Amex USA 4 or 5 "Credit" Card Limit.

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American Express typically allows USA cardholders to have a maximum of four credit cards, plus an unspecified number of charge cards. Personal and Business cards count against this cap. Some individuals have more credit cards if opened before the cap was instituted. Anecdotal evidence indicates the limit may have been raised to five in early 2016.

Centurion, Platinum, Gold, and Green are charge cards.

American Express issues both charge and credit cards for three co-brand partners:

  • Charles Schwab
  • Mercedes Benz
  • Morgan Stanley

All others are credit cards. This includes all variants of Everyday, Blue, and many discontinued cards. It includes all co-branded cards currently issued for:

  • Delta
  • Hilton
  • Lowes Business Card
  • Starwood
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Old May 21, 09, 1:53 am
  #1
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Amex USA 4 or 5 "Credit" Card Limit.

Just FYI: I applied online for an Amex Delta Gold card in response to several solicitations promising (maybe-I have had Delta Amex cards before) up to 40K bonus miles.

Today got a call from Amex advising me I had too many Amex cards (four) and that four was the limit. So, my new Delta card app could not be granted unless I closed one of the four accounts. No prob. Close Hilton Amex plse.

New Delta card, rep says, will be here within ten days.

Why can't I have all the Amex I want?
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Old May 21, 09, 4:13 am
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This is something that has been puzzling me for a while, and it's time to ask the question. Why could anyone possibly want FIVE American Express cards?

It's possible that this is a national issue. As an Englishman, I struggle with the concept, but maybe it's as natural as breathing to some Americans.

My or anyone else's spending pattern will be pretty much the same, no matter how many cards I have, so there's no obvious advantage to the card company. In fact, there might be a disadvantage, as I could quite conceivably be paying off one card with another in a never-ending spiral. (Well, OK, it will end, but probably months or even years after it could have been reviewed and managed properly by the customer and the banks.)

So the only explanation is the signup bonus for each card or the possibility that someone with numerous cards might want to top up a points balance on a particular FF account. Again, there's nothing in this as a benefit for the issuer.

I can understand a person wanting a VISA card, a MasterCard and an American Express card, as this person may need to travel somewhere where one or other of them is not so widely accepted. I'm also comfortable with somebody having a mix of charge cards, credit cards and debit cards, and possibly, if their circumstances require it, different nationality cards. I can see why someone might want cards in , $ and , for example. For example, I used to have Amex cards in and NZ$ (still do have a VISA cards in each) but I am completely at a loss as to why someone would want so many cards, unless it is simply for signup bonuses.

Please advise!
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Old May 21, 09, 6:07 am
  #3
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Delta Reserve - $60K in spend gets 60K in DL miles, and 30K Bonus miles and 30K in MQMs. Silver status.

Starwood Card - $30K in spend - 30K Starpoints - and Gold status

Hilton HHonors Surpass Amex - $40K in spend - Approx 150K HHonors points and Diamond status.

Platinum Card - DL/CO/AA Lounge access.

Add in a business card and you've got five.

(Now Platinum also gives you Starwood Gold. So I guess you really only need 4. )
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Old May 21, 09, 7:01 am
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At least you got an option on 4 cards. There is a thread buried in this forum where someone was limited to two cards.

As for having so many, I get why based on skofarrell's pretty clear breakdown, but I don't push that much through my cards annually - and I think that most do not - so that's not a huge benefit to me.
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Old May 21, 09, 8:12 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
At least you got an option on 4 cards. There is a thread buried in this forum where someone was limited to two cards.

As for having so many, I get why based on skofarrell's pretty clear breakdown, but I don't push that much through my cards annually - and I think that most do not - so that's not a huge benefit to me.
I don't either, but we are dealing in hypotheticals, right?
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Old May 21, 09, 10:12 am
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Why so many cards?

1. Costco Amex-doubles as membership card, got it years ago, never use it (Starwood instead).

2. Starwood biz and personal, got em for bonuses, continue to use for Starpoints which are great for Points & Dollar stays. Guess I could cut back to one and probably will when next annual fee comes around.

