Save your first—or NEXT—$100,000!

Money Under 30 has everything you need to know about money, written by real people who’ve been there.

Get our free weekly newsletter and MoneySchool: Our FREE 7-day course that will help you make immediate progress on the money goals you’re working toward right now.

No, thanks
Advertising Disclosure

American Express Cards DO Have Spending Limits

If you carry a classic American Express Green, Gold, or Platinum card, or any other credit card that has no pre-set spending limit, you probably know this doesn’t mean your card has no limit at all. So how is your spending limit calculated, and what happens if you hit it? I found out last month.

American Express charge cards are famous for their no preset spending limits. Learn why "preset" is the key word.If you carry a classic American Express Green, Gold, or Platinum charge card, or any other credit card that has “no pre-set spending limit,” you probably know that no pre-set limit does not mean no limit. So how is your spending limit calculated, and what happens if you hit it?

I found out last month.

Classic American Express cards are charge cards, not credit cards, meaning the balance you charge on the card is due, in full, each month. AMEX makes its money on these cards by charging an annual fee and from the merchant fees it collects for each transaction.

Therefore, rather than designating a specific credit limit, American Express allows you to charge whatever it thinks you can afford to pay off each month. To clarify, many new American Express Cards like the Blue Cash and Everyday cards are credit cards with designated credit limits, not charge cards.

Last month, I used my American Express Green Card for reimbursable expenses on a business trip, charging about $1,200 to the card over the ordinary personal purchases I make each month. Towards the end of the month I received a call and letter from American Express saying: It appears you are charging more than we anticipated and, therefore, new charges will not be approved until we receive payment. I had reached the card’s spending limit.

What sucked about this, of course, is that the card shut down automatically without me knowing it. So when I went to check into the hotel, the card was declined. That’s embarrassing. Of course the same thing could happen with a credit card, but at least you know where your limit stands and — as long as you’re paying attention — can know when you’re close.

How American Express calculates your charge card limit

American Express determines spending limits based upon your reported annual income and your payment history with their cards.

More specifically, a reader speculated:

Typically, your AmEx spending limit is three times your highest paid-in-full balance over the last six months. They are also pretty good about allowing you some flexibility if you call them ahead of time to inform them of pending charges (I’ve done this with $8,000 business expenses without any issues).

I haven’t had an American Express card for long, and this is the first time I have used it for business expenses, so it’s no surprise the amount of charges seemed high.

To avoid this situation, expect to have a low credit limit when you start using a no pre-set spending limit card. Charge a bit to it the first month, pay on time, then charge a bit more each consecutive month.

If you want to make a large purchase with such a card, for example to earn rewards points, you can call them ahead of time to ask if it will be approved. Additionally, you can increase the charging power of your card at any time by making payments more frequently than once per month.

Many people see “no pre-set spending limit” on American Express cards and other cards and think they can buy a car with that card, for example. Unless you have a six-figure salary and a history of charging tens of thousands of dollars a month and paying that balance each month, it’s unlikely your new car purchase will be approved unless you provide documentation to American Express of having those funds available in some other account.

If you have excellent credit, you are more likely to get a large credit limit with a regular old credit card like any of these.

Why Amex Charge Cards can still be a good thing

Yes, they charge an annual fee when many credit cards don’t. Yes, they aren’t accepted everywhere. Yes, you don’t know exactly how much you can charge on them.

BUT: They are charge cards, not credit cards. Unless you explicitly ask to pay for a particular purchase over time, the balance is due each month, and you cannot incur new charges if your balance is unpaid or too high.

American Express charge cards are a great tool for people who need the convenience of a credit card but who have had trouble with credit card debt in the past. And, contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need spotless credit to get approved for the basic American Express Green Card (but you will need good credit).

Learn how to check your credit report for absolutely free here.

American Express cards and your credit score

Having no negative info on your credit report helps, but if you have been denied credit cards for having too many high balances, you may still qualify for an Amex charge card (not their credit cards).

One final note: There is some thought that no pre-set limit cards aren’t great for your credit report because they do not report a credit limit.

