The future of gaming Chase credit card is bleak and here is a post explaining why.
Not long ago grabbing Chase cards was easy. Obviously not as easy as Amex but relatively easy when compared to the likes of Citi, Bank of America, and US Bank. I recall grabbing 3 Chase credit cards in a single month and it wasn’t that long ago. Back when 5/24 was limited to non-co-branded Chase personal cards (i.e. Slate and Ultimate Rewards earning cards) I grabbed 8 Chase cards over a course of about 4 months (or so says my spreadsheet). Both cases I described involved no recons whatsoever. Fast forward about a year later (2017) I only grabbed a single Chase card. The game had changed a ton in a matter of a year. The game has changed a ton since then and it is still changing.
How is the Chase game changing?
There are five key things is changing the chasing Chase game:
- Chase’s desire to expand 5/24 to all co-branded cards
- The death of double dipping Chase cards
- The risk of having entire Chase credit card portfolio shutdown due to “too many inquires and/or too many accounts”
- The introduction of 1/24 family rule
- The introduction of 1/48 family rule in Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) and Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP)
1. Expansion of 5/24 to All Co-Branded Cards and It’s Consequences
Not long ago there was an interview of some Chase higher up mentioning Chase’s desire to expand 5/24 to all co-branded cards. Proceed thinking every Chase cards will eventually fall under 5/24.
The more Chase cards get added to 5/24 list the more you’ve to prioritize. Realistically, most people skip over some 5/24 cards because they prefer one over the other. The choices may get tougher when cards like IHG and Hyatt get added to 5/24.
1A. Think Twice Before Cancelling
You can’t get a whole bunch of 5/24 cards once you are past 5/24, so you ought to think twice before cancelling one. It may not be enough to account for just current benefits of holding a card but perhaps one may have to also think about possible benefits that may be given in the future for card holders (think benefits that may arise from hotel mergers).
2. The Death of Double Dip
There was a time when few brave men used to triple dip Chase cards. Then came a time when I became hesitant to recommend double dip because of possible increased risk in shutdown. Now if you attempt to double dip, you may get a call from Chase asking you “which card should we close?” Double dip is dead.
What is double dipping you ask? Double dip is an act of applying for two Chase cards on the same day so you could combine hard pulls and evade certain anti-churning rules. One of the major consequence is the fact that this will discourage those who would otherwise attempt to combine inquires by applying for two Chase cards on the same day. The other three major downsides are categorized below:
A. The Sapphire Collectors
Those under 5/24 used to be able to double dip Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve to evade getting caught by 1/24 Sapphire family rule. This was mostly done to consume signup bonus on both cards but other reasons included
- eventually converting one of the Sapphire to a Freedom card
- keeping Sapphire cards to generate referrals
B. Southwest Flyers with Companion
Another use of double dipping was to evade 1/24 rule on Southwest personal cards. This was useful for those who wanted to
- generate companion pass without bothering with the business Southwest card
- get as much southwest points as possible
C. Double Dipping at 4/24
A common use of double dipping was to jump from 4/24 to 6/24. If you double dipped it was technically possible to obtain two 5/24 Chase cards while at 4/24.
3. The Shutdown Risk and It’s Consequences
Chase has been shutting down consumer’s entire credit card portfolio (both personal and business) for reasons such as “too many recent inquires” or “too many accounts”. What makes this worse is that
- up until until recently it did not receive good coverage from blogs and sites within the miles and points community. Up until my first shutdown in late 2017, I recall thinking vast majority of shutdowns for this reason were reversed
- shutdown scenario gets downplayed by those who get it reversed
- (understandably) people’s lack of desire to publicly share their own shutdown DP. I understand why people don’t feel comfortable sharing such info publicly though.
- the lack of hard and fast rule on what counts as too many new account and/or inquires
3A. Bye Bye to Churning Chase Cards the Old Fashioned Way
There was a time when people churned Chase cards in the good old fashioned way i.e. closed and reopened the card to get the signup bonus again. Obviously 1/24 rule (i.e. can only receive one signup bonus per card in 24 month) has been there for a while but it did not deter people from closing and reopening non-5/24 cards, including those that were considered a “keeper” card.
For example, it wasn’t uncommon for people to renew Hyatt/IHG in year one but cancel upon second renewal (after getting second renewal annual free night certificate), and subsequently reapply after crossing over 24 month time-frame. Someone who constantly opens and closes cards is likely to not do this due to risk of shutdown.
3B. Seasoned Churners Bid Your Goodbyes to New Chase Cards
Chase and American Express regularly released brand new credit cards. Unfortunately, a lot of new Chase credit cards fall under 5/24 rule right away and thus seasoned gamer with will not quality for it. Even if a new card does not fall under 5/24, seasoned gamers should think twice before applying for a Chase card.
If you value your Chase portfolio, it is often advisable that you ought to not apply for Chase cards after you’ve acquired several inquires and accounts. Some say seasoned gamers should take a 6 month break (from acquiring new accounts or inquires) before attempting to seek credit with Chase again but the unfortunate reality is nobody know what works and what doesn’t work with 100% certainty. It’s all an educated guess work and that’s the best we can do.
3C. Newbies Decrease Your Chase Velocity
There was a time when you could rush through Chase cards like no tomorrow. Now, people will think you’re crazy if you attempt to get 8 Chase cards over a course of 4 months.
The reason is that even newbies under 5/24 risk getting shutdown. There was a DP of someone under 5/24 getting shutdown and not getting reversed. My Player 3 was 3/life (see this post) when shutdown occurred but thankfully it was reversed.
