Can I apply for a credit card I’ve already held in the past?

Feb 8, 2020

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There are plenty of reasons you might apply for a credit card. There may a generous welcome bonus, or some excellent travel benefits like travel insurance, lounge access or elite hotel status. Or you may just be looking for access to credit.

You may have held a particular card in the past and, for whatever reason, cancelled it. But you may be looking at that card again and either regretting cancelling or wondering if you can apply for it again.

There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that for most cards, you can apply for the card even if you’ve held it before. The downside is that you may not be eligible for the welcome bonus if you have earned that bonus in the past.

Let’s have a look at some specific examples for the most popular types of U.K. rewards credit cards.

Related: How do I plan a credit card portfolio?

American Express

There are no restrictions in the eligibility criteria wording for Amex U.K. cards regarding if you have held the card you are applying for in the past. However, note that in 2019, American Express U.K. introduced comprehensive and strict new rules on whether you can receive a welcome bonus for a card you have held in the past. Read our full guide on understanding these restrictions here.

These restrictions do not affect your ability to be approved for a card you have held or closed in the past, though they do affect whether you will receive a welcome bonus for that card (if and once approved).

This rule applies for most cards issued by American Express U.K., including:

Related: The best U.K. miles and points credit cards of 2020

Virgin Atlantic

The situation is different with Virgin Atlantic cobranded cards. The wording states you could be approved for a card provided you are not “an existing Virgin Atlantic Credit Card customer and (you) have not closed another Virgin Atlantic credit card in the last 6 months”. This means that you can be approved for a card you have held in the past provided you have closed it at least six months ago. You also will not be approved if you have held a different Virgin Atlantic card in the past six months.

Related: The ultimate Virgin Atlantic Flying Club guide

Fortunately, you can still receive a welcome bonus with the card even if you have received the welcome bonus in the past, provided you comply with that six-month rule. However, you cannot be approved for the card if you are not eligible to receive the welcome bonus by meeting the minimum spend (even if you just want the card, not the welcome bonus).

Related: Credit card review: Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

Bottom line

With American Express, you can be approved for a card you’ve held in the past (even recently), though you may not be eligible for the welcome bonus. With Virgin Atlantic, you can only be approved for a card if you have not held it in the past six months, though you can still receive the welcome bonus even if you’ve received it in the past.

Featured photo by Josh Gribben/The Points Guy.

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.

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