My previous office job involved a lot of Excel spreadsheets, so that is how I’m used to organizing my personal finances. I have an Excel spreadsheet that shows my monthly expenditures for the past 13 years! Online sites, who needs ‘em?
Ok, now that I’ve confessed that, I can tell you that I have a tab in that spreadsheet to track my credit card openings. The list has the card holder’s name (me or my husband), the credit card, date we applied, the bonus, required spending for the bonus and a note field. I have a color code for cards we have closed and a different color for cards that were denied.
I decided to count my recent openings and see where I stand on Chase’s 5/24 rule. If you are not familiar with this rule, for the most part it only applies to seasoned miles and points hobbyists. If you have opened 5 or more new credit cards within the last 24 months, Chase will decline new applications for most (but not all) of its cards. It stinks!
I mentioned in an earlier post that my family has benefited greatly from Southwest Rapid Rewards points, and not being able to easily replenish our Southwest stash has negatively affected our future vacation plans.
Where we stand
When I looked at my spreadsheet, I discovered that right now I am at 7/24 and my husband is at 8/24. For the most part, we have applied for the same credit cards with one big exception: he has the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and I do not. He was pre-approved in branch for that card.
The next step was determining when we would each be at 4/24 so that we could apply for a new coveted Chase card. I will drop down to 3/24 in November 2017 (I applied for two cards on the same day in November 2015 so I drop from 5/24 to 3/24). My husband will be at 4/24 in November 2017.
So, I could open one credit card earlier in 2017 and still be at 4/24 in November of 2017. My husband would have to hold off on all new applications until November 2017. In any case, we would need to wait 11 months before applying for any new Chase card that falls under the 5/24 rule.
5/24 Wish List
If I get below 5/24 and can apply for any Chase card, my top picks are:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR). No brainer! 100,000 bonus points after spending $4k in the first three months. I could transfer those points to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio or book Southwest flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Even though the annual fee is $450, the $300 per calendar year travel credit more than makes up for it (considering the first year I’d get it twice). 3X points on travel and dining? Yes! Update: The bonus is currently at 50,000 points.
- Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards (both Premier and Plus versions). These cards are the ticket to getting the Southwest companion pass! Several times throughout the year, the bonus is offered at 50k points after spending $2k in the first three months. I could apply for one version next November and time my spending so that the bonus points hit in early 2018. Then in early 2018 when I am back to 4/24 again, I could apply for the other version. After a few months, I’d have 110k Rapid Rewards points and a companion pass! If my husband did the same, we’d have a ton of points and 2 companion passes.
Holding off on opening credit cards for months has some risks.
- Lost opportunities. What credit cards will I forgo while I wait until November? How many points and miles could I be earning during that time? Would those points be worth more than what I could get from the CSR and Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards cards?
- Reduced bonuses. By the time November 2017 rolls around, things could change. The CSR is rumored to have a lower bonus next year, but who knows. The Chase Southwest cards may have lower bonuses as well, making it harder to earn the companion passes.
- Changed landscape. Heck, other banks might add rules that make it harder for miles and points hobbyists. Citi, Barclaycard or Amex could develop rules similar to Chase’s 5/24 rule.
Card Offers that Would Tempt Me
Many credit card offers would tempt me to stop holding out to get under 5/24. Some of these cards are available right now, but some are ones I’m imagining could become available.
- Merrill+ Visa Signature. Leana wrote about this card last month, and I’m tempted to apply. It has 50k bonus points after spending $3k in the first three months, and no annual fee! The points are worth $500 cash back or up to $1000 in airfare. How long will this deal be available? Who knows.Update: This offer is no longer available.
- Amex Premier Rewards Gold. I haven’t had this card yet, but the annual fee is waived the first year and the bonus is sometimes as high as 50k-75k points. I had the Amex Platinum last year, and I found the Amex Membership Rewards points to be quite valuable because of the numerous transfer partners. See this earlier post by Leana on ways to spend Amex points.
- New Hyatt Card. So this hasn’t happened yet, but I do wonder if Hyatt will revamp its credit card in 2017. The new World of Hyatt program officially launches in March, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a new credit card offering to go with it. Maybe the card would have a higher fee but come with points instead of free nights?
- 100k offers. In 2017, there could be more banks and cards that offer 100k bonus points. Barclaycard is going to have a new American Airlines card, although the bonus has not been announced. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citi or any other bank could come out with a fabulous new offer to compete with the CSR. And it would tempt me.
My plan right now is to have my husband keep applying for cards as good offers arise, but I will hold back. I will keep checking in our neighborhood Chase bank to see if Chase has pre-approved me for the CSR. For now, I will scrutinize all credit card offers and evaluate new ones on a case by case basis.
We have enough miles and points to book our early 2018 flights to Hawaii. It would be nice if things remained the same, and my patience and discipline would reward me with a CSR and Chase Rapid Rewards credit cards at the end of 2017/early 2018.
However, if a great offer materializes, all bets are off for my 5/24! After all, a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, right?
Who else is contemplating their 5/24 status? If you are trying to get under 5/24, what offers would tempt you to stray?
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Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.