It has historically been possible to have a maximum of 5 American Express credit cards at the same time and there was no hard limit on the number of charge cards you could hold at the same time. Recently, there have been rumblings of a new limit of 4 total Amex credit cards (business and personal combined) and 10 total Amex charge cards. The Amex Twitter team has now seemingly confirmed that new limit in response to a question from Mark Ostermann at Miles to Memories.
@AskAmex can you confirm if American Express has a new 4 credit card limit for customers? And does that include credit and charge cards or just credit cards etc?
— Mark Ostermann (@Macosty1038) May 18, 2020
To be clear, I’ve seen some data points to the contrary recently and I rarely give much credence to the word of a company’s Twitter team (most of them are often wrong about the nitty-gritty details of things). However, I agree with Doctor of Credit’s assessment that the particular tone of the response and the fact that Amex bothered to take a firm public stand at all gives it a bit more weight. I’d have expected a more canned response that neither confirmed nor denied the rumor. There is obviously a bit more to it than a total restriction on new approvals for those over those numbers because some have reported success despite having more credit or charge cards. Is it possible that some cards don’t count toward the limit or no longer count after a certain period of time or that the rule is a general requirement with some built-in exceptions? It’s hard to say for sure, but the bottom line is that it is at least likely to be a widely-applied policy moving forward. I’d bet that most people will find the new rules to hold up.
Keep in mind that this wouldn’t affect cards you already have. If you already have 5 Amex credit cards, you should be fine keeping those. However, to be approved for a new card, I assume you’d have to close two of your current cards in order to be approved for a new one. The same should be true on the charge card side — the limit applies to someone applying for a new card rather than for your existing accounts.
It’s not terribly surprising to see issuers continue to rein it in given the current economic situation. Because there have been some contrary data points, it’s not entirely clear where the line in the sand is drawn. You may be able to apply and then call reconsideration to close a card if necessary to open the new one you want. On the other hand, perhaps this is a reason why we’ve seen more people report running into the Amex pop-up lately? At the end of the day, nobody wants to see a reduction like this, but it’s generally better to know where the limit is than wonder.
H/T: Miles to Memories