Posted by Chuck on July 14, 2016
Credit Cards

Published on July 14th, 2016 | by Chuck


Capital One Tightens their Credit Card Churning Rules

Capital One has tightened their rules regarding approving multiple credit cards at the same time and won’t allow more than one card per six months.


Capital One has always been something of an anomaly; they don’t seem to care much about good credit scores and things like that, but they have weird things that trouble them like “too few revolving account” and other things that don’t always add up.

They also pull all 3 credit bureaus.

The one good thing about Capital One was that they didn’t have any rules against approving multiple cards at once. If you were deemed worthy in their eyes – that’s a big “if” – you could potentially get 2 or more cards on the same day. And even two of the same card on the same day, e.g. two Venture’s.

Capital One also has some nice signup bonus offers, such as $400 with Venture personal credit card or $500 with Spark business card.


Recent reports indicate that Capital One now tightened the rules of how often they’ll approve credit cards, and they now consider multiple applications as “duplicates.” They won’t process the second application at all, and no hard pull is done.

Not only are doubles of the same card considered duplicates, but even two different cards are considered duplicates, and even one personal and one business, apparently.

You can still get seconds of a card that you already have (e.g. if you got a Venture last year, you can get it a year later), but you have to wait a while before applying for it.

Data Points

Report #1

One report is from a friend who got a Spark and a Venture back in March, then applied for two different versions of Spark three months later in June. Capital One didn’t even process the applications at all since they were flagged as duplicates…three months after his previous application round.

there is currently a pending or recently processed application with Capital One

No hard pull was done, as mentioned in the letter from Capital One (below) and confirmed by my friend. The computer system automatically knew not to process the application at all.

My friend spoke to a rep who confirmed that there is a new 1/6 rule, and you can only apply for a card once per 6 months. She suggested that he apply again in September. (Since the application wasn’t processed at all, the clock wouldn’t reset with the denied application.)

Here’s the denial letter from Capital One.

capital one duplicate denial 7:13:16

Report #2

The other report is from Milesperday who also applied for Spark Cash and Spark Miles. The second application was denied as a duplicate.

He was able to get a second Spark card of the same variety that he already had from a year earlier, but he wasn’t able to push through two applications on the same day for two different versions of the Spark card.

Report #3

In the comments to this post, Leon reports applying for two business cards and one personal card. Only the first application (Spark Cash) got approved, the others were considered duplicates.

This indicates that you can’t even apply for one personal and one business card at the same time. Presumably, you’ll have to wait six months between any applications, and staggering personal and business doesn’t help. In my opinion, this makes no sense to limit personal and business combined, but I don’t work for Capital One. 🙂

See the comments of this post for additional data points.

Current Rules

Updated the rules to reflect what we learned in the comments

Here are the current Capital One churning rules as I understand them:

  • You can only apply for one Capital One credit card per six months. We’ll call this the 1/6 rule.
  • All credit cards are included in this rule, both personal card and business cards. For example, if you apply for the Venture card, you won’t be able to apply for Spark until six months later.
  • Any cards that are applied for past 1/6 won’t be processed at all and no hard pull is done. It’s an automated system denial.
  • You can still have multiples of the same card open at the same time, e.g. two Ventures or two Sparks, so long as you space out the applications.
  • You’ll get the bonus on a new card, even if you have the exact same card already, so long as you are approved.

As a side note, remember to freeze your Experian credit report before applying for a Capital One card. Capital One will process your application with just Equifax and Transunion pulls when Experian is frozen.


52 Responses to Capital One Tightens their Credit Card Churning Rules

  1. Steve says:

    thanks for the update. Just had the exact same experience when applying recently. Got the same language in the letter and no hard pull. Last cards received in March — now I know how long I have to wait.

  2. Leon says:

    Hi DoC, DP here. I applied for both Spark Cash, Spark Miles and Venture on the same day. Spark Miles and Venture were both marked duplicate and denied. I tried to recon after receiving the letter, but even the Venture could not be approved because I was already approved for the Spark Cash.

    • Chuck says:

      Wow!!! So even one personal and one business doesn’t work anymore. That is terrible!

      I’ll update the post, thanks.

      • projectx says:

        This is good to know. I thought I had read one or two DPs of someone being declined for both the Spark Cash and Venture miles card. Kind of a bummer as I was just about to apply for both cards.

      • TomT says:

        Leon’s comment says he applied for three cards not two: Spark Cash, Spark Miles and Venture. That is two business cards and one personal on the same day. Perhaps your conclusion about one business and one personal on the same day being disallowed is invalid. None of the three reports you cite have only one personal and one business card.

  3. PeaceandPost says:

    I’ll add a DP. I apped for Spark Cash and Spark Miles one after the other on the same day (hitting apply button with a minute of each other). I got instantly approved for the Spark Cash (app I submitted first) and auto denied for Spark Miles. Letter in the mail said the same thing as above (there is currently a pending or recently processed application with Capital One). I’ve never had either card before.

  4. AvI says:

    If i have a spark bussnies card and got already the 500$ can I get it again a year later.? And get the 500$ again ? The 2% cash back is a amazing

  5. J says:

    Yet another stunningly beneficial/useful post from you guys. Thank you both (+all/team, if applicable) so much. You are the best in the business; for which I am SO grateful. Thanks again! (This actually may be my first comment, perhaps second, but I am a long time reader and often shake my head in amazement of how good you guys are.)

  6. Gina says:

    I got the sparks card on 6/5/2015. The annual fee charged to my card a few days ago. So I can apply again!?!?! Do I need to close the first card first and wait so many days? Or lower credit limit? Will Capital One refund my fee? I haven’t much experience with Capital One since that was my first card.

