The Longest I’ve Ever Had To Wait For A Credit Card Approval

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I guess I jinxed myself with this one. I typically talk about how I find American Express cards to be easiest to be approved for. There’s not a card issuer where I get instant approvals as consistently, and in those cases where I don’t get instant approvals, I’ve always been able to call and have them push through the application so that it’s approved within a couple of days.

Until last month it had been a long time since I’ve applied for an Amex card. Last May I picked up the Hilton Honors Ascend Card, but that was the only Amex card I picked up until last month, since I’ve been maxed out on how many I can have. You can have at most five American Express credit cards at a time, and that’s how many cards I’ve had.

Last month I was finally able to cancel a card, and took the opportunity to apply for The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, which I’ve wanted to get so badly. The card has no annual fee, and offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent annually. There are no strings attached here, as the card is that rewarding. Personally I think it’s the single most rewarding card for the first $50,000 of everyday, non-bonused spend.

I applied for the card on February 27, and got a “pending decision” message. I was surprised I didn’t get an instant approval, since everyone else in my family who has applied for the card got an instant approval. I should note that I was getting an error message on the website initially, as I wasn’t able to log into my Amex account and have it pre-populate my information, so I had to enter everything manually.

I got a reference ID and was given a phone number I could call. While I find Amex customer service is generally quite good when you’re an existing cardmember, their new cardmember number is staffed by one of the less competent outsourced call centers I’ve dealt with.

The guy I spoke with assured me that everything was normal and that there was a “special department” looking at my application, and that I should be approved within 5-10 business days at most. That seems like a long time to me, though I figured they were trying to manage expectations, and it would actually be faster. Oddly when I went to the American Express application status page, I didn’t even see my card listed.

So I waited and waited and waited, and after 11 business days I called back.

“There is a very special department working on your application, this is a very high priority for them.”

“If there’s a very special department working on this and this is a very high priority for them, shouldn’t it have been approved within 11 days?”

The guy said he had no way of directly contacting the department, but that he’d send them an “urgent” message, and that within 24-48 hours I would have a decision. I didn’t.

I waited several  more days, and then this Monday, about three weeks after I applied, I called again. I got the same answer again. This time I stressed that I had been before that I’d receive a response within 24-48 hours, and that still hadn’t happened. He “promised” that this time it would really happen.

Sure enough, yesterday I got the email that I had finally been approved for the card.

I’m happy to finally have The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, though I can’t believe the process. I’m guessing there was just some major glitch in the system that was holding up the application, because it simply doesn’t take credit card companies that long to notify consumers of a decision, especially when the decision is issued electronically. It was probably related to me not being able to pre-populate my existing account info when applying.

I still think Amex cards are the easiest to be approved for if you have excellent credit, and that they also most commonly issue instant approvals. However, this was an extreme situation that I figured was still worth sharing.

Has anyone else had to wait nearly a month for a credit card approval to come through?

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Comments

  1. All calls go to India and I found them most competent. Even the fraud calls go to India.

    What sometimes irks me once in a while I still get a smartass, usually it’s a woman who will pull some BS Z thinking we are a bunch of morons who know nothing. But that is more of a personally issue.

  2. I just applid for this card a few weeks ago, as an existing member. Used your 10k sign up link. I already have a Gold business card for my LLC, but wanted this for my own sole propiertorship. I put in my own tax info in the application, and was instantly approved with a very generous credit line, but the approval letter had my LLC information on it. It took three calls to finally get them to put it under my sole proprietorship. Luckily my tax id was correctly listed, not my LLC’s so they were able to correct the other information. They told me if it autopopulated the LLC tax id, I would have had to cancel and reapply. Seems like their application process isn’t set up to handle multiple businesses. Wonder if that played into your problem as well.

