Life after 5/24 means you can’t get many of Chase’s credit cards, including all Ultimate Reward (UR)-earning cards. I’m well above 5/24, have zero UR, and don’t foresee that changing soon. If you’re wondering what it feels like, I’m here to tell you… well, I barely notice it.
UR is extremely valuable – there’s no doubt. One of the common questions goes like this: “is it worth limiting new accounts to get under 5/24, in order to be eligible for cards that require it?” There’s no right or wrong answer, but for me, the answer is a big NO – not worth it. Actually, I confess, I haven’t done a thorough analysis on how much less we’d earn via sign up bonus, but rather, I simply don’t see a need to make a drastic change in order to accommodate something that doesn’t (and hasn’t) affected my family much. UR and its useful transfer partners have always been just a small part of our points repertoire.
There’s no doubt that loyalty program currencies are worth less today than a few years ago due to numerous devaluations – including more points required for redemptions and less award availability. Meanwhile, bank currencies like UR are on the rise, thanks to their flexibility and redemption value – often more than 1x of the paid rate. For example, cardholders of Wells Fargo Visa Signature, US Bank Altitude Reserve (although it’s very flawed), and Chase Sapphire Reserve all redeem points at 1.5x of paid rate for travel. And you don’t need to be a hostage to award availability. That’s a solid case for shifting to UR and other bank currencies. Yet, because I have points in many programs (currently: 11 hotel programs, 14 airline programs), I can almost always find availability somewhere. I also have some bank currencies (after all) and cash equivalents (e.g. airline gift card) for times when paid fare make sense. So basically, bank currencies are a nice to have, but not a must for me.
The only currency I wish I had more of, that I can’t due to 5/24, is United. When United had its big devaluation ~4 years ago, the premium redemption rates became so much worse than AA’s, that it basically became irrelevant to me. With all of AA’s devaluations, I’m finding them to be roughly on par now, with UA having the advantages of more partners and being able to search and book most partner awards online. Also, eventually I’ll run out of Southwest points, and that’ll hurt, but I’m hopeful that we’ll have an economic slowdown (or something) before then that will return the credit card application rules to our favor.
So, there you have my perspective – life after 5/24 is about the same as before. I’m still churning, burning, and jet-setting, thanks to the ~95% of cards out there that don’t require 5/24, though more have their own restrictions now (5/24 remains the most restrictive IMO).