My April 2013 App-o-Rama Recap: The Best Laid Plans…(Part 2)

Posted By Trav

ugly doll

[This is the continuation of my April App-o-Rama recap.  You can read Part 1 here.]

Now that you’ve heard all about the good things that happened during this App-o-Rama, let’s dive in to the bad things that happened, and the lessons I learned from them.

For those keeping score at home, we are at three full approvals and one at a lower level. This is where it starts to get ugly.

Barclays Arrival World Mastercard

In the past, I have only ever been denied 1 credit card, and it was with Barclays. During my last App-o-Rama, I was denied the Barclays Frontier credit card, with the reason being “that I already had enough credit with Barclays” (I only have 2 cards with them).

This time, I figured I’d apply for the Arrival card and then if I got denied, I’d call up and offer to cancel one of my other cards and move that credit limit to this new card.

Foolproof, right?

Well, maybe for Chase, but not for Barclays.

I called in 4, yes FOUR, different times and attempted to get them to change their mind and was shot down each time.

They were hung up on how many cards I had applied for in the last year, and each time they asked me for an explanation for it. I tried every answer I could think of, but they still would not budge.

The last time, after he told me I was still denied, I even asked what answer I could have given him to the “too many recent applications” question that would have made him approve me and he laughed and said “none.”

So, while Chase will allow me to have 10+ credit card at a time, it looks like Barclays is really tightening up.

They are focusing on how many total apps you’ve had in the last year, not just apps Barclays and not just the last few months, so be aware.

Status: Denied, even after 4 phone calls.

Lesson learned: Barclays is going to be really tough for me going forward, and I might just be out of luck with them (although, knowing me, I’ll still keep applying…so, did I really learn my lesson?)

Total haul: 0 points and tons of headaches.

American Express Business Gold Rewards card

And just as I thought the Barclays Arrival was a ton of headaches, this card may have it beat. This card wasn’t on my initial list of possibilities, but when the bonus jumped to 50k, I decided to add it.

After not getting initially approved, I called up Amex to ask about my status and was told that was denied due to a collection on my credit report which made my credit score was too low.

Wait, what? I’ve got a collection on my credit report?

As someone who is religious about their credit, I knew this couldn’t be right, so I hopped on to Credit Karma to check my report, and sure enough, there it was, a collection from Verizon Wireless.

And while I don’t want to bore you with the details, this rogue collection has popped up two times before on my credit report even though I’ve never had Verizon Wireless and had it removed the other two times.

Sidenote: The collection showed up on my report for all the other cards as well and knocked my score down to around 680, but I was still able to approved for all them. Interesting, and not exactly sure what it means but thought I’d pass it along.

I was told that once I had it removed, I could call in and ask to re-submit my application. I had it removed (not a painless process, I might add), and called in to have my application re-evaluated.

Fast forward two weeks to yesterday, and still I hadn’t heard anything from them. After calling in, I told once again that I was denied because of a low FICO score and a collection on my account.

Turns out they never pulled my credit a 2nd time, but just denied me by looking at the original credit report again!

After explaining this, the rep said that he understood, but that they wouldn’t be able to approve me and I should try again in 3 months. 30 wasted minutes later, I finally acquiesced, but not after I told him how much I liked Chase’s reconsideration line!

Status: Not approved due to a mistake on my credit report.

Lesson learned: Always check your credit report before applying. While the collection on there wasn’t my fault, it was my fault for not checking beforehand and seeing it on there.

If I had done this, I could have taken care of it before applying and probably would have gotten approved.

Total haul: 0 Amex points and a sour attitude. Silver lining: I won’t have to worry about the $5,000 minimum spend requirement.

Final Word(s)

Basically, this AoR didn’t turn out in any way like I expected it. I was approved for cards that I didn’t think I’d get, and not approved for the ones I thought would be pretty painless.

But, that’s how this whole hobby works, and while I’m disappointed not to get approved for every card, this day will come at some point for everyone.

In the end, I can’t be too upset about pulling in another 50k AA miles, 2 roundtrip tickets on AirTran, 100k Hilton points, and 60k Club Carlson points.

Oh, and I learned that no matter how safe you think your credit score is, ALWAYS check it right before applying. A mistake could easily have crept on.

Have you done an AoR recently? If so, what cards gave you the most trouble and which ones were painless? Has anyone else have problems with Barclays recently?

(photo courtesy of JasonCross)


  1. Ken says:

    You have 10 Chase cards?

    1. Trav says:

      @Ken- I have had 10 total, but not all at the same time. Also, I have about half business cards, half personal cards. Funny thing is, I use them all and I know people with many more than that!

