American Express has created a brand perception that involves catering to upper middle class professionals and providing high credit limits. Following the financial crisis several years ago this image clashed with reality a bit as American Express experienced huge credit losses and tightened their credit standards considerably and largely retreated back to their core charge card business. Fortunately, as the economy has improved so have the odds of not only qualifying for an American Express card but also receiving a more generous credit line than in recent years. And, for those with an existing Amex card wanting a more substantial credit line, consider the following strategies…
Method #1: Apply for a new account and re-allocate your credit Limits
There have been many complaints on our forum that when people request an increase, often times the amount given (if given at all) isn’t much and they have to take a hard credit inquiry to get it.
Since you’re going to have to take a credit inquiry, here’s a better idea..
American Express will let you re-allocate credit limits on your personal (non-business) cards. So, if you have two different cards each with $10k limits, for example, you may be able to move $5k from one and add it to another (leaving you with a $15k limit on one card and a $5k limit on the other). Many forum members have enjoyed success using this technique, so fear not if you’re thinking this is more theory than practice.
But what happens if you don’t have any other AmEx accounts – OR – you do and you don’t want to decrease any existing credit limits? Well, many people reportedly have had great success by opening a brand new account and then re-allocating some of its credit limit to the card on which you want to have a higher limit. As with the reallocation technique, there are many forum users who have been more satisfied going this route compared to the amount of credit line increase they expected had it been requested in the usual way.
What are the best Amex offers for 2015 with which to attempt this?
The Green/Gold/Platinum are charge cards without preset credit limits, so those won’t be of any use. Instead, you will want to apply for one of their credit cards, like the ones featured below:
They also offer some great business credit cards which may be of interest if you run any kind of side operation apart from your day job. And, if you’re an actual small business person (whether as a sole proprietor, partnership, LLC or fully incorporated) you definitely should be considering a small business card. AmEx offer a business version of the Starwood Preferred Guest card as well as a great no-annual fee business credit card called Simply Cash. Check out our business section for more info on those two options.
Method #2: Request An Increase on Existing Account (Not Advisable)
This is the most conventional way to go about increasing your credit card’s limit, but also the least preferable due to the (1) hard credit inquiry, and (2) you might only get a very small credit line increase, if you in fact receive one at all.
It used to be that you could request a credit limit increase from the AmEx website quite easily when you were logged into your account. However you’ve probably noticed that option is no where to be found over the last few years, not even on the account services page (seen above).
There used to be a tab for “LINE OF CREDIT” and when you clicked on it, a drop down option would appear for “INCREASE YOUR LINE OF CREDIT”
Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to do this through their website. In order to try, you have to contact American Express’ customer service and make a formal request. You can give it a try, but many people on our American Express forum complain that they haven’t had good luck that way; either their request is denied altogether or they are only granted a very paltry increase. far below what they requested.
The worst part is that even with a small credit line increase they still experience a “hard pull” credit inquiry that will now be reflected in their credit report. So, if they are going to experience a hard pull, they might as well do it for something worthwhile like applying for a new card that offers some sort of signup bonus and good rewards program.
This post was written or last updated October 28, 2015