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I Was Denied a Citi Prestige Card…For “Too Many Credit Inquiries”

About a month ago, when Citi was still offering the 75,000 point bonus for the Prestige card, I decided to finally apply for it. I don’t have any ThankYou points and I knew the card’s 4th night free benefit would be useful, so I went for it. I’m not a heavy card churner – I earn most of my points and miles through manufactured spending – and pretty much only pick up credit cards when I see a good sign-up bonus, and I don’t even cancel that many of my cards. I certainly feel like I’m not the customer Citi needs to be worried about. So imagine my shock and horror when I got rejected for the card.

Citi Prestige Credit Card Points

I’m really not as persistent as I used to be. When my Barclay credit cards got shut down, I didn’t fight it. I haven’t called a bank to get an annual fee waived in years. It’s a hassle and with my spending habits, I don’t really want customer service reps eyeing my accounts too closely. But I did call the reconsideration line about my Citi Prestige rejection. I was told it was because I had “too many credit inquiries.” I asked what constituted “too many” and the rep couldn’t tell me. I called a couple more times, even speaking to a manager, and was told the exact same thing: I had too many inquiries and they were not at liberty to disclose what they considered “too many.” 

The one thing the manager did suggest was that I take a look at my credit report for any unauthorized credit inquiries. If there were, I could dispute them and then send a letter to Citi, which they would take into consideration. With the recent Equifax security breach and the issues I’ve had with Citi cards getting hacked in the past, I thought this might be a possibility. So I looked at my credit report. I counted the number of inquiries over the past 24 months…and I only had 9 credit card inquiries. WTH, Citi? How is nine inquiries “too many?”

I actually called them again to sound off about this. Nine inquiries in 24 months wasn’t that much. That doesn’t even come close to the 20+ inquiries some regular credit card churners pull in. But it didn’t work. I pointed out my good credit and the fact that I’d been a great Citi AAdvantage cardholder over the last year, paying the card off every month and just being awesome overall. It didn’t work. They were Charlie Brown and I was the babbling teacher saying nonsense they didn’t care about. 

So I gave up. It’s disappointing because Citi is supposed to be easy but now they’re pulling a Chase with the credit inquiry nonsense. And not even being transparent about how many they consider too many. About half of those inquiries will drop off in the next 4-6 months, so I’ll actually be eligible for a Chase card soon (yay!). But I’ll probably hold off on applying for another Citi card until I hit 4/24. And because I’ll settle for no less than the 75,000 point bonus I missed out on because of this nonsense…

Have you guys had issues getting Citi cards approved because of too many credit inquiries? Please share below.

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Ariana Arghandewal

24 Comments

  1. >>I pointed out my good credit and the fact that I’d been a great Citi AAdvantage cardholder over the last year, paying the card off every month and just being awesome overall.

    At least recognize that you are NOT what Citi considers an ideal client. They don’t want someone just doing MS for points. They want people paying interest. If Credit Karma “averages” are to be believed, you have more than double the average number of inquiries. Yes, you may be well below the average churner, but you are far from the average consumer.

      • But you know as well as any that they don’t make much profits on those fees when paying out TYPs that you’ll redeem as airline points. It’s mostly a loss leader for them from us.

      • Oh plueeze, don’t be so ridiculously obtuse. You know damn well someone with “only” 9 inquiries is not an average consumer. And you also know MSing is almost never a profit center for banks (absent perhaps, cards earning 1x – but even then you are barely profitable and not worth having as a customer).

  2. Cuti pulled that crap with me back in Nov/Dec of 2015 with too many inquiries.
    I was pissed because I had just gone through a home refinance and sought out rates/terms with multiple lenders (all within a weeks time, which are supposed to all combine to minimize the hit you take on your credit score due to the multiple inquiries).

    I too tried to reason with them to no avail.
    They, like Chase IMO, SUCK!

    It’s too bad the credit card pushing community (i.e. Other travel bloggers), won’t stop pimping their cards like their is no tomorrow. I keep wishing, we as a creditcard churning community, could boycott these two megabanks based on these BS policies.

    …but the pimping and whoring of creditcards for these two megabanks will unfortunately continue by the bloggers.

    • Bitter apples, Bob. If you had gotten the card you wouldn’t have a complaint in the world. You love the banks when they give you free points and you can cheat their systems, but despise them when they catch on. Duh!

    • I remember when the 100k AA Executive Cards came out, they just kept approving every single application. Like 3 in a row! So that’s why I was taken aback that they wouldn’t budge on that reconsideration call. Oh well! This is why I stick to MS.

  3. er….. whining like that…. I’ve got such “too many inquiries” denial in Dec 2015 for both AA personal and AA biz. And I’m at 10 card during past 24 months at that time.

    It’s not that Citi has changed into Chase. It’s just that all this blogsphere thing never got into it. Sounds like you are Columbus that “discovered” new world. well the world is there forever, just that you didn’t know. Right?

  4. I recently got the same type of message from Capital One when applying for one of their cards. I wonder if the explosion in travel hacking in causing these companies to change their policies.

  5. it must be. I haven’t touch Chase for a long time, recently (last month) applied 2x AMEX and 2x BoA, all were declined. so discouraged…. with Ariana’s story here, I have no more guts to try Citi nor USBank.

  6. In branch app bypassed this issue for me. I got 2 denials from Citi last year but in branch was able to get Citi Prestige 75k instant approval. Both times Experian >10/24

    Oh btw, dont bother reconning in case of these kinda denials, I wasted lots of hours with the executive helpline last year.

  7. My wife was just instantly rejected for Citi AA biz on Friday. She called this week and they wouldn’t even tell her why, said she just had to wait for denial letter in mail. We’ve each gotten Prestige in the past few months, probably around 16/24. But I do feel Citi might be a little more focused on who is making money for them. I’ve had absolutely no luck with retention offers lately, with them not even willing to get be to that department or offer me anything to keep me from closing cards.

    • That’s so annoying! I don’t bother with retention offers anymore (I don’t want anyone looking at my accounts too closely), but they do seem to be getting stingier with them.

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