3. Hilton, almost never used (except for getting Amex Travelers Checks for pointsd at Amex Travel offices until this was killed a few months ago--also used Starwod cards for this). Hilton now closed.

4. Delta Skymiles--offered up to 40K in bonus miles--one thousand dollar spend.
Delta miles aren't worth what AA or UAL miles are, but, who knows with the NWA merger what may come. Plus, I already have lots and can always use more--especially with the bonus offer--if Amex comes through.

Is it excessive? Heck no! I have lots more Visa and MC card gotten for bonuses.

Thanks FT for helping me fly J & F for close to free!

PS What is advantage to card company, as asked above? Overall, not much, but system is not rational. Plus, IMHO, Amex is trying to keep Delta happy by pushing card right now as part of NWA merger promotion.
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Old May 21, 09, 10:13 am
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Cut them in half, then you can have 8
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Old May 21, 09, 10:33 am
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Originally Posted by biggestbopper View Post
Is it excessive? Heck no! I have lots more Visa and MC card gotten for bonuses.
But why keep them open? Are you paying annual fees on any of them? If so, what is the true cost of those "free" miles?


Originally Posted by biggestbopper View Post
PS What is advantage to card company, as asked above? Overall, not much, but system is not rational.
Actually, you ran into the benefit like a brick wall. By preventing folks from opening and holding a bunch of cards they dissuade the churning. Folks who actually have use for cards will get the couple they need and be done with it. Folks who churn will have way more than that and are decidedly unprofitable for the CC companies. So why not make it harder to churn? Seems like smart business practice to me.
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Old May 21, 09, 12:44 pm
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Smart is not a word, IMHO, to be applied to credit card bonuses and cc marketing. By the way, don't think having several DIFFERENT Amex cards is churning. It's not as though I were trying to get additional Starwood bonuses or whatever (not that I wouldn't like to, but, don't think it would work). I opened a new card of a type which I didn't have before--may have had one of that type years ago, but who remembers?

As for paying annual fees? I may look dumb, but, I'm not THAT dumb. (exception-I have paid for Starwood card a couple of times at $35-45 each).
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Old Sep 24, 09, 8:05 pm
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How many AMEX cards possible?

I'm seeing several opinions as to how many AMEX cards one can hold at any one time or how long you are required to wait before re-applying after you've gotten a couple...etc.
I recently applied for and received a Green which brings my total to 3 (Green, SPG, Delta) and want to apply for the Hilton Surpass but, considering a few comments on the subject here, am not sure if I need to cancel one of those three before I do. How many AMEX cards (active) do you all have at the moment?
Thanks for any enlightened help.
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Old Sep 24, 09, 9:03 pm
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5 total which includes business. All were solicited by Amex with pre-approvals by mail over a period of a couple years ('04,'05). It would be 6, but I turned down the Plum. I only utilize about 3 right now.
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Old Sep 24, 09, 10:51 pm
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I have four--and when I got my relatively new Delta Gold because of a special 40K bonus offer from Amex, I was called and told I had to close one of my existing four cards because four was the limit.

I have a feeling more might have been permitted before the great mortgage credit collapse.

By the way, one of my present cards is a biz (Starwood) and the other three personal. I had a biz when I got the call re the Delta card (personal).
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Old Sep 25, 09, 12:08 am
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One very common thread between people who get FRed seems to be multiple cards.
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Old Sep 26, 09, 8:32 am
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I have 4 personal and 2 business cards issued by Amex and 2 Amex cards issued by Citi
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Old Sep 26, 09, 10:41 am
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Originally Posted by TAHKUCT View Post
I have 4 personal and 2 business cards issued by Amex and 2 Amex cards issued by Citi
Excellent. So that previously-asserted 4-card limit obviously doesn't apply to everyone. My conclusions are that, like nearly everything else in this credit card world, there are very few hard and fast rules that apply across the board. To put it as succinctly as possible...YMMV.
But considering the success I've had in the recent past with app approvals and knowing there are others who have at least 4 AMEX cards at a time, I'll go ahead and go for my 4th (Hilton Surpass) so I can start collecting triple miles on the mint deal. I'll risk the dreaded (place foreboding music here)..."FR" (immediately followed by the rumble of thunder).
Thanks for the helpful info.
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