Remember when a few weeks ago I called up Chase to check on the status of my Ink Bold business card application? I had mixed feelings about the success of my argument to extend yet another card after they’ve already given me almost $50,000 total in personal credit lines (not to mention all the cards I have with other banks). This for a guy who rarely spends more $1,000 in a month and in the past has only churned one or two cards every four months.
I know that I don’t need all that credit, but it helps to keep my credit utilization ratio low and gives me a bargaining chip when applying for new cards. In this case I was able to convince the guy to put a note in the file “recommending” approval of a $5,000 limit in exchange for knocking $8,500 off my Chase Sapphire card. I considered this a success after he tried to either (1) cut every one of my credit limits in half or (2) close half of my cards, which I actually really enjoy using for their other benefits and would hate to lose. Still, he didn’t actually say my application was approved.
This was the first time I ever called a reconsideration line. Usually I just wait while my application is pending, and in a week or so a new card magically appears in my online accounts page. Another week goes buy before the card arrives in the mail. But in this case, I had never had a business card before, and I knew it would be more challenging. The word from other bloggers is that business cards usually require you to explain your business.
Well, a week and a half went by from the time of my phone call, and I still didn’t see any new cards pop up in my online accounts page. I did notice that my Sapphire credit line dropped by $8,500, but with no new card I had no idea if this was because they decided to revise my credit limit anyway just to get back at me or if the deal had gone through. So I called again, prepared to go through the same inquisition and hopefully give a better argument in my defense.
It turns out none of that was necessary because my card has been approved with the new $5,000 limit as requested. I can look forward to it arriving in another week and start working toward the $5,000 spend in three months to get another 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points!
All of my other applications were approved, too. The two Hawaiian Airlines applications (from both Bank of America and Bank of Hawaii) resulted in a phone call just to clarify that I actually wanted two cards. I gave some wishy-washy claim about wanting to be able to separate personal from reimbursable expenses, which satisfied the guy pretty easily. He confirmed I would get both 35,000 mile bonuses (transferrable to 70,000 Hilton HHonors points each) after spending $1,000 on each card in four months. I still don’t know my credit limits but expect them to be in the high four figures.
My Hilton HHonors Amex application was approved instantly, resulted in a $7,500 credit limit, and will give me 40,000 Hilton HHonors points after spending $750 in four months. My US Airways World Elite MasterCard was also approved instantly with a $7,500 credit limit and should get me 40,000 miles plus a 10,000 mile anniversary bonus after the first purchase (no minimum). And my United Club Visa was approved at $8,000 and had the $395 fee waived for the first year but otherwise required no spend requirement. I expect the United Club card itself to arrive soon (I hope), and in the meantime I used the Visa to pay for expenses during a weekend in Vancouver thanks to no forex fees, one of its ancillary benefits.
Clearly these credit limits are not as great as what I got with my last two applications, each of which nearly breached $20K. I was shocked and amazed by those approvals. But I’m also glad that all of them were approved eventually, even though I had to give up $3,500 in available credit from Chase.
One of the comments from an earlier post complained that no one needs such high credit limits, but I would beg to differ. While I normally spend only $1,000 a month by putting all my purchases on credit cards (other than rent), there are occasionally large purchases that require a higher credit limit. Megan’s engagement ring, the down payment on my last car, and my dad’s business class ticket to India last year are all examples. These are purchases for which I have the cash in the bank but want to put on a card to get the points, so while I don’t “need” the credit, I do need the credit to make the transaction. I am not about to rely on the generosity of a bank to extend a temporary credit increase. Claims of no preset spending limits worry me because what it really means is “we won’t tell you your spending limit,” and its because of such a bad experience that my dad has sworn off American Express for life.
Finally, I’m glad that all six of the cards were approved even though it’s been only three months since my last Chase application, continuing my winning streak since I started churning cards two years ago. I have only been refused credit once in my life, and it was an awful experience that I totally brought on myself by not understanding how credit scores and credit pulls worked. There are a few tips on my Credit Score page, but I’ll leave the story for another day. However, I’d like to think my recent experience makes the point that even with gobs of pre-existing credit and minimal income, you can still get approved as long as you put at least some thought into your churning strategy.