      1. Ken says:

        Oh Ok. I was just going to ask what your secret was. I currently have 5 cards and only 1 of them is a business card. But, two Freedom cards I’ve had since 2006 and 2007 so I’ve been hesitant to close either of them. Will it affect my score that much to close the 2007 one? I have a BOA card from 2001 that I only keep open for the history too.

        1. Trav says:

          @Ken- It shouldn’t hurt you too much, depending on other cards that you have. Remember, it is the average age of accounts, so you could actually figure out just how much it would affect it by doing the math for your average age of accounts.

          And also, the average age is only a small percentage of your score, so as long as the rest of your report is healthy, you’ll be ok.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Good to read about how the Barclays thing actually happened. Not looking good for me getting it in three months…ugh I’ve opened about 10 new personal accounts in the last twelve months and what I find interesting is that they look at new accounts and not just inquiries since I have only two both from Barclays (one prior to applying for the Arrival card). on my TU report. Maybe waiting until the last app passes will let it get approved? I guess I’m not too fussed about a hard pull on TU since they are the only one to pull that.

    1. Trav says:

      @Jeremy- Yeah, the main problem for me is that all the cards seem to pull TransUnion now in this region except for Citi. Which is probably the reason that I got denied, since I have so many TransUnion inquiries at this point.

      Interestingly enough, they all used to pull Experian instead of TransUnion, but that has changed over the last 6 months.

      1. Paul says:

        Having TU is a problem??? It’s a @$#damn blessing. You can do bumpage and get all you TU and EQ hard pulls removed. The one you cant – EX – is where 90% of my pulls come from. I have no pulls listed on either TU or EQ.

        1. Trav says:

          @Paul- Care to explain what a bumpage is and how you do it? If I could get some marks wiped off TransUnion, that’d certainly help. I still get pulls from EX as well, and it used to be 90% EX, but now, things are shifting towards TU.

  3. Wolfgang says:

    Man, your Facebook popup is seriously annoying. Almost makes me want to take you off my feeds.

    1. Trav says:

      @Wolfgang- My apologies. I’m looking for a way to make it not pop up so often.

      1. Expat Sean says:

        Hmm, unless there is something different, the “pop up” for me was just another post in my feed. You can easily ignore it, or block it all together. Personally I certainly prefer to see Trav’s stuff, that I actually “liked”, more than random ads for car companies or consumer products. I actually forgot about part two of this series until I clicked through from facebook.

        1. Trav says:

          @Expat Sean- Glad you are following on Facebook! I agree that following a website you like on facebook is always a nice reminder.

  4. jacimse says:

    You just need to get that collection in order and stop letting VZ do that. That’s redic, especially since you’ve never had them before! I’d be pissed, especially discovering that during an AOR. I just opened 3 more this morning. Brings me to 23 cards currently open! Most I’ve ever had. Well spaced out between all of the issuers except BOA which only has 2 of them. I’m up to 6 Chase cards now and today’s (the 6th) was the hardest they’ve ever been on me. Made me reduce credit limits on 3 different cards. Basically went down $5500 total among 3 cards, in order for them to issue me $3k on a new card. Apparently they had too much extended to me, even though my income has only gone up since I started opening cards. Keep trying! Get that VZ mess cleaned up and give it a few months.

    1. Trav says:

      @jacimse- Yeah, I was pretty pissed. The problem is, I’ve made them take it off 2 times before (this is the 3rd) and it doesn’t have to do anything with VZ, it’s the collection agencies that keep selling it to new agencies, and that’s when it comes back on my report.

      23 total cards? Wow…that’s quite a haul. Surprised you are finding cards to still open! And yeah, Chase is pretty amazing about being super flexible and lenient.

  5. Bobo says:

    Barclays denied me, a first in four years. I also called twice, each time one rep said “do you know you have received 24 credit cards in two years”…I asked incredulously, “is that a lot”

    1. Trav says:

      @Bobo- And their response was….?

      1. Bobo says:

        She said of course it was too many, I also have Barclays and NFL Card, it was so funny when I acted like everyone applies for 24 credit cards, don’t they…

        1. Trav says:

          @Bobo- Yeah, that is great. I mean, only 24? Have you taken a months off or something?

          1. Dave says:

            Next time tell the rep why are you surprised, after all you bombard us with television commercials, direct mailings, Internet ads etc. isn’t getting the cards what you want us to do? I don’t remember any disclaimers in the adds defining how many is to many so why are you surprised I have 24?

