Is credit score a big factor in getting approved for premium credit cards?

I’ve been churning credit cards for over 2 years and have accumulated, and redeemed, a substantial number of QFF and Velocity points. I subscribe to Equifax and my Credit Score sits at anywhere between about 531 - 612 which is in the “average” range. As long as I watch how often I apply, I can usually get approved (and multiple times by the same banks) for the cards with 40,000-50,000 points. But I ALWAYS get declined for the really BIG cards with like 75,000 points that are usually called names like “signature”, “black”, “premium” etc. I don’t even bother now, because I don’t want to risk the credit hit. I know they all use secret approval criterIa, but do you think they just automatically decline you under a certain Credit Score for those type of cards? Is there something I’m missing?

You dont qualify for those higher limit cards - end of story. Banks dont use the ‘credit score’ made available to you by credit bureaus. Thats just a BS marketing scheme to get you to apply for the deals they advertise, and to pay for their own services. Use it as a general guide, but in principle, it means nothing.\r\n\r\nBanks use their own credit scoring system. Its not published, and even staff dont know it.

A lot of them will say they require a “good” credit score. So you seem to be doing well if your score is “average”.

I’m not sure what your income is, these cards usually have a higher minimum limit, so if you have lower income or other debts you’re less likely to be approved.

I have had a few cards over the last 6 months. My credit score is usually between 600 - 800, and serviceability is not an issue for the $15k minimum limit that comes with most of these big sign up bonus cards, even when considering the value of my other credit cards. Here is what I have learned:

The very first card I started my point hacking with was the 75k bonus ANZ. I applied for that and was successful.

After obtaining a couple of Amex cards, I closed my ANZ card after receiving the bonus, and waited a couple of months. Then applying for the Westpac altitude 80k + 20k PointHacks offer, I never received an email I was supposed to get to upload my payslips. After following up with Westpac, they said the reason I hadn’t received the email was my application was declined by the system. I was surprised by this, so managed to have it followed up in branch.

After a few phone calls by the helpful staff member the reason I was given was that because I was a “new” customer with no history with Westpac, I could not be trusted with a $15k limit. They also specifically made reference to having a couple of credit reference checks in the past 6 months. I was told I could only be trusted with up to $8000 because I was a stranger to them :S. As I still wanted points I signed up for the Westpac Altitude card with 60k bonus points and was successful.

So my take on this is the following:

  • If you have no history with the particular lender but have no credit inquiries for a long time perhaps you could be approved
  • If you have no history with the lender, and have had some credit inquiries in the last 6 months, due to the (relatively) large minimum credit limit, the system algorithm for approvals may well automatically decline the application.

Obviously people have successfully applied for the Westpac Altitude Black, no dice for me. Would be interested if anybody has and further advice/ experience on regularly gaining approval for the big sign up bonuses? Like I said credit score, income, serviceability etc was not the issue for me.

Thanks roxbury and fnqhacker.  In my case, serviceability is not the issue.  (I earn over $100,000 per year and I have never had any defaults.)  Thanks for the reply fnqhacker - you gave me food for thought!  But I think when some sites say a “good” credit rating is required, they just mean “good” as opposed to a “bad” credit rating and not as an actual Equifax credit risk grade.  From my experience, the banks aren’t looking at your serviceability at all - they’re not applying that much effort!  They just simply apply an algorithm for the big cards (that like Roxbury pointed out have larger minimum credit limits) that even if you earned for example $200,000 per year, you’re still going to get declined if it ticks one of their boxes for declining.  Roxbury’s on the money IMO for why I’m getting declined the big credit cards - it has to do with the minimum credit.  As soon as I see the minimum credit limit is like $15,000 for the card, I don’t bother because I know their algorithm is probably going to decline me. But if I apply for one with a minimum credit of $6000, from the same bank, I may get it.  But I’d be very fascinated to hear from others as to their stories like roxbury’s, and how they manage to get approved for big sign-up cards, at least occasionally, if they are often churning cards.