I have been researching a LOT today about this and it seems all the information I've found -- even in the last 8-12 months -- is very outdated.
If you are not an Amex credit/charge card holder, is there still a way to provide basic info to Amex and allow them to tell you what you're likely to be approved for? This feature seems to be invisible or a myth and I am afraid to go through the application process because I do not want another hard pull.
My history is:
-- late payments in May 2012 brought my credit from 721 --> high 500s (has gone up since)
-- One of those late accounts was Capital One card which I thought was closed but wasn't and was recently approved for another Capital One card with a crappy $300 limit (total $800)
-- In the last month, I've become an Amex W-word, opening a prepaid card (which supposedly helps you build a history with them and may increase your chances of an approval? rep would neither confirm nor deny that), opening a high yield savings account with $2500 deposit and will deposit $2000 every month from here forward
-- In the last week, became add'l cardholder on my father's Amex Plat card (still waiting for that card) which I was told by a rep would make me inherit my father's account and credit history with Amex (yes, she said CREDIT) and would positively affect my score as long as the acct remains in good standing
-- My girlfriend (who lives with me) keeps getting offers from Amex gold, so if she takes the offer and makes me an add'l cardholder, will that help or is that just overkill? She never ever ever misses a payment or does anything financially irresponsible.
-- Perhaps most importantly, all debt is GONE and I just paid my maxed capital one bill off in full a month early... not sure how much that helps or if it's just wishful thinking that credit bureaus care about that.
Any information is appreciated. I am trying to decode this system and patience is absolutely not a virtue of mine.