  7. Chris says:

    I just called two days ago on my Spark business to waive the annual fee–they didn’t blink and waived it quickly.

  8. Adam D says:

    I applied for spark cash + spark miles + venture on the same day about 9 months ago after freezing experian, minutes apart. Already have ventureone from years past. Was denied for venture and spark miles but approved for spark cash. I am going to close spark cash before annual fee.soon. Should I try for spark cash again or the other cards I was previously denied. Do not know which probability to use, any data points on this?

    • Adam D says:

      BTW, you guys have personally netted me $1750 in checking bonuses this year with another $150 pending and ($300 of it was citigold mailer bonus which I just downgraded). Thanks for funding my travels abroad, even been able to open a first tennessee in the past while in Asia. Keep up the great work.

    • Chuck says:

      Not sure if it makes a difference. I’d probably try a different one to be safe.

      • Adam D says:

        Ok, one other data point on multiple apps same day with cap1. I applied for venture first-denied, then spark cash-approved. Then spark miles-denied. Current limit on soark cash is 15k and a previous still current ventureone is 10k.

        Was apporoved for a BoA travel rewards soon after, and a Chase UA-business and barclays right before 5/24. Citi premier was the only other card I’ve ever been denied in the past, prob 10 open cc’s now. Citi and cap1 definately are schizophrenic when it comes to logic approving apps.

        • Adam D says:

          Not “barclays” I meant chase british also. sorry for the long post. Just approved for my second barclay arrival about 2 months ago and downgrading a closing it after a year previous.

  9. MH says:

    I got a Venture and Quicksilver on Feb 29, I’ll wait until Sep 1, to apply for Sparks Cash and then apply again in March for another Venture or Sparks.

    Freezing Experian again when I do.

  10. IwannaKnow says:

    So what if your denied? Do you still have to wait 6 months to re-apply ?

  11. Davin says:

    Hi DoC and Co.,

    Can anyone confirm if this limit applies to co-branded cards as well? e.g. the PlayStation Sony Rewards

  12. PeaceandPost says:

    My wife applied for a Cap One card in June (a Venture card I believe) and was denied. She previously had a Venture that she closed in April. So she hasn’t been approved for any Cap One card since April 2015.

    Planning a mini AOR for next week, does the denial have anything to do with the 1/6 rule? Or does she have the possibility of being approved for a Cap One card next week?

  13. David says:

    A warning: one may not get the same bonus when churning the same Cap1 cards. I got a 2nd Spark Cash card (the previous one was 6 months ago). Last time I got the $500 bonus only 1 or 2 days after
    meeting the min spend requirement. Now it has been 5 days and still don’t see the bonus. Still hope to get it though.

    • Chuck says:

      Let us know how it goes.

    • Craig says:

      I just had the following chat with Capital One. Interesting info (granted from a chat CSR)…

      You01:26 PM
      I have had the Venture card in the past, though that account is now closed. Would I be eligible for the promotional off that comes with approval of that card (40,000 miles)?
      Celine01:26 PM
      Every new account that meets our minimum early spend bonus requirement and credit approval will be eligible for the one-time bonus.
      Celine01:27 PM
      If you have not opened this credit card in the past two years, you are eligible for the one-time bonus.
      Celine01:27 PM
      If you’ve opened two or more of these credit cards in the past two years, you may be subject to additional review.

    • anthonyjh21 says:


    • Chris says:

      Hi David – I would greatly appreciate an update as to whether you obtained a second bonus. I would like to apply for a second Spark Cash card but not if I can’t receive the $500 cash bonus.

    • David says:

      Hey guys,
      Sorry I forgot to update the info. I did get the $500 bonus, so you are good to go.

  14. Mark says:

    I currently have sparks cash and sparks miles, both opened over 6 months ago. Anyone have successs with a third sparks card?

  15. Ewejay says:

    Targeted offer did not bypass the 6-month rule.

  16. K says:

    I have a no annual fee Venture card, can I call CapitalOne and ask them to upgrade me to paid version of Venture card to get $400 joining bonus and then later downgrade when the annual fee is about to kick in. Thoughts?

  17. Mustapha Washington says:

    Can you still get approved for an unsecured card even though you have a secured card

  18. anthonyjh21 says:

    Just to confirm, but this 1/6 rule is only in effect if you were approved right? I wasn’t aware of this rule and two months after being approved for a Spark card I applied for a second Spark (different version) and was instantly declined. I’m guessing this 1/6 was the reason why. So do I need to wait 6 months from the denied application or is it 6 months from the approved one?

  19. Curmudgeon says:

    I have a conflicting data point: I got the Spark 1.5% business card (with $500 bonus from promo mailer) in 9/16, then got the Spark 2% business card with another $500 bonus in 11/16 – about 2.5 months apart. I did get the $500 bonus on both cards.

    I have since cancelled the 1.5% card (April ’17) and merged its credit line with the 2% card. I have another mailer with a $500 bonus on the 1.5% card that I’m tempted to apply for. Not sure I want another 3 credit bureau hit but I’d do it if I knew I’d get the card. I’ll update if I take the chance.

  20. Brian says:

    This tweet from Capital One regarding someone else’s denial due to an “in progress” appilcation also seems to confirm the 6-month wait time:

  21. Victor says:

    Question regarding the capital one venture card. I originally got it back in Nov. 2014 and downgraded to no fee Venture One last Oct. 2016– if I apply for the Venture now, would I qualify for the $400 bonus?


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