Could a Pending Application Impact the Sign-Up Bonus You Receive?
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full advertising policy: How we make money.
Million Mile Secrets reader, Donna, commented:
I applied in-branch for the Chase Sapphire Reserve the day before the sign-up bonus was reduced. My application was not immediately approved. If I’m approved for the card after the expiration date of the higher sign-up bonus offer, what sign-up bonus will I receive?
Fantastic question, Donna!
If you’re approved for a card after your application was pending, you’ll receive the sign-up bonus that was available on the day you applied for the card.
But to avoid any issues, I always recommend you take screenshots of credit card offers during the application process. And if you apply in-branch, the banker should give you paperwork with the sign-up bonus details for your new card.
I’ll explain what you should know about earning a sign-up bonus with a pending credit card application.
Pending Credit Card Application
Many folks (including Emily and me) who apply for lots of credit cards have seen a pending application status before. I’ve written about the 5 reasons why your application isn’t instantly approved.
If your application is pending or declined, I typically suggest calling the bank’s reconsideration department. Because there might be a quick piece of information you can provide to get an approval.
Or if you have more patience than me, you can wait for the bank to work through their review process. That said, you can face a situation like reader Donna where the sign-up bonus changes while you’re waiting.
But if you’re eventually approved, you’ll be eligible to earn the sign-up bonus that was available on the day you applied.
For example, last year, team member Harlan applied for The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz when the sign-up bonus was 75,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points.Note: The current sign-up bonus on the AMEX Mercedes-Benz Platinum card is 60,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after meeting spending requirements.
Harlan’s application was pending for a long time and the limited-time offer expired. But after finally getting approved, he met the spending requirements and earned the 75,000-point sign-up bonus.
You’ll have a similar experience if you apply for cards with any of the major banks, including:
- American Express
- Bank of America
But I always recommend taking screenshots of the offer when you apply for your records.
And if you’re concerned about missing out on a limited-time offer, I recommend applying well before the expiration date. This way you won’t forget and can earn the sign-up bonus sooner!
What If the Sign-Up Bonus Increases?
Sometimes a sign-up bonus increases while your application is pending or after you recently received approval.
In these cases, you can ask the bank to match the current offer. Some folks have reported success by simply asking via secure message or phone call.
Each bank has a different policy, so I can’t guarantee you’ll get the higher offer. But it doesn’t hurt to ask!
If you apply for a limited-time offer and your application goes pending, you’re eligible to earn the sign-up bonus that was available on the day you applied.
So don’t worry if a limited-time offer expires or the sign-up bonus decreases while you’re waiting.
But if the sign-up bonus increases during a pending application or after a recent approval, it’s worth contacting the bank to see if they’ll match the current offer. I can’t promise they will!
Thanks for the question, Donna!
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardAPPLY NOW
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)