          2. Trav says:

            @Dave- It’s true. The most frustrating thing: Getting denied a card and then receiving a mailer the next day to apply for that card.

  6. Carl P. says:

    I was denied (also fist time) by Barclays when I applied for US Air card. I also had two cards with the. I was given the same reason. I didn’t bother calling, but I did cancel my NFL Card. I had spent $1,000 on it and earned a $400 statement credit.

    Barclay 1 – Me 1

    1. Trav says:

      @Carl P.- Yeah, seems like Barclays is being sticklers with most people. It’s a shame.

  7. I had trouble with Barclay too. They cited both too short of a credit history (I’m only 21) and too many inquiries for me. Oh well.

    1. Trav says:

      @Point Princess- Seems to be a theme here!

  8. Mrig says:

    One week ago, I applied for 3 cards – Citi Prestige, BofA Virgin Atlantic, and Barclays US Airways. All three were denied because of too many accounts in the past 12 months. I called the reconsideration line right away. No success – all three still denied. I regrouped and came up with a script of why I was a good customer and why I should be approved. A few hours later, I called BofA and did my little monologue. Agent says thank you for calling to explain your recent accounts. We can move credit from one of your other cards and approve this one. I become all energized. I call Barclays…monologue…agent says you seem to be on top of your credit history…approved with new credit. I’m on cloud nine. I called Citi…gave my little speech…denied. I take my bruised ego and write a letter to the Citi Executive Department and mail it. And then I thought, let me try reconsideration again. I give an extra thorough explanation…and success. This agent approved me. Up until these applications, all others in the past were approved with ease. This time, it was only three cards…but it was the most exciting churn.

    1. Trav says:

      @Mrig- Wow, persistance really does pay off…Congrats on that! Care to elaborate on what you said so that maybe others can benefit?

      And I’m really surprised about the Barclays approval. The other two, BoA and Citi, seem to be decent nowadays with reconsideration, but as many others have said, Barclays is tough to crack. Job well done!

  9. jordan1 says:

    Last week I got the United Explorer Card for 30,000, and after secure messaging chase- got bumped up to the 50,000+ 5,000 for adding on another user
    Club Carlson 85,000- Sorry Travis
    Chase Saphire Preferred- 40,000
    Amex Hilton- 40,000
    Barclays US Airways- 35,000

    1. Trav says:

      @jordan1- Good to see the Explorer bump still works. And no reason to be sorry about getting the 85k, I’m glad someone was able to get it!

  10. Betta says:

    Just wondering from Jordan1 . . . How many cc apps had you done in the 6 mos/1 year before applying and getting approved for club carlson?

    Like to ask same question to anyone who got approved for 85,000 club Carlson? Thanks!

    1. Jay K says:

      I did an AOR in late Feb. Applied for 7 cards and got approved for all 7. The Club Carlson card wasn’t an instant approval but I got an email of approval after 3-4 days.

      The last AOR that I had done was in July, 2012.
      So, I had 7 months of no inquiries. Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised that I got approved for all…
      I’d say you’d need an excellent score and atleast 4 months of no inquiries to have a good chance of getting it.

      P.S- Heya Trav!
      P.P.S – Agree with that other poster. You’ve gotta figure out a way to disable that FB notification for people who’ve already “liked” you. Oh and you’ve got mail.

      1. Trav says:

        @Jay K- Nicely done…did you get approved for the Club Carlson Premier card with the 85k bonus? Yeah, I might have to give it a few extra months before my next AoR, maybe wait 7 months instead of 3-4. But then again, I get pretty antsy!

    2. I got the CC 85K bonus. I did 6 cards my last churn (5 approved.. grr Barclay!!), and 3 the one before that. I had been churning approx every 4 months. Don’t remember off the top of my head the churn before that.

      1. Trav says:

        @Point Princess- Lucky girl, snagging the 85k. Looks like we’ve both run in to a snag with Barclays!

        1. jamie says:

          You probably got approved for the lower version of the Carlson because of your erroneously low credit score. My husband just got the club carlson, but we are brand new to churning. He is a green card holder with a good credit history (although we made the mistake of canceling a B of A card he had for like 15 years, but it doesn’t seem to have caused any problems since there is nothing wrong with his credit). I had him sign up for the Chase BA Visa end of last year, and they called him immediately to ask a couple of quick questions and approved on the spot. Then we waited something like 4months while I learned and developed a plan. Then signed him up for Carlson, CSP, and Amex PRG. Amex approved instantly, the other pending and then automatically approved within less than a week with no phone call.
          We applied for the Carlson one right away, because we know from others’ reports that it would only get harder to be approved if we waited until getting lots of other cards. We’ve had US Bank as our primary bank for over 10 years, though, so I was always hoping that would help.

