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ne of the best way to get big travel with little money is through credit card signup bonuses!

Each bank has different rules for things like max number of cards, the number of applications in a certain amount of time and how often the bonus can be received.

It’s helpful to understand these rules to help avoid a denied application or signup bonus!

What  makes this topic particularly difficult is that most of these big bank credit card application rules are not in writing and can change at anytime without notice. While there may be exceptions, these rules apply for most people and most applications.

Of note applying for multiple cards on the same day is an entire topic in itself, but the important takeaway is that some banks will combine your applications resulting in only one credit inquiry. I actually applied for and was approved for THREE Bank of America Alaska Airlines cards on the same day with only one credit pull. Now that’s efficiency 😉

Scroll to the bottom of the post for a summary with outside links that explain credit card application rules as well. The points game is always changing and reports vary, so it’s good to read as many sources as you can on this important topic!

American Express

  1. Application Approval
    1. How often – 2 cards in 90 days
    2. Can you be approved for 2 cards on the same day? – Yes. 1 personal and 1 business (or charge), but not 2 personal. (credit pulls combined)
  2. Signup Bonus – Once per lifetime. This is the most strict policy of any credit card company. Therefore I recommend only applying for Amex cards when they are offering the highest ever signup bonus
    1. AMEX Once per lifetime rule

      AMEX Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product

  3. Maximum Number of Cards – 4-5 credit cards (includes both personal and business). And 4-5 charge cards
  4. Other – Of note Amex counts charge and credit cards differently, the rules above apply only to Amex credit cards. The rules for charge cards are more lenient. Additionally another good point to note is that AMEX small business cards don’t appear on your personal credit report, therefore they will not count against Chase’s 5/24 rule.

Chase

  1. Application Approval
    1. How often – 5/24 rule. If you have opened 5 or more credit cards from any bank in the past 24 months it is very unlikely that you will be approved for many of their cards. See this post for a more detailed explanation. AMEX small business cards do not count toward the 5/24 rule, additionally several Chase cards do not fall under this rule as well (Hyatt, IHG, Ritz Carlton, British Airways, Business Marriott). ADDITIONALLY there is a new rule that you can only have one of the “Sapphire” branded cards. 
    2. Can you be approved for 2 cards on the same day? – Possibly. There are some reports of people being approved for 1 person and 1 business in same day, or even 2 personal, but rates of success do not seem to be as good as for AMEX or Bank of America. (mixed results of getting credit pulls combined)
  2. Signup Bonus – once every 24 months
    1. Chase 24 month rule

      Chase 24 month rule

  3. Maximum Number of Cards – No limit on cards, but there is a limit on total credit line. They may ask you to move credit around after approved.
  4. Other – Chase has some of the most strict application rules due to their 5/24 rule and this is unfortunate as they have some of the most valuable signup bonuses! This is why I recommend every person new to the miles and points game sign up for Chase cards first!

Citi

  1. Application Approval
    1. How often – 1 card every 8 days, 2 cards every 65 days. Therefore, you can potentially get a card on day 1, a second card on day 9, and a third card on day 66 (assuming you meet other requirements). Small business cards are 1 every 95 days
    2. Can you be approved for 2 cards on the same day? – You can be approved for a personal and business card on the same day but the inquiries will NOT be merged due to it being different departments.
  2. Signup Bonus – restricted by brand every 24 months, for a card opened OR closed
    1. Citi 24 month rule AAdvantage

      Citi 24 month rule AAdvantage


      Citi 24 month rule TYP

      Citi 24 month rule TYP

  3. Maximum Number of Cards – similar to Chase as the limit is not on cards but a limit on total credit line
  4. Other

Bank of America

  1. Application Approval
    1. How often – Every 90 days per card. There are multiple reports of Bank of America automatically rejecting your application if you’ve opened that same card in the past 90 days. However there are also reports of people still being approved for 2+ of the same card on the same day (like me!). There are no rules about the number of different cards in a set time period though. The results of one crazy guy applying for 10 cards on the same day.
    2. Can you be approved for 2 cards on the same day? – YES! You can definitely get multiple different cards on the same day (see this post). There is mixed success with applying for multiple of the same card on the same day and getting approved, but I was able to do so in May. (credit pulls combined)
  2. Signup Bonus – no restrictions!
  3. Maximum Number of Cards – no official rules
  4. Other – As you can see Bank of America has one of the most lenient rules when it comes to credit card approval which is great for those of us accumulating miles! Also it’s important to note that while most credit card companies do not let you have more than one of the same card, Bank of America may approve you for multiple of the same card.

Barclaycard

  1. Application Approval
    1. How often – 1 card every 6 months. Barclaycard has strict application rules resulting in difficulty with approval if you have too many recent applications, recently applied for a Barclaycard card, or are not using your existing Barclaycards
    2. Can you be approved for 2 cards on the same day? – possibly. Note that Barclay is primarily based in the UK. (Mixed results of getting credit pulls combined)
  2. Signup Bonus – Varies by card. Some cards are churnable.
  3. Maximum Number of Cards – No maximum, but given their strict application rules most people only have at most a few Barclaycard cards at a time.
  4. Other

Discover

  1. Application Approval
    1. How often – 1 card per 12 months
    2. Can you be approved for 2 cards on the same day? – no
  2. Signup Bonus – no restriction, but in effect is once every 12 months as that’s about as often as you can be approved for a Discover card
  3. Maximum Number of Cards – 2
  4. Other – You can have 2 of  the same Discover cards

 

I know that was a lot so here’s the summary!

AMEX – bonus once per lifetime. Only signup when offering highest ever offer

Chase – 5/24 rule. Apply for these cards first if you are new to the game

Citi – signup bonus restricted by brand every 24 months

Bank of America – most lenient rules, can have multiple of same card at same time, can be approved for multiple of same card in same day, can potentially repeat bonus in 90 days

Barclaycard – strict application rules

Discover – most bonuses aren’t really worth your time

Capital One – they run your credit from all three bureaus resulting in THREE credit inquiries for one card. They don’t have good bonuses anyway, don’t get their cards

Here are some great links on the same topic:

Credit Card Pediem

Award Wallet

The Points Guy

Million Mile Secrets

Doctor of Credit

 

“Dreams and dedication are a powerful combination”

William Longgood________________