If you have no other revolving credit accounts, or many revolving accounts that are at or near their limits, having an additional charge card on your report could be harmful. I think, however, that if you have one or two other credit cards with zero or low balances, an American Express card will not hurt you.

To be ultra safe, if you plan to apply for new credit, pay off your American Express card in full and don’t use it in the month before you apply for new credit.

Do you have any experiences with running into your Amex credit limit, or have you found an Amex card to be a helpful tool? I’d love to hear!

Read more:

Use our resources to learn more about your options for credit or charge cards:

Published or updated on December 4, 2007

Want FREE help eliminating debt & saving your first (or next) $100,000?

Money Under 30 has everything you need to know about money, written by real people who've been there. Enter your email to receive our free weekly newsletter and MoneySchool, our free 7-day course that will help you make immediate progress on whatever money challenge you're facing right now.

We'll never spam you and offer one-click unsubscribe, always.

About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.


We invite readers to respond with questions or comments. Comments may be held for moderation and will be published according to our comment policy. Comments are the opinions of their authors; they do not represent the views or opinions of Money Under 30.

  1. Ok, that makes so much sense now! I just signed up for Credit Karma which is really helpful & (free), & it said my Amex wasn’t reporting a limit. I just Binged: “amex has no limit” & it brought me here. Gonna look into the other amex cards that actually extend credit.

    Thanks a lot for these tips!

  2. Jeramiah Macentosh says:

    Never heard of this new policy.. I have my gold card since 05 and only encounter a speading limit when I first starting using it.

  3. First year Platinum Card user. Average monthly balance 10K, never a decline. Wanted to buy a Corvette. Called AmEx and they spoke to the dealer and it went through no issue.

  4. Nicholas says:

    Very useful infromation to be aware! I was thinking to apply one since I thought I can use AMEX ‘charge card’ for large amount trancsation, but I might think twice before further ahead. What I see from above simply does not make any senses at all…..

  5. Blue says:

    This is what happens when you give poor service to consumers. These complainants do not represent a lot of the entire population but could really damage the reputation of AMEX, hence loses prospects. During this time of hardship, it is very suspicious if one company is willing to give you a no preset credit limit. I’d rather have a preset credit limit so I know what to expect, rather than declining you at a grocery store which is embarrassing. I can see the real strategy: they offer an unlimited spending (that’s how it sounds like) and charge a hefty annual fee (e.g. $ 125/year), then will let you spend unlimited for a while, then eventually drop it to purposely piss you off to eventually get rid of you. I actually just got an AMEX offer from the mail and will not do it. Brilliant idea but EVIL!

  6. christtcham says:

    thx guys for ur posts.i v always thought this Amex card is for people who can invest their money instead of small charges here and there. i am a business owner and had this Amex years ago until 1 day they send me a letter requesting me to prove my income and i thought that was stupid. i talk to them on the phone and told them i am not doing that and they cut the card.
    my friend just get this card few months ago and was asking me best ways to take advantage on it and i am thinking ” see if they can let u buy $200k worth of investment,that way they know u r an investor and u can schedule to pay them monthly and still keep the account opened for future investments. i think if they see u r an investor they won’t cut it but will they let u use that amount though. i just think this AMex unlimited is for serious investors though..thx guys.. i welcome ur thoughts.


    I love my American Express Platinum card. I have been a member since 1994 and I have always paid my bills on time consistently. Membership is NOT for everyone, and if it was, it wouldn’t be viewed as a prestige card. If you can’t afford the price of entry, then it’s not for you. If you have to ask, then you can’t afford it. The AMEX platinum card is the only card I reach for, as every purchase is automatically protected. When my AMEX isn’t accepted, I have a United Chase card, also with a high annual fee. Anyone who travels can see the benefit of having both cards. I have never been denied a charge, and I know for a fact that all charges up to $10,000 are approved due to my credit history, payment history, and current credit score. Like any bank or company out there, AMEX wants to ensure that they are going to get their money from you. Based on your credit report, the analysts can determine what your can and can’t afford to spend. What you owe creditors, and how much also plays a big role. Your 300,000 house payment and 2 car payments don’t come cheap.

