My Long Term Amex 8 Card Strategy

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We’ve seen the credit card landscape improved so much lately, and as part of that I’m working on partly redoing my card portfolio.

I haven’t applied for many cards lately as I’ve been trying to fall under 5/24. That happened at the beginning of this month, at which point I applied for (and was approved for) the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. Now I’m waiting till the beginning of November to apply for the Ink Business UnlimitedSM Credit Card, and then I’ll proceed with applying for some cards with other issuers.

In this post I wanted to look specifically at my Amex card strategy going forward.

Amex’s general limits on being approved for cards

Amex’s general restrictions on applying for cards are as follows:

  • You can generally have at most five Amex credit cards at any given point; it doesn’t matter whether they’re personal or business, and this limit doesn’t include charge cards; note that some report getting approved for six or even seven cards, but that seems to be the exception rather than the norm
  • You can typically be approved for at most two American Express credit cards in 90 days, though there are some inconsistencies when it comes to that (again, this doesn’t include charge cards)

My current Amex Card portfolio

Let me first share the Amex cards that I have right now.

Charge cards:

Credit cards:

The Amex Cards I want to pick up

In the coming months I definitely plan to pick up the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card, and probably plan to pick up The American Express® Gold Card.

Why do I want these cards?

  • The Hilton Aspire Card has a $450 annual fee and offers Hilton Honors Diamond status for as long as you have the card, an annual weekend night reward, a $250 Hilton resort credit every cardmember year, and a $250 airline fee credit every calendar year; this card is simply such a no brainer for anyone who even occasionally stays at Hiltons, in my opinion
  • The SPG Luxury Card has a $450 annual fee, and while not as compelling as the Hilton Aspire, it’s still potentially worthwhile; it offers a $300 annual credit every cardmember year for spend at Marriott and Starwood hotels, a free night award on your account anniversary valid at a hotel costing up to 50,000 points per night, and more
  • The Amex Gold Card has a $250 annual fee and offers 4x points at U.S. restaurants and 4x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 of spend per calendar year; this card seemed like a total no brainer until a couple of days ago, but with the Citi Prestige soon offering 5x points on dining, I’m having second thoughts; the card does also offer a $100 annual airline fee credit plus a dining credit of up to $120 per year

My future Amex Card portfolio

With the above in mind, I think I’ve come up with an Amex portfolio that makes sense for me, where I’ll have three charge cards and five credit cards, as shown below (with a brief explanation of why).

Charge cards:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express — this card has a $550 annual fee and offers great perks, including a $200 annual airline fee credit, $200 annual Uber credit, $100 annual Saks credit, Amex Centurion Lounge access, Delta SkyClub access when flying Delta, a Priority Pass membership, and more
  • The Business Platinum® Card from American Express — this card has a $450 annual fee and offers a $200 annual airline fee credit, 10 Gogo wifi passes per year, and more
  • The American Express® Gold Card — this card has a $250 annual fee and offers a $100 annual airline fee credit, $120 annual dining credit, 4x points at U.S. restaurants, and 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 of spend per year)

Credit cards:

Going back and forth on the Amex Gold vs. EveryDay Preferred

While the Amex Gold Card seemed like a no brainer at first for the 4x points on U.S. dining and U.S. supermarkets, the announcement about the Citi Prestige earning 5x points on dining globally has me reconsidering this.

My plan was to cancel the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card in favor of the Amex Gold Card. I’m still leaning towards doing this because the Amex Gold is a charge card while the EveryDay Preferred is a credit card, and it would be nice to have another available slot for a credit card. But I’m still trying to decide on this 100%.

Bottom line

Amex has some fantastic new credit cards, and I can’t wait to pick up a couple of them. I’m most excited about the Hilton Aspire Card, though am also looking forward to potentially picking up the Amex Gold Card and SPG Luxury Card.

I’m curious to hear what Amex products you guys are most interested in at this point!

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Comments

  1. I actually have exactly same setup you proposed minus Amex Platinum Biz.

    Amex Platinum + Amex Gold + Amex Biz Gold (Will cancel after first year unless retention offer is greater than $175 AF) + Amex SPG + Amex SPG Biz + Amex SPG Lux + Amex Hilton Aspire + Amex BBP

    Trying to switch Amex Platinum to Amex MS Platinum to score free AU.

    But generally I have question for your setup on having both Amex Platinum personal and Biz. The only Biz benefit has is 35% Points rebates on selected airfare and 1.5x on higher expense. And the only personal benefit is 5x directly purchased airfare. (And depends on the flavor of your personal card, it might have special add-on.) Would you be able to explain? Thanks!

