If you decide to play the frequent flyer game with any regularity, especially if you adhere to an app-o-rama strategy, there will inevitably come a time that you will be denied a credit card.
A perfect credit score, low utilization rate, years of history with the card issuer and great standing…it all goes out the window at some point and you’ll be left with a denial letter or email, usually stating something along the lines of “too many recent inquiries”.
You may be tempted to hang your head and rue a missed opportunity at even more miles…
As any seasoned veteran will tell you, you haven’t earned your stripes until you’ve made the reconsideration phone call!
You may be nervous or timid about making the reconsideration phone call, and that is understandable. But don’t worry, it gets easier each time, and I can happily say that after many of these calls, I’m still batting 100%.
Just like everything else in life, its all about confidence; you feeling confident in your answers and reasoning, which in turn makes the credit card companies feel confident in you as a customer.
So follow the rules below, crush the reconsideration phone call, and watch your miles balance go up, up, up!
1. Chat up the reps.
Seems simple, but these folks put up with a ton of crap each and every day. Just being nice and pleasant already puts you ahead of the curve and if you treat them like a real human with an actual personality, you’re in the top 10%.
When I call in, it always somehow comes up that I’m living in Japan. Usually, the reps find this interesting and enjoys asking me further questions about it (how long have you been doing that, do you enjoy it, where do you live in Japan, etc.).
If you’ve read any of this blog, you know I love to talk and so I happily oblige them with some friendly chatter. Not only does it make the phone call more enjoyable for me, but I’m willing to bet it that they enjoy it even more than me.
No, not because I’m some super interesting, awesome person but as soon as they hang up with me, they’ll be fielding another call from a potential pain in the ass, so the longer they can converse pleasantly, the better.
Is this the reason that I’ve also gotten approved? Probably not, but the reps are empowered to make decisions so coming off as friendly and good-natured certainly can’t hurt!
2. Always go in with a plan.
If you have a few cards with a company, oftentimes they won’t mind approving you for a new card but they might not want to give you more total credit.
To remedy this, they might ask you to move some of your credit from one card to the new card that you are applying for or to close out an old card and use that credit line for the new card.
Know ahead of time which card(s) you would prefer to move some credit from or which card you’d be willing to close. Don’t offer to do this right away, but also don’t go in blind.
Know how you plan to answer these basic questions should they arise and it will make the rep that much more inclined to approve your request. Bumbling idiots don’t inspire confidence with creditors.
3. Know a few benefits about each card.
If you’re like me and don’t wish to close out any accounts, know the key benefits about each card.
That way, instead of simply saying “I like having all those pretty cards in my wallet” you can say “I really enjoy using all my Chase cards because X card gives me _________, Y card is great for __________, and Z I use for ___________.”
Real life example:
I love my Chase Sapphire Preferred because it has no foreign transaction fees so I always use it when I travel abroad. I always use my Chase Ink Bold for all my office supplies, since I get a 5x bonus for shopping at places like Staples, and the Chase United Explorer is my go-to card when I’m buying tickets on United since I get 2x for every $1 spent. And since I live in New York, a United hub, I’m always flying with them!
4. Never mention the signup bonus.
Sure, the real reason you might want the new card is because of the signup bonus, but never tell the rep that. Credit card companies don’t want people who are in for the quick “wham, bam, thank you credit card man”, they want loyal customers who will spend on their cards.
This is what makes rule #3 so important. Give the representative a reason or two that you need the new card (other than the signup bonus) and you’ll impress the rep and move a lot closer to a successful reconsideration call.
5. Don’t give up a credit line unless they explicitly tell you have to.
In rule #2, I told you to be prepared to move credit or close a different card, but this doesn’t mean you have offer it outright. Oftentimes, a rep will politely steer you towards closing an account (“Are there any accounts that you have with us that you may not use as much or may not need?”).
Instead of getting flustered or panicky and giving up an account right away, hit them with the reasons you outlined in rule #3 and tell the rep why you like each card.
Sometimes just this little bit of knowledge and confidence will be enough for the rep to grant you the new card without shifting any credit or closing an account. If that happens, great! You’ve really scored on your reconsideration call.
Other times, they may say that you they just can’t give you any more total credit. If that is the case, always try to first move some credit from one of your other cards to the new card but keep them both open.
If that doesn’t work, only then agree to close one of your accounts to get the new card.
6. If you get a rep that is unhelpful, incompetent, or just plain mean, hang up and call back.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is panicking and thinking that they have to make a decision at that instant. You don’t!
If the reconsideration call isn’t going the way you want it to, either because the representative is refusing to listen to you, seems unwilling to give you the card, or simply doesn’t understand what is going on, then just tell them thank you, hang up, and try again.
There are thousands of customer service representatives out there, so it’s not worth your time or aggravation to deal with one that isn’t working for you. Don’t feel compelled to agree to anything at that moment.
Hang up, collect yourself, and call back. I’ve done this multiple times, and every time, I’ve been glad I have.
Ok, so what are you waiting for? You’ve read the rules…you can’t be stopped! Make your plan and get to crushing your reconsideration phone call.
Do you have any rules or methods you follow when making a reconsideration call? Have you had success in the past? By all means, please share it below in the comments for the rest of the EPoP community so that we can all see our mile balances soar!
Citi has recently become much better at reconsideration phone calls. Feel free to call the number instead of writing.
Chase Credit Card Reconsideration
- 1-888-245-0625 (reconsideration line for personal cards, open 7 days)
- 1-800-453-9719 (reconsideration line for business cards, only open M-F)
Citibank Credit Card Reconsideration
American Express Credit Card Reconsideration
- 1-866-314-0237 (application reconsideration department)
- 1-877-399-3083 (new accounts)
Bank of America Credit Card Reconsideration
- 1-866-458-8805 (credit analyst and reconsideration)
- 1-877-721-9405 (application status)
Barclays Credit Card Reconsideration
- 1-866-408-4064 (credit analyst) M-F 8am-5pm
image courtesy of Emily E. Cline