This is a living post, continuously updated over time as the miles and points hobby evolves. They change the rules and we have to stay on top of them.
Today I’ve updated the section about Citi cards to reflect the new sign up bonus eligibility timelines for their AAdvantage co-branded credit cards. If I’ve left something important out please feel free to let me know in the comments. I feel this is an important responsibility of miles bloggers to keep info of this nature updated for the sake of your credit scores!
Will you be approved for a new card? Will you get its bonus?
What if you’ve already had that card and gotten its bonus before?
The answers to these questions depend on the issuing bank of the credit card. The issuing bank is not the payment network like Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. The issuing bank is the bank that gives you the card, collects interest, and provides customer service. For rewards cards, the main issuing banks are Chase, Citi, American Express, Barclaycard, and Bank of America. I’ve included Capital One as well as they have some lucrative rewards cards.
Let’s look at the rules for each issuing bank, which vary widely. Note that many of these “rules” are not published, rather formed over time by people like us collaborating data points to establish patterns of bank behavior.
If you don’t feel like navigating this maze (understandable), I’m happy to do it for you. Fill out this form for a credit card consultation and pay close attention to the section about your recent credit card history.
GENERAL CARD RULES
- 5/24: If you have 5+ new credit card accounts with any bank–yes, any bank, not just Chase–in the last 24 months, you will be denied most Chase personal and business credit cards.
- Note that most business cards do NOT count in your 5/24 total. Do not confuse that statement to think that you need not be under 5/24 to get approved for Chase business cards. You must be under 5/24 to get approved for ANY Chase credit card.
- You can only get the bonus on the same Chase card once every 24 months. This 24 month clock starts when you got the last bonus (which may be several months after you got the card). The exception to this rule is with the Sapphire Reserve and Preferred, as noted above, which you must wait 48 months between.
- You probably shouldn’t apply for more than two personal cards or one business card in a 30 day period. A safe limit is one business and one personal card within 90 days. Chase is known for denying people who apply for more than that.
- NOT a rule, but a PRO TIP: A common reason for Chase denials is too much credit extended to you already by the bank. Consider lowering credit limits on existing cards, or if you end up with a denied response on an application and call the reconsideration line as a last stab effort, suggest the rep shift existing credit of yours from one card to the new one you want. How much credit is too much? Data points say 50 to 60% of your total annual income is the maximum.
CO-BRAND SPECIFIC CARD RULES
- Sapphire Cards (i.e. the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve)
- New applicants will not be approved for another credit card in the Sapphire family if they already have one open. In other words, if you currently hold a Sapphire card, you’re not eligible for a Sapphire Preferred nor a Sapphire Reserve. If you currently hold a Sapphire Preferred, you’re not eligible for a Sapphire Reserve. If you currently hold a Sapphire Reserve, you’re not eligible for a Sapphire Preferred.
- You cannot earn the bonus on the Sapphire Reserve until 48 months past when you earned the bonus on the Sapphire Preferred, and vice versa.
- Southwest Cards: If you have a Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier, or Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority open, you are not eligible for another Southwest consumer card. You are also ineligible for the bonus on a Southwest consumer card if you have earned a bonus on another Southwest consumer card in the last 24 months. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card are separate products in regards to this rule. In other words, you can have both a consumer Southwest card and a business Southwest card open at the same time. You can also open and hold both business cards at the same time.
- Specific rules for the Marriott co-branded cards: There are lots of eligibility stipulations for all the Marriott-family credit cards, too many to detail here. And unlike most other card bonus rules, they cross over between consumer and business products, and even between banks! Both Chase and Amex issue Marriott co-branded cards. What I recommend before applying is reading each card’s eligibility terms, which thankfully they have easily linked for us on the application pages. This is what it looks like on the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card:
And zoomed in…
- Once you press click here, a pop-up will appear outlining all the conditions (having, or having had, a different Marriott or SPG card) that render you ineligible for the bonus.
- You can only get the bonus on an American Express card once per lifetime, a lifetime being roughly seven years. However if you were targeted for an American Express offer, you can still be approved even if you have had the card before (just make sure the terms of the offer does not include once in a lifetime language).
- You can be approved for two Amex charge cards on the same day, but applying for two Amex credit cards will likely result in a pending response for the second application. It doesn’t necessarily mean the second card will be declined, but it’s unlikely they will both be instantly approved. Amex won’t look at the second application until five days after the first.
- You can be approved for no more than two Amex cards in a 90 day period. If you want more than two Amex cards, apply for them on days 1, 6, and 91.
- You are limited to holding four to five American Express credit cards. Both personal and business count toward this limit. (The Gold Delta Skymiles Credit Card from American Express is a credit card.)
- Separately, you are limited to holding four to five American Express charge cards. Both personal and business count toward this limit. (The Platinum Card from American Express is a charge card.)
