Are the Hilton AMEX cards immune to the 4 CREDIT card rule with AMEX?


It’s common knowledge that AMEX will only let you have 4 CREDIT cards, but there were data points that some people were able to get 5 CREDIT cards, my wife being one of them.  I don’t think anyone has dug into this deeper on why some people have been able to get 5 and some only 4.  Well, a reader this past week tried to get his 5th and 6th AMEX cc and here were the results.  He already had a personal SPG, ED, DL Plat, and DL Biz Gold at the time of application.



The reader actually submitted his 5th AMEX CC (an SPG Biz) and then submitted for the 6th AMEX CC (Hilton Surpass) back to back.    He let the apps ride it out and didn’t call in.  The SPG Biz was denied after a few hours, and Surpass email approval came after 2-3 days.  The rejection letter for the SPG biz cited “you currently have the maximum number and type of AMEX card accounts that we allow.”  Now, it could be that AMEX processed the Surpass app before the SPG Biz, but that doesn’t sound very likely.  The more likely scenario is that the Hilton cards seem to not be affected by the 4 card limit.


Other data points

I asked on Twitter “how many people have 5 AMEX CC’s and a Hilton was one of them?”  About 4 people responded that yes, a Hilton was one of the 5.  I asked other readers and another handful gave the same data point – that a Hilton was in one of them.  I wasn’t able to find anyone who had 5+ AMEX credit cards without a Hilton (let’s exclude the old timers who were grandfathered into the old rules.)

The only dissenting data point (out of about 10) was that 1 reader who had 4 cards (1 of them being Surpass) was rejected for a 5th card.  There may be more out there.



A couple of things we know:

  1. If you have 4 AMEX cards (without a Hilton), you are most likely NOT going to get a 5th card (unless that 5th one is for a Hilton card)
  2. If you have 4 AMEX cards (with a Hilton), you are LIKELY to get approved for a 5th card (Hilton or AMEX)

The order doesn’t seem to matter.  Some had a Hilton in the 4 and got a 5th non-Hilton.  Some had no Hilton in the 4 and got the 5th as a Hilton, so order doesn’t seem to matter.

So do you have 5 AMEX CREDIT cards?  Is a Hilton one of them or were you grandfathered into old rules?  This does beg the question – if you have both Hilton cards, can you now get 6 AMEX CREDIT cards (4 AMEX + 2 Hiltons?)  I may test this with my wife next year.

  • Ryan Booth

    I have SPG, SPG biz, OBC, and Hilton Surpass, and I just applied for Delta biz and was turned down for card limit.

  • Phil Ossey

    Nope I have 5 straight credit, one straight charge and plum which is quasi, no hilton

  • Robert

    Another contrarian data point. Had Blue Cash, Blue Cash Preferred, Hilton, and Everyday Preferred. Declined for Delta Business Platinum due to having max # of credit cards allowed.

  • bf

    People need to distinguish between credit cards and charge cards. As I understand it Amex doesn’t count charge cards in calculating the limit. Right?

  • AlexJing

    Definitely not true. I currently have blue cash, blue sky, amex everyday, Delta gold and SPG. All personals. Delta gold was the last, approved in May. Had to Call in though.

  • Randy Grover

    Contrarian DP. Had Delta AMEX Platinum, Hilton Honors AMEX, SPG Business and SPG Personal ( and PRG- charge card). Applied for AMEX Everyday Preferred and was approved, but they closed my Hilton Honors AMEX without any notice (due to the 4 card limit they stated)

  • gutterwench

    Was able to get 5 credit cards with Hilton, SPG Personal, SPG Business, Delta Gold Personal and then adding EDP. Closed Delta Gold and applied for and approved for Delta Platinum Personal as 5th card (plus 2 charge). Approvals for the 5th card are never instant. Previous theory was that ED/EDP cards weren’t counting towards the card limit.

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  • sj0

    This DP from FT says otherwise. All of his cards are recent.

  • ken

    Another data point. Got 4 personal (SPG, blue, blue, everyday) and 1 biz (SPG). No Hilton.

    Got initial denial for SPG biz. Called recon. First few reps said to close a card. But, finally got a rep who said: “AmEx now allows 5 charge cards, but online system still had cap of 4”. That was in July.

  • MH

    I posted this on Flyertalk in March

    I got my 5th on March 3rd. I was thinking of closing my Simply Cash to make room for the SPG BIZ, but in reading this at that time 22 page thread and particularly post #228 forward, saw some reports of more than 4. And a few of those who applied and were given the option to close one.
    So I applied for SPG BIZ and to my surprise was instantly approved, making my total 5 (+4).

    SPG Personal
    Simply Cash
    Plus 4 charge cards.

    People surmised in that thread like you’re doing here that a Costco Amex somehow enabled some to get the 5th card.
    Doubtful, same for Hilton also doubtful.

  • Aris

    I have 5 amex credit cards – 3 Business and 2 Personal, but none of those are Hilton Branded.

    • Miles per Day

      Interesting. What are the 5 cards?

      • Aris

        Sorry, actually 3 Personal: Delta Platinum Delta Reserve, Blue Cash Preferred, and 2 Business: SPG Biz, Delta Platinum Biz

  • Jerry

    One more dp, 5 cards here, and hilton is one of them

  • Dario Filippi

    I just applied for the SPG business but was rejected due to it being my 5th card. I called asking to say ‘I thought business cards don’t apply to the 4-card limit’ and now the application when I go check online says ‘in progress’ rather than ‘declined.’
    I have 4 cards currently, one of them being the Hilton w/o AF. The Hilton card was my second card overall in my AMEX card portfolio. I will let you know if I get approved for the SPG Business soon, but I hope your theory is correct!!

    • Miles per Day

      Interesting. Please do keep me updated Dario.

      • Dario Filippi

        Finally approved for the SPG Business, but only and only after closing one of my other 4 cards. Closed the Plenti card and was approved the following day.