Editor’s Note: Here’s a Saturday bonus article since I didn’t technically write an article yesterday
Most of the time when I get mail from Citi it’s junk mail like offers for balance transfers, adding an authorized user or those paper checks. Does anyone actually use those stupid checks that probably charge 30% interest? I sure don’t and any time I see a letter from Citi, I open it, scan it quickly and almost always throw it away. But the other day, I got an offer that was actually pretty enticing.
It read something like this: “Citi is offering you the chance to increase the limit on your Citi AAdvantage Card ending in XXXX. There is no cost and there will be no inquiry into your credit for requesting an increase. Sign on now and receive an instant decision.”
Increase my Capacity
I had to re-read the offer a couple times before it finally sank in. Citi was going to let me increase the limit on my card without doing a hard inquiry into my credit. For a professional credit card churner like me, this is the equivalent of wining
the lottery a scratcher. Credit utilization is a big part of your score(30%) and the way it’s calculated is by taking all of your open balances and dividing that number by your total credit limits. On average, the lower your credit card utilization rate, the higher your score will be.
As a side note, this part of your score can be easily manipulated if you pay off all your balances(and keep them low) 2-3 weeks before you apply for a line of credit. Try to get as close to 0% utilization as possible and you’ll maximize your chances of being approved.
Hard Inquiry = Not Worth It
Nearly all banks allow you to request an increased credit line but they almost always do a hard inquiry onto your report. If you only have one or two really old cards, this might be worth it(since inquiries drop off your account completely after 2 years) but in my view you might as well just open a new card if you’re going to waste an inquiry. Credit limit increases are usually in the low thousands range if you’re lucky while you can easily get a $10,000 limit on your first card with Chase or Citi and that will help your score tremendously over the long run.
Getting Near My Citi Credit Limit
The other reason why I really liked this offer is because I thought I was almost maxed out with my Citi credit. I have 9 Citi Cards open right now(2 Preferred, 1 Executive, 1 AA Amex, 4 AA Visa and 1 AA Visa Business) that have also netted me over 500k points in sign-up bonuses. So it’s safe to say I’ve been a pretty happy customer with Citi. But during my last application for the Citi Executive Card, I had to call the re-consideration line and shift around some credit in order to get approved. It wasn’t a huge hassle but by increasing the limits on my current cards, it should give me some wiggle room on my next application.
Ready to Give it a Try?
I got a targeted mailing for this offer but it should be available to anyone. Even though the mailer I got was for a specific card, I was able to apply for credit limit increases on all of my cards. All you have to do is long onto creditlimitincrease.citi.com and make sure you read the fine print. Unfortunately I was so excited at seeing all of my cards listed I just started applying without reading the fine print for each and every card.
For my Preferred and AA Visa cards, the fine print read:
It’s easy to find out if you qualify for a credit limit increase. A credit bureau report will not be requested and you will receive an instant decision.
For my Executive Card though, the fine print read:
It’s easy to find out if you qualify for a credit limit increase. By clicking “Continue” you understand that we will obtain a credit bureau report to evaluate your request. Our credit department will review your request within 24 hours.
In my haste, I failed to notice the part about the credit report and applied for the increase on the Executive Card first. Once I selected the other cards, I noticed that the text looked a little different and went back and re-read the fine print only to find out I had just given permission to Citi to obtain a credit report. DAMNIT! It wasn’t a huge deal since it was only one inquiry and they ended up doubling my credit limit but all the more reason to pay attention. I tried contacting Citi via phone/e-mail right after I submitted but there was nothing they could do.
I ended up being able to increase the limits on all of my cards by anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000.
Editor’s Note: I have no financial relationship with Citi other than the fact that they have indirectly paid for a lot of my Hawaiian vacations through their credit card sign-up bonuses. Go Citi!
Readers, do you own any Citi cards that you think might benefit from a credit line increase? A lot of people don’t go for these offers since they don’t ever spend anywhere near their limit but it actually helps your score to have a higher limit.
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-Harry @ PF Pro