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I have a below 5/24 plan. How’d that happen?
A combination of things. Bank of America added application rules for Alaska cards – I held back on my nth card.
And I can’t get most Amex cards because I’ve already earned the welcome offer, or Citi cards because of their 24-month “family of brands” rule. Plus, I got busy baby-making.
So when I checked Credit Karma, I had to blink again. For the first time in years, I’ll be below 5/24 as of July 19, 2019 – only 4 months away!
I mean yeah, there are non-Chase cards I’d looove to get (I’m drooling for the Amex Hilton Aspire). But heck, if I’m this close, I may as well keep trending. And you bet I’m running right for the Chase Ink Business Preferred – I hope that sweet 80,000-point bonus is still around!
More broadly, this might be the beginning of a long-needed credit card overhaul.
My Below 5/24 Plan
Q: When one falls below 5/24, what do they do?
A: Fill in around the edges.
As far as Chase cards, I currently have 7:
That’s… a lot. And I’d be willing to ax a couple to make room for new ones (prolly British Airways and the IHG card).
- Ink Business Preferred – you just can’t beat the sign-up bonus of 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Ink Business Cash – 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($500 cash) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Ink Business Unlimited – Ditto
- Freedom Unlimited – Same flat 1.5X earning as Ink Business Unlimited, but a personal card
So my focus is clearly on earning more Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Here’s my post on how to decide which Ink card is best for your situation.
A few scenarios are possible:
- Get Ink Business Preferred (later downgrade to Ink Cash) and Ink Business Unlimited (close Ink Plus) – stay under 5/24
- Get Ink Business Preferred (later downgrade to Ink Cash, close Ink Plus) and Freedom Unlimited – hit 5/24 again
- Get Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited, keep other cards – stay under 5/24
But the question remains…
What to do with the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
The Ink Business Preferred offers:
- 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone service, and advertising, each account anniversary year
- 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards point on all other purchases
Which would make my beloved Chase Sapphire Reserve obsolete – so I could downgrade it to a Freedom Unlimited. And open the Sapphire Preferred in its place to get another big bonus. That complicates things.
Because I only need to keep one Ultimate Rewards card with an annual fee to keep access to partner transfers. And honestly, I haven’t used my Sapphire Reserve much lately. 😲
And especially wouldn’t if I got the Ink Business Preferred.
So it looks like the Sapphire Reserve might have to go. As much as I like the card, Chase needs to step it up now that:
- United is going rogue
- Korean Air left
- You can’t pay for Southwest flights with points
- Singapore is devaluing their Star Alliance award chart
- Flying Blue no longer has an award chart
- Marriott is a turd
The 1.5 value for booking travel through Chase is nice, but I get that through the US Bank Altitude Reserve. And travel insurance? Got the same coverage with other cards. Priority Pass? Check. Really, why would I keep it?
I’m operating under the assumption I can only get one – maybe two – new Chase cards. Under that lens, I’d like for both to be small business cards. But if I can only get one, then I’ll try for one more personal card.
I don’t want to attempt more than that, as that might set Chase into review status – and I do NOT want that.
Either way, some juggling will have to happen. I don’t want duplicate benefits or multiple annual fees.
And more importantly, I’m rolling in so many Citi ThankYou points (and getting 10,000 of them back a year) that Chase Ultimate Rewards points isn’t my focus any more.
But Chase has a few months to keep my affections, though the Sapphire Reserve is on the chopping block.
I’ve definitely been picking up a card or two every few months, but as of July 2019, it’ll be over 24 months with less than 5 cards opened. And 2 months after that, 2 more cards will fall off.
For now, I’ll bide my time – especially if it’s this close.
Other cards I want
I wrestled with the dilemma of having too many ultra-premium cards recently, but by gods I still want the Amex Hilton Aspire.
And I’d be down to entertain the Wells Fargo Propel card, because it has no annual fee and super solid 3% cashback categories, including:
- Eating out and ordering in
- Gas stations, rideshares, and transit passes/tickets
- Flights, hotels, homeshares (like Airbnb), and car rentals
- Popular streaming services
The Capital One Venture (learn more about it via my CardRatings link) is looking stronger than ever thanks to its hybrid 2% cashback / airline transfer capability. And the Capital One Savor (learn more here) has a great sign-up bonus and interesting 4% bonus categories.
Of course, I’m always keen to stock up on more Alaska miles, especially given they’re the stalwarts of the aviation industry right now. Or the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, in case I ever decide to move $100,000 over to Merrill Lynch and get 2.6% cashback on every purchase.
Clearly, I’m at the bottom of the barrel here. But def want that Amex Hilton Aspire.
Thanks to a combination of changing rules, not being able to get many cards, and living life, I find myself soon slipping under 5/24 for the first time in a long time.
In a few months, I’ll decide what to keep and cancel, and refine my strategy. I really want the Chase Ink Business Preferred though – that much I’m sure of. And I might close out my Sapphire Reserve in the process – something I never thought I’d consider.
I also never pictured myself without an Amex Platinum card, because I love Centurion Lounges, but here we are – I’m a Priority Pass guy these daze.
If you fall (or currently are) below 5/24, the best strategy is to get all the Chase small business cards you want (because opening them doesn’t affect your 5/24 status, even though they’re subject to the rule), then any Chase personal cards. Basically, fill in the gaps – then move on to other banks.
And that’s exactly what I’ll do in a few months, though which card combination remains to be seen. On a higher level, I want to see Chase adding value to their Ultimate Rewards program – it’s taken hits recently and could use a shine.
But yeah, I’m excited! It’ll be good to finally have the Chase card lineup I always wanted, although at this point I can’t help but feel it’s too little, too late.
On an empirical level:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards = Hyatt hotel stays, other programs = award flights
And that’s how I’ve been cobbling together my trips for a while now. So far, so good.
One thing’s for certain: the landscape keeps shifting. Pull through, Chase.* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!
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- Chase Ink Business Preferred - Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points and 3X bonus points for travel, internet, cable, and phone service
- Chase Sapphire Preferred - Earn 60,000 Chase points with the BEST card for beginners
- Amex Blue Business Plus - Earn 10,000 Amex Membership Rewards points and 2X bonus points on up to $50,000 in spending per year with NO annual fee