How to Respond to an American Express Credit Card Application Denial

Like almost everyone on the planet who is trying to get approved for multiple credit cards, I’ve been denied by Chase.  However, the process is really simple when it comes to getting approved with Chase even after you’ve been denied.  Their phone agents are very helpful, and from my experiences and the readers who’ve given me feedback, about 95% of the time a person who has been denied will be approved over the phone.

However, over the last few months, I’ve had my first issue with an American Express denial.

Steps to Getting American Express Approval After Denial

  1. Track your application status.
  2. Call the Reconsideration Department (866-314-0237).  Share positive reasons why you should be approved.
  3. Send a reconsideration letter to the appropriate office.
After sending a letter, if you are still denied there is little you can do to challenge it.

Here’s the story:

Back on August 25th, I wanted to take advantage of the 30,000 Starwood offer. (The best current offer is 25,000 Starwood Starpoints.)  On that date, I applied for both the business credit card and the personal credit card.

I was not automatically approved for either credit card, but I kept checking my application status online.

Eventually, (I think it was 1-2 weeks) I was approved for the Starwood personal card.

After something like 2-3 weeks, I discovered that I was denied for the Starwood Business card.  After getting that information, I called (866-314-0237) the reconsideration department at American Express.  My approach was to discuss how I had a high credit score, profitable business, and a long history at American Express with no late payments.  My appeals clearly fell on deaf ears, and the lady wasn’t willing to help in any way.

At the time I was on vacation in Hawaii, away from home for a month, and already had a $5,000 minimum spend to meet on the personal card, so I decided I’d just forget it.

However, after a few weeks, I experienced two things that made me change my mind.

  1. We stayed a few nights in the Aloft Miami.  With 4,000 points and $10 we got a one bedroom unit with a full kitchen along with breakfast and dinner for five people.  I remember how much I’d like to get an extra 30,000 Starwood points
  2. My credit report did show two separate inquiries.  Since I’d already had the inquiry, I decided I should also get the card.

Once I was back from my travels (about a month after I applied), I called again to ask the approval to be reconsidered.  Like the first representative, I was given an address where I could send my credit report and an explanation letter.  I was told that I could do this within 60 days of the original application.

I went to annualcreditreport.com and got my free credit report from Experian.  The agent will tell you which credit report you’ll need (it will be the same one that they pulled the inquiry from).  They will also provide you with the address of where you’ll need to send the letter.

Sample American Express Credit Card Denial Response Letter

American Express Executive Department

Regarding Application: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

To Whom It May Concern:

I recently applied for the Starwood Open Business American Express card and was denied.

I was surprised by the denial as I have 15+ years of positive credit history and I got my first American Express card over 10 years ago.  During this time, I’ve never missed a payment and been a very responsible card holder.

My most recent FICO score (October 5th, 2012) was xxx.

Could you please review my business application to see if there is a way I can be approved?  If you’d prefer to give me a smaller credit allowance, I’d be happy to show my responsibility as a card holder.

My business does not currently have an American Express card, and my research has shown me that the Starwood card has an excellent reputation.  I’ve had the business for a couple of years and will bring in over $xxxxxxx worth of profit this year.

I’m including my Experian credit report on Oct 17th, 2012 for your convenience.

Should you have any questions, you can contact me at xxxxxxxxx.

Thank you,

Craig Ford

I sent the letter on November 2nd.  On November 8th I had an overnight FedEx package containing my new American Express Business credit card.

In the end, it was totally worth the extra effort to get approved.

If you’ve been denied an American Express application and the phone agents have not approved you, have hope.  For only a couple dollars you can put a stamp on an envelope and have one last shot at approval.

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