Posted by William Charles on April 1, 2016
Credit Cards

Published on April 1st, 2016 | by William Charles


Are American Express Relaxing Their Four Credit Card Limit?

One of the application rules for American Express has always been that you can not hold more than four of their credit cards at any one time. You can have as many charge cards as you like, but there has been a hard limit of four credit cards. This rule only applied to credit cards that they issue, not cards issued by other banks running on the American Express payment network (see: full list of American Express third party credit cards).

We’ve recently received a bunch of data points that this is no longer the case:

  • Five chinese data points
  • Other data points: 1 (approved on 19th), 2 (approved on 28th), 3, 4 (has 6 cards, not clear if all are credit)

On the flip side, there are data points that this rule is still being enforced:

What Should You Do With This Information?

Nothing, at the moment it looks like they aren’t enforcing the rule for ~50% of people and are enforcing the rule for the other 50%. Not sure why they are allowing it for some people and not others. This should really only be an issue for people if there are 4 American Express credit cards that you actually want to keep, otherwise just cancel some before applying for another.

Hat tip to US Credit Card Guide for making me aware of this and data points from Frequent Miler as well.

17 Responses to Are American Express Relaxing Their Four Credit Card Limit?

  1. Gavin says:

    Had 4 credit cards with Amex: Old Blue, BCE, Hilton, SimplyCash. SPG approved on 3/28.

  2. Nil says:

    Same here. Had SPG personal, businessm BCP and everyday. Just applied for the HHonors after reading this article and got approved after a call to recon.

  3. anthonyjh21 says:


    – Costco Amex
    – Blue Cash
    – Blue Cash Preferred
    – Simply Cash Business

    Applied for SPG personal card on 2/29 to get in before the bonus window closed. Read reports here and there that there was a decent chance it would be approved.

    It went into pending and I immediately called in. It was unfortunately after hours, and I got the run around from three outsourced reps who didn’t seem to fully know what they were doing. In the end I was told they forwarded corrected information (nothing needed to be corrected but ok) and that if I wanted to call back during business hours tomorrow they’d be able to help me then.

    I got off the phone annoyed from wasting 45 minutes but more so because I knew I needed to call back the next morning. I woke up the next morning on a good note with an approval email just hours after applying. No need to call in! So yeah, I now have a fifth Amex card.

    Just adding my data point here since like you wrote, I’ve also read a lot of data points that go both ways on this.

  4. Mark O says:

    My wife got auto denied for having too many amex cards when applying for spg biz (she only had 3 amex). Called in and canceled her personal card and after a week was approved for the biz card….seems like she was an outlier though.

  5. Ethan says:

    Some data pts:
    myself, oldest account age 12 yrs, 4 credit cards+ 2 charge card, approved for hilton surpass and approved.
    DW:oldest account age 5yrs,4 credit cards, applied for SPG busi, instantly declined, called in to cancel personal SPG, application still pending.

  6. RY says:

    I had 4 AMEX accounts as of last week (Blue, Platinum, Simply Cash, Hilton). I applied for the SPG Business card and was instantly approved.

    • MH says:

      Platinum is a Charge card and not counted towards the 4 (or5) card limit.

      Golds and Greens are charge cards also.

  7. L. says:

    nope. got denied today for the hilton no AF because i had 4 cards with them prior to applying. SPG personal and biz, Delta, and Everyday preferred.

  8. Trumpizm says:

    4 Amex cards until a week ago, applied for one SPG personal and one SPG Biz on Sunday. Automatically approved for SPG personal but went pending for Biz.
    Received a call from an Amex lady this AM offering me to close one card if I wanted SPG Biz. Told them I would call them back as I was late to work and wasn’t sure which card I wanted to keep… She left a number for me to call when I am ready.
    They must really want my bizznesss!!

  9. Dillon says:

    Had the following: BCE, Costco, HHonors (0AF), ED, and Green. Applied for SPG Personal on 03/29/16 and it went into pending. Waited and got an approval email on 03/31/16. This was after getting the Green and ED on 02/22/16.

  10. Alan says:

    Applied for the Everyday and went into Pending. Have 2 SPG Business (don’t ask), Delta and Lowe’s. Called this morning and was approved. Said the only reason it went Pending was because of the 4 card limit, but since I’m such a good customer they approved a 5th “Lending Card”.

  11. Kevin says:

    I have been approved for 5 cards as of today:
    – Blue Cash Everyday (3 years old)
    – Blue Cash Preferred (12/3/15)
    – SPG Personal (3/4/16)
    – Hilton (approved today after call-in)
    – Delta (approved today after call-in)

  12. Ron says:

    Here’s my DP.

    Here’s what I currently have:
    Everyday (No fee)
    Blue Cash Preferred
    SPG Biz

    Applied for Delta Gold for 50k after 2k spend with $100 statement credit. App went pending on Friday, got an approve email on monday so I now have 5 total Amex cards. I do have PRG and Platinum card but those are charge cards and not credit.

  13. Tiffany says:

    Already have 4 non-charge cards. Applied for the Delta personal and gold biz card. Biz was declined, and personal was pending. Called 800-962-7227, the rep said he’d see what he could do, and got me approved for the personal card. He said the credit team/dept. said to cancel a card and then they would reconsider for the biz card. In case it helps anyone, biz card phone number for this card is 800-952-7560.

  14. HokiE36 says:

    had my 5th CC (SPG biz; public 30k offer) in summer/fall 2016; and my 6th CC (simplycash plus; targeted mail offer) in dec 2016.
    holding another 6 charge cards right now. and received another 75k gold biz offer

    don’t know why amex being so generous to me

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