For the first time in years, I got outright denied for a credit card…
In this post:
Why I applied for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card
At the moment the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® (review) is offering a welcome bonus of 50,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $2,500 within three months. Given all the great uses of AAdvantage miles, I value those miles at 1.5 cents each, making the bonus worth $750.
Best of all, many people should be eligible for this card, given the non-restrictive eligibility requirements on co-branded AAdvantage cards. You’re eligible for this card as long as you haven’t received a new cardmember bonus on this exact card in the past 48 months — it’s fine if you have or have had other Citi or Barclays AAdvantage products.
The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card application process
The good news is that the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card application process is pretty straightforward. Citi has among the shortest credit card application processes, and there’s a single page of information you have to provide, including your name, address, social security number, date of birth, income, rent or mortgage payment, and AAdvantage number.
This took me all of 60 seconds to complete, so applications don’t get much easier than that.
As a reminder, Citi has fairly few consistent restrictions when it comes to card approvals. There are two main things to be aware of:
- You can be approved for at most one Citi card every eight days, and at most two Citi credit cards every 65 days
- You can only earn the bonus on a Citi AAdvantage Card if you haven’t earned a bonus on that exact card in the past 48 months
My Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card denial
Applying for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card was quick… and so was my denial. Once my application was submitted, I didn’t receive a message stating that I had been approved, or that Citi would need more time to process my application… rather I received an instant denial.
Shortly after this, I received an email containing the reasons my application wasn’t approved. This letter explained that Citi uses a scoring system when deciding whether to approve people, and I was denied for two reasons:
- My credit report shows a high amount of unused credit compared to my available credit lines
- My credit report shows that I recently opened one or more new accounts
I don’t remember the last time that I was denied for a credit card, let alone that I was instantly rejected for a card, so I was caught off guard a bit by this decision.
My take on my Citi credit card rejection
Credit card issuers all have some quirks when it comes to approving people for cards. Seemingly with no rhyme or reason, people with high credit scores and pretty good incomes are sometimes getting rejected for some cards.
Specific to my rejection on the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card, I think the two reasons provided are interesting:
- It’s unusual to get rejected for having a low credit utilization, since low credit utilization is a major factor that contributes toward a great credit score, since it shows you can use your cards responsibly
- Yes, I have “recently” applied for “one or more accounts,” though that’s not very specific, and I wonder what the actual cutoff is for Citi
I suppose it’s logical enough, but Citi is seemingly targeting consumers that they think will be most profitable, rather than consumers who are necessarily most credit worthy. Of course card issuers make money when consumers finance charges, I’d imagine that Citi is assuming that those with higher credit utilizations are more likely to be financing charges.
I have no regrets applying for the card. You win some and you lose some, and a vast majority of the time I do pretty okay with my credit card acquisitions. 😉 A credit card denial has a limited impact on your credit score, so an inquiry isn’t something that I even consider when decided whether to apply for a card.
The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card has a nice welcome bonus. My credit score is near perfect and I almost always get approved for cards, but that wasn’t the case here.
I was instantly denied for the card, apparently partly because I have a lot of unused credit. While that contributes to a great credit score, it worked against me here. I have no regrets applying for the card, and while I wish I had been approved, this is at least an interesting data point, and something new for me.
Hopefully others applying for the card have better luck!
If you’ve applied for this card recently, what was your experience like? Has anyone else been denied for having too low of a credit utilization?