  3. I can feel your frustration, my ongoing experience is total frustration. I referred a friend on my Delta Platinum card early Oct, (my husband) he got approved, and I’m still waiting for the 10,000 miles to post to my account. Not only that, my husband made his minimum spend end of December and he’s still waiting for the 70,000 mile bonus and the $100 statement credit. We keep contacting AMEX via chat and the phone number on the back of the card, only to be told to be patient, and they are sending urgent messages to investigate, blah, blah. Of course I was told the managers are getting involved etc and here it is almost six months and I’m still waiting. He’s never had the Delta Platinum card fyi. Was told that there are several people that have not gotten their miles either. I surely feel they are stringing me along with the answers I’m getting – we will rush your concern, be patient, no there’s no contact information we can give you. I have four cards with AMEX and feel like cancelling them all, I won’t, but this is ridiculous.

  4. That does sound adnormally long. Got this card 3 weeks ago with the friend referral 10k bonus. From application to receipt of card it was 3 days. Friend got the 10k bonus 24 hours after my first purchase.

  5. @ GuruJanitor — Interestingly it was for the same business as the Amex cards I’ve had before, though that’s an interesting data point. Thanks.

  6. Since you asked, I hate Amex so much. It’s one thing after another with them. Can’t cxl travel online, won’t expedite cards, can’t SM, etc. Last week I called in to ask for 1 MR point (for the amazon promo). Spoke to 2-3 people since the first guy can never freaking help you. No dice!

    Yesterday on reddit someone suggested asking for comp due to breach (and that would solve my amazon issue) so I called in. Big mistake. Again got bounced around and all for nothing. And they always lose your preverification somewhere along the way so you have to dig out the full card number. Unbelievable. I swear to god every amex call shaves minutes off my lifespan. I guess I’m the stupid one for paying $450 for that steaming pile of crap!

  7. When you say ” You can have at most five American Express credit cards at a time”, do you really mean to say that you won’t get approved if you apply for a new card when you already have five (or more) cards? I had five cards already, then I got two more when the Citibank Hilton cards became Amex cards. Now I have seven.

  8. Had no issues applying for my other half’s business blue+ a week back on the 10k referral. Instant approval. Did have issue recently on the S/W Biz card – wanted reimbursement for an item I damaged in the first 90 days after buying. First was told that policy didn’t cover purchases outside USA and had to ‘argue’ with them that was nothing in their T&C’s that mentioned anything about excluding non-US purchases. They had to go away, then came back to me indicating that I was right and they would submit a claim. Except that they didn’t submit it and I had to call again to finally get it registered and done. On the upside, they paid the claim within 7 days

  9. @Debbie Same for me… Have been waiting for bonus to post on the Amex Delta for 5 months now… Same exact story… Apparently a glitch, but what an awful way to resolve things. I filed a complaint with the CFPB for false advertising. Their own terms and conditions state bonuses will post within 12 weeks after meeting minimum spend.

  10. Hah – saw the picture of Aer LIngust – hope you do nt plan to use points on them

    Had to cancel a Bank of America Travel award on EI – they (BofA) told me i had future value until Feb 2019 of the ticket with EI. Well I tried to reissue a ticket for October 2018, not exactly peak travel to Ireland, and Aer Lingust/Band of American came up with a ticket cost of $956, yet Aer Lingus web site priced the ticket all the way through CC payment at $413. HHmmmm “Fuzzy math”

    Not a big fan of Delta recently but they reposted the return journey from London already. Aer Lingus and Bank of America Travel, not an option

    Frankly all these cards are being a scam

  11. @ Jed — The general limit is five Amex credit cards, whether personal or business. That doesn’t include charge cards, though. With the conversion of the Citi Hilton Card to Amex they seem to be making an exception, and are allowing that as a sixth card.

  12. @ Chuck Lesker — Because there are only so many featured images I can use. 😉 The simple answer is that when talking about credit cards I try to use featured images that are of airlines you can efficiently redeem points on with that currency. You can efficiently redeem Amex Membership Rewards points on Aer Lingus by converting them into BA Avios.