    I have nothing but wonderful things to say about AMEX. The customer service is fantastic, I get $200 in United Airlines perks, for free, Priority VIP pass for airport lounges, free foreign transactions, and now free Global Entry. I have also found that their premier travel services are cheaper and higher quality upgrades for free. The membership points program is pretty awesome as well. My points never expire and I can use them on all kinds of things. Lately I have been using them on Amazon.

    A card is only as good as the member who knows how to take advantage of the many perks and benefits it holds. Why would someone usea a debit card for every purchase, when it isn’t protected against identity theft and there aren’t any reward points associated with it? Not everyone makes smart choices, and hence the reason why some people have not so stellar credit.

  8. Bob says:

    I dont’ see why would somebody pay that high amount of money in annual fee to advertise a card company that isn’t even accepted everywhere if you can get a regular credit card with a really high credit limit without any annual fee, you’ll say …oh it’s a charge card, and you have to pay the total amount due each month…. Duuuhhhh get the regular credit card and pay in full each month by the grace period and they wont charge you ANY interest fee. High buying power, 100% free and you always know how much you owe or can spend. You might also say …..I got a lot of money and want to make a big purchase at once….. Duuuuhhhhh if you got a lot of money then use your DEBIT card instead.

  9. moe says:

    Great Article! it answered all of my questions. Thanks!

  10. The Oil Barron In Training says:

    I have an AMEX Gold card and I like it. AMEX has the best rewards and customer service. My favorite part is their fraud monitoring. Every now and then when I make a large purchase, I will get a call 20 mins later confirming that I made the purchase. It can be annoying, but it’s nice to know that someone is watching my back for fraud. They also have a great concierge service that I have used to get tickets to sold out concerts. Another great service that most over look is their warranty match. They will double the warranty of anything you buy up to 3 years if you keep the receipt. It’s nice to buy a TV and have they warranty doubled, since they usually break right after the warranty is up.

  11. James Peach says:

    I can relate to some getting mad and having problems with Amex. I have had a lot but they give a lot as in rewords I get around 6k-10k or more tax free back just for using the card. I spend 40-60k each month.
    In the past they put a 4k limit out of nowhere. And I keep hitting it and paying it yes it was a pian but some one wised up and fixed it. One thing I’m still mad about is I spend more then 250k a year on the platinum and they still will not give me the centurion aka black card.
    Some times I want to get rid of it but then I find it’s well worth having and get mad when a store does not take it.
    They do give you 30 days to buy then 30 to pay so it could be taken as 59 days I love that.
    And if you spend say 10k on the reg u can spend 10k your self and pay it off slowly with no interest. As log as you spend that amount or more. Just don’t go to crazy.
    Any way Amex is the only one that pays me back a lot.
    And I have a discover card They give a good amount back but I only use them when I can’t use my Amex.
    My visa and master card’s are a joke they just give a line of credit no money back or any thing well bank of am Does give some but still nothing like Amex.

  12. Randy Katz says:


    Like many of the older client on here I had that same experience a few years ago over about a nine month period where they lowered my “limit” by 25% increments to less then 20% of what it originally was. I got fed up, paid off the card, did not cancel it, and then started using it and paying the complete balance of the statement because of the points I receive back. After about 3 months they have restored the No Pre-set Limit on the card.

    I think the card’s policy caters in a very seductive manner to newbies and will alienate long term clients, not sure what sort of a business manager would come up with this sort of plan, hope I never get a client or partner like that!

    Be well all.

  13. Eric says:

    Hey… I have no complaints with Amex at all. They not only have one of the best reward programs out there but they practically give money away! I’ve had my card now for about a year. Its the Zync card with a $25 annual fee. I received 10,000 points as a sign up bonus (valued at about $100 depending on the reward you choose). The Amex daily wish program has given me statement credits of $225 in offers from Amazon & Walmart. The Amex Small business Saturday gave me an additional $25 credit (free meal at a local restaurant).. It’s insane the amount I’ve received back from Amex! Although I don’t exactly know my “purchase power” I’ve spent $5,000 in one blow and didn’t get a call or letter. If anything this card and Amex is worth it for the rewards alone. Just learn how to work the reward system and you’ll be set. The way I look at it is within 1 year I’ve received $350 in benefits (and my points are still growing!) Way more than I get in an interest bearing CD!!

