The problem is you're stuck in a category amongts those who have similar credit profiles that are in the lower score range. Until something drastically improves in your credit profile, you won't move into the category amongst the people who's score is in a higher bracket.
Closing that account seems like a big mistake. Seems you will now have to pay another account down to $0 just to get close to where you started. If you had 2 accounts out of 5 revolving accounts reporting a balance and now you have 4 revolving, the only thing that will get you LESS than half the accounts reporting a balance is 1.
I don't know that it was a big mistake. The amount of accounts reporting balances isn't a huge ding right? OP says 7 year perfect payment history. Seems like the main problem is just utilization. Losing this CL made the utilization jump up higher again. Unclear what exact utilization is, but once that gets under control, the score will improve.
My util over the last 5-6months is 60-80%. I have had individual balance increases up to $8000 and decreases of similar amounts. An account updated today with a decrease of $4600. EQ FICO per SW has not changed from 701. Last FICO score change was 9/2010, a decrease of 21 points with ONE additional account reporting $115 that gave me 9 accounts with balances out of 18 open revolving accounts.
I do think it is possible that there might not be a big step at 50% accounts with balances if you have a very small number of accounts. Does that happen at 2? Or 3? Who knows?
For ideal scoring, pay all but one account to $0 and have the other reporting 9% or less.
Dropping that account reduced the overall CL and affected utilization. I suppose you could have also paid off enough on the remaining balances to keep your utilization static or to decrease it, but I find that doubtful. I think it would be really helpful if OP posted the balances / credit limits for the before and after scenarios. Otherwise, this is just a waste of typing, we're just theorizing blindly.
Congrats! What changed?
Read something about you having closed an account and now a random increase. I'm willing to wager that the score was looking at something with regards to AAoA, where it got past a milestone. That happened to me this year. December 2010 I was in the mid 600s, hit 700 in April when I bought my car. Back down to around 680 or thereabouts but I can deal with that now that I'm no longer fighting the bankruptcy (fell off of Experian, just waiting for it to fall off of the other two bureaus).