How I slashed my own credit limit — reader mistake story

Dec 13, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Ben, who made a hasty decision after being approved for a new card:

Last year, I saw an increased welcome bonus offer (no longer available) for the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. I already had the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, but I was flying Delta more frequently, so I decided to apply for the Platinum version and cancel my Gold card. I was instantly approved for the Delta Platinum card, and because I never had an issue with credit limits in the past, I proceeded to cancel my Gold card without checking the credit limit on my new account.

To my surprise, I later discovered that Amex had given me only a $5,000 credit limit on my new Delta Platinum card. Had I noticed the lower limit earlier, I could have moved some of my existing credit line from my Delta Gold card to the new Platinum [Delta] card before canceling the card.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

A low credit limit can inconvenience you not only by capping your spending ability, but also by increasing your credit utilization ratio (an important factor in determining your credit score). You may be able to increase credit limits simply by asking, but you should also look for opportunities to maintain existing credit lines when you close an account — the lower your cumulative credit limit, the more important it is to preserve what you have. Card issuers are often willing to transfer at least some of your credit from one account to another. This requires a phone call in most cases, but American Express facilitates the process by allowing you to shift credit between accounts online.

Even if your credit limit isn’t a concern, don’t cancel a card without considering the broader impact on your credit and finances, rewards and upcoming travel plans. Closing an account may unwittingly cost you benefits that you rely on (like lounge access or the ability to transfer points to travel partners), or jeopardize your rewards by making them susceptible to expiration policies. Looking at the big picture will help you identify adverse affects of closing your account that don’t pertain to the account itself. If you find any, then you can re-evaluate your decision and consider alternatives like downgrading your card.

Related: What to do before closing a credit card

I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing us to post it online), I’m sending Ben a gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own travel mistake stories to, and put “Reader Mistake Story” in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls.

Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!

Featured photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.