My Recent Citi Experience & Denial
For a lot of people, applying for a ton of cards at a time is their chosen strategy. The nickname for this strategy is “app-o-rama” or AOR. The premise is that banks don’t see your credit inquiries in real time and thus don’t see that in addition to applying for their card, you applied at other banks as well.
Following an AOR, many people then wait at least 90 days before doing it all over again. After 90 days banks seem to care less about applications, or at least that has been the case for awhile. (Of course as we know Chase certainly cares about all inquiries lately.)
I don’t personally subscribe to the AOR every 90 rule, but last month I did do a round of applications on the same day. This was mostly because it had been awhile since I applied for anything and there were a number of good offers I wanted to take advantage of. Among them were the Amex Business Platinum 150K offer and the Citi Prestige 50K offer.
My Recent Citi Experiences
After applying for the Citi Prestige, I was told they needed to verify more information to process my application. This is the same language I have seen after every Citi application for the past year and a half. I normally just wait and they call me within a day or two and approve my application. This is exactly what happened with the Prestige. Success!
But then I got greedy. Citi only allows one application every 9 days and 2 every 65 days. I generally NEVER apply for a second card with the same bank 9 days after the first, but I decided to do it with Citi. Since I have an AAdvantage Executive card with an annual fee coming, I want to convert that card to a ThankYou Preferred with the hopes of eventually getting a good retention offer.
The only problem with making that conversion is that I most likely won’t be eligible for the 20,000 point sign-up bonus as a new customer if I apply later due to Citi’s new bonus rules. So to prevent any problems, I decided to apply for a ThankYou Preferred just 9 days after applying for the Prestige.
After submitting the application, I received the same pending language as before. This time though, within a few hours of applying, I also received a denial email. After a few days I called in and spoke to a couple of representatives, but was told I couldn’t shift credit or close a different account to open this one. I was denied and there was no overturning it.
So what was the reason for denial? Too many recent applications. Since I had applied only 9 days after my latest application round, they could see those inquiries and even some of the new accounts. Remember one of those accounts was another Citi card too.
It has always been a good strategy to try to get reconsidered via Citi’s Executive Department, but I think I’ll skip that route this time. I honestly don’t blame Citi for the denial and don’t think it will be easy to get someone to approve the application considering I just got a different Citi card.
Back to My Normal Strategy
I am not as aggressive as some when applying for credit cards. I often go 5 or 6 months between application rounds, which I feel is the best strategy for me. I have found that by doing this I am able to jump on increased offers in between cycles. If you are constantly living on the 90 days edge, if a great offer jumps out, you may not be able to get approved.
Between this denial and Chase’s new bonus rules, I feel it is important to practice a more sustainable strategy. While this ThankYou Preferred application wasn’t impulsive, applying for so many cards close together is never a good idea. Before you ridicule me for saying that, I am aware that many people are getting Citi cards every 33 days. What works for some, doesn’t work for all.
Note on Too Many Inquiries
Before I close, I want to make a point to mention that too many inquiries is a common denial reason that banks give. Discover, Bank of America, Barclay’s Citi, Chase & American Express, U.S. Bank (and others) will all deny you if you have had more inquires than they like. This is because someone who applies for a lot of credit is generally at higher risk of default. As of this time I don’t believe Citi has instituted any hard rules like Chase.
In the end a denial always hurts and feels a little personal. For now I think I’ll just convert the Executive card to another Dividend with the hopes that next year’s 5% bonus categories are better than this year’s. By doing that I’ll still be able to pickup the ThankYou Preferred at a later time when I am more likely to get an approval.
As for my next round of applications, I am in no hurry. When your points balances get into the million(s), quality is more important than quantity. Now if I could only somehow get Bank of America to like me.