Chances are good the issuer you got your credit card from also has additional options that might be looking better now. Maybe the types of credit card rewards you’re after have changed, like you want a travel card rather than the cash back card you have. Or maybe you’ve built up your credit score with a secured credit card, and now you’re ready to apply for an unsecured credit card with a higher line of credit.

Whatever the reason you’re looking to change credit cards, you may be wondering how to do that through the same issuer. Here are the reasons to consider an upgrade credit card move, the possible downsides and how to upgrade your credit card if it’s the right decision for you.

Why would you want to upgrade your credit card?

Using a credit card can help you boost your credit score, and an upgrade can have the same effects. One reason to upgrade your credit card is to increase your line of credit. That will increase your total credit available, which can decrease your credit utilization and positively impact your credit score. Plus, a higher line of credit gives you more credit to work with in case you want to make large purchases or find yourself needing credit to fund an unexpected expense.

You may also be able to get a lower interest rate with a new card, which can help in case you have to pay interest on a future payment. If you have a high-interest balance on your current card, upgrading to a balance transfer credit card may also make sense. That said, we should note that some issuers may not allow you to transfer a balance to a card with the same issuer. As such, this is likely only an option if the issuer offers you a custom balance transfer offer.

Another major reason to upgrade your card is to get better rewards. Typically, you can get better rewards credit cards the higher your credit score is. If your credit score has improved since you got your old card, you’re probably eligible for better credit cards. Upgrading may mean that you will have to pay a higher annual fee, but the rewards you can get through your purchases can negate the fee.

Consider the downsides

When you upgrade your credit card with the same issuer, one benefit is that you’ll usually be able to keep the same credit card account — you’ll just have a new card. That means your credit history will remain intact, which is an important factor for your credit score. However, you’ll likely have a new credit card number. That means you’ll have to update any merchants you have scheduled payments for with the new number, or else you risk denied payments and having to pay late fees.

Another downside to upgrading with the same issuer is that many times, you won’t be eligible for sign-up bonus perks since you’ve already been the issuer’s customer in the past. For example, the card may offer a 60,000-point sign-up bonus, but it’s only valid for new customers of that brand. However, some credit card issuers do offer the same or different perks to existing customers who upgrade their cards. Check with your issuer to seek what perks are available to you.

Another possible downside is that if you don’t use the rewards you’ve already accumulated before you upgrade, you may lose them. If you’ve racked up travel points but don’t have any trips coming up, you may want to wait to upgrade until you’ve used those points. Be aware that your new card may also come with an annual fee you weren’t used to paying before, so you’ll need to prepare for that.

How to upgrade your credit card

Whether you found a card you want to upgrade on your own or your issuer has made you an upgrade offer you can’t refuse, here’s the process for changing your credit card:
  • When the issuer offers you an upgrade option, ask the issuer about the process to upgrade. They’ll be able to provide you with step-by-step instructions and can detail what will happen with your old card, including the rewards you’ve accumulated.
  • If you find a card with your current issuer you want to upgrade to, call the number on the back of your existing card to talk with your issuer. Tell the representative the new card you’re interested in and ask about what your options are and the process to upgrade.
  • You also have options to upgrade your existing card by lowering your interest rate or increasing your line of credit. Know that a credit line increase request may result in a hard inquiry into your credit, which can negatively impact your credit score. Over time, though, a higher line of credit can benefit you by decreasing your credit utilization.
  • If you know you want a new credit card but don’t know what to choose, contact your issuer. You can talk with them about your goals (whether you want travel rewards or points toward gift cards, for example) and your spending habits. Your issuer will be able to clearly explain the options you have and the process to apply.
  • You can also look online and compare the best credit cards to see if your issuer has a different option that catches your eye. Then contact your issuer to make the switch. You’ll want to talk to your issuer about upgrading your old card, rather than just signing up for a new additional credit card through them, so you can retain your existing credit account and say goodbye to old plastic with ease.

Be sure an upgrade makes sense

Before you make any credit card upgrade, research the card you’re considering to see if the rewards, bonus and fee structure makes sense for you. You may find that getting a new card with a different issuer is a better deal, or making changes to your existing card will work out better.