  13. Hi Lucky, I am having the same issue with AMEX. Applied for the Hilton Aspire card on the 12th. I don’t see it listed when I check the status online and each time I call I’m told I will receive a response within 48 hours. Pretty frustrating!

  14. Also, before applying remember to deal with any fraud alert you might have put on your credit from the large breaches we have had such as Equifax. Sounds so simple and logical, but
    I forgot, got a pending approval notice and had to prove my identity when the Call Center phoned me 6 hours later. Then I was approved immediately over the phone.

    Lucky, thank you so much for all the info you share.

  15. I think something wonky is going on with general AmEx approvals. Applied for the SPG Business AmEx yesterday and was instantly approved online and AmEx allowed me to create an online profile for it. However, I couldn’t add the card to my existing profile – had to create a new online profile for access – and about an hour later I received an email from AmEx telling me how happy there were that I was interested in the SPG Business AmEx, and they’d let me know right away. So, I show I can access the card online, I have an account number, but no actual card and some odd correspondence. Not sure what’s up.

  16. I had an old “Blue for Business” card.

    I think this is the same card just re-branded. Would I be eligible for the sign up bonus?

  17. I referred a friend for a Starwood card. They had a problem with the online application and had to call in. They got the card, but I did not get the bonus. I called Amex to explain, but still did not get the bonus.

  18. @ Albert — This product replaces the Blue for Business Card, though this is considered a different product and has different benefits, so you would be eligible for the sing-up bonus.

  19. I called in to apply for Blue Business Plus with a live CSR and was approved three hours later via email on March 6th. Followed Doctor of Credit’s suggestion for 20K miles. Talked to several CSRs subsequently in India and did not get satisfactory responses. Called US center and got straight answers. I plan to apply for Starwood business card before the deadline next week. I hope everything will go smoothly though. Unsure if they checked credit background as I froze mine with two credit bureaus but they did not require me to unfreeze either.

  20. Had some customer service issues with them for over 2 months after applying and getting the Aspire card. Complaint case number opened, Follow-up calls to supervisors…3 times made outreach over 9 weeks until I finally got a supervisor that actually did assist me with the problem as best as she could. Even she got some not-so-customer-friendly support from the (new) accounts department.

    On a separate but related matter, I’m curios as to what others have experienced as far as after how many weeks (after opening a Aspire account) did one receive the FREE NIGHT email w/ code? The T&C say 8-14 weeks after opening, and after 9 weeks of the account being open, I got an email congratulating me and stating that I would be getting the award in 8-14 weeks. When I called C.S., they said that it’s part of the original issuing time frame, and not another 8-14 weeks to wait. Curious how long others have waited for their code.

  21. I had a surreal experience applying for an AMEX Starwood affinity card. After submitting my application via the link on OMAAT, I received a notification that I would have to provide proof of my mailing address by sending in a copy of my bank statement with a verification signature and stamp from my bank. Since I live in Germany (US forces) and my bank is in the U.S., I sent them a copy of my current IRS W-2 form, which has my mailing address on it. I just received a letter from AMEX stating that they only keep application documentation for 60 days, and thus were unable to approve my card. The funny thing is: I already have an AMEX Hilton Ascend card, so there shouldn’t be any doubt about my mailing address. Weird.

  22. Waited a month to get approved for the Avianca Card via Banco Popular, and that was after four separate phones calls and submittal of last year’s tax return, pay stubs, W-2s, and a bank statement! I’ve bought cars and houses with less documentation!

  23. I use the Jet Airways Amex Plat (available in India). The Amex call center is consistently one of the best to deal with. Phones are answered on the first ring. Queries are answered efficiently, and the one time I needed some help, the Concierge was excellent.

  24. Applying for a JCB USA card was like applying for a mortgage. Only paper applications were accepted. Three weeks later, I got a letter in the mail asking for a copy of my pay stub and my bank statements. After another 4 weeks, I got a letter that I was approved. It took a further 2 weeks for my card to arrive.

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