Lessons Learned From Least Successful Credit Card Churn Ever

Two weeks ago I applied for 4 credit cards.  I am keeping things modest given the MS landscape these days.  I applied for:

  1. Chase Southwest Business Card
  2. Chase Southwest Personal Card
  3. Barclay Arrival Plus
  4. Citi American Airlines Business Card

Eventually I was approved for Citi AA Business Card and the Chase SW Personal.  I was outright denied on the Barclay Arrival and I am still waiting approval on SW Business.  In the process, I did learn a few things that I wanted to share.

First,  In the past I could pretty easily churn cards with Barclay.  With the US Airways card for example, I would wait at least 6 months between cards, cancel the first one, wait a day, then apply for a new US Airways card.  I assumed that pattern would also hold true for the Barclay Arrival Plus card.  About a year ago I downgraded my Arrival Plus to an Arrival to avoid the annual fee.  The day before my churn I canceled the Arrival card.  Long story short it turns out that Barclay did not even pull my credit and straight up denied me because I previously had the product.  I called their recon line to ask what was up.  They told me that because I have just closed the same product within 30 days they could not approve me per policy.  The CSR explained that because I could reopen the closed account within 30 days I needed to wait that long before applying for the Arrival Plus.  Lessen learned here:

  • For Barclay’s cards cancel at least 30 days prior application for new card.

Second, Chase can be hit or miss in dealing with them.  I did get an email about two weeks after my churn approving the personal card.  However, the week prior I got a denial on the business card.  So I called their recon line.  Or at least I attempted to, because I kept getting an automated voice message saying the office was closed.   I called 3 or 4 times during various days and times and did not get an answer.  I eventually called at 5:00 AM PST and got an answer.  It was not a fun call.  Here is a sample of a couple questions I was asked.

Ultimately, the phone call was not successful.  After 26 minutes on the phone, the CSR sent the application up for further review. Lessen learned here:

  • Wait with Chase, don’t call recon line.
  • Consider lowering credit limits on existing Chase cards prior to applications to improve odds of instant approval.
  • If you have to call have good reason for all the cards you have recently applied for.

Last,  Citi is my new favorite bank.  They have become really easy to deal with compared to Chase.  In years past the opposite was true.  The AA business card was approved within a week after my application.  Citi called me to inform me that the card was approved but they needed to move some credit line around final approval.   They needed permission to do that hence the pleasant phone call. Lessen learned here:

  • Cancel or lower credit limits with Citi prior to applications.

This last lesson is actually something that I’ve known, I just forgot to do it.  I also think it is something that is a good habit to get into prior to applying for any additional cards with a bank.  My experience is that most banks are looking at the total credit line they have already extended to you.  If you are at the max, then you will not get an instant approval and a phone call may be in order to get the approval done.  Lowering your credit line can help ease the process a bit.

In the end this could still end up being a really successful churn if the SW business card gets approved.  If not, oh well, live and learn.  The hobby is constantly evolving and so must we.



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