The Party’s Over, And These Banks Are Now Dead to Me

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Banks With Limits

Banks With Limits:  The Card Issuers I Don’t Currently Pursue

I tout my points, miles, and travel successes here plenty.  I realize that perhaps I need to share my failures more often so that others can learn from my experiences, though.  Many of my hobby failures repeatedly involve certain banks.  And some of these instances aren’t epic fails.  Rather, they’re relatively small matters that consume my time unnecessarily – time that I could have alternatively used on more lucrative hobby endeavors.  As I’ve spouted off before, time is my most valuable asset, especially because I cannot make more of it.  Let’s dive into my banks with limits – hopefully, you can avoid some of these pitfalls.


I’ve long loved Discover primarily for their Miles card, which effectively provides 3% cash back during the first cardmember year.  Individuals can repeat this with each new Miles card account, also.  But Discover’s wrinkles have become more than I care to bother with now.  What are these wrinkles?

First, they’ve gotten increasingly stingy with credit limits.  Each of our former Miles accounts’ credit limits has been lower than the previous one.  Second, they are notoriously slow to release credit once the balance has been paid.  Some speed this up by calling in each time, but that’s more than I care to pursue.  Third, in my most recent experiences, increasing the credit limit (even reallocating some from another card) is not possible within the first cardmember year.  And additional credit during a second cardmember year is pretty much useless.  So, I now tell Discover what I sometimes say to my little ones – “That was fun, but now it’s done.”

Banks With Limits

Capital One

I’ve only pursued a Capital One card once.  I wasn’t approved.  This wasn’t a big deal; I actually wasn’t surprised.  I haven’t otherwise pursued Capital One cards because of discouraging shutdown datapoints.  I’ve known some to get shut down for relatively mild spend activity.  For my situation, I would want to use the card much more than these individuals.  I figure a shutdown is inevitable for me, as well.  Of course, this is an assumption, but I don’t care enough about Capital One’s offerings.  Some people are enamored by certain Capital One cards, particularly the Venture and Spark Cash, but I’m not one of them.  They’re fine, but I can busy myself with higher scale and rewards from other cards.  Frequent Miler’s recent Capital One shutdown validated my apathy even further.


My relationship with Barclays isn’t dead – let’s just say it’s indefinitely bogged down.  I hold the 2x everywhere version of the Wyndham Rewards Visa and am fine trading the $69 annual fee for 15k points each year.  I like that my Aviator Blue card gives me a non-Citi option for earning American Airlines currency.  But I haven’t been able to obtain a new card with Barclays for years.  I’ve tried several times during this period, but I’m told a version of “too many new accounts opened” each time when I’m not approved.  Getting declined is annoying, but I’ve easily gotten over it.  I know that I’m earning plenty of rewards on those other new accounts to more than make up for not acquiring another card from Barclays.  I don’t expect this will change any time soon.

Banks With Limits

US Bank

Of course, US Bank is dead to me because they closed all of our accounts a couple years ago.  But even if they hadn’t, I may still have given up on them.  Why?  They’ve wrecked the Flexperks program which I loved.  The Real Time Rewards option was great, but now it’s only worth it for Altitude Reserve cardholders.  I think the Altitude Reserve is overrated, anyway.  Plus, their customer service has been absolutely terrible in my experience.  Sure, they can keep hobbyists’ attention every so often with an impressive welcome offer, usually on a business card.  But the bright spots are few and far between, from what I’ve noticed.

Wells Fargo

I’ve gone to the effort of opening a Wells Fargo bank account without a bonus in order to improve my odds of getting a credit card approval.  That didn’t work out well – I was declined for the Propel Amex just before they stopped offering it.  I got similar reasoning as I did from Barclays.  I’d try again, but it seems like there’s nothing else worth me obtaining from Wells Fargo, at least for now.  I know they’re revamping their products, so we’ll see.  But I’m not optimistic.

Banks With Limits – Conclusion

I’m no longer letting these five banks clutter my mind.  Too many other options exist for lucrative rewards, and my valuable time is better spent on those ongoing plays.  Undoubtedly, many hobbyists rack up great rewards with these same banks I ignore – and that’s great!  The unique means we each use to obtain rewards is just one area that makes this hobby so interesting.  What banks do you ignore?  Why?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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  1. I’d add Commerce Bank to your list. Let’s just say that they aren’t fun folks to do business with either. They have a few points cards for hotels and such but will never be a big player because of they way they treat customers.

  2. Good summary.
    Have a cluster of B of A cards,,, And… A cluster is a good aphorism.
    Not sure what to do with them.
    Relationship with most of the credit card issuers you mention has really soured for me.
    But, is some of this might bed the frustration and uselessness of their currencies at this time.

  3. Amen for me as to Barclays and Capital One. I’ve been a long time (and profitable for them) card holder of Barclays. Now I can’t even get a no fee hotel card with three 800+ credit scores. But Capital One takes the cake. Can’t get approved for either Venture card–but Capital has advised me I am eligible for a SECURED card!!!! I may be wrong, but isn’t anyone eligible for a secured card, which carries no risk to the bank?

  4. Discover has been dead to me since 2002, when a friend had her interest rate raised by 4% because she lost her job. She called to ask about it and that’s what she was told, so it’s not an assumption.

    Capital One is very good at giving a TON of excuses for declining you – all but the real one. They only want customers with a history of carrying a balance.

    I just got the Barclays Aviator Red – American Airlines only recently became an option for me where I live now. We’ll see how it goes.

    • Katie,
      Enjoy the Aviator Red. Always know downgrading is an option with that one if you grow tired of it.

