Denied! Rejected! But Not Dejected!

It had to happen sooner or later: I got my first definite “no” for a credit card application. I can’t say I’m surprised about this one, so I’m not too upset. However, it might be time for me to cool it with the apps for awhile. Here’s what happened…

A couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time for an App-O-Rama, which is the practice of applying for multiple rewards credit cards on the same day in order to get the bonuses from each card. You can read more about my process here. I applied for the Club Carlson Visa in two flavors – business and personal. I also applied for the US Airways MasterCard, and almost as an afterthought, I went for the Virgin America Visa because the bonus was double what it normally is (at the time of my application, it was 20,000 points; it is now back down to 10,000 points).

I applied for the cards in order of importance. I also factored in which credit agency would be pulling my credit. I knew that the US Airways card and the Virgin America card would each pull my Transunion report, because they are both Barclays cards. (Here in the SF Bay Area, Barclays pulls from Transunion). I wasn’t sure which credit agency Club Carlson/US Bank would use, because I don’t have a US Bank card so I didn’t have definitive data. I suspected that it would be Equifax, but again, I didn’t know for sure.

Another piece of information I had is that I knew if I applied for two Club Carlson cards on the same day, the two separate inquiries would most likely merge into one on my credit report; the same was true for the Barclays cards. In other words, my credit report would probably end up with a maximum of two inquiries (one merged inquiry for the Club Carlson cards and one for the Barclays cards) and a minimum of one (if all four cards hit my Transunion account).

So I decided to just go for it. I knew that if any of my applications were denied, I could always call the reconsideration line to plead my case. Here were the results:

1. Club Carlson Business: pending

I applied for this card first, because according to people’s experiences in this FlyerTalk thread, it can be a challenge to get approved for the card if you have too many recent inquiries on your account. Since both my Equifax and Transunion accounts are free of recent inquiries (within the last six months), I thought I had a fairly good chance of approval. However, my application went pending. I wasn’t too concerned, because “pending” is a common thing to see during an App-O-Rama, but I didn’t feel like I was off to a great start.

2. Club Carlson Personal: instant approval

I had recently received an invitation through the US mail from Club Carlson informing me that I was pre-qualified for this card. I applied using the special link and confirmation code and got instantly approved. Whew!

3. US Airways MasterCard: instant approval

More good news. I was inspired to keep going, so I pulled the trigger on the final card.

4. Virgin America Visa: pending

I’ve never done a four-card App-O-Rama before (my past max was three) so I was a little anxious about this application, but I went for it anyway. When I got the “pending” message, I had a bad feeling about it, but at that point I couldn’t take it back, so I had to just sit tight and hang on for the rest of the ride.

Now What?

There are two schools of thought for what to do after your application goes pending. Some folks think you should call the reconsideration line immediately before your application gets “locked.” Other people embrace the “wait and see” method. Normally, I fall into the first camp; I’m impatient and excited and I just want to know. However, this time I decided to let the cards fall where they may. Pun intended.

After three days of waiting, I couldn’t take the suspense, so I broke down and called (800-947-1444) about the Club Carlson Business card. Approved!

I just couldn’t bring myself to call about the Virgin America card. I think I knew what the answer was going to be. When I had waited for over a week and still hadn’t heard anything, I finally broke down and called the Barclays reconsideration line (866-408-4064). My call was answered immediately by a very nice rep. He asked me a series of detailed questions about my income and my business, then put me on hold. When he returned, he complimented me on my excellent credit history. Instead of thinking, “woo-hoo!” I was preparing myself for a denial. It was going to be a compliment-first denial, but I could feel a “no” coming. (If you’ve ever watched The Bachelorette, you know what I am talking about). Sure enough, due to a double whammy of  “too many recent inquiries” and “not enough credit history with our bank,” I was denied! The rep encouraged me to try again in a few months, after I had built up more of a credit history with Barclays.

Rejected, But Not Dejected

I definitely pushed my luck by applying for multiple US Bank and Barclays cards. It turns out that US Bank did pull from Equifax and Barclays pulled from Transunion, and that both inquiries from each bank merged into one on my reports. So I walked away from this App-O-Rama with:

  • 1 hard inquiry on my Transunion report
  • 1 hard inquiry on my Equifax report
  • 175,000 Club Carlson points (after meeting minimum spend)
  • 35,000 US Airways points

I’m good with that. Especially since I can still continue my love-fest with Club Carlson (they weren’t the ones who rejected me!)

However, I won’t be applying for more cards for the next six months, so I’m hoping that some different kinds of lucrative points-earning opportunities crop up soon!

How about you – any recent App-O-Rama stories to share?


  1. Didn’t you use the “inquiry eraser” program you detailed in a recent post?

  2. Points Pixie says

    Hi Brant – my reports were clear of any inquiries prior to this App-O-Rama, which I think is one of the reasons I got approved for both flavors of the Club Carlson card at the same time. However both banks are choosy when it comes to the number of inquiries per day, and I do not have much of a history with Barclays, which the rep said was a major reason for my denial.

  3. I, too, got my feelings bruised this week with a “pending” from Alaska Airlines through BofA. What was really irritating is my husband got instant approval from them ten minutes earlier. I have only applied for one other card in the last six months so I was surprised. Southwest, two weeks ago and I have excellent and long term credit.

    But as soon as I figure out the reconsideration phone number for BofA I think I will call them and tell them what an incredible person I am and that they are lucky to have me. ;0)

  4. Points Pixie says

    Anne – I would love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation! 😉

    MMS has a great post on calling the reconsideration line. The post includes a list of numbers for reference. Check it out here:

  5. Thanks, I got the number but the office was closed for the day. But my inner Lucy Ricardo really comes out on those reconsideration phone calls. I jump right in and tell them I’m an adorable Granny with an Auntie Mame streak and that I love to travel and I will wear the heck out of their credit card if they will only give it to me.

    I usually have them laughing and totally ashamed of even THINKING of denying me by the time I’m done.

  6. I know I am commenting of a very old post, so probably not many will see this, but I just wanted to tell everyone that I got the Barclay card and I have already redeemed $575 worth of travel! That is cash money, baby. One of the fastest and easiest cards ever! THANKS PIXIE! (don’t forget to use her link when you apply)

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