Navigating the American Specific US 5 Credit score Card Restrict

In the event you’re fascinated by levelling up your bank card sport past what’s accessible in Canada, the primary place to look is to our neighbours down south.

With profitable signup presents, an intensive vary of switch companions, and a simple cross-border utility course of, American Specific US is usually the issuer of alternative when you’re entering into US bank cards.

Nonetheless, similar to in Canada, it’s essential to pay attention to the restrictions on the variety of totally different Amex US merchandise you’ll be able to maintain concurrently.

Since there are a big variety of Amex US bank cards that could be price making use of for, you’ll have to consider which you must select to maintain, and which you don’t thoughts ready for at a later date.

American Specific US Cost Playing cards vs. Credit score Playing cards

American Specific US, as with their Canadian counterpart, presents cost playing cards along with the usual bank cards:

  • Cost playing cards don’t have any preset credit score restrict, though you’re obligated to repay the steadiness in full each month.
  • Bank cards include a credit score restrict and help you make minimal month-to-month funds and carry a steadiness on the cardboard (not that you must ever do that).

You’re allowed to carry as much as 10 cost playing cards without delay with American Specific US. These embody a number of the issuer’s hottest merchandise:

(Certainly, the one method you’d probably hit the restrict of 10 cost playing cards is when you loaded up on a number of small enterprise cost playing cards without delay.)

Past these, all of Amex US’s different merchandise are bank cards with a standard revolving credit score restrict.

And since American Specific limits you to holding solely 5 bank cards (together with small enterprise bank cards), this makes issues extra fascinating when it comes to which 5 playing cards you must decide. 

A photo of the Marriott Brilliant Card

Which 5 American Specific US Credit score Playing cards?

To determine on one of the best technique, we’ll want to consider which 5 of American Specific US’s greatest journey bank cards are price getting upfront for the welcome bonuses, in addition to which 5 are price conserving in the long term. 

It’s essential to notice that all the playing cards we’ll talk about under don’t have any international transaction charges, making them excellent to be used whereas travelling overseas or in Canada.

Slot #1

In the event you’re first beginning out within the US bank card market, it’s usually a good suggestion to start out with a no-fee bank card. This lets you nurture your credit score historical past with out an ongoing value when you determine to shut every other accounts which have annual charges sooner or later.

(This isn’t essentially at all times the case, although. If you understand for positive you’ll need to maintain a sure bank card round in the long term, even when it has an annual payment, it may possibly additionally make sense to start out there – see Slot #2 under.)

Amongst no-fee bank cards from American Specific US, the Hilton Honors Card is usually thought of one of the crucial standard selections, giving easy accessibility to Hilton Honors factors, which is a helpful lodge factors foreign money that isn’t the best to earn in Canada in any other case. 

The welcome bonus on this no-fee Hilton Card usually fluctuates round 70,000–100,000 Hilton Honors factors (valued at US$350–500), and the minimal spending requirement is usually pretty low. 

Beginning with the Hilton Card lets you construct credit score historical past over time and diversify your lodge rewards sport, all on the very affordable ongoing value of $0. 

Hilton Queenstown

Slots #2 and #3

In the event you’re already maximizing your bank card factors in Canada, you then’ll undoubtedly be acquainted with Marriott Bonvoy.

Whereas it’s potential to rack up the factors from the Canadian-issued private and enterprise Amex Bonvoy playing cards, that’s finally a restricted set of two bank cards you can join.

Diversifying your Marriott Bonvoy sport to the US lets you entry a wider vary of welcome bonuses, whereas additionally unlocking a singular good thing about the interplay between the private and enterprise US-issued Bonvoy playing cards.

As with the Canadian-issued Bonvoy playing cards, holding one of many playing cards will earn you 15 elite qualifying nights per 12 months. Nonetheless, when you maintain each the private and enterprise variations of the bank cards within the US, they are going to accumulate to 30 elite qualifying nights in whole.

In the event you maintain the next mixture of Marriott Bonvoy co-branded bank cards…

Canadian private + Canadian enterprise

15 elite qualifying nights

Canadian private + US private

15 elite qualifying nights

Canadian private + US enterprise

15 elite qualifying nights

Canadian enterprise + US private

15 elite qualifying nights

Canadian enterprise + US enterprise

15 elite qualifying nights

US private + US enterprise

30 elite qualifying nights

This implies you’ll be on a quick observe to Marriott Bonvoy Platinum standing at 50 elite qualifying nights, the place nearly all of standing advantages might be discovered, like free breakfast, suite upgrades, and assured late checkout.

For many Canadians enjoying the US bank card sport, this alone is a really worthwhile cause to use for 2 Bonvoy playing cards as the subsequent two Amex US bank cards in your five-card lineup, and proceed holding them in the long term. 

The non-public Amex US Bonvoy Sensible Card comes with an annual payment of US$450, offset by an annual US$300 Marriott Bonvoy assertion credit score, and a Free Evening Award price 50,000 Bonvoy factors upon renewal annually.

In the meantime, Marriott Bonvoy Enterprise Card has a tamer US$125 annual payment and presents a Free Evening Award price 35,000 Bonvoy factors upon renewal annually.

In each instances, the Free Evening Award ought to carry sufficient worth to offset the respective US$150 and US$125 annual charges, so that you’ll be popping out forward 12 months after 12 months as you leverage each playing cards for a serious increase in the direction of Platinum Elite standing.

