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Citi Getting Tougher with Approvals, Is There a New Rule in Place?

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Citi application rules

Citi is Getting Tougher with Approvals

Citi recently released a great welcome bonus for the Premier card. You can earn 80,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. And temporarily, you can transfer those points to American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

But with the flurry of new applications for the Citi Premier cards, we see a new trend. Citi is definitely getting tougher with approvals, at least for the Citi Premier card. While we don’t know for sure what new rules might have been put into place, we are seeing many data points that show many people being denied.

In the article about the new Premier bonus, I warned that there’s a rumored 3/6 rule for Citi, but more recently you probably need to be at 1/6 or even no cards in the last six months. But even that apparently is not enough. There’s are several people who have reported being at 0/6 and were still denied by Citi.

Some of the reasons given so fare by Citi are:

  • too many revolving accounts
  • last inquiry is too recent
  • not enough credit utilization


Reading through all the data points, I can’t find anything that hints at any new hard rules for approvals. It looks like the things that matter most are the number of total revolving accounts and recent inquires. Most likely Citi will combine those two indicators when considering your application.

Let us know in the comments if you have applied recently and share your data points. Also please share any theories that you might have as to what Citi is up to when it comes to approvals.

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Based in NYC. Points/miles enthusiast for years and actively writing about it for the last 6+ years at Danny the Deal Guru. I'm always looking out for deals. Making a few bucks is always nice, but the traveling is by far the best part of this business.

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  1. I have not had this card for over 2+ years so I thought I’d apply for it again on 7/9. Despite having a credit score of 800+ I still got an instant rejection. It’s been an entire month and I never received a letter explaining the rejection reason. I’m wondering if calling their reconsideration line is worth it?

  2. I used to get denied for this card 2+ years ago every time I applied, and it’s always because my credit profile does not have a recent installment loan information (only have had credit cards in the past 15 years). I got approved this time instantly with 1/6

  3. Instantly approved at 1/6 inquiries. Last month was declined for Wells Fargo (WF) Visa Sig card for the 3rd time (1st in a year) at 0/6 last month for having too many revolving accounts (~40) and ratio of accounts with 0 balance in the last 6 months (too high? too low?). Is WF getting tougher with approvals?

    • I did. I got a lady (who confessed to be a bit hard of hearing as I was giving her info!) who advised me that she was unable to override a rejection by the computer. I was so tempted to then ask her why she even had a job in that event, but I thought that would do nothing but get me in trouble with Citi. I any event, I simply gave up. I suppose I should try again to see if I can get someone who is a bit more responsive and proactive.

      • My wife was instantly approved for the Premier. I was declined for an AA card and I called in as well. Same phone call as Howard. My decline letter that Citi could not verify certain information on my application. I called in to the reconsideration line. The representative said that they could not verify ANY information that I submitted on my application — my name, address, Social Security number, income, etc. This seemed odd because I logged into my Citi account to submit the application and verified that all of my online profile data was current. Sorry, the decision cannot be reversed. I suspect that there is a bigger issue at work here — IT problem?

  4. Declined for too many recent inquiries- I’ve been mortgage shopping and had 3 pulls for that, but thought they should be combined/not count? I was going to call, but don’t think I’ve seen any successful recons?

    • I thought as well… but, depends on timing. I had a line of credit app and supposedly any related inquiry within 14 days of that would be combined. 3 months might be a bit of a stretch.

  5. Premier 4/20 application denied. Was a 1/28(!) prior to the day I applied, but did apply for two other cards in an AOR immediately before applying and being shocked to be rejected. Silver lining, was for 60k bonus. Maybe I’ll give it a run in November and have it be my first card pass.

  6. Denied for Custom Cash — 1/24. Reason given…..too many recent application. The application they were referring to was made just a week before.

  7. Applied for Citi Premier 2 days ago. Rejected with (i) 3 800+ credit ratings, (ii) 1-2% utilization percentage, and (iii) offer to reconsideration desk to surrender credit from another Citi card. Rejection letter, among other things, basically said I was using too much of my credit and too many cards had balances. I usually use as many cards as possible (with nominal charges) to keep them active and the issuer “happy”, so that excuse is pretty lame. And as stated, only have a 1-2% utilization. [Fair disclosure: I do have a decent number of recent cards and inquiries. Thus, there likely is something to the possibility of an unconscionable variant to the 5/24 rule.]

  8. Approved. 1/6 and 17 cards before approval. Total utilization almost always under 1%. All scores in low 800s.

    I have a $10K AA Miles Ahead savings account with Citi. Opened for bonus. Should probably move except maybe it helps at times like this and interest rates elsewhere are pretty low.

  9. Auto declined with personal cards 4/24, 4/12 (1 of the 4 is authorized user), 1/6.
    EX has 3 inquiries, most recent was 6 months, 10 days ago,
    EQ has 1 inquiry, 10 months ago refinance,
    TU has 8/24, 6/12, 2/6,

    • That is very interesting. If they see you dont have much utilization they figure you will do this for the bonus only. You may be like me in that usually I pay inter cycle to keep utilization very low. I have Premier and Double Cash but this is something new.

  10. Denied for Premier for too many inquiries. Probably new accounts as well, don’t exactly recall now. I asked to have it escalated, and still no. FICO 850/850 a lot of the time.

  11. Tried today and was denied. I’ve gone 10 for 12 in approved applications over the last 8 months. Last month I talked my way through the reconsideration line into an approval with Barclays for the 75K Choice Card after being denied twice before. After that I was denied for a Chase Business card. I haven’t had a Citi card for over 3 years so I thought why not try. No go with too many recent openings as the reason. So with the last 2 applications being denied, I guess it’s time to lay low for a few months before I cast out again. No Citi cards for me but I’m sure that will change.

    • I thinkthe banks are nervous abotu new cardholders who have many new/recent accounts. They wonder if it will be a quick bustout.

  12. I was approved for the 80k offer also at 1/6 (really 1/24 but that’s another story). I am unable to get any Citi business cards despite a well established business so I was pleasantly surprised. I have also had a Citi Costco card for about 4 years.


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