Citi Auto-Shifting Credit Lines
Last week I did a mini round of applications. While I will write a summary post soon with all of the results, this application round was a bit off the wall. I applied for the Banana Republic credit card for a very specific reason along with the NBA credit card for potential 5X. There was also a third credit card on the list.
Citi has a ton of great offers right now, but the truth is I have most of their products. I currently hold a Prestige and Premier, I have several American Airlines credit cards and really don’t have a need for two free Hilton nights anywhere with the Reserve. What I do have a need for is Hilton HHonors points.
For that reason I applied for the HHonors Visa Signature with a 75K bonus (Direct non-affiliate link). There are a few reasons I chose this card:
- A 75K bonus on a no annual fee card is very very good.
- I already have two of this same product from years ago and would like to product change one. That will probably start the “18 month clock” ticking and I won’t be eligible for the bonus on this card for awhile after that.
- The Amex Surpass has an 80K bonus, but I have opened quite a few new Amex cards this year and don’t need the status since I now have HHonors Diamond. It is on my list, but now is not the right time.
The Application & Approval
After applying for the Citi HHonors Visa Signature card, I was not approved instantly, but was told the application needs further processing. This is the same message I have received on every Citi application for the past couple of years. Normally it takes a few days, they call me and the card is approved. This time something very different happened. I received an email the day after the application. This is what it said:
Congratulations, you’ve been approved!
We’re delighted to let you know you’ve been approved for the Citi® Hilton Hhonors(TM) Visa Signature® card, with a credit limit of $11,000. Your account is considered open as of today, 12/10/15.
This was good news and I was sort of shocked that Citi gave me that high of a limit. I have a lot of cards with them and am pretty close to my maximum available credit. Either way I was happy and went about my business until the next day. I received another email. Here is what it said:
Your new account, ending in —-, has been assigned a total credit line of $11,000.00. In order to extend to you this total credit line, we moved $8,000.00 from the existing credit line on your Citi account with card(s) ending in —- which had a credit line of $10,000.00. You still have an open credit line on this account for purchases.
To be honest, I don’t really care that they shifted credit from the specific card that they did, but what if they had moved credit from a card I need a larger line on? This also seems to be a new practice, because PDX Deals Guy ran into the same thing on an application this week. He received the same “Approved” email and then the same “Credit Shift” email.
What to Do?
I don’t think there is anything really wrong with what Citi is doing, but I think it is important to be aware of this new practice. If you are someone who doesn’t like to call right away, you may end up having credit shifted from an account that you need a high limit on. I would probably suggest that people call Citi so the processing can be done with you on the phone and you can decide with the agent which card has credit shifted from it.
In the end I’m glad that Citi continues to approve applications even if I am close to the total credit they are willing to extend to me. Now that I know they are doing auto-shifts, I’ll make sure to be proactive and call on my applications so I don’t end up with any big surprises. Has this happened to you?
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