Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
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.
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!