  14. Al says:

    This is sad to read such negative things about AMEX…you should go to @AskAmex on twitter, they are friendly and will sort out all your questions and concernes. I make use of the Check Spending Avaiability on the website. I have a Zync card, I’m 22, and my monthly limit is about 2500. We have a Platinum as well, and that monthly limit is around 22k. At 22k most likely I will not utilize all that “credit” for the mere fact, I dont want a 22k DUE NOW statement. We have a Blue card as well, American Express is stingy with Credit, but not on our charge cards. Hope nothing changes, as I use my AMEX for all purchases except if I find out they dont take, then I use debit

  15. rhonda howerton says:

    You’re not going to believe this story! On dec 19 2009 we took 25 of us to Destin for christmas. On that date my husband rented a limo to take the group to Osakaa steakhouse in destin. before the limo got there I was changing purses and my husband said will you put my wallet in your purse. I said yes finished changing purses the Limo shows up and with all the excitement the wallet got left behind. So the check comes I am humiliated. We tell the owners we can send my husband back to the condo with the limo driver or my Husband know his number he can give it orally. They Chose orally, they ran the card, receipt says approved.We signed our receipt I left my drivers license and phone number if the had any problems let us know. So we left.
    So now it is Nov 9 2010 and I applied for a passport and it came back denied because there is an outstanding warrant for grand theft and cc fraud. Something happened and we had no clue I will say AX is working very hard to go back that far and help me figure what happen after we left. But Osakas is in big trouble for filling false charges and I am just sick about the whole thing.

  16. tiffany b says:

    So basicly what im gettin is what i should do (as i have just got a gold card from Amex)is charge things that i can pay off in a few days so as to make multiple payments within the month n that will increase my spending limit with them . Am i correct ? i had just got the card a few months ago n have chareg 800 on the card . I also though it didnt have a limit n found out diff when my desk top gave out n tried to get a laptop . the charge didnt go through n they had to call Amex . the laptop by the way totaled 800 with insurance n a hard drive i needed to free up memory . when i got on the phone with the rep i waz told that i did not have enough payment history for them to approve the charges n if i pay the amount due on my card in full(the 800) then i can compleat my transaction lol. i wanted to scream lol i waz at best buy so i just put it on my best buy card which is fine cause that is same as cash for 18 months n i plan on havin it payed off by then . So can someone tell me how to increase my credit limit please lol

  17. John says:

    Ok somebody please help…I was excited about receiving my new Amex card, but after reading the above articals; Im not so sure. Ive worked hard to build my credit and very seldom use it on any cards, so am i waisting time having an Amex that might get used 2 or 3 times a year.

  18. Ted says:

    I’ve had my Amex Green card for 32 years with no one late payment (web server outage problem with online transfer) and no problems with Amex. Monthly spend is around 2K. Recently bought a grand piano (13K) called Amex to say I wanted to charge the amount. They took about 3 mins to get back and say that in light of my credit history, etc. it would be no problem. Perhaps the idea is to advise Amex if an exceptional charge is pending? and realized it was higher than normal Billing

  19. James Pine says:

    I have been an AMEX member for 22 years and I have never had a problem. I use it mostly for business and typically carry a balance of several thousand dollars. Never had a problem with large incidental purchases. The only thing that really makes this card worth it is access to the airport lounges if you are a frequent traveler.

  20. xxsm says:

    Started with Green Card in April 09. Upgraded to Gold Preferred in Sept 09. Upgraded to Gold Premier in Dec 09. Have never had an issue. What I do is charge something, then go to my Online Bill Pay with BOA and schedule the payment to AMEX the next day. This means I make numerous payments to AMEX over a 30 day period (20+). I make sure that on my closing date I have a credit balance with them. Like others here I worried about high dollar expenditures, but had a root canal that cost me $1200 and went right through. at the AMEX website they now have a link so you can find out if you want to make a purchase, if it will be approved beforehand. I put in $10K and it replied that this purchase would be approved. Have stopped using my Visa Signatures and put everything on my AMEX, but again, I send in the payment the next day and on Monday if the purchase was made on a Friday. As of yet I can’t bash AMEX and spend around $2K a month on the card. Nevertheless I do keep my Visa Signatures with me just in case something does happen. Bottom line, I love my Gold Premier Card !

