Rules to Applying for Different Credit Cards

by John Terry | Last Updated:  September 29, 2019
Different banks have different rules for approving credit card applications.
Different banks have different rules for approving credit card applications.

Every bank issuing credit cards has different rules on things such as who can get approved for their cards and how many cards a single cardholder can have.

Before applying for credit cards, which can trigger a hard credit pull, it’s important to know these rules.

We’re going to break down the rules for popular banks below. As a note of caution, a lot of these rules aren’t set in stone by the bank, rather they are inferred from many different reports.

American Express

American Express has a few rules that cut down the ways in which the points and miles crowd can game the system. They have been known to go as far as asking for their bonuses back or closing entire accounts if cards are closed within a year of opening. But, for normal, everyday people who aren’t interested in churning credit cards for bonuses, it shouldn’t matter too much.

“We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.”

Bank of America

Similar to American Express, Bank of America has started to crack down more on churners. This is mostly because people were churning the Alaska Air Visa Signature card for massive amounts of miles every three months.

Capital One

Capital One is stricter than the banks above. They restrict card applications on their Capital One managed cards, such as the Quicksilver, Venture, and Savor card.


Chase, the home of the famous 5/24 rule, was one of the first banks to really cut down on the points and miles community that churns credit cards.

All personal credit cards opened with any bank, all personal charge cards (i.e., American Express), business cards opened with Capital One and Discover, and authorized user cards.


Citi has been in the news lately for allowing cashback from their Double Cash Card to be transferred into ThankYou points, as well as pulling back back essentially all of their travel and purchase protections from their cards.

Bonus ThankYou points are not available if you have had ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige cards opened or closed in the past 24 months.


Discover is another bank that has strict rules, but churning their cards typically isn’t for many. Discover has a great cashback card as well as cards that are good for building credit.

Final Thoughts

There are people out there who will churn credit cards to the maximum – opening cards every month to continuously earn sign-up bonuses. The good news is that if you’re like the everyday person, the rules and limits mentioned above shouldn’t hold you back too much from earning points and miles.

As we talk about in our beginner’s guide, it’s important to be responsible when spending and using your credit cards. I don’t like to risk churning credit cards. Instead, I open them up strategically in order to space out minimum spend requirements and get the biggest sign-up bonuses.