks their card offers.

IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card

This card is no longer available. 

  • 60,000 sign-up bonus after only $1,000 in spend (not the highest offer)
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status
  • Free anniversary night that’s good for any IHG property
  • 5X per $1 spent at IHG properties
  • 2X per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores & restaurants
  • Automatic 10% point rebate on redemptions

Credit card with the best free anniversary night

The IHG credit card is not affected by 5/24 so you probably want to apply for Chase credit cards subject to 5/24 before this one. With that said, this is one of the best hotel credit cards on the market.

With this card you’ll earn 5X per $1 spent at IHG properties, 2X per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores & restaurants, and get automatic Platinum Elite status. You’ll also get a decent sign-up bonus of 60,000 IHG points
(+ 5,000 for adding an authorized user) to start you off with but it’s the annual perk that makes this card so attractive.

The IHG card is one of the only credit cards to offer a free night certificate that you can use at any category hotel on any day of the week. 

This means by paying the $49 annual fee, you could cover a night at top IHG properties which could go for $700+ a night! Not a bad trade off for such a low annual fee.


IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

IHG credit card offer

The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card comes with the following features:

  • Annual free night certificate at an “eligible hotel”
  • 10X for spend at IHG
  • 2X at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
  • Automatic Platinum Elite Status
  • 20% discount on purchases of IHG points
  • 4th night free on award stays
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit of up to $100 every 4 years
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $89 annual fee

While Chase did devalue the free night certificate, this is still a strong contender of a card due to the great bonus earning rate at IHG properties, the discount on purchases points, and the 4th night free on award stays.


The Hyatt Credit Card

This card is no longer available. 

  • Get 40,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
  • Get 5,000 bonus points after you add an authorized user to your account and make a purchase with your card during the first 3 months from account opening
  • Plus, 1 free night every year after your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 property
  • Automatic Hyatt Discoverist status
  • $75 annual fee

Decent sign-up bonus and free anniversary night

The Hyatt Visa will get you 45,000 Hyatt points after adding an authorized user. This can easily get you over $800 worth of value, so this is one of the most valuable sign-up bonuses for a hotel credit card.

For example, I just booked two nights at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme and nights were going for €638 or $778. For 30,000 Hyatt points per night, I received 2.6 cents per point, which means that 40,000 those points gave me $1,040 of value. 

You will also get a free night certificate each year which can be used on properties in categories 1 through 4. These free nights can be great for quick weekend get-a-ways, though Hyatt’s limited foot print can cause some issues with finding properties some times.

While I like the Hyatt card, if you’re under 5/24 you might want to hold off on this one.

 
Hyatt Ziva Jamaica.
Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, Jamaica, an all-inclusive Hyatt property.

The World of Hyatt Card

  • Bonus earning: 
    • 4X spent with your card at Hyatt hotels, including participating restaurants and spas
    • 2X on local transit and commuting, including taxis, mass transit, tolls and ride-share services
    • 2X at restaurants, cafes and coffee shops
    • 2X on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline
    • 2X spent on fitness club and gym memberships
  • Free nights: 
    • Receive one free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort every year after your cardmember anniversary
    • Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year
  • Elite status:
    • Receive 5 qualifying night creditstoward your next tier status every year
    • Earn 2 additional qualifying night credits toward your next tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card
  • $95 Annual Fee ($20 higher now)

This is a solid hotel credit card with a great sign-up bonus along with some strong bonus-earning categories. The free night every year is okay but it’s great that it comes with an extra free night with only $15,000 in spend.

But this card is really great for high spenders who can spend their way into elite status with the card. Being able to to earn 2 elite qualifying nights every time you spend $5,000 is great and the 5 credits toward status gives you a head start towards elite status.


Marriott Rewards Premier Plus credit card

  • 1 Free Night Stay every year after account anniversary (valued up to 35,00 points)
  • 6 points for every $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels
  • 2 points for every $1 you spend on all other purchases and your points don’t expire as long as you make purchases on your credit card every 24 months
  • Coming in 2019, Receive 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year
  • Automatic Marriott Silver status
  • Marriott Gold status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year

Lots of flexibility offered with points

The 100,000 Marriott offer is a solid sign-up bonus when you can find it. Marriott points can be converted to SPG points at a rate of 3:1 so 100,000 Marriott points is worth about 33,000 SPG points. That’s higher than the standard SPG sign-up bonus but this card is subject to 5/24 so it’s harder to get for some people.

You get one free night stay every year after account anniversary. The free night is limited to properties going for 35,000 per night but you can find some good properties in that range.

Transferring your Ultimate Rewards over to your Marriott account is generally not a great way to maximize value of your Ultimate Rewards, so this card can be one of the best ways to build up a points balance with Marriott.

Aruba Beach Marriott
Aruba Marriott Resort.

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card

No longer available to new applicants. 

