Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Million Mile Secrets reader, Amanda, commented:
I applied for the limited-time AMEX Starwood sign-up bonus on the last day of the offer. But I was approved the day after the offer ended when the sign-up bonus decreased. Will I earn the higher sign-up bonus?
Great question, Amanda!
Lots of folks wait until the end of a limited-time offer to apply for a card. And this could be the reason your application isn’t instantly approved.
But as long as you submit your card application before the limited-time offer ends, you’re eligible to earn the sign-up bonus that was available on the day you applied.
I’ll remind y’all what you can do if you have a pending credit card application. And tips to make sure you earn the sign-up bonus you applied for!
Why You Don’t Always Get an Instant Approval
Many folks who apply for lots of credit cards have seen a pending application status before. I’ve written about the 5 reasons why your application doesn’t get instantly approved, including:
- Inconsistent application information
- Fraud prevention
- Income verification
- Credit report concerns
- Busy at the bank
With popular limited-time offers, banks can get overloaded with lots of new applications. So they might move your application to pending to have more time to review it.
If your application is pending or declined, I usually recommend calling the bank’s reconsideration department. Because if you’re like me, you might be anxious to earn a new card sign-up bonus. And waiting around for your snail mail to find out why your application is pending takes too long!
Keep in mind, sometimes it’s not so quick. For example, team member Keith once applied for the JetBlue Plus Card. After his application went pending, the bank sent a request for additional information, including evidence of his Social Security number. It took ~3 weeks, but in the end he was finally approved.
Just remember, as long as you’re eventually approved, you’ll be eligible to earn the sign-up bonus that was available on the day you applied.
For example, you can currently earn the best-ever sign-up bonuses on the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express and Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express when you apply by May 31, 2017.
The One Step You Should Never Skip
Ideally, you can apply and get approval while a limited-time offer is going on, so there’s no doubt about which sign-up bonus you’ll earn. But to avoid any issues, I always recommend you take screenshots of credit card offers during the application process.
You’re eligible to earn the sign-up bonus that was available on the day you applied.
This is good news for folks who apply on the last day of a limited-time offer. Because even if your application is approved after the offer ends, you’ll still earn the sign-up bonus based on when you applied.
To be safe, I recommend taking screenshots of credit card offers during the application process. So there’s no doubt which offer you applied for.