Mark from Miles to Memories (H/T) has confirmed this morning that American Express has a four-credit card limit. He went on Twitter this morning and asked AskAmex to clarify the four-credit limit. And a customer service representative confirmed that this rumored limit was true.
The representative tweeted the following:
Yes, we do have limits on Lending Consumer and Lending Business cards. The limit is four total of Consumer or Business lending cards. The limit for charge cards is ten.
Ask Amex (@AskAmex) May 19, 2020
Fortunately, personal and business charge cards are not included in this limit. There is a separate 10-card limit for them that was imposed last month. Only “traditional” revolving credit cards are included. And it does not matter whether the cards are personal or business.
Charge vs. Credit
Traditional credit cards let you maintain a balance if you wanted to and they have an interest rate. All card issuers offer traditional credit cards. And American Express has offered credit cards since the late 1980s. Some of their current offerings include the Everyday Card and the Blue Cash Preferred Card. All American Express co-branded cards are also credit cards.
Conversely, charge cards are only offered by American Express (and formerly Diners Club) and they must be paid in full every month. Amex’s charge cards include the Green, Gold, Platinum, and Centurion Cards. When the average person thinks of American Express, typically they think of the four charge cards.
American Express’ four-credit card limit is a direct result of the economy slipping into a recession. And the recession is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amex is becoming a more conservative lender because they want to mitigate their risk and save money.
Most American Express cardholders only have one or two of their cards at a time. However, travelers who like American Express’ cards will be most impacted by this change. Current cardholders who have four or five credit cards should be able to keep them. But prospective cardholders must have three or fewer credit cards to be approved for a new one.
Furthermore, the four-credit card limit has nothing to do with sign-up bonuses. Amex has their infamous Once Per Lifetime Rule for that.
Travel might be suspended for at least the next few months. But American Express has excellent credit cards and opportunities to earn points and miles. Prospective cardholders should take a credit card inventory and then choose their next Amex card wisely. Some cardholders might have to cancel at least one of their revolving credit cards because of the four-credit card limit. This is where the credit card inventory comes into play. Cardholders must pick which card or cards do not work for them any longer or work the least.