          1. Trav says:

            @jamie- Yeah, that mark on my credit score certainly didn’t help things, I’m sure. However, even when I called and told them about the mistake on my credit report, they still said that they would like to see me have a longer history with US Bank (this was my first card) before giving me the higher version card. Who knows the real reason, but again, I’m sure that problem with my score certainly didn’t help.

            Good for you to get your husband in on the action. Looks like he’s started off well!

  11. Glenn says:

    Well, the only interest I have in Barclay’s I think is in churning the US Air card(s) to get what we all assume will eventually be American Airlines miles. Most of the other cards aren’t of that much interest so if I get denied, oh well!

    1. Trav says:

      @Glenn- I agree the USAirways is my favorite card of the bunch, but the Arrival card with a $400 travel credit isn’t too shabby, neither is the Frontier card. I wouldn’t say I’m heartbroken after this AoR, seeing as I really wanted the Citi card, the Club Carlson card, and the AirTran card, but I am a little bummed. $400 is $400, after all.

  12. Keith C says:

    Thanks for sharing your story Trav. I’m getting close to a small app-o-rama myself, and I’m hoping to have some success with Barclays. This will be my first time skipping Chase entirely, but I think I need to skip them, based on the major hassle I got from the personal and business reconsideration calls last time. Ok, I guess having 6 personal cards and 2 business cards is a bit excessive, but it’s their fault for having all the good offers! :)

    Betta, I applied for the Club Carlson card in February, and got approved for the 85k after pending approval. Calling them on the day of applying really didn’t help at all, I just needed to wait the 3 business days they suggested, and then I was approved. I had 13 applications in the year prior to applying for the Club Carlson card (obviously spread across different banks and different bureaus), so I felt quite uncertain about whether I’d actually get the card or not.

    1. Trav says:

      @Keith C- Yeah, you have to do what you feel comfortable with. I’ve always had good success with Chase, so I’ll continue to apply for their cards because they’ve always been good to me and I’ve always been a good customer. However, I may have to consider pulling off Barclays for a bit. In the end, everyone is different, so only do what you feel will work.

      And I totally agree that calling the day of with US Bank is a waste. They couldn’t tell me anything, and after I waited 3 days, they told me I was approved.

  13. Judy says:

    If Chase only let me have 4 cards and I need to close one card, that card (let’s say it’s a freedom) is linked to ultimate reward but not redeemed yet, will I lose the points?

    1. Trav says:

      @Judy- Yes, you will lose the points if you close the card without using them. You have two options before closing it to be able to keep your points:

      1. Use them.
      2. Transfer them to another Ultimate Rewards account. If you have another card that has an Ultimate Rewards account, such as a Chase Sapphire Preferred, transfer the points from the Freedom UR account to that Chase Sapphire Preferred account.

      This post should help explain it:


  14. dadtogo says:

    Oh man… I had the same issue with Barclays. I really don’t understand it. I have 2 cards with them and they deny me… yet I have 7 with Chase and they have no problem approving another one!

    Also, too bad about the Club Carlson card. My wife had the same problem with getting downgraded. We called and they actually reconsidered and bumped her up to the Premier card.

    1. Trav says:

      @dadtogo- Wow, your wife got reconsidered up to the Premier card? What magic words did you use to get that to happen? Yeah, don’t understand Barclays. Chase will give me anything I want, but Barclays is a bugger.

      1. dadtogo says:

        I guess she just sweet talked them. She had gotten one of the mailer cards saying she was “pre approved” for the Premier but when she applied got the lower one. While she was successful I got completely shut down and rejected for the card. I’m hoping I’ll have a little more luck during my next App-O-Rama…

        1. Trav says:

          @dadtogo- The power of women!

  15. Hey Trav, Great summary, just returned from crossing 8 time zones in 11 hours. ( London-San Fran, non-stop ) I’m going to apply for the BA card next, your favorite uses are Boston-Dublin, on Lingus and Central/South America, on LAN. Both are high on my list now. Spent 4 hours learning to pour the “perfect” Guinness and slurp up free ones as a slow learner.

    1. Trav says:

      @Douglas Garner- Yeah, I’m still waiting to use the Aer Lingus trick myself and also the going to S. American with LAN. I’ve got 170k BA points right now, need to start putting them to use before they start changing around the rules again. Have fun in Dublin, pour a Guinness for me!

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