Retiring the Amex 4 Credit Card Rule

For several years Amex had a hard rule of allowing only 4 credit cards per person. This counted both personal and business cards. Charge cards such as the Amex Platinum were excluded. Applying for a fifth invariably meant a discussion with Amex on closing another account.

This spring reports surfaced at FrequentMiler and Doctor of Credit that this was not longer being enforced, sometimes. Internet self-reports are hard to judge for accuracy. It is easy for people to get mixed up. Some others plant misinformation.

I was quiet with Amex recently so did not test it until now.

I entered the month with 3 Amex credit cards and 2 charge cards. The credit cards are Delta Platinum, no annual fee Hilton, and SPG business. A family member was targeted for Delta Gold 60k + $100 statement credit. I have never had that card so applied for both personal and business.

I was approved for business. Personal went to pending. Amex now delays processing of additional applications by 7 days. With the 7 days up, my application was processed and I was approved for personal.

5 credit cards for me. I want to add an EveryDay card to keep my Membership Rewards points active when I cancel my Platinum and Business Rewards Gold this month, so will try for #6 next week.

Readers, have you encountered the Amex 4 credit card rule this summer?

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  • Congrats on getting approved. Even more of an issue than the 4-card rule is the “once per lifetime” bonuses on personal cards. I’m focused on business cards going forward to get under Chase’s 5/24 rule, but it sucks that I’ve had just about every personal Amex card and cannot get any more personal bonuses.

  • @Lee – I am running out as well, though have not done much with the Blue cards. Seems some business card targeted offers don’t have the lifetime language so people are hunting out those.

  • Elliot

    So you were able to apply in your name using someone else’s targeted mailer?

  • DaveS

    I got a 10k targeted offer in the mail to add a “Pay over time” option on one of my AMEX cards the other day. When I tried to take them up on it, I got the message that I’m not qualified after all. I’m wondering if this limit on total credit cards is the issue. I don’t think I’d close a nearly idle no-fee account just to test the waters – the AMEX Offers sometimes make it handy to have around – but if I knew that would solve the problem so I could get the 10k points, I could do it.

    I would certainly continue to pay the balance in full each month as always, but if they’re going to offer me MR points just to set up the option, is there any downside to accepting?

  • Interesting that the rule didn’t apply, but good for you! I had been hearing the 4 card rule wasn’t being enforced so I attempted a similar strategy this past July where I had Hilton Surpass, SPG, Delta Gold Personal and the PRG & Platinum charge cards and applied for the Delta Platinum Personal & Delta Gold Business. The Dalta Plat was auto approved but I received pending on the Delta Gold Biz, called and was told the limit was 4 credit cards. I closed the Delta Gold Personal and then ultimately approved for the Biz. Perhaps you had success considering they were targeted offers rather than the general public offers?

  • @Elliot – yes, you need to enter the targeted member’s SkyMiles number to see their offer, then fill out the application with your info and SkyMiles number.

  • @DaveS – they send a lot of these out, I just got email and paper mail on my BRG this week, I believe it is only one-time bonus per account, yet they don’t seem to know that when they send out new offers, in the past year on each charge charge I have had at least 4 each “you’re qualified” but only got the bonus once per card. Have you gotten it before on that one?

  • @Derek – it is possible. Did you wait the 7 days for the second card? In the past calling in immediately either they would say wait or close card, waiting the 7 days for it to auto-process may be helpful.

  • Giovanni

    I have 6 AMEX cards and while the once a lifetime rule applies, I seem to be getting more targeted offers than before the rule change. I got q second Business Gold and Platitum Personal…so who knows…so many different opinions it feels like no rhyme or reason to it all…

  • @Giovanni – I frequently freeze my Experience report, that opts me out of offers, I opt back in but still don’t get any for any cards.

  • DaveS

    @Stephen, I don’t recall getting this offer before. Maybe I was inattentive to “junk” Mail.

  • @Stephan – Good call. I didn’t/couldn’t wait (per usual) and called right away. Good to know for the future and I will be sure to wait it out with my next Amex app.

  • Bill

    I have the Simply Cash card; applied for the new Simply Cash Plus and received wording that sounded like the dreaded four-card rule. I was busy and didn’t get back to the offer. Some of the threads at one point seemed to indicate that the SPG card was somehow special. I would think that the SPG card would have to be special with the upcoming merger of the two chains and very likely consolidation of the card programs.