Which Offer Will I Get? The One I Applied for or the One Available When I Was Approved?

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.

Reader John commented on his recent credit card application:

If the bank approved me AFTER a limited-time increased sign-up bonus ends, do I get what was offered when I applied or when I was actually approved?

Good question, John!

Approval After The Promotion Ends
Smile!  If Your Application Went to Pending, You Will Earn the Bonus Offer That Was Valid on the Day You Applied

Sometimes your application will go into pending status, and it can take the bank weeks to approve you.  I like to apply and get approved within the offer window to completely remove any doubt. 

But don’t worry.  You will earn the bonus offer that was valid at the time you applied.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid “pending status” applications.  And what to do if it happens!

When to Call The Reconsideration Line 

Link:   How to Make A Successful Reconsideration Call

If your application is denied or pending you can accept your fate and move on, or you can do something about it!

Banks want your business.  You don’t have to wait for them to decide.  You can call, and tell them why you would be a great customer.

Be calm, and positive.  Be prepared to communicate why you want the card, and know the banks rules ahead of timeI have had several successful reconsideration calls where I only had to answer the same questions from the application again! 

Take a Screenshot of the Offer

Link:   Why You Should Always Take a Screenshot of Your Application

Banks are always changing the benefits and bonuses  associated with their credit cards.  So it’s a good idea to keep track of what you’re applying for in case things get mixed up.

Taking a screen shot of your application offer is good insurance in case the bank says you applied for a lower offer.

Approval After The Promotion Ends
Taking a Screenshot of Your Offer Is Cheap Insurance for When the Banks Get Their Wires Crossed

If you aren’t familiar with how to take a screenshot check out my post on taking screenshots with both Macs and PCs.

Avoid Pending Applications!

There is no surefire way to completely avoid a pending application, but there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of being approved.

No one can completely avoid pending applications.  But you can improve your chances of approval with these tips.

Million Mile Secrets team member Harlan applied for the AMEX Hilton Surpass 100,000 Hilton point offer (no longer available) right before the bonus was reduced.  And his application went to pending for ~2 weeks!

Meanwhile, the bonus dropped by 25,000 Hilton points.  But when he got the card and met the minimum spending, he still got the higher 100,000 point bonus.

Bottom Line

If your application is pending you will earn the sign-up bonus offer that was valid on the day you applied.  Even if you are approved after it has expired.

But it’s always a good idea to take a screenshot of the offer just in case.  And you can speed up the approval process by giving the bank a call, and pleading your case.

Just remember to always be accurate with your application.  And know what’s on your credit report before applying.

Thanks for the question, John!

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! :)

Join the Discussion!

Comments are closed.