The Axe Is Falling on Chase Co-Branded Cards

Well, folks, this is a big development. Huge, in fact. For those unfamiliar with new Chase approval rules, read my post on the subject. Up until recently, this policy only applied to Chase personal branded cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom. Then, someone who works at Chase gave a tip that Chase Ink Plus (business card) will also be included in that list as of March of this year.

I definitely feared that Chase would tighten the requirements for approval of its co-branded cards. However, I speculated that perhaps the policy won’t be quite as strict. Here is what I wrote just a  few weeks ago:

To be clear, I don’t think they will implement the same rule for their co-branded cards as they did for Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom. How come? Because they would have to explain to airline and hotel partners why so many credit-worthy individuals are getting denied for their co-branded cards.

I’m sure Chase has a quota when it comes to approvals, and if it doesn’t meet it, those partners may switch to a  different bank. That said, I do believe they will continue tightening their requirements.”

Well, it appears that was wishful thinking because Doctorofcredit reports that starting in April, this rule will apply to  co-branded cards as well. Apparently, the same inside source spilled the beans (and we love him/her for that!) I trust Chuck who wrote the post and believe the source is credible.

With that, let me share my new strategy with you:

1) First “churning” order of business is to apply for Chase Southwest card in mine and my husband’s names.  I don’t know if we’ll actually be approved (doubt it). But if I don’t apply, I’ll never know. I do want to wait a few weeks because we just got several new cards and are working on minimum spend for those. I don’t like to bite more than I can chew, plus, Chuck told me he is fairly confident that I have until April to apply. I won’t be waiting that long, but I don’t think few weeks will matter.

2) Transfer some of my husband’s Ultimate Rewards stash to Southwest before canceling his CSP. I’m probably going to dump 30K UR points into United account (a post coming up) and the rest will go to Rapid Rewards. I know we’ll be able to utilize Southwest when it comes to our travel plans. It’s the best airline program for family IMHO.

3) Go on with my life. You better believe I won’t be losing any sleep over this. Like I said, you win some, you lose some in this hobby. I still plan to apply for credit cards on ongoing basis, it just won’t be with Chase. Who knows, maybe this policy will eventually change. In fact, I predict that it will. But if not, oh well. So long, Chase, and thanks for the memories!

What you might want to consider now:

1)If you were planning on applying for Chase Ink Plus, consider doing it within the next few weeks. Read about it here

2) Be very picky as to what personal Chase offers you should go after right now. For example, Marriott sign-up bonus has just been increased. It pays me commission and you can read more on it here While the offer is decent, if you go for it now, it will probably cost you another Chase card if you are a churner (aka apply for bonuses on an ongoing basis). If you have solid plans for Marriott points, fine. If not, maybe it’s better to look at other Chase cards while you still can.

3) If you normally apply for less than 5 cards in 2 years, none of this really affects you. Go on with your life and be merry!

Readers, what are your plans? Please, share.

P.S.  A tip from  Cheapblackdad:

“There’s a workaround. I had been mulling this for weeks but it looks like it’s out in the open now.  You can remove yourself as an AU on cards. This should help those of us who do this with a significant other.”

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20 thoughts on “The Axe Is Falling on Chase Co-Branded Cards

  1. I think the sky is really falling this time! Seriously, this is a major bummer. I wasn’t going to apply for any credit cards until the fall of this year, but I feel like I should now. The last time I applied for a Chase card was last summer, and I was denied the CSP. Can you remind me of the churning rules for the Southwest card? I think it’s something like you can’t get the bonus again unless it’s been 24 months since you got the bonus? I might try for the Southwest Plus card, and see if there is a different card that it makes sense for my husband to apply for. Maybe British Airways. I don’t think he’s eligible for any of the Southwest cards yet due to the timing of his previous Southwest cards. Ugh!


    • @Shoesinks This is a huge bummer, no question. I think I was living in denial, ha! You are correct on churning rules for Southwest card. It has to be 24 months since you’ve received the bonus. But there are two versions of the card, plus business one. I don’t at the moment make any commission on 50K Southwest offer. If you choose to apply, check this Flyertalk thread It has direct links for Premier and business versions. I believe you have to be referred by someone for Plus ($69 annual fee).
      I can’t tell you what to do on Chase BA Visa, but it is something to consider. Otherwise, you may have to wait a few years and pause your churning activity for the time being. That said, don’t feel the pressure to apply, especially if you don’t have any concrete plans for Avios. It’s not the end of the world, and I’m sure other lucrative opportunities will present themselves.


