Credit Card Ceilings


I got offer in email for Airtran credit card today (2 round trip flights, 2 business class upgrades, no fee for first year) that expires Oct 4th. I had to jump on it! I had been using Ultimate Reward points to transfer to Southwest for free domestic travel. But UR points are more flexible than that – I can transfer them to British Airways for travel outside the US, or to many other points programs.

To the best of my knowledge, Southwest/Airtran points are really only good for US and Caribbean travel. So rather than use up my remaining 35k UR points in the event we want to fly within the US, the Airtran credits are a great alternative for domestic travel. [To be fair, the credits have more hurdles for redemption than regular points, but we live within a 2-4 hour drive of 3 Southwest/Airtran airports and figured we could handle it. When we used Southwest credits -not points- for travel to Florida, we flew out of an airport 4 hours away, and tacked on a visit to the in-laws, who live an hour from that airport.]

So once I applied, I got the message that further consideration was needed before I could be approved. I called the reconsideration line right away (1-888-609-7805) and immediately was able to speak to someone. I explained to her that I had applied for a card yesterday, before I got the email for the Airtran limited time offer. I asked what I could do to help secure the approval for the new card. Here’s what happened.

I hit the Chase “card ceiling”. The representative told me that Chase doesn’t normally approve you for more than 4 or 5 personal credit cards. I already had 5 older cards, along with one new one from yesterday that put me at 6. I offered to close one of my other cards to stay within their limit.
– 4 existing accounts (Slate, Southwest, Sapphire, British Airways – I did have 5 but offered to close the Freedom card)
– 1 approval yesterday (Intercontinental Hotel Group)
– 1 new approval today (Airtran)

I also had to reduce outstanding credit amount. Without getting into too much detail about my credit limits, lets just summarize that they wanted me to reduce my total available credit by $9k – which is the sum of reducing credit on other cards plus the new credit from the Airtran card.
– closed card freed up some credit
– also volunteered to give up credit on another card (Southwest)

While I had read on some other travel/points blogs that the Chase card ceiling was a normal occurance, I had never personally run into this before. Luckily the rep on the phone was pleasant and helpful and I was able to get approved for the Airtran card less than a day after the IHG card.

Now the only drawback is that I really can’t do any more Chase applications for a while. I’ve had three new cards in just over three months. I need to look into other opportunities.. in fact my next card should be a Mastercard or American Express – all of my other cards are VISA. We’ll see what opportunities arise in the next several months!

Categories: Credit Cards

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