Why would you want multiple American Express Cards?
Potentially having more Amex cards can mean more benefits. Each card can have its own spend bonus, ‘save to card’ offers and other perks. Managed carefully, there’s the possibility of really enhancing your benefits and earnings on multiple cards.
For example, having secured the 20,000 Amex points from the Preferred Rewards Gold Credit card, it’s also then possible to apply for the Nectar credit card and subsequently get the 20,000 Nectar points bonus. At the same time you can keep the airport lounge passes and travel inconvenience insurance from Gold, and get two sets of ‘save to card’ offers. In year one, neither of these cards has an annual fee.
Is there a limit to the number of American Express Cards you can hold?
In a recent post about cancelling American Express cards, I suggested that there was a limit of four personal Amex cards at any one time. This was something I’d read from a few sources, however I’d never personally attempted to apply for more. Shortly after posting I was contacted by one reader who challenged this though. Quite impressively they suggested that they are currently juggling 7 different Amex cards!
So, I called Amex to check whether any limit existed and was quite surprised to be told that the official limit is actually not even as high as four. It was explained that:
– There is a maximum of two ‘lending products’ per customer at any one time (i.e. credit, rather than charge, cards)
– You can’t have more than one card in the same scheme (e.g. two British Airways cards).
Now either this is incorrect, or its not policed very well! I currently have four cards, of which three are ‘lending products’ and three are in the Amex Membership Rewards scheme. Add to this, the reader who contacted me indicated that they have seven, of which at least four were lending products. I didn’t want to interrogate the Amex advisor too much, in case it affected my cards (!), however, I suspect to some extent this must vary by customer, as it is clearly not a hard and fast rule.
Similarly ‘One Mile at a Time’ suggest that in the US, there is an official limit of four credit cards per person. But again they explain that there are cases where people have managed to open more.
What about your credit rating?
I want to clearly caveat that this answer comes from a personal, not expert, perspective!
So, assuming that this rule isn’t widely enforced, the other consideration would be the impact on your credit score. I personally track my credit score monthly, using both Noddle and Experian (as a point-a-holic in the process of remortgaging this is quite important!). What I’ve found is that typically a change, such as an application or closed account, does have a short term impact on my credit rating. However, as long as my credit utilisation stays consistent and I continue to pay the statements in full each month, this reverts back to normal quickly. I currently have eight cards, four of which are Amex, and four of which have been opened in the last 12 months. Despite this my Experian credit rating remains 990+ and, thankfully, my remortgage was very straightforward even after listing all those cards when applying! (Note, the 999 image isn’t my rating!!). So, in my case at least, the number of individual cards doesn’t seem to have too much impact.
I have stuck to the general advice that it’s better to retain older accounts with good history. So, whilst I may cancel some new accounts soon after securing the bonus, I have a couple of older accounts which I keep active and very occasionally use. I also avoid applying for multiple cards in quick succession, normally leaving at least 3-6 months between any applications.
So, apologies if that’s not completely straightforward, but it appears that whilst there’s a fairly restricted official ‘rule’ of 2 credit cards, if you really want to you can probably successfully apply for more!
Drop us a comment if you’re also holding more than 2 ‘lending products’ or if you can beat our reader’s seven active cards!