Credit Cards

The Broad-strokes of getting approved for a credit card

Miles Credit Cards

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Had the card, but would like the bonus again? Keep reading.

One of the best ways to get a lot of points is to sign up for a credit card. As long as you pay it off every month, you’ll even notice your credit score going up because of your deeper level of credit, and lower utilization percentage ( read this to get deeper into how your credit score works). Several years ago, you could sign up, hit the min spend, get your bonus, cancel, rinse and repeat. While some of these practices are still possible, the banks have largely cracked down on the practice. I thought it’d be helpful to walk through the broad-strokes of getting a repeat credit card bonus, and the restrictions that the major banks have imposed on sign up bonuses.


Chase not only has one of the best flexible currencies on the market, but the best co-branded cards out there…IMO. It’s no wonder they’ve taken a harsher stance and implemented some restrictions to sign up bonuses. Let’s take a look at what you need to keep in mind when applying for their cards.

The big bad  5/24.

This is the most well known of all the restrictions.

  • If you’ve opened 5+ cards in the last 24 months you can’t get a bonus on cards restricted by 5/24
    • 5 cards from any bank, not just Chase
  • Business cards are restricted as well. But, keep reading.
    • Business Cards don’t negatively affect your 5/24 number. Including Chase business cards
    • For example, you would need to be under 5/24 to get an Ink Business Preferred, but your 5/24 number doesn’t go up because of it.

Doctor of Credit has a great rolling list of which cards are restricted and which are not.  Any card that earns Ultimate Rewards is restricted, including the cash back cards whose cash back can be converted into Ultimate Rewards.

Sapphire restrictions:

  • If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred you can’t sign up for a Chase Sapphire Reserve, and vice versa. One at a time, unless you already hold both cards.

Rolling 30 day restrictions

  • You can’t open more than 2 cards in any rolling 30 day period.

24 month bonus restriction

  • You can’t get a sign up bonus again until it’s been 24 months since your last bonus. So even if you’re under 5/24, and can get the approval, if it’s been less than 24 months, you won’t get the bonus.

Bank of America

The days when you could apply for 5 Alaska cards on a single day are over. In fact, BofA has implemented their own version of Chase’s 5/24 called the 2/3/4 rule.

The 2/3/4 Rule

  • 2 cards per rolling 2 months
  • 3 cards in 12 months
  • 4 cards in 24 months.

These restrictions apply ONLY to Bank of America personal cards. Clearly this was aimed at those who were picking up multiple Bank of America personal cards for sign up bonuses only and churning hard – not something we recommend.

90 day rule

You can not get the same card again until 90 days have passed. I have 2 Alaska Business cards for different businesses I run. I had to wait 90 days between apps.


Not long ago Citi allowed sign up bonuses every 18 months. It was a great opportunity to pick off cards as their sign up bonus became very attractive, keep the card, downgrade it, wait 18 months, then reapply for the card you downgraded. The main trick was to avoid closing the card as that restarted the 18 month clock. It was also based on “product,” and many people were able to successfully churn the Citi Aadvantage Platinum card as it would upgrade from World Mastercard to World Elite Mastercard after a few months and you could reapply for the “World” version.

No more.

“The 24 month Family Rule”

  • Only 1 sign up bonus, every 24 months, per family of cards.
    • If you just picked up a sign up bonus for the Citi Prestige, you’ll have to wait 24 month to get a Citi Premier sign up bonus.
      • The clock restarts if you cancel the card
    • Business cards don’t impact personal clocks, but they have their only 24 month timeframe.


  • You must wait 8 days from the time you apply for your first card to apply for your second
  • You must wait 65 days from your first card to sign up for your 3rd card.
  • You must wait 95 days from your first BUSINESS card, you get your 2nd business card.


American Express

American Express used to have an incredible policy towards sign up bonuses: One sign up bonuses every 12 months. Amazing. Those days are over. On face value, Amex has the most restrictive policies towards sign up bonuses. Once in a lifetime.

amex biz plat american express business platinum

Once in a lifetime rule

  • Get one sign up bonus, per card, once in your lifetime.
    • Anecdotally a lifetime is 7 years

90 day rule

  • You can’t get approved for more than 2 cards in 90 days

5 Amex “credit” card rule

  • General consensus is that you can’t hold more than 5 Amex “credit” cards at any one time. Some reports have shown that people have been about to break this. It’s not hard and fast, but should be taken into consideration. Charge cards aren’t under this restriction.

8 total cards:

  • There are reports that the total number of cards you can have is 8. This is charge cards + credit cards. If you have 8 and are looking to pick up a 9th, do so with that awareness.


Barclay doesn’t allow for many signups in a calendar year, and doesn’t like to approve applicants who have opened “a lot” of cards recently. A couple of cards a year is what you’re likely to get, any more and you’re pressing your luck.  There’s some anecdotal evidence that they are doing a trial similar to Chase’s 5/24. Long story, short. Buyer beware.

US Bank:

US Bank has never been very liberal with card sign ups, and is quite sensitive to seeing a lot of inquiries on your credit report. With that said, you can get a card more than one time, but you’ll need to get approved.

Why do we care?

We all want to fly like this, right?

Have info to add? Update? Please comment

 Affiliate link via Card Ratings

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 


  • Ken March 21, 2018

    I’d read somewhere that you can get signup bonus twice on Chase Southwest cards by opening one under business and another under personal. Is this true?

    • Miles March 21, 2018

      Absolutely! The points you receive go towards your companion pass, so getting teh 50k and 60k offers will get it

  • WR January 28, 2018

    You should distinguish between Amex charge and credit cards.

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