  • Two complimentary nights at any participating Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton hotel, after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 5 points per $1 spent at participating Ritz-Carlton Rewards and SPG hotels.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on airline tickets, car rentals, and restaurants
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Upgrade to The Ritz-Carlton Club Level 3 times annually on paid stays of up to 7 nights
  • Marriott Gold status for one year (need to spend $10,000 each year to retain)
  • Saves you $100 on the total cost of between 2 and 5 qualifying round-trip, domestic coach airline tickets purchase

A luxury card with potential to save you on flights

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card is premium card with a $450 annual fee. But this card comes with a lot of solids perks that quickly neutralize its high annual fee. The $300 travel credit knocks down the annual fee pretty quickly but there’s also a $100 discount on domestic roundtrips which is great. The Club Level upgrades can be very valuable to since some Ritz-Carltons have fantastic lounges.

This card has offered three free nights as a sign-up bonus in the past, so if you’re on the fence about this card it could be worth it to wait around and see if that higher bonus returns. One more thing, this card is metal and is very heavy! In fact, it’s heavier than other premium cards like the Amex Platinum and Sapphire Reserve


Chase Cash Back Credit Cards

Chase Freedom®

  • $150 (15K Ultimate Rewards) after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

A high-earning cash back card

The Freedom comes with a $150 sign-up bonus (plus $25 for adding an authorized user). This is a solid bonus for a no annual fee card (though others are lucky enough to receive higher targeted offers). But this card is known for all of the points that you can earn with its 5% back on rotating quarterly bonus categories.

These categories change each year but in the past we have seen bonus categories such as:

  • Supermarkets
  • Department stores (including WalMart)
  • Gas stations
  • Dining
  • Local commuter transportation
  • Movie theaters
  • Amazon.com
  • Starbucks
  • Pharmacies
  • Theme parks

Since the Freedom is subject to the Chase 5/24 rule and is such a great cash back credit card/intro to the world of Chase credit cards, this is also one of my most recommended credit cards.


Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • $150 (15K Ultimate Rewards) after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

One of the best credit cards for everyday expenses

The Freedom Unlimited is identical to the Freedom except that it offers a completely different bonus earning structure. The Freedom Unlimited offers 1.5% back in rewards on every single purchase. 1.5% back is pretty good but there are cashback cards that earn 2% back that you might want to compare this card to.

The reason the Freedom Unlimited still stands out with an earning rate of 1.5% is that it earns Ultimate Rewards. If you have other Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, then you could redeem the points earned on the Freedom Unlimited at a rate of 1.5 cents per point or higher. That means that at a minimum, the Freedom Unlimited would be earning you 2.25% back

Depending on your spending habits, one Freedom might be better than the other — click here to find out which Freedom is right for you.


Chase AARP Card

Great card for cash back on dining and gas

  • 3% back at restaurants and gas stations
  • No annual fee

A lot of people who want to apply for Chase credit cards don’t know about the AARP card offered by Chase. Even though it’s not the most heavily marketed credit card, it offers solid cash back rates with 3% back on fuel and 3% back at restaurants. It also comes with a pretty decent sign-up bonus of $200. For a credit card without an annual fee, this is actually a pretty compelling package. That’s why I included it in my list of top gas rewards credit cards.


Chase Small Business Credit Cards

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • 80,000 Ultimate Rewards sign-up bonus after you spend $5,000 within 3 months of opening your account.
  • 3X the points on every dollar spent up to $150,000 on the following categories:
    • Travel
    • Advertising with social media and search engines
    • Shipping
    • Cable, internet, and phone services
  • $600 in protection against any covered damage or theft of your cell phone when your bill with the Ink, up to three claims per year.
  • $95 but sometimes waived when applying in-branch.

Arguably the best business credit card

With it’s super-high sign-up bonus of 80,000 points, the Ink Preferred is a contender for best business credit card. 80K Ultimate Rewards could be worth over $1,500 depending on how you value Ultimate Rewards. This card also is perfect for any type of content creator or entrepreneur who will be spending money on online advertising. The cellphone protection up to $600 is also a very valuable perk.

The Ink can be a bit of wildcard to get approved for though and your application will often end up in reconsideration. I highly suggest you read my tips for dealing with a Chase business reconsideration phone call before you apply for this card.


Ink Business Cash Credit Card

  • 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • No annual fee

A solid no annual fee business credit card

The bonus earning structure is similar to the Chase Ink Plus which is no longer available. 5X at office supply stores, internet, cable and phone services, can add up quickly. Also, the 2% back on gas and dining isn’t horrible for a non annual fee credit card.  You will need a premium card like the Ink Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve/Preferred to transfer the Ultimate Rewards from this card to travel partners however.

Feel ready to apply for Chase credit cards?

Applying for Chase cards is not as daunting a task as you might think. But you absolutely need to pay attention to the applications rules. Not only so you avoid an unnecessary credit card application rejection but so you can maximize your earnings with these cards.

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4 comments

  1. Hi, I have 6 cards that will be 2 years old in August of 2018.
    I applied for and got the AARP card in mid Jan 2018, which surprised me.
    How will this all affect me and the 5/24 rule?
    I’m thinking I can apply for 1 of the chase cards in Sept like the CSR and or the CSP?

    Thank you.

    1. Yeah, you’ve got it right. You can apply for the CSR/CSP come September, since you’ll only have one new account in the last 24 months (assuming these are all the cards you’ve opened).

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