Amex allowing more than 4 credit cards (sometimes)

For several years now, Amex wouldn’t allow people to have more than 4 credit cards.  Extra charge cards were fine, but if you applied for an Amex credit card  and already had 4 open credit cards (business plus personal combined), they wouldn’t approve the new card unless you cancelled an old one.  In just the past couple of days, I’ve heard from a few readers who have been approved for a fifth credit card.  Here are some examples:

Via a blog comment, John wrote:

I went ahead and applied for the SPG personal. (Already have 4: Amex blue, Everyday, Hilton and SPG business). Went to pending and was immediately approved! Also applied for a targeted Gold PRG 25K (Have had this card and 50K bonus before, so figured would use the combined inquiry) Approved.

So yeah now I have 5 open credit cards and 1 charge card with amex.

Via Twitter, Will wrote:

Also via Twitter, Dino wrote:

Has Amex changed their policy recently?

The same Will that Tweeted about his girlfriend, above, wrote:

When Dino was asked when he applied for his 5th card, he wrote:

From these few data points, it appears that Amex has changed their policy somewhere between a month ago and 11 days ago.  However, in this Reddit thread, a number of people report that recent applications were denied due to already having four credit cards.

Credit Cards, not Charge Cards

The Amex 4 credit card limit is with credit cards, not charge cards.  With credit cards, the card issuer extends a line of credit and you are allowed to pay off your balance over time.  With charge cards, you must pay your balance in full each month.  In general, it is good practice to pay in full each month anyway.

Examples of popular Amex credit cards include:

  • Delta branded cards
  • Hilton branded cards
  • Starwood branded cards
  • EveryDay cards
  • Blue Cash cards

Examples of popular Amex charge cards include:

  • Platinum cards
  • Gold cards
  • Green cards
  • Plum card

Basically all cards named after a color are charge cards.  Exceptions include cards named after the color blue and Delta branded cards which are credit cards, but also have color names: Gold and Platinum.

Conclusion

It’s too soon to say for sure, but it appears to me that Amex still has their 4 credit card rule in place, but that they’re failing to apply it in all cases.

I have no idea why Amex has this rule in the first place.  I can understand wanting to limit the amount of credit extended to each person, but they can manage that with any number of cards.  The optimist in me hopes that this is the beginning of the end of the Amex 4 credit card rule.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. My husband applied 2 days ago for Starwood Business and he already had 4 cards but was denied the fifth card. He called and talked to so many people and finally was forced to close an 18 year old card if he wanted to get approved.

  2. Amex forced me to close one of my cards before they’d approve my SPG card. I talked them through why I need each of those cards (which were true reasons, I do use all four of my cards to some extent) but they wouldn’t budge and I had to cancel one of my cards before they’d reconsider my SPG application. I had the Costco card (which I told them will close in a few months anyway! they still wouldn’t budge!), Delta plat, Delta Gold Business and Blue Cash.

  3. Hmmmm… I’ve got 6 and most are relatively new.

    AMEX SPG personal – forever
    AMEX SPG business – almost that long
    AMEX Platinum – Aug 2015
    AMEX Gold business – Aug 2015
    AMEX Delta Platinum – June 2015
    AMEX Delta Gold business – June 2015

  4. My oldest open accounts are with Amex so having to close one hurts. Eventually they’ll realize that the hard 4-credit-products per ssn rule is costing them business. Of course, from their perspective keeping open a large number of accounts that don’t get used is a potentially expensive risk. But making your customers happy is generally smarter. If they would let us convert old products to new ones (and get the signup bonus if applicable) or perhaps cut the cl on the old card to something minimal (like $500) it would make a lot more sense.

  5. Was declined immediately for an Amex credit card yesterday because I had too many cards. After MANY phone calls with reconsideration line and representatives, was required to cancel a card if I wanted the new card to be approved. I have 4 Amex credit card and was not approved for the 5th.

  6. This is weird since my wife got denied for having too many cards when she only had 3…had to close one and then was approved a week and a half later.

  7. I received instant approval for the spg bus. And personal cards (not on the same day) when they had the last 30k offer, despite already having 4 open am ex credit cards.
    I have been with am ex for over 30 years – so that might influence their actions with me.

  8. Same here. Had 4 cards, and applied for SPG personal. Approved instantly. I figured that Amex may not be counting the Costco card, since it will be gone in a few months. I also noticed that I am now getting frequent targeted offers in the mail from Amex. I just wonder if they are getting more aggressive to keep their Costco customers.

  9. Tnx for the mention! More data points, yesterday me & my wife just got our approval emails for the Amex Hilton (no A.F.). We both applied for it Wed, the 30th. I have SPG, OBC, HH Surpass, & Simply Cash. So the new 1 is my 5th. My wife has SPG, OBC, HH Surpass, & Blue Sky. From what Ive read it looks like Amex will approve it if u just let the system do it without calling. My wife, sis, & I never called recon.

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