This trick can open up more Amex credit card slots — and 10,000 bonus points

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For many who play this game with vigor, we may have a dozen or more credit cards. Lucrative credit card welcome bonuses allow for first-class flights and luxury accommodations for pennies on the dollar.

However, there are plenty of roadblocks that slow the growth of our points and miles balances. The Chase 5/24 rule, Bank of America’s 2/3/4 rule and Amex’s once-in-a-lifetime rule limit how many welcome bonuses you can get in a certain time frame.

American Express has similar limits on the number of cards you can hold at one time, but if you follow a few tips, you may be able to open up more slots to add more Amex products to your wallet.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Amex four-card limit

Last year, Amex made it official that you can only hold four credit cards from the bank at once. There is an exception to this rule, however — Amex allows you to hold up to 10 cards (that are unlike typical credit cards, in that they allow you to carry a balance for certain charges but not all), in addition to four credit cards.

These cards (formerly referred to as charge cards) don’t count towards the four-card limit, and you can hold up to 10 of them at once:

Most other American Express products would be considered credit cards, including:

The information for the Hilton Surpass has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

However, where things get a little muddled is that Amex sometimes counts the first list of cards towards your four credit card limit. This happens because those cards come with the Pay Over Time feature, which allows card members to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges, up to the Pay Over Time limit.

Unenroll in Pay Over Time

If you’re bumping against a wall and want to add more Amex cards to your portfolio, you should try this.

If you have any Amex cards (from the first bulleted list above), make sure they are not enrolled in Pay Over Time. You can unenroll in Pay Over Time by clicking here and logging into your Amex account. Specifically, make sure you mark Pay Over Time as Inactive and then hit submit.

Once your cards are unenrolled in the program, they will no longer count towards the four credit card limit. Now you’ll be able to hold more Amex credit cards and therefore will be eligible for more Amex welcome bonuses.

Hypothetically, you could hold 10 Amex cards (formerly referred to as charge cards) and four Amex credit cards at once — for a grand total of 14 Amex products. It’s likely you won’t be able to get approved for that many, though.

Note that recent data points indicate the American Express® Green Card is now considered a credit card, even if it is not enrolled in Pay Over Time.

The information for the Amex Green card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Potential for Pay Over Time bonus

Another benefit to getting out of the Pay Over Time program is that Amex often sends out targeted bonuses to cardholders to enroll in Pay Over Time. Usually, they offer 10,000 Membership Rewards points as a bonus for those who opt into the program.

So it’s possible that once you’re out of Pay Over Time, you’ll receive an offer to get back into the program. 10,000 Amex points are worth $180. Not bad for clicking a few buttons!

If you do opt in to Pay Over Time, it’s important to keep in mind that you don’t actually use the feature. Any fees you have to pay will outweigh the value of any points you’ve earned. Not paying interest is the number one rule for anyone who plays the credit card rewards game. Note: This offer is not guaranteed or eligible to every cardmember and has not been provided by the issuer.

Bottom line

If you’re a miles and points enthusiast who has a dozen-plus credit cards, Amex’s credit card limit could hinder your ability to enjoy more free travel. Make sure to remove any of your Amex cards (formerly referred to as charge cards) from the Pay Over Time program so you can grow your Amex portfolio.

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets email newsletter.

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

Annual fee

$250

Welcome offer

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

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Brendan Dorsey is an editor at Million Mile Secrets. He loves all things travel, points, miles and credit cards. He's worked for TIME and The Points Guy and has appeared on MSN, Yahoo Finance, Readers Digest, USA Today, CreditCards.com and more.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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