  21. csmc says:

    Started with Green Card in April 09. Upgraded to Gold Preferred in Sept 09. Upgraded to Gold Premier in Dec 09. Have never had an issue. What I do is charge something, then go to my Online Bill Pay with BOA and schedule the payment to AMEX the next day. This means I make numerous payments to AMEX over a 30 day period (20+). I make sure that on my closing date I have a credit balance with them. Like others here I worried about high dollar expenditures, but had a root canal that cost me $1200 and went right through. at the AMEX website they now have a link so you can find out if you want to make a purchase, if it will be approved beforehand. I put in $10K and it replied that this purchase would be approved. Have stopped using my Visa Signatures and put everything on my AMEX, but again, I send in the payment the next day and on Monday if the purchase was made on a Friday. As of yet I can’t bash AMEX and spend around $2K a month on the card. Nevertheless I do keep my Visa Signatures with me just in case something does happen. Bottom line, I love my Gold Premier Card !

  22. Dave P says:

    Wow, I just got an amex gold premier rewards card and after reading all of these HORROR stories, I’m thinkin about just cancelling it b4 the drama starts. Anyone, other than 2 people, had any favorable experiences?

    • Clyde says:

      I have had the amex green card for over ten years. It is a “charge” card as opposed to a “credit” card so I always pay in full each month. The largest one month balance I have ever had was around $12,000. The customer service has always been good to excellent.

      I recently noticed that there is an option on the amex website to run a check on how much amex will allow you to charge. If you anticipate making an unusually large purchase I suggest checking online first to see if amex will allow the charge.

      When I first obtained the green card amex called me up several times when I was making large purchases to verify the purchase. It seems that after a while they grew used to my spending patterns and have had no such inquiries since that time.

  23. Leo says:

    Yep – it’s not the same ‘Membership Has it’s Privileges’ company that I signed up with 22 years ago.

    Got a call yesterday insisting that I pay my Gold Card right now (it’s not due for another 3 weeks). Apparently my recent business trip coupled with some travel expenses my wife and daughter incurred while looking at colleges last week was higher than my supposed ‘No Pre-Set Spending Limit’. Seems fraudulent to me that they advertise this when in fact there is a pre-set spending limit – they just don’t let you know what it is or when they will choose to invoke it.

    The thing to be aware is that if you have more than one Amex card (I also have a Blue Card), they freeze BOTH accounts until they receive payment – even though, like many who have stated above, I have an excellent payment history on both. Doesn’t matter.

    Needless to say, my new goal is to pay off all their accounts ASAP and minimize using them –
    guess I’ll just add more cash to my brokerage account and use the debit card against that account – it’s just as pretty a card as the Amex Gold card and I don’t have worry about getting overly dramatic phone calls.

    Anyone try that Chase Sapphire card yet? I really like the commercials….

    The thing that is most upsetting to me is that I feel I can no longer trust Amex after 22 years. Their behavior in some ways remind me of an irrational, crazy relative whom you used to love, but am now not comfortable being around….

  24. Steven says:

    AMEX is awful. I have a PERFECT credit history and a FICO of 800, and yet, I continuously get denied for the Amex Jet Blue card that they keep sending me promotion materials for! I don’t NEED the card at all, just thought it would be convenient to have since I fly Jet Blue a lot. UNREAL, runaround from customer service, I finally got a manager on the phone, submitted my income statement/pay stubs and showed them that the 90+ days credit report they claimed they had against me DOES NOT EXIST. They did not change it. No problem, I will continue to use my Wachovia credit card where I average $2K per month and pay my balance in FULL even though I don’t have to. AWFUL, AWFUL, NEVER AGAIN will I fall for your spam promotions telling me to apply for your POS card, cyanarra AMEX! TWO GIANT THUMBS DOWN!

