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Soon after I started turning up the heat on my credit card signup game in 2015, Chase threw the “5/24 rule” monkey wrench into things. My next round of applications was going to include the Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa card, and suddenly that door seemed shut. Luckily my wife managed to get one.

I’ve wrestled with how to handle 5/24 for quite a while now. At first I was content to give Chase the stare down as I applied for cards with American Express, Bank of America, Citi, and Barclays every few months. To me the opportunity cost of trying to wait things out to fall below 5/24 was simply too great. But now that I have run through the bulk of Amex and Barclay cards that I am seriously interested in, and Citi has tightened up their rules, I’ve begun to crack. My wife and I were both even declined for one card each with Bank of America!

More and more, the available options on the table are either leaner sign-up bonuses, or premium cards that I have no interest in paying for (like the American Express Platinum card). The question is: what should we do now? Maybe get an Allegiant card? (SEE: Wait, there is an Allegiant credit card?)

Thus, I have begun to work out a 2017 signup strategy for my wife and I. Currently, it will take me a full 20 months to dip below “5/24”. My wife on the other hand should take only 16-17 months. I am seriously considering, for the first time in a year and a half, of having one of us lay off the applications for a while. After getting in the groove, though, I know it’ll be hard to go cold turkey.

Credit Cards in Wallet

But those are really the only options. Laying off the applications halfheartedly makes no sense. That strategy would sacrifice opportunities for points and miles while ultimately extending the time we are subject to “5/24”. So it’s either (a) go big and keep applying, or (b) go home and wait things out for a while.

So I think we are going to split the difference between to two of us. One of us (probably my wife) will lay off the applications for a while, while the other will stay the course. I’m reminded why it’s beneficial to be playing the credit card signup game in 2P mode.

We’ll also trim the fat of our current cards in 2017. I’d like to slim down to only a few with annual fees, most likely being my wife’s Sapphire Preferred, our two IHG cards, and my business SPG Amex. We may keep a one or two more than that, but those are the absolute keepers.

We’ll see how things roll out in 2017. I’m considering the JetBlue card and the no-fee Citi Hilton card (if a higher bous is offered) for my first round of applications. I may also throw in the Marriott business Visa. I think I am going to let things cool with BofA, especially since I was thrilled to be approved for the Merrill Lynch Visa on my last round of applications.

Or maybe I’ll just opt for that Allegiant card…

What are your credit card signup plans for 2017?

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