4. 1/24 Family Rule and It’s Consequences
Remember the time when Citi figuratively said “fuck reward game. fuck competing for reward market”, killed signup bonuses on Thank You cards, proceeded to shift all their focus on 0% APR market, and introduced a never seen before 1/24 family rule. Initially, 1/24 family rule hurt a lot but eventually people got used it but I suppose it helped that:
- Signup bonus on Citi ThankYou Premier, Preferred, and Prestige became very rare which meant you had to wait a while for decent (if not, any) signup bonus to return on it at all. Sometimes it meant waiting 1-2 year for a decent chunk of bonus so waiting a little bit more wasn’t to bad.
- Citi’s Hilton portfolio got stolen by Amex (i.e. Amex outbid Citi) and thus one couldn’t game Hilton bonuses anyway.
- certain AA mailers continue to bypass 1/24 rules and because there is over abundance of these codes, anyone who wishes to game AA signup bonus can easily do so
Then Chase introduced their own 1/24 rule on CSR and CSP. Unlike Citi, Chase initially decided to roll out 1/24 family rule on its flagship personal cards.
The product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 24 months.
Then they proceeded to beta test it on Southwest card and as I had predicted they eventually put it on all Southwest personal cards. I’m pretty sure this rule is family rule is only going to expand further. United or Marriott may be next. Thankfully, it looks like business and personal cards are being considered separate family.
4A. Getting Southwest Companion Pass got Tougher
The only way to get Southwest credit card through credit card signup bonus is by applying for one personal and one business southwest cards and (depending on the signup bonus possibly doing some extra spend than minimum spend requirement (MSR).
4B. Choose One and Stick with it Forever?
If you can only get one signup bonus in a 5/24 family cards, then it is likely that you’ll only be able to get one of those cards for however long you continue to actively chase credit card signup bonus. So whatever choice you make, choose wisely.
Obviously you could eventually product change (PC) to a different card in the family but there have been DPs (although very few) of PC resulting in shutdown as well.
5. Possible 1/48 Expansion and It’s Consequences
On 2 year anniversary of releasing CSR, Chase changed 1/24 family rule on CSR and CSP to 1/48 family rule. That’s double the time!
It is possible that 1/48 will extend to co-branded cards like 5/24 and 1/24 (somewhat) did.
5A. Rarity of Southwest Companion Pass Among Churners
Currently even though all Southwest cards are subject to 5/24 rule and personal cards are subject to 1/24 rule, some people still choose to stay under 5/24 so they can obtain renew Southwest Companion pass every two year through signup bonus.
I should mention that the amount of people who find value in doing so is very low. I personally think Southwest companion pass, from pure travel perspective, has a diminishing return because there is only so many times I can travel to same Southwest airports. Plus, one can’t realistically plan out credit card applications 2 years in advance because just when you think you know all rules, bank end up adding some more and/or tweaking some existing one. Just imagine being a guy who waits 23/24 months to fall under 5/24 only to get see 1/48 added to all cards he desires.
Anyway, should 1/48 rule extend to Southwest cards, it will be even fewer number of folks who’ll be willing to stay under 5/24 for the CP. I fully realize that some folks will still do it and I can see some couples staying under 5/24 so they can play hot potato with CP every two year.
What IF: 1/24 Gets Changed into 1/48?
Currently you can obtain signup bonuses for most Chase cards if you have not received signup bonus in last 24 months (5/24 may apply). But what if all 1/24 turn into 1/48? In other words, if you get a signup bonus now, you flat out won’t be eligible for one for next 4 years. Given the fact that 1/24 was succeeded by 1/24 family rule, isn’t it possible that 1/48 family rule hints the possibility of 1/48 rule in individual cards as well?
The Interesting Case of Marriott Cards
Currently, personal Chase Marriott cards are subject to 5/24 yet very few people prefer (for good reason) prefer it over other 5/24 cards. On the other hand, the business Marriott card isn’t subject to 5/24 yet isn’t a card that is often recommended either. Then there was Chase Ritz-Carlton card which stopped accepting new applications out of the blue.
It isn’t easy to accumulate tons of Marriott points. This would have been fine if the points were worth like Hyatt points but they’re not. Transferring Ultimate Rewards to Marriott isn’t recommended. Marriott points are more comparable to Hilton and Radission points (Ok, a little more valuable than that!) but their earning rate isn’t anywhere as generous as Hilton or Radission. Now imagine the existing Chase Marriott cards under 5/24 and/or 1/48 rule. The process of accumulating Marriott points would be even worse than it is now.
Thankfully there are some American Express counterparts but Marriott anti-churning rules prohibit obtaining some Amex Marriott cards while currently holding certain Chase Marriott cards. In some cases it’s worse to a point that one can’t get Amex Marriott signup bonus if a signup bonus on Chase counterpart has been been obtained in past 24 months. If your plan is to get American Express counterpart then it is often recommended to skip their Chase counterpart or even close them. You can catch complete list of these rules in this post from Doctor of Credit.
Perhaps I will write a more through post on Chase/Marriott/Amex sometime in the future but for now above will have to do.
Saving Grace: Bypassing 5/24
Currently there are a few methods that bypass 5/24 with the major one being in-branch pre-approval. But if past action has taught us anything Chase has the tendency to tweak and modify methods that bypass 5/24.
Many of you don’t qualify for Chase cards due to 5/24 status but looks like Chase is continuously looking to filter out more and more gamers.