- If you’re on the verge and contemplating a fifth credit or charge card, read this post–you can apply basically risk-free.
- Specific rules for the Marriott co-branded cards: Like I said above about the Chase Marriott cards, there are too many eligibility stipulations for the Marriott-family credit cards to detail here. Just like with Chase Marriott cards, you can check in the offer terms of Amex’s Marriott cards for these eligibility stipulations. This is where you can find the info for the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card:
Click the Offer & Benefit Terms link in the bottom corner, and in the very beginning of the terms highlighted in bold it lists the bonus eligibility stipulations.
- Amex puts the following ambiguous language on many of their card applications: “We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility”. At this point, we don’t have enough reports from others to be able to spell out what this means exactly. One would assume if you follow the rules listed above, you would be ok.
- In case you forgot whether or not you’ve ever opened a specific Amex card, it looks like Amex is at least warning you before submission of the application (before a hard pull happens) if you’re eligible for the bonus or not.
- You can apply for no more than one consumer Citi card in an eight day period. If you want two Citi cards, get them on days 1 and 9.
- You can apply for no more than two consumer Citi cards in a 65 day period. If you want three Citi cards, get them on days 1, 9, and 66.
- You can apply for no more than one business Citi card in a 95 day period.
- *The numbers above are for the risk-averse. Technically, you should be able to get one consumer card in a seven day period (so applying on day 1 and 8 should be ok), two consumer cards in a 60 day period (so applying on day 1, 8, and 61 should be ok), and one business card in a day 90 day period (so applying on day 1 and 91 should be ok).
- You are only eligible to earn a repeat sign up bonus if you haven’t opened or closed the same card within the last 24 months.
- You are only eligible to earn a ThankYou Point sign up bonus (from the Citi Prestige or Premier cards) if you haven’t opened or closed a card within the ThankYou Point-earning family within the last 24 moths. For example, Let’s say you opened a Citi Premier seven months ago. That means for the next 17 months (a full 24 months after you opened it) you are not eligible for the same card, nor for the Citi Prestige. If you close that Premier card, the 24 month clock will start over again and you won’t be eligible for that same card nor the Prestige for 24 months past the date you closed it.
- You are only eligible to earn an AAdvantage sign up bonus if you haven’t opened the same AAdvantage card within the last 48 months. This rule just changed in the beginning of July, 2019. In some ways it got stricter (clock changed from 24 months to 48 months), but in other ways became looser. Instead of applying to the entire co-brand, this rule only applies to each individual product. And closing an AAdvantage card doesn’t reset the clock like it used to. For example, you can open a Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard and Citi / AAdvantage Executive MasterCard at the same time.
- Barclays is known for being the most inquiry-sensitive bank. Therefore if you’re on the verge of applying for multiple cards (from various banks), apply for the card from Barclays first. While there’s not a specific rule regarding same-day approvals, it’s not recommended to apply for multiple cards from Barclays on the same day.
- Applicants who apply for a repeat Barclaycard product will probably not be approved for another for at least six months since the last application, and you must cancel the existing card first.
- If you have an Arrival Card open (the downgrade option from an Arrival Plus w/no annual fee) you will need to close it before applying for an Arrival Plus
- In regards to the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator cards, I have read a handful of reports that suggest waiting 24 months between applications, but I’m not willing to say that’s a hard and fast rule yet.
- NOT a rule, but a PRO TIP: Barclaycard denies people for having too many Barclaycards, not enough spending on existing Barclaycards, too much credit with Barclaycard, or too many accounts with other banks.
Bank of America
- For the Alaska Airlines personal cards: Restricted to opening only one every 24 months, and you are very likely to be denied for another unless you close the existing one first.
- For all Bank of America cards…
- Bank of America will not approve you for more than two new credit cards within a two month period
- Bank of America will not approve you for more than three new credit cards within a 12 month period
- Bank of America will not approve you for more than four new credit cards within a 24 month period
- All of that being said, I’ve also read the latest data points suggest no more than one approval every six months. If you’re conservative, stick to one every six months.
- You can only apply for a Capital One card once every six months.
- You can only hold two consumer Capital One-branded credit cards at once. This doesn’t apply to business cards or co-branded cards. Example of Capital One-branded credit card: the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Example of a co-branded Capital One card: the GM BuyPower Business Card from Capital One.
Every issuing bank has different rules on how often you can apply for its cards and how often you can get a new bonus on a card you’ve had previously. The rules are changing, and the general trend is toward a tightening of the rules. The rules are sometimes written down and sometimes figured out by aggregating data points on FlyerTalk and Reddit, or good, old-fashioned experimentation.
Bookmark this page if you haven’t already, and make sure you go over the rules for the appopriate issuing bank BEFORE applying for a new rewards card. Or request a Free Credit Card Consultation and I’ll lead you through the maze.