I really turned the heat up on the credit card rewards game in 2015. Previously, I was only applying for about 2-3 cards per year. I applied for 4 in the first half of 2015, and then for 4 more in September, putting a total of 7 inquiries on my Experian credit report. Not too bad, in my mind, and the total take in sign-up bonuses this year was about 300,000 airline miles and 115,000 hotel points, plus 2 free Hyatt nights. Not bad. My wife’s numbers are 125,000 airline miles, 215,000 hotel points, and 2 free Hyatt nights.
It has been three months since I my last applications, and I settled on three new ones: the Hilton HHonors Surpass Amex, the Mariott co-branded Chase card, and the Citi ThankYou Premier. I have been wanting to get into either Amex Membership rewards or the Citi ThankYou rewards, but since there wasn’t a good Amex EveryDay offer and the Hilton offer was currently better than usual, I decided to go for the Citi card.
I filled out and submitted all three applications yesterday, and much to my surprise, both the Chase and Amex ones went straight through to instant approval, but the Citi one was flat out denied. This is the first time I have gotten an instant rejection, and I was stunned. My FICO score is about 755, and I have a impeccable payment history. However, neither of these were the reason for rejection. I called the automated help line and the computer kindly told me that Citi’s reason for rejection was “too many recent applications.” Dang. I had waited over 90 days since the last round, and although 7 applications is pretty high, it’s not 12-20 that I know some people often have on their report.
At this point my plan is to wait for the notice in the mail, and then give the reps a call. I am not expecting much, but it gives me some hope that maybe I can talk them into giving me a card. My plan was to actually keep this card, or to downgrade it to a Citi ThankYou Preferred, which has no annual fee. This whole experience will make me way more cautious about applying for anything in another 3 months.