Steps Needed to Ensure Approval for Bank of America’s Upcoming Premium Card

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Bank of America Credit Card Application Tips & Strategy

Bank of America Credit Card Application Tips & Strategy

Bank of America (BOA) has added some new rules to their credit card approval process that need to be navigated.  With Bank of America releasing a new premium credit card soon, it may be beneficial to take steps now in order to increase your approval odds later.

Bank Of America’s Premium Rewards Credit Card

The details of the new premium card have been discussed in the past HERE and HERE.  It was also confirmed this week that this card will earn cash back.  This will make it one of the largest cash sign up bonuses available for personal cards.  Over the last few months BOA has implemented new rules for credit card applicants.  I will discuss them in detail and what steps need to be taken to increase your approval odds.

Bank of America Credit Card Application Tips & Strategy

Bank Of America’s Credit Card Application Rules

Over the past couple of years, Bank of America has changed their rules pertaining to applications. Here are some of the “rules” as reported by various applicants.

  • Bank of America has been implementing a four card maximum for new applications. Business cards do not seem to be involved with this rule.  This only applies to cards offered by BOA and does not include outside banks. They have gone as far as cancelling cards from accounts with more then four currently open.
  • Bank of America seems to be implementing much stricter limits on how much overall credit each applicant can have.
  • If you cancel a current Bank of America credit card it takes a month or two to update in their system.  The account will show as still open, in their system, if you close the account shortly before applying for a new credit card.
  • It is believed that lowering your credit limit (instead of closing the card) has an immediate effect on your account.  Reducing your overall credit from Bank of America immediately.

Bank of America Credit Card Application Tips & Strategy

Increasing Bank of America Credit Card Approval Odds

If you think you will be affected by any of the rules mentioned above when applying for a Bank of America credit card, a few steps can be taken to increase your approval odds according to various application data points.

  • Proactively lower limits on current accounts that you do not currently use.
  • If you currently have four cards open with Bank of America close an unused card to get the number of accounts down to three.  Lower the limits on the card prior to closing the account. This will ensure that a majority of the card’s credit limit is removed from your account immediately.  Do not close cards that you currently use, cards that were opened less then twelve months ago, or a card which is one of your oldest accounts.
  • Some have frozen their Experian account to increase their approval odds with Bank of America. According to the comments in this article, Bank of America will call you to ask which credit bureau you would like them to use.  I do not think this is necessary but it can increase your approval odds.

My Bank of America Application Strategy & Experience

I applied for the, soon to be discontinued, Merrill Lynch card from Bank of America a few months ago. The application initially went to pending so I called the reconsideration line. I was approved after moving some credit from another card on my BOA account.  A few days later I received a call from the bank claiming that I had been approved in error.

During the call I was told the denial was because I currently had enough credit extended to me from Bank of America.  I found this odd since they didn’t extend me any new credit (moved limit from another card) and I only currently had two BOA cards opened.  But, I had closed two BOA cards just a few weeks earlier and I believe they had not properly fallen off of my account prior to my application. This made the Merrill Lynch card look like my fifth BOA account in their system.

In anticipation of this card my wife lowered the limits on two of her four Bank of America credit cards. This freed up $12,000 in credit limit on her account.  In order to get down to three cards she closed one that only had a credit limit of $2,000.  There was no need to lower the limit on the account first since the limit was already so low.

I currently have three Bank of America cards.  I lowered the limit on two of them to increase the credit available to me by $10,000.


Being aware of Bank of America’s new rules and what steps need to be taken to circumvent them should increase your approval chances.  This information should be beneficial for Bank of America’s upcoming premium card or any other card they offer.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. Good article Mark and timely.

    Your thoughts similar to the conconclusions I came to reading the forums. I think I will pass on the Merrill + for my family apps giving the reportings and do the new Travel Rewards cards plus one other for everyone.

    The one thing I thought was different is that FM and others have 5 cards, though some have problem at 4.

    I plan to have data points for applying for 2 new cards with 3 existing cards 🙂

    • Thanks! I know some have been able to keep 5 cards if they previously had them open but I am not sure anyone has been approved for a 5th one since this went into effect. I think even if he had 4 open he would have been denied but I am not 100% on that.

  2. Yes. Good info. BofA is really tightening up on handing out cards. I’ve been churning for 10 years and my recent app for the ML+ resulted in my FIRST ever ultimate denial. Only have 2 cards with them currently, but closing an Amtrak and one other card in anticipation of this app not only didn’t help, it looks like that was the deciding factor in the denial: recently closed accounts with them. So it’s not only the number of current accounts you have with them, it’s also how many you’ve recently closed. The big question is what they determine to be “recent”. I only waited a couple of months after closing those before applying so definitely waiting longer on that probably would have helped. 6 months? Whatever it is, I’m not attempting any BofA card for at least that long now. Will be looking for more DP’s…

    • I think the ML+ card also gets a lot more scrutiny then their other cards. I applied for the Virgin Atlantic card 5 months after the ML denial and got an instant approval. I also got a business card from them a month after the ML denial. So business cards may be an option for you before the 6 months is up. I do think they are punishing people that routinely close cards from them. I will probably pay the AF on my current Alaska card and use the companion pass that comes with it because of this.

      • Yes, I agree. It’s the darn phone app and manual review that makes the ML+ a lot tougher for churners like us. I usually stay away from phone apps but there’s no other way with this one unfortunately right now. Now I hate phone apps even more. But yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if I could get another Amtrak or Alaska without too much trouble as long as I can keep those prying human eyes off things.

        • Haha yes I hate phone apps! I was lucky enough to be able to do it online before they shut that down and it still didn’t help me lol

  3. How important is not closing cards opened less than 12 months ago do you think? I was surprised to be denied for the Asiana card a few weeks ago. Reconsideration said I had enough credit with BOA, and I really couldn’t disagree.

    • I think it is something to try to stick by but if you need to close one every now and then around 8-9 months etc. I don’t think it is the end of the world.


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