  25. Rod says:

    I have to say charge cards are the way to go, I have been down the path of credit cards – never again. Here in Germany most banks by default issue Visa/MC charge cards, despite calling them credit cards. They are however not always good when it comes to limits of rewards, hence Amex which has a little more flexibility when needed. That said even if you ask in advance for a larger limit they still decline the request unless you call. I had this problem when the hotel I was staying in put through a bill for the many weeks I had been there, I had warned Amex in advance but they said a big fat NO! The annoying thing was this was to prevent fraud, but this info was not passed onto the retailer. I had to call Amex who then did some security checks and the transaction cleared. Amex and other charge cards are the way to go in my view, but do be warned they can a little more picky about authorisations! Especially when this is above your normal per transaction amount and in a strange land.

  26. Roy says:

    Hmmm… Amex Plat kinds sux for what it stands for…Member since 1996 paid in full each month no probs today I got a ‘not authorised’ payment for a few £’s ….so I see adverts everywhere for Amex saying, it’s not just for big spenders but for little things…. got the speel from Customer Services saying my average spend was low recently.. and until I clear the balance then it will be ok…exactly like the above post from Matt !!! This is crazy.. so is Amex Plat Customer Services going to bail me out when I am abroad in future…best I use cash…everyone takes that at least ! Amex can stuff their card up their jacksies from now on !

  27. MATT says:

    I just encountered this problem with my AMEX Gold Card earlier this week. I recieved notification that my account would be temporarily placed on “hold” due to a balance of around $900. My closing date is the 15th of each month. I owe $600 due at the end of October, and on Ocotber 17th,about $600 was spent on emergency car repair.(that 600 should be due at the end of Novemner). I have been a customer since 1986 and never been late on any payments. Once I received an email about my account being placed on “hold” until my balance is ZERO, i immediatley made a $350 payment. Today,I received a call from Customer Service saying that my account has been placed on :hold” until my balance is zero. That being said, they cant tell you what your limit is, which is just dumb; HOWEVER, they take the average of what you spent the previous 3-6 months and that is your limit; However, if you have a higher than normal monthly bill, once you pay that off, your monthly credit limit is increased. I think they should tell you what your “spending limit” is, and the person who came up with this bright idea is a prime example of a “buffoon”. THIS is a bad practice!!

  28. David Weliver says:

    Hi Norman,

    To be honest, I’m not positive how AMEX treats your history with other cards in determining a spending limit on charge cards. My guess is that they would take your payment history on that card into account (for example, if you’re late on the HHonors card, they might lower your ability to spend on the charge card).

  29. Norman Dea says:


    You mention that “American Express determines spending limits based upon your reported annual income and your payment history with their cards.”

    Does that history include other American Express cards? I have an extensivehistory with their AMEX Hilton HHonors Credit Card as well.

    Thanks for your response.


  30. help4fire says:

    AMERICAN EXPRESS BETRAID US!! IT CHANGED IS POLICY and now any card with a high limit is better than amex….

    for what reason I would carry this card if I cannot pay 10K for a purshase of a client who is going to pay me in 2 weeks after installation???

    is the first time this happens to me in the 8 years I’ve been with the card.. In fact in march 2009 I made a 10K purshase, paid it off in 2 weeks, now (5 months later) I can only use 9K!!

  31. DS says:

    I have had the same issue with Amex, and I am going to can them! If you are interested in a company that doesn’t randomly lower limits and has been very good to its customers, I’d check into Capital One. I have 2 of their cards and they have never ever cut me off or lowered my limits. They seem more than fair and I am very pleased with them. I guess “whats in your wallet?” really does ring true!

  32. Mark says:

    Same here. My $25K card with a high of $21800 went to $2000 then to $500. I called and they said to make a payment so that my medication charge would go through from Costco. Member since 1996, averaged $4000 per month use, paid off in full every month, never late. I said, hello, look at the payment history, you’ve gotten over $700 worth of payments in the last two weeks along, and I’ve send in three more. The charge will be declined because you can’t keep up with my payments, how about even a tempory authorization so the meds will clear. “We don’t do that anymore” was te answer. Anyone have a better company? This is rediculous.