      • I didn’t know that – thanks! I like the baggage perk and will use it this year. I also got it with no annual fee the first year, which is sweet 🙂 I cancelled my United one in January, I’d had it for 7-8 years but figured it was time for another sign-up bonus, lol.

        • Katie,
          Whoa, every 7-8 years – don’t get too aggressive with those welcome offers! 🙂

          I product changed from Aviator Red down to Blue a few years ago. But I may downgrade to the no-fee, since reduced mileage awards aren’t an option long term. Regardless, you’ll have plenty of options after your first cardmember year!

  5. I agree with the Citi post as it relates to CL. I try repeatedly to get my DC cards raised always with a hard no. Chintzy limits to start with as well. I would never get rid of a Discover card, easy $300 a year with 1 cent redemption impossible to match for cash. Of course I rarely cancel cards, my oldest is over 35 years!

    • David,
      Sorry about your Citi bad luck – hopefully, time will fix that. We haven’t held a 5% quarterly bonus Discover card since our multiple Miles card accounts, so different strokes there. I can definitely see simple, consistent value from the Discover 5% card.

      • Time won’t fix Citi. Strange thing is they always grant an increase on my Sears M/C which they took over some years ago. It is hands down the easiest earning card I have ever had (even with TYP)

  6. Cap1 Venture gave me an offer for 0%for like the next 8months or so. Hoping if I take advantage of this and use their card for the first time this year will it pave the way for me to get the Savor.

    • Tim,
      Congrats on your Capital One options. I wouldn’t fret about the Savor. If you don’t end up getting approved for it, you can generally do better with other cards, anyway.

  7. Amex, while not dead to me, I think people really hype up Membership Rewards points as if they’re the best thing that ever graced this hobby.

    I agree for the international business traveler, they are one of the best. Shy if that, there’s nothing exciting about the MR points.

    I travel a lot, away from home 100+ nights a year and it’s 99% domestic. I can do LHR and that area but I don’t have it in me to sit in a plane for much longer than 8 hours…even in business/first.

    Again, not dead to me as there’s value in a lot of their co-branded cards but I do wish that some of the bloggers/vloggers would be honest and just admit that outside of international travel, MR points are probably the worst currency to earn…at least in my opinion.

    • 2808 Heavy,
      Interesting thoughts. I’m not doing international premium during my current life season, so those lucrative MR redemptions don’t do anything for me. I’m even willing to accept the decreased 1.1 cpp via Schwab cashout – there’s just not much else out there for immediate value with them in my situation. However, I believe the ease of MR earning makes up for a lot. Also, Amex keeps it interesting enough for me with their periodic elevated Hilton and Delta card offers.

  8. Agree on Barclays. Chase is a no-brainer due to way too many cards. I don’t even attempt to look at their cards anymore. B of A is up there to. Way too much of a hassle

    • Dublin,
      I hear you! Interesting you bring up Chase. They are sort of dead to me, but not totally. I put plenty of spend on their cards, but I don’t care about 5/24.

    • Parts Unknown,
      Citi – really? I know they can be frustrating, but there’s no way I’m turning down their rewards. Maybe there’s some background I don’t know about your situation. What am I missing?

      • Fraud alert. Unlocked, fraud alert. Unlocked. FrAuD aLeRt UNLOCKED.

        Fraud alert. We need to text a code to your phone but your phone number isn’t the phone number we have on record for you even though it’s attached to every Citi account and it’s the same number you’re calling from and the number we’ve used to unlock your account every other time you try to buy $73 worth of groceries. What other number can we text you at? Wait what….?

        I’m going to make a large purchase, just calling ahead so you don’t decline the transaction as that would rather embarrassing and you decline any purchase over $86.12 automatically. Of course sir, I’ve pre-approved that charge, go right ahead. Card declined, fraud alert. Just cancel my account, now. Now now. Sorry sir, we don’t have a valid phone number on file so we’re unable to cancel your card. We’ve also somehow fat fingered your billing address so now your neighbor will get all of our correspondence to you and we’ll just go ahead and add that address to your credit report as well. You’re welcome.

        Last time I applied & got denied they didn’t even send the explanation letter, probably went to a guy in Uzbekistan with the same first 3 letters of my last name because why not? Maybe his phone number can be verified.

        People joke about how bad that IT is or the ridiculous stuff that happens with Citi but it’s actually real money and time wasted. I’d rather light my house on fire than give those people my mortgage, I don’t know how it just goes on and on and on. People trust that bank with actual real money and investments. I’d sooner trust a 14 year old on Reddit hodling stonks.

        Long winded semi-stream-of-consciousness rant but my god. All the nopes ever.

  9. Love this article Benjy. I agree with everything you said other than the Altitude Reserve review. I think it’s by far the best card in the market, given you can get 4.5% on travel and mobile Payments which includes most grocery stores plus costco and target. The most overrated cards are the Sapphires. Specially the Reserve at $550

    • Mark,
      Thanks for chiming in. Altitude Reserve can be both solid and overrated, from my perspective. But I agree that regarding your Chase take.

  10. Fortunately I still get approved by Barclays despite getting the same cards over and over. Hoping I can get the 90k offer on the Wyndham card in the next 6 months – 30,000 points is worth $400 to me. We are now getting approved for US Bank since we have a savings account there. Totally agree on Capital One – have never been approved for a card with them. Wells is dead, I would do another Discover if they had something like the double points combined with Apple Pay promo again but otherwise haven’t seen anything of interest in years.

    • JI100,
      Congrats on your Barclays success – I’m jealous! Definitely get what you can while the getting’s good.


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