I keep my credit card lines small for various reasons (reduce possibilty of impulse purchases, minimize my credit footprint etc) but there are times when certain necessary purchases exceed the amount on any one of my credit cards.

Right now I need to buy flight tickets for my family that will cost ~$5k and one of my credit card that has a limit of $3k is running a special promotion of 3% back on certain flight tickets. The upper limit on the amount of purchases for this program is $10k.

Needless to say, I would like to bill the whole $5k to this $3k limit credit card.

Now what I am planning to do is this:

  1. Make a "payment" of $3k to this credit card
  2. Since there is almost nothing billed to this credit card, the card will now show a credit balance of $3k
  3. Assuming this would translate to a $6k "credit line" ($3k credit limit + $3k credit balance due to the "payment" I made), I should be able to let the $5k in flight tickets go through?

This is a credit card that does not transfer credit balances to my associated bank account (DCU for example does not allow credit balances on their credit card - they transfer the funds to the checking account, but this credit card does not do that)

Alternatively, I could ask for a credit line increase but it took a week last time I asked for it (and this is urgent) and I don't want this increase to be permanent.

Would this work?

  • Interesting idea, I'm curious how this would turn out. If the credit isn't applied until the payment date, then you may not be able to do this, but if it is applied immediately you could be in the clear. I have been able to expedite credit increases by letting them know it is for a flight purchase and I need it now type of request. Then you could ask for a credit line decrease once it was paid off.
    – Eric
    Feb 26 '13 at 17:23

It really depends on the credit card company, which we know nothing about. Some will just do what you described, others will reject your payment or issue you a check.

You can also call them and ask for a temporary credit line increase for a specific purchase. Again, depending on the company they might do that or might not.

  • Right, each bank seems to have complete autonomy on how it processes balances on their credit cards! Mine allows me to pay any amount I like and credits it immediately. However, it does not allow a positive balance over $500 (over which they transfer the whole amount to the checking account). I got offer for an immediate CLI because I had artificially kept the limit low to begin with but once I learn some extra fees were involved from the airline as it's supposedly an international currency exchange, I ended up paying in cash. More on that in a separate question Feb 27 '13 at 16:10

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