DISCLAIMER: Please don’t do stupid things with your credit. I have a high credit score, I pay off my credit cards every month, and have no pressing credit needs. Do not attempt this at home.
The house we live in is pretty old, about 90 years or so. That’s relatively young by the standards of Europe and even some cities in the United States, but in the city of Charlotte it is positively ancient. So, it’s not too surprising that the 90-year-old main plumbing line out of our house broke down.
I’ve lived in old houses for over a decade now (our previous home was over 100 years old) so I’m used to shelling out money for improvements. I’ve replaced a roof and a couple of HVAC systems. But this main line replacement was brutal, financially speaking. It did give me an opportunity to conduct an experiment, however: how far over my credit line could I go before Chase shut me down?
Shortly before our plumbing woes I had signed up for another British Airways card, the one where you get 75,000 miles for a $10K spend. BA miles have been our bread and butter over the years, and though they’re becoming harder for us to use thanks to American Airlines’ jackassery, we should be able to find some use for them. (Some people in this hobby tell you not to hoard, but… I do. BA miles, anyway. Though the jury is still out on whether I should transfer over my MR points with the current bonus as well.)
Since I, like every single other points & miles blogger, already had ample Chase credit extended to me, the new card had a credit limit of only $5,000. Which is still more than I spend in a normal month, but last month was not normal. My experiment was simple: keep spending on my card until it gets declined. Thanks to plumbing expenses, I had no trouble whatsoever breaking the $5,000 limit within a month! The final total before Chase cut me off: $6,776.73, or $1,776.73 over the credit limit. (1776? There’s got to be a Chase Freedom joke in there somewhere.)
There were no calls from Chase, they just started declining my credit card. There were no overlimit fees either; apparently a lot of issuers did away with those after the Credit Card Act of 2009. I was shocked that they let me go over my limit by 35%; I would have guessed I could go over by $500, give or take. Then again, Chase may take into account my other credit limits with and adjust their overlimit flexibility accordingly. My credit score may take a hit, but it’s usually 800+ so I can live with that. It’s a small price to pay for the advancement of knowledge. Besides, the VantageScore model caps utilization at 110%, so… woohoo, I guess.