  33. Andrew says:

    I’ve had my Amex card for a couple months now without a problem. I’ve charged several hundreds of dollars at once to $1100 the other week for a new LCD, etc and assumed that I did have the “no pre-set spending limit” so I’ve been using it for a number of things so I wouldn’t have a problem in the long run. I guess it’s unsettling reading this, if any is true, that Amex seems to be misleading. Actually, just found out I have to pay my bill in full each month, lol. Of course that’s not the problem, but I’d rather pay some other things off like the new car I charged on my Capital One card which seems to have no problem increasing my limit by several thousand dollars a couple times a year with excellent payment history. Hm… maybe I made a mistake in going with Amex. We will see….

  34. scott says:

    appears i have just been cut off @ 2k. tried to make a $37 purchase and was denied. luckily it was over the internet and not in person. ive always paid in full on time every month since 05. now suddenly i have a limit?

  35. Anne says:

    What is the average credit limit for new American Express customers?

  36. Tim says:

    Well its good to hear we are all in the same situation. Unlimited to 28,500 on 11/15/08 down to 4,900.00 as of Jan 28th. Multi – Business owner and card member since 94′. They will loose my business and we find there practice ridiculous.

  37. Sue says:

    My story: Amex Platinum for 10 years, spent about $6K for work per month (self-employed and this was reimbursed by clients), perfect payment history. What did I get? Amex dropped my “limit” to $2K with NO warning (no letter, no call, nada). I needed an airline tix for work – and got cut off when making the purchase. NOT COOL. When I called them royal run around too long to state here. VERY RUDE/EVASIVE customer “service.” Platinum Card? = so not worth $450 per year. I’m finding a company that treats their customers with respect. Amex is not on that list.

  38. Aneeq Qureshi says:

    I have just received my new Amex cards. The BA blue, and the ‘no limit’ classic green. I’m quite impressed with them so far. My average expenditure is forecasted to be around £2000 monthly, so lets see if the no limit is actually BS as you say.

  39. luis lopez says:

    amex is gona losse too many costumer the stupid new policy is just stupid my wife have 3 different amex card and she pays very well . and now they want to her prove her income , and that is just stupid because i take care of her . so they say we are going to close the accounts that is just garbaje fu……. amex

  40. Andrew says:

    I have come to the same situation that last few people have noted.

    I have had my AMEX card for about 4 years, since I was 18. Never had an issue with it—in fact, it’s my favorite card (or perhaps use to be), because I could use it, and never had to worry about it working. I use to occasionally use it… maybe putting $500 on it monthly for misc expenses. In the last few months, I decided I’d start using it for most of my expenses to avoid using standard credit cards and get them all paid off. Now, I’m set for spending maybe $2,000 on the card every month to cover my food/gas/whatever for a typical month.

    From my understanding, my card is “unlimited” (within a very fair reason, ie – I don’t expect to be able to go buy a $40,000 car with my card, but I would expect to be able to easily charge $5,000 on it out of the blue).

    Well, last night, I go up to Target to buy a few Christmas decorations for my new apartment. Go up to the counter, $125, use my card… declined. Weird—is what I thought. Never had the card declined before; I knew I had the card paid off well on time; I have charged way more than that before; my balance has been way higher before; etc. No problem, some mistake (I thought), so I used my MasterCard.

    So, this morning, I log onto my account… and my card, says ~$100 available, and I only have about $900 on my card. !?!?! Where the hell did this limit come from? Googling around, I come to this article, and as I read from the users above me, AMEX is now applying this new policy. !?!?!

    I think it is ridiculous. I mean, I understand having to “protect” themselves from the falling economy, but damn. This just seems like such a bad move. I mean, I averaged $500 previously. But lately I’m looking to average way more, and now I can’t do that, unless I want to make multiple payments a month. It is very annoying! What makes me most angry, is that I wasn’t notified about this new policy, at all!

    Unlike the users above me, I probably won’t stop using my card yet… but if this doesn’t get better I AM going to consider it.

    I hope someone in AMEX will FIX this policy!!

  41. sar says:

    I just got off the phone with American Express, who, it seems, cut off my Platinum Card (member since 1999, and pay in full monthly) “unlimited” spending to $3K (with no notification at all). Nice.

