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American Express Bonus and Application Rules

By: Travis Cormier

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Hey Travel Junkies,

Recently, we’ve discussed some big changes to the American Express Platinum Card and how to use SPG Starpoints. With so many great offers coming from American Express, you should know what rules Amex places on its applications and bonuses.

credit card up close

Charge card vs Credit Card

American Express offers two types of cards – charge cards or credit cards. Understanding the difference is important if you want to be sure that you can open a new account with American Express.

Credit cards are lines of credit with a pre-set spending limit that does not have to be paid off monthly. Many of the co-branded cards provided by American Express are credit cards including the Gold Delta SkyMiles and Platinum Delta SkyMiles cards, the Starwood Preferred Guest card, and the Hilton Honors Surpass card.

Charge cards are lines of credit without a pre-set spending limit, but must be paid monthly. Several cards that earn Membership Rewards are charge cards, including the American Express Platinum and Premier Rewards Gold cards.

There are also some other versions of the charge cards provided by American Express, including the American Express Platinum cards by Charles Schwab and Mercedes-Benz.

 

Two credit cards every 90 days

American Express has limitations on credit card applications. You can only open two new credit cards every 90 days. This same limitation does not apply to charge cards.

This means you could get a Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card, a Hilton Honors Surpass Card, and an American Express Platinum card within 90 days. You could not, however, get a Starwood Preferred Guest Card, a Hilton Honors Surpass Card, and a Delta Reserve card within 90 days.

 

How Many American Express Cards Can You Have?

Unlike other card issuers, American Express limits the amount of credit cards you can have open at one time. Previously, you could have four credit cards open at any given time. Recent information indicates some people are able to have five.

Again, charge cards do not count towards this total. So you could have four (or five) credit cards in addition to an Amex Platinum card or Premier Rewards Gold card.

 

One Bonus Per Card, Per Lifetime

American Express has some very lucrative bonuses, but you’ll want to be patient and wait to get the highest possible bonus. This is because you are limited to one bonus per lifetime per card.

Here’s a quick example. If you open a Gold Delta SkyMiles card, you won’t be able to open it again and receive the bonus. However, you could open a Platinum Delta SkyMiles card and receive the bonus.

 

Business Cards Do Not Show On Personal Credit Reports

Business cards by American Express do not show on your personal credit report.

If you are trying to lower your recent account openings to qualify for other bonuses, this is a great way to keep getting bonuses while you wait. There are a large variety of business cards available through American Express – such as the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card. These can be very valuable bonuses to pursue while you wait!

 

Bottom Line

American Express limits you to 2 new credit cards every 90 days, and you can have up to 5 at one time. This does not include charge cards, such as the American Express Platinum card, however! But, you should be completely honest on your application to avoid being shut down through a financial review.

You are only eligible for the bonus once per lifetime, so be sure you’re getting the best bonus possible unless you need the points right away. Especially since you aren’t guaranteed to be matched to the higher bonus.

Remember, business cards from American Express do not show on your personal credit report.

Travel Safe, Cheap, and Often!

Travis

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