How to Get a Credit Upgrade

How to Get a Credit Upgrade
Mike Randall
By: Mike Randall
Posted: January 31, 2014's popular "How-To" series is for those who seek to improve, rebuild or better understand their subprime credit rating.

Credit cards are a necessity in our modern way of life, so we need to make sure we have the right card for our lifestyle.

But if your credit card isn’t doing all you need it to do, what are your options? Well, you could start shopping around and applying for new cards – except that could have a negative impact on your credit score.

A better option is to get an upgrade on your existing credit card so it meets your needs.

There are many reasons someone may want to upgrade their credit card, from earning better rewards or lowering their interest rate, to getting special perks.

In this short guide, I’ll show you how to go about upgrading your credit card in the most effective and painless way. Let’s get started.

1. Categories of credit card upgrades

Credit card upgrades fall into three major categories: better rewards or benefits, increasing a credit line or lowering the APR or rate of interest you’re being charged.

These various upgrades can be done either on your existing card or by your card company issuing you a different card with the upgraded features you’re asking for.

Either way, the point is to work with your credit card issuer and tell them what you want. That way you keep your existing account along with the credit history and longevity.

2. When to upgrade

If you are planning a vacation and know you will be using your card for more purchases than normal, this may be a good time to request an upgrade.

You should try to upgrade to a card with travel rewards and hotel/airline benefits. In addition, you may want to request an upgrade to your credit limit.

If your salary has increased significantly since you’ve had your credit card, you may qualify for an upgrade as well.

Finally, upgrading to a card that offers a rewards program may make sense if you find you are using your card more now than you used to.

“Improve your credit standing

before you attempt an upgrade.”

3. How to request an upgrade

Requesting an upgrade can be done in one of two ways. Many credit card issuers now have forms on their websites for existing cardholders to request an upgrade.

This may be the way to go if your request is based on an increase in earnings or some other financial change in your benefit.

If your upgrade request is based more on personal desire, speaking to a representative of the card company may be a better choice.

If so, be prepared to defend your request and know exactly what you want before you make the call.

4. When not to request an upgrade

There may be a time when requesting an upgrade to your credit card doesn’t make sense.

If you are in the process of making a major purchase, such as a home or a new car, having a credit change on your credit report can make a difference.

Your card issuer may run a hard inquiry on your credit, which can negatively impact your credit report for a short time. Any recent activity may give the creditor a reason to deny your application.

The process of getting an upgrade to your credit card is not a difficult one, if you know what you’re doing and how to go about it.

If you have a good record with your existing credit card issuer, they are likely to see you as a good credit risk and worthy of an upgrade.

If, on the other hand, you have a history of late payments or a high level of debt to available credit, you may be out of luck. In this case, you need to work toward improving your credit standing before you attempt an upgrade on your credit card.