  2. I have Chase Mileage Plus and have had for years. It’s in good standing. I am not sure if I’ve been issued 5 cards in last 24 months. It’s probably close to that? Could be 4, could be 6. Not sure. Was thinking of applying to Chase Sapphire Preferred before others…or should I just go for Chase Southwest as you mentioned? Me confused. Need time to think!


    • @Amanda You may want to check this link Choose Equifax, Experian or Transunion. It will list how many credit card accounts you have added within the last two years (from all banks). If it’s less than 5, you may have a decent shot at getting Chase Sapphire Preferred. If you are an authorized user, those accounts will also be listed, but you could convince Chase rep to not count them toward the total in case of denial. Personally, I would apply for it rather than Southwest card, especially since you currently don’t live in US. The points earned through CSP are flexible and can be transferred to various programs. Read my previous post for more. I’m going for Southwest offer because I can’t get CSP. And in April, I won’t qualify for Southwest card either. Hope this makes sense and feel free to follow up with questions. I know it’s quite confusing.


  3. Although Chuck said cobranded ccs would be subject to the 5/24 rule come April, several readers commented that they had already been denied on that basis. Ihg, etc


    • I just got my IHG this morning after the breaking news (applied via phone# on DoC) and was approved automatically. I had 10+ new cards in the last 24 months, including several from Chase. I agree with Leana that the 5/24 rule is not enforced yet (at least not across the board but maybe enforced by reps who reviews apps manually).
      If there are chase cards you want, I would say just go for it even though you have exceeded the 5/24 limit. It’s either now or after 24 months of very slow churning.
      Now, I have to figure out what chase card(s) my parents need to apply before the doomsday of 5/24…


      • @Katye Thanks so much for the data point! I really appreciate it. There is a lot of confusion out there, in part due to poorly trained Chase reps. At least, that clarifies things. Personally, I plan to try for Southwest card at the end of February just to be on the safe side. I’m afraid that the rule might go into effect sooner than planned. This is all new territory, and nobody knows quite what to expect.


  4. @Audrey That’s true and a couple of readers mentioned it to me as well. Chuck and I talked about it and his theory is that some Chase reps are simply misinformed. There is no question that it’s harder to get approved for any Chase cards right now, but the official policy isn’t implemented on co -branded offers yet. Of course, it doesn’t guarantee approval. My advice is to wait it out if the app goes to pending. Many times, they do get approved on their own. But when you call, the reps will be able to see your history and sometimes will apply 5/24 policy regardless. Bad times for the hobby, no question.


  5. There’s a workaround. I had been mulling this for weeks but it looks like it’s out in the open now.

    You can remove yourself as an AU on cards. This should help those of us who do this with a significant other. So time to drop your SOs like they’re hot. Mine sure is. No more shared card accounts. #squadgoals


    • @Cheapblackdad Good point! Will update the post. I didn’t think of that. Of course, it wouldn’t help me. I would still have more than five apps on my own. You can ask Chase rep not to count AU cards, and they seem to oblige. But if you remove them to begin with, there will be no need for recon. Thanks!


  6. Ugh!!! I had a whole 90 day strategy going. April 21 would be my next round. Do you think I should try for one chase card before April?
    If i do I could also probably get another citi and amex based on their rules at the same time and then go back to 90 least that way I wouldn’t have to wait 90 days after only one card.


    • @HML I know, I’m a bit in shock too! Actually, I never followed this whole 91 days strategy. Banks see inquiries instantly these days, so the benefit IMO is marginal. If you have gotten 5 or more cards within the last two years, I do think you should consider applying for Chase card before April. Chuck said this source is legitimate. I will probably try at the end of February because I’m paranoid. The new rules will kick in for Ink sometime in March, so I’m afraid they’ll be throwing co-branded cards into the mix. Probably not, but you never know. As always, do what works for you, including other issuers. I honestly don’t believe you should feel pressure to add Amex and Citi. Concentrate on Chase for now.


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