Raising credit limits

Credit card companies can sometimes be reluctant to raise credit limits, but the same company will often grant you a second or third card with a decent credit line. A couple of times I’ve gotten a second card, used it a few times over a few months, then transferred the credit line to the first card, and closed the second card. I’ve been able to raise the credit limits on 3 long-time cards this way when they had repeatedly denied increases.


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Not sure how many cards total you have (I have 13).

I would most often suggest the opposite. Most Some issuers now do additional credit pulls to reallocate credit limits, but you would have to look in to each one specifically, I think a few still do reallocation without applying for new credit. Excessively opening new cards and then closing them damages approval metrics (chase 5/24, etc), so it would never be worth it to me solely to raise a limit on an existing card.

What I have found is every time I open a new card, generally I am given a new line slightly higher than the highest line I already have from a different issuer, unless Im already at the highest combined credit limit the issuer wants to give me. For example, if I have a Citi $11k limit, Chase then gave me $12k, and then Amex gave me 13k. While 6 months before Amex had given me a lower limit on a different new card.

For raising existing credit limits, chase has sent out mailers in the past to me for increased limits without credit pulls. Citi website has a place to request an increase every 6 months and will indicate if there’s no inquiry. I used to do this every 6 months until I reached their combined limit for me, now it always says theres a credit pull.

Additionally if you’re not automatically approved for a new card, often you can choose to reallocate from one or more existing cards to the new card by calling to reconsideration department, again without additional inquiries per change.


AMEX and NFCU say they do not do credit pulls for transferring credit lines.

It would not make sense as you have already been granted the credit line.

You got a hard inquiry and a new account though for opening the extra amex account.

And if that new Amex account had a bonus (my 4 amexes all had ~$800+ each in opening spend bonuses), you violated their terms by closing it within 12 months.

Whether the reallocation also results in a new hard pull varies by issuer Rules For Reallocating Your Credit Limit With Each Credit Card Issuer - Doctor Of Credit
It does look like some of the issuers that always used to do hard pulls for reallocation may have stopped. (Such as BoA)

You said: “Most issuers now do additional credit pulls to reallocate credit limits…” This has never happened in my experience and the issuers I’ve spoken with say they do not do it.

I examined Amex terms and they say “may” take back rewards if you close within 12 months. It’s in their discretion, but it’s not a rule. I did not violate any terms, and they did not take back any rewards or bonuses.

Amex sometimes has given me bonuses just for saying I had a problem with something. One time I questioned an annual fee raise and they gave me a $20 credit.

You can negotiate anything.

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Reallocating used to be a lot easier. Now some issuers will tell you there’s an inquiry and others may tell you they don’t do credit reallocations at all, but this may also depend on the rep. But closing an account is usually an exception to this – you can reallocate most of the line being closed (minus $500-$1000) to an existing account without an inquiry. Here’s a good reference:

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I believe this is because credit line increases are based on the card usage. If you don’t use the card enough, they don’t think you need more credit. For approving new products they apparently don’t look at your usage of their products. They instead look at what’s in your report (history, competitor’s card limits, etc) and what you can afford to pay back (based on your current debt and income).

So yes, it is a valid trick to increase your credit limits up to the total limit they’re willing to lend you (which I think is based on income).

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It says they may confiscate all your amex rewards and clawback opening bonus and/or close all your accounts if they decide your abusing rewards, as determined solely by their discretion. Then they list specifically the example of cancelling or downgrading in first 12 months. Agreed its not automatic. But its the one specific example that is explicitly called out. Im not personally worried of an amex FR, but others who churn bonuses might be.

Seems dangerous to make a habit of, was just warning its in their terms in case you hadn’t seen it. AFAIK the other issuers just have vague “in their discretion” and Amex is the only one I know that specifically calls out the 12 month downgrade or close.

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This was a pretty standard AOR tactic 10+ years ago. Apply for one card, get a $10k credit limit. Or apply for 3 cards, get 3 $10k limits, after receiving the cards call to consolidate them all, then consolidate with the $30k limit card you had left from doing the same thing last year, and end up with a shiny new $60k CL to draw a 0% balance transfer off - despite them feeling you were only worthy of a $10k limit days earlier.

Granted, 10 years later policies have changed (especially Chase’s 5/24 rule) and consolidations arent nearly as easy with certain issuers.


Discover has a button to increase limit and will tell you if they need to pull credit report. I usually do the button once every six months. Works great and never had the need to pull credit file.


They sometimes keep things like this updated, but the date doesn’t always reflect it. Also there are recent comments below that may help.

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