  2. Amex Gold offers more simplicity without the dreaded 30 transactions per month. That right there is probably worth some value over the EDP. Not to mention effective annual fee is lower and you open up an Amex CC slot. It’s an easy decision.

    For now, I’m still thinking Amex Gold 4X MR in US is valuable, perhaps more so than 5 TYP. I still don’t how to get the best value of TYP without the hiccups associated with redeeming TYP.

    Might be useful to see an article on the best uses of Citi TYP for business class flights departing from US.

  3. Ben, as you probably know I hardly doubt that would work in Europe, I think that’s an American thing. To have +20 CC. I fly for my profession even more than you and don’t have that acces. Do you agree with me?

  4. Will Amex really give you the sign-up bonus on these cards? With all the cards you have already I bet you’ll get a warning upon submitting your application that you aren’t eligible for the sign up bonus.

  5. For most people that is an absurd level of locked in spend in AFs. (Yes I understand there is a value proposition and “you get it back”), but you are getting on for 2 grands worth of fees which is going to be a substantial % of most normal people’s travel budget.

  6. I’m happy to take 5% discount on the Amazon AMEX…cash in hand is better right now than buying up Amazon gift cards at office supply stores for the Chase 5%. I’m sure I’ll be called completely crazy on this one…

  7. I second @Raulf – isnt approval for the new SPG luxury card contingent on dumping the previous SPG? If so, no need to cancel your Everyday preferred!

  8. I’m now beginning to search for simplicity. I’m trying to get to a point where each card has a purpose and I can sort of just focus the spending on a few cards and not have to worry so much about it. As soon as my current Amex Plat is due up for renewal, I’m going to try to get the Amex Schwab Plat so I can cash out MR at 1.25 cents per MR. Sort of simplifies everything into straight earning. I’m happy to earn equivalent of 5% uncapped cashback on supermarkets and restaurants. Then I can just “buy” my flights when I want and earn get another 6.25% back.

  9. I don’t see airline credit offered in any of the current terms for the Hilton Aspire. Are we sure this is still a benefit? Without it, the math is definitely skewed for this card.

  10. I got approved for the luxury card while already having the spg card. Then upgraded the personal card to another luxury card so I have two. So you can def mix and match.

  11. I’m just imagining you shuffling your Starwood cards at the St. Regis check-in… That would be a hilarious moment.

  12. I thought the new Lux SPG you only had to wait until over a year had passed since the last SPG bonus before you could get the bonus on the Lux card.

  13. @ Bear — You can get the SPG Luxury Card immediately even if you have the other two SPG Amex Cards. The only restriction is that you can’t get it if you have certain Marriott Cards.

  14. @ Evan — Nope, you can get all three of the SPG Amex Cards as long as you don’t have any of the Marriott Cards.

  15. @ Raulf Cheng — Nope, you can have each of the SPG Amex Cards as long as you don’t have any of the Marriott Cards.

  16. No-fee and Ascend Hilton cards
    Great point deals out there. If anyone becomes my friend by replying to the comment. The no fee Hilton card is doing 100k honors points after only 1k dollars. And the Hilton Ascend card I can send you a 150k honors offer for 3k dollars spent. The public only gets 75k and 125k respectfully.
    Delta platinum best deal
    This card offers you 70k miles on sign up and 10k MQM qualification miles as well for the same 3k spent in 3 months.
    Amex gold card
    Get 50k points after 2k dollars. And you also get %20 back on restaurants up to $100 dollars in first 3 months.
    I have 5 Amex cards and I love them all my favorite is probably the gold card. Just send me your contact info if you like the sound of any of the deals you see above. I love these cards and I wish I got deals like these I’m trying to make up for it and make sure you guys don’t make the same mistake I did.

  17. @jan
    A charge card has no set limit but just be paid off every month.
    A credit card has a credit limit and allows you to carry a balance over time.

  18. For me the gold card as been outstanding. I have the amex business plat. I am not certain why someone would need both the business and personal version of the amex plat card. To me that seems excessive. I understand what you are saying about dining going on the prestige card, but i’m not sure that will justify another AF beyond maybe a signup offer. As it is I am at my max with cards with amex and I need to close some out in the coming months.

  19. Ben,

    The 4x dining on the Amex Gold is compelling. What is your strategy for spend on your Amex cards vs your Chase cards?

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