    It seems that they now average your 6 month spending and limit your “unlimited” spending to the “average” amount spent over that time period. BUT – they refuse to say the card has “a limit” – was on the phone with them for an hour and they wouldn’t say the words….(good brain washing, er, training of the employees). I use this primarily for biz expenses and didn’t travel much for work this summer. Thus, my “average” spending was lower, and thus I have a useless AmEx Platinum card. What is the $450 annual fee for??

    Also, they said this was part of the terms and conditions of my card and therefore didn’t need to contact me about it. I’ve spent over “$3K” average many times over the years and have never been cut off before.

    Looking for a new, cool credit card company that actually communicates with their customers. Know any?

    Gee, wish that they had notified me of this before having my “unlimited” spending amount cut off when purchasing a business flight on United!

  42. Chris says:

    I recently ran into the spending limit scenario as described by ORFisherman. I disagree with the spending limit because my entire background payment history, credit score, debt to limit ration was very good. The biggest issue I had was the imposition of the limit without receiving timely communication from American Express. My response to this behavior was simple…..I cut up the card and sent it back to them and told them to close my account. In simple terms I was a good customer with a good history who was alienated by this policy. I don’t have time for those kind of games so I decided to convert all those nice merchant fees to one of their competitors cards. American Express really knows how to MISmanage their business. I agree the idiot who thought up this underwriting policy should be fired for the good of American Express.

  43. ORFisherman says:

    I am a 12 year customer of the gold card. I have a perfect payment history and have ever had a problem…. until this year. AMEX has started a new policy of averaging your usage for the last 3 months, evaluating your credit score on a monthly basis (a score by the way you cannot obtain without a fee), and then setting limits on your spending. This is whether you have a perfect payment history or not. By doing this, they limit their exposure to risk in the declining economy (in their opinion), however they also alienate perfectly good customers that have been only sporadically using the card and may have recently incurred more debt (like a new car or new house). This is a ridiculous policy and the idiot that came up with it should be fired. Not to mention, I hope someone in the Govt realizes the unfair practice of using a score to decline credit, a score which the consumer has to pay to see. I have seen my “no limits” spending feature dropped from “unlimited” to $21K, to $8K. This is because when they pissed me off the first time by changing from “no-limit” to a $21K limit, I stopped using the card for business travel. Then, as I did use it sporadically, they lowered the limit again because my “average” usage was low. How stupid is that? My recommendation, pass the word along and have everyone you speak to complain. Call them and complain, write them and complain, email them and complain…and…stop using the card! If their usage drops and their complaints rise….someone in AMEX Corporate will get wind of it and hopefully fire the idiot that started the new policy.

    • KYFisherman says:

      17 years with AMEX using the Business Gold Card as well as other cards and Business Lines of Credit with AMEX, and now I have a limit on my spending. Two years ago, AMEX out of the blue panicked and canceled everyone’s Business Line of Credit with no prior warning. Like ORFisherman, I have had exactly the same thing happen to me with a declining “credit limit”. And on top of these horrors, last month AMEX rolled out a new software program for online payments, which I have been doing with AMEX for 17 years now every month. This program had a bug in it, and when I clicked the Pay Now button, not only did it not take me to the normal account and amount screen, it immediately processed a transaction of a random amount, which was close to $10K. I immediately notified AMEX, and they told me to put a stop payment on the money, and that they could take the correct transaction over the phone. What a nightmare that has been! AMEX froze my account for two weeks, and use the stop payment as the excuse for freezing the account! For doing what they TOLD me to do, I was without services for over two weeks!

      I’m down to a credit limit of $6K with AMEX now, which doesn’t even touch my lowest credit card limit. It’s time to bid adios to AMEX after today.

  44. I’ve heard that about the currency exchange rates too, which sounds like a nice perk if you travel abroad.

    Thanks for the heads up on the style issue — hopefully it’s fixed now!

  45. David,

    Great post. I’ve never tried an amex card, but want to get one soon. Another advantage of them is the lowe fees for currency translation. I do much overseas travel and that would be helpful.

    btw, your middle column is getting bumped to the bottom of your page. I’m viewing with IE version 6.0.

  46. Speak Your Mind