When it comes to applying for American Express cards, the issuer’s five card limit is a restriction to be aware of. In this post I wanted to discuss that in more detail, and also share a data point about how perhaps this isn’t quite so strict anymore?
In this post:
How Amex’s limit of five credit cards works
All the major card issuers have different restrictions when it comes to approving people for new cards. One of the major restrictions for getting approved for American Express cards has been a limit on how many total Amex credit cards you can have (this doesn’t include cards you have with other issuers).
Specifically, Amex limits consumers to having at most five credit cards with the issuer at a given time. It doesn’t matter if those are personal or business cards, as both count toward the limit. However, the trick is that non-credit cards, often referred to as hybrid cards, don’t count toward that limit.
Which cards don’t count toward Amex’s card limit?
Not all Amex cards count toward the five credit card limit. Generally speaking, both personal and business cards count towards the limit, with the exception of the following:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (review)
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (review)
- American Express® Gold Card (review)
- American Express® Business Gold Card (review)
- American Express® Green Card (review)
Why are these cards excluded? Historically these were known as charge cards, meaning there was no pre-set spending limit, and you couldn’t consistently finance charges. However, nowadays these are all hybrid cards, as the option to finance charges is now more consistently available.
Just as an example, looking at my Amex card strategy, I have a total of nine Amex cards — this includes five credit cards and four hybrid cards.
Is the Amex five card limit still being enforced?
Here’s an interesting update. A few days ago, a friend messaged me with a data point regarding Amex’s card limit. He had just been approved for two more credit cards from American Express, despite already being at the five credit card limit. He understands how to correctly “count” Amex cards, as he additionally has four Amex hybrid cards.
I found that to be an interesting data point. I’m currently at the five credit card limit, so I decided to apply for another Amex card. Now, when I did so, I got an application pop-up warning, informing me that I wouldn’t qualify for the bonus. However, that has nothing to do with the five credit card limit, but rather some algorithm that at times limits the ability to qualify for welcome offers on a card. I decided to not follow through on the application, since I wouldn’t earn the bonus.
I can’t say with certainty whether I would have been approved or not. However, given Amex’s “Apply With Confidence” feature (where you can in select situations learn if you’ll be approved for a card without a hard pull), I figured I’d throw this data point out there, as I’m curious if others are also having luck getting approved for more than five Amex credit cards.
At a minimum, it seems that some people aren’t subjected to this limit…
American Express has an unofficial policy of limiting customers to having five Amex credit cards at any given point. It doesn’t matter if these are personal or business cards, though hybrid cards don’t count toward that limit. This is always a restriction to be aware of if you’re considering applying for an Amex card.
However, a friend recently shared a data point about being approved for a sixth and seventh Amex credit card, and I don’t think I’ve seen many data points along those lines. So was he just really lucky, or has Amex had a change in policy?
What has your experience been with the Amex five credit card limit?