Get nearer to Marriott Platinum Elite standing by holding the private and enterprise US-issued Bonvoy playing cards.

Slots #4 and #5

There are very compelling causes for somebody who’s new to the Amex US sport to place a no-fee Hilton Card of their first slot, and a profitable set of private and enterprise Bonvoy playing cards into their second and third slots.

For the fourth and fifth slots, however, the optimum technique is a bit more freeform, relying on the precise targets that you’ve in making use of for US bank cards.

There’s one widespread frustration amongst Canadian factors collectors within the present zeitgeist: airline miles are comparatively straightforward to gather, whereas lodge factors are more durable to return by.

If that’s the case for you, you may want to fill in your remaining two slots with extra Hilton bank cards, among the many Hilton Surpass Card, Hilton Enterprise Card, and Hilton Aspire Card.

The Surpass and Enterprise playing cards additionally provide a lift to your Hilton Honors steadiness with their welcome bonuses, which definitely justify their US$95 annual charges within the first 12 months. In the long term, the chance to earn a Free Evening Reward by spending US$15,000 on the cardboard can even justify conserving considered one of these playing cards in your five-card lineup. 

In the meantime, the Hilton Aspire Card is likely one of the most helpful bank cards for a frequent traveller to carry, providing an annual US$250 airline payment credit score, an annual US$250 credit score at Hilton properties, automated Hilton Diamond standing, and a Free Weekend Evening Reward upon renewal annually. All of those perks simply outweigh the cardboard’s US$450 annual payment. 

(Given the five-card restrict, the optimum order of operations right here could be to seize the Hilton Enterprise Card and Hilton Aspire Card first, earlier than swapping out the enterprise card for the Surpass. That’s as a result of you’ll be able to at all times improve and downgrade among the many three private Hilton playing cards sooner or later, usually profiting from focused improve presents, whereas the enterprise card can’t be switched to a different product.)

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi

This technique is sensible when you’d like to make use of your Amex US portfolio as a way to diversify your lodge sport strongly within the course of Hilton Honors. However what when you aren’t so curious about lodge factors?

In that case, the 2 remaining slots of your Amex US five-card restrict (or maybe extra slots when you haven’t bothered with Hilton or Bonvoy in any respect within the first place) may very well be geared in the direction of diversification on the airline facet – whether or not that’s with further Membership Rewards merchandise just like the Amex US EveryDay Card, or maybe racking up Delta SkyMiles with the usually spectacular welcome bonuses on the Amex US Delta playing cards.

Nonetheless, keep in mind that probably the most highly effective merchandise for racking up airline miles are going to be Amex US’s cost playing cards, such because the Platinum or Gold playing cards in both the private or enterprise flavours, and never the bank cards. 

Trying on the huge image, directing your efforts to incomes factors for flights utilizing Amex US cost playing cards and lodge factors utilizing Amex US bank cards, as outlined above, makes for an optimum technique for the well-rounded aspirational traveller. 

Ought to You Even Get 5 Amex US Credit score Playing cards?

As we’d usually prefer to say, the US bank card sport is extra of a marathon, not a dash.

Whereas it’s tempting to ramp up all the way in which to 5 bank cards from the outset, it could be a greater thought to tempo your self once you’re simply beginning out, as a way to determine a extra steady credit score historical past and apply for much more profitable bank card presents at different US monetary establishments.

Consideration needs to be paid to the Chase “5/24 rule” specifically, which stipulates that anybody who has opened 5 or extra bank card accounts (together with cost playing cards, however excluding most small enterprise playing cards) within the final 24 months is not going to be permitted to open any bank cards with Chase. 

In the event you hurriedly apply for 5 or extra Amex US playing cards once you’re first beginning out, you run the chance of stifling your diversification alternatives into different applications like Chase Final Rewards, World of Hyatt, and IHG Rewards – and even cross-border methods with Aeroplan by way of the Chase Aeroplan Card.

The prevailing technique is subsequently to choose up your first two or three Amex US merchandise in your first 12 months of US credit score historical past, utilizing small enterprise bank cards as a way to proceed incomes welcome bonuses whereas not including to your 5/24 whole.

After about one 12 months of credit score historical past and having attained an Particular person Taxpayer Identification Quantity (ITIN), you may get began with Chase and apply for as many Chase playing cards as you’d like till you’ve reached your most beneath the 5/24 rule. 

Then, when you’ve established a Chase relationship, you’ll be able to comfortably flip your consideration again to Amex US and refill your five-card lineup when you’d like, in addition to to different profitable US issuers like Citi and Capital One. 


Within the US, American Specific limits cardholders to 5 bank cards at any given time.

When you can freely load up on the cost playing cards within the Membership Rewards household, it’s essential to provide some thought as to which merchandise to maintain in your 5 bank card slots, in addition to the way you time these functions with an eye fixed on eligibility guidelines by different issuers. 

In my opinion, a wholesome mixture of Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors playing cards makes probably the most sense for cross-border Amex US cardholders to maintain open in the long term, permitting you to diversify your lodge rewards sport far past what’s accessible in Canada. 

What does your optimum portfolio of American Specific US bank cards appear to be? Do you worth the Bonvoy playing cards for mixed increase in the direction of Platinum Elite standing, Hilton playing cards for his or her free evening certificates, or maybe one other Amex US bank card when you aren’t so eager on lodge loyalty applications? I’d love to listen to your ideas within the feedback under.


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