I had applied for and received an AAdvantage Citibank Mastercard Credit Card in 1994. This is a card issued by Citibank through American Airlines and issues you frequent flier miles for card usage. I had a resonable interest rate and was very happy with the card. They did not run up interest rates on me the entire time I had the card.
In 2000 I started receiving applications for upgrades to a Platinum level AAdvantage Citibank Mastercard. After receiving several offers to upgrade, finally in 2001 I signed their upgrade agreement and sent it in.
There had been several attractive incentives to receiving an upgrade, one was advertised as "no spending limit". It also offered an Annual Percentage Rate 2pts lower then my current card.
After calling Citibank to find out how the no spending limit thing worked, customer service told me technically I had a limit on my card, but that if I went over, Citibank would approve the charge, but I would have to pay the overlimit amount in full by the next statement and I would be charged a penalty. I told them their ad was certainly misleading.
Two months after getting the new platinum card I notice that my interest rate had jumped to 23.99%! When I called customer service they told me that my credit report had shown a late payment on another credit card within the last six months and that was why they were now raising my interest rate. I told them I had never once paid my Citibank late in seven years and how could one late payment on another card affect my Citibank interest rate?
They told me it had said on the Platinum application that I had signed that they could check credit references and that they had the right to raise my interest rate if I had a record of late payments. I told them I didn't have a history of late payments and that one payment on another card that was late was the only late payment in over two years.
The customer service lady was so rude as well and I was so upset that I started crying on the phone. I felt completely betrayed by my favorite credit card issuer because I felt they had purposely sent me upgrade applications in order to get me under a new agreement giving them the right to raise my interest rate on incedentals. Not to mention the whole application wording was very shady and it was absolutely not clear on their intent when they listed the so called "perks" of a platinum card.
I have made it my mission in life to tell everyone I know that Citibank will rip you off if you decide to get one of their credit cards. I only deal with American Express now because they are fair and are an absolute pleasure to work with, even if you have a late payment.