Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
American Express announced they have added new rules to their card approval process. While rumors have swirled around Amex limiting the number of cards for some time, American Express has now confirmed this practice. This joins a list of other restrictions that Amex has on how many cards you can own and how often you could apply for Amex products and earn the offers on those cards. Before you apply for your next American Express card, be sure to read on about Amex's current application rules.
Amex application rules
Just like the Chase 5/24 rule, American Express has rules to limit consumers from having too many credit lines issued to them. Before you apply for an American Express card, be sure you won't be violating any of the rules below. If you want to apply for an Amex card, it may be wise to consider canceling a credit card, or delaying your application.
"4 card" rule
It was recently confirmed by American Express that they implemented a four-card rule. Consumers may only have four American Express products at a time. It is important to note that American Express offers multiple types of cards — business cards and consumer cards — and that the rule only applies to consumer cards where you are the primary cardholder.
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is a business credit card, which does not count toward this rule.
- The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is an authorized user account, so this does not count either.
- The only cards that count in this case are the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, American Express® Gold Card and American Express® Green Card — primary cardholder accounts.
So while this rule can seem limiting, you can still diversify your American Express card portfolio in different ways.
"1 in 5" rule
The one card every five days rule is exactly how it sounds — you can't be approved for more than one card every five days.
American Express had had this rule in place for some time. The rule exists mainly to prevent credit card fraud in case you fall victim to identity theft.
This puts a damper on consumers who prefer applying for multiple cards in a short period of time to get their applications in before credit bureaus have time to adjust their scores.
"2 in 90" rule
The Amex "2 in 90" rule limits cardholders to two card approvals every 90 days. This rule builds on top of the one card every five days rule.
The rule prevents consumers from being issued too much credit, along with limiting the number of welcome offers consumers can earn. Welcome offers in the form of cash back or travel rewards cost credit card companies billions of dollars per year. Amex is ensuring that it isn't on the hook for fulfilling more welcome offers than it can afford.
The Amex once-in-a-lifetime rule means that consumers can only earn a welcome bonus for a specific product once. If they earn it, and cancel the card at a later date, they can no longer earn that bonus. Consumers may be approved for the product if they reapply, but the welcome offer will not be available.
This rule prevents "churning" — opening a card just to earn the welcome offer, closing the card and then reapplying later to earn the welcome offer again.
Best strategy for applying for American Express cards
With all of these rules in place, what is the best strategy for applying for American Express cards?
If you are a small business owner, it is best to start with a business card. Since business cards do not count toward the four card rule, you will be able to earn great rewards for your business expenses while not losing out on opportunities for consumer cards.
You can apply for the consumer cards until you reach the four-card limit. Keep in mind that if you have hit your four-card maximum, you can cancel one consumer card to apply for a new one.
Which American Express cards should you apply for?
American Express credit cards are extremely competitive because of their outstanding rewards and features on each product. Whether you want to earn American Express Membership Rewards, cash back or build your credit score, here are some top offers from Amex:
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||Cash back||$100 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.||$0|
|Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card||Occasional Delta Air Lines flyers||Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.||$250|
|Foodies and travelers||Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.||$250|
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
The information related to The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Green Card, and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.