How can I increase my American Express limit?

Quick Answers

Here are some quick answers to common questions about increasing your American Express credit limit:

How can I get American Express to increase my credit limit?

The best way is to call American Express and request a credit limit increase. Be prepared to provide information about your income, assets, and spending habits. Amex will usually do a soft pull on your credit to review your request.

What factors does American Express consider when increasing limits?

American Express looks at your payment history, credit score, annual income, spending habits, and length of credit history when considering a credit limit increase.

How much can I increase my limit by?

There is no set limit. Increases usually range from $500 to $5,000. The higher your credit score and income, the more Amex may be willing to increase your limit.

How often can I request a credit limit increase?

You can request an increase every 6 months. American Express may also automatically increase limits for customers who responsibly manage their accounts.

Will a credit limit increase hurt my credit score?

It shouldn’t. A soft inquiry from American Express to review your request will not impact your score. If approved, a higher limit with responsible use can improve your credit utilization ratio.

Understanding Your American Express Credit Limit

Your American Express credit limit is the maximum amount of credit Amex extends on your account. It determines how much you can spend on your card before hitting the limit and potentially having transactions declined or incurring overlimit fees.

American Express sets your initial limit when you open a new account based on factors like your credit score, income, and existing lines of credit. They want to provide a high enough limit for your spending needs while limiting their risk.

Your spending habits are continuously monitored. If you consistently use a high percentage of your available credit, Amex may become concerned about default risk. On the other hand, if you use your card lightly and pay your balance off monthly, they may decide you deserve a higher limit.

A higher credit limit can be beneficial in several ways:

  • Allows you to make large purchases without going over the limit
  • Keeps your credit utilization low, which helps your credit score
  • Provides a buffer for unexpected expenses or emergencies
  • Gives you access to higher sign-up bonuses and rewards

However, a higher limit also means you could potentially get yourself into deeper debt. That’s why it’s important to only request a limit increase if you have a proven track record of responsible spending and on-time payments.

How American Express Decides on Credit Limit Increases

When you request a credit limit increase, American Express will conduct a financial review and evaluate several factors to decide whether it’s appropriate, including:

Your Payment History

Amex will look at your payment patterns on not just your Amex accounts but also other credit accounts. Having late or missed payments can negatively impact your chances of getting approved for an increase.

Your Credit Utilization

This measures how much of your available credit you use each month. Lower utilization tends to signal better credit management. Amex may be hesitant to increase your limit if your balances are consistently near the maximum.

Your Credit Score

In general, a higher credit score indicates lower risk to the lender. Amex is more likely to approve limit increase requests for customers with excellent scores of 750 or above.

Your Annual Income

Your income level gives Amex a sense of your ability to manage higher minimum payments. The higher your salary, the more comfortable they’ll feel increasing your limit.

Your Existing Lines of Credit

Amex will look at the number of credit cards and total limits you already have with other issuers. Too many cards and high balances across accounts could make them hesitant to extend more credit.

Your Credit History

Customers who have responsibly managed credit for many years are seen as lower risk than new credit users. Having a longer, well-established history can improve your chances for a higher limit.

Your Spending Habits

Amex has significant data on your spending categories, average monthly balances and whether you pay in full or carry a revolving balance. High monthly spending and big purchases can prompt limit increases.

Tips for Getting Approved for a Higher American Express Limit

If getting bumped up against your Amex credit limit is a frequent annoyance, here are some tips that can help your chances of getting approved when requesting an increase:

Ask at the Right Time

Amex will only allow you to request an increase every 6 months. Be strategic in your timing. Ask when you know your credit score is high and you’ve paid all balances off in full for several months.

Have a Clean Credit Report

Before applying, check your credit report for any errors or issues that could negatively impact your chances. Get errors fixed and pay down balances on other cards to lower your utilization.

Spread Credit Applications Out

If you’ve opened several new credit accounts recently, hold off requesting a limit increase. Too many hard inquiries and new accounts in a short period can be seen as higher risk.

Ask for a Specific Increase Amount

Rather than just asking for more, pick a reasonable dollar amount based on your needs. Providing a specific request signals you’ve thought it through.

Call Instead of Using the App or Website

Speaking to an Amex representative gives you the chance to explain the reasons you need a higher limit. This personal touch can help your case.

Provide Supporting Financial Information

Be prepared to share information like your income, household expenses, assets, and significant future spending needs. Solid numbers strengthen the argument for a higher limit.

Suggest Ways to Reallocate Your Existing Limit

If you already have multiple Amex cards, you can offer to reallocate credit from a lesser used card you may want to close anyway.

Apply for a Different Card

Rather than requesting an increase on your existing card, apply for a new Amex card altogether. This allows you to take advantage of sign-up bonuses and may come with a higher initial limit.

What to Do If Denied for a Credit Limit Increase

It can certainly be disappointing if Amex declines your request for a higher limit. Before reapplying, here are some things you can do:

Ask for Reconsideration

Politely ask if the representative can take a second look at your request. Be ready to make your case again and provide any new information to address concerns.

Improve Your Credit

Use the next 6 months to pay all balances on time, lower your utilization on other cards and build your credit history. Then Amex will likely view you as less risky for an increase.

Wait for an Automatic Review

If you’ve been responsibly managing your account, Amex may automatically reevaluate your limit every 6-12 months anyway based on your spending patterns and credit profile.

Request a Lower Increase

Amex may meet you halfway with a smaller increase if the amount you asked for seemed too high initially. Try asking for less next time.

Get Added as an Authorized User

Someone else with an Amex card (like a spouse) can add you as an authorized user. This gives you charging privileges on their account, boosting your overall credit access.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Higher Limit

A higher credit limit can be a mixed blessing. As you consider requesting an increase, it’s smart to weigh the potential benefits against the possible downsides:

Potential Pros

  • Make large purchases without exceeding your limit
  • Lower your credit utilization by increasing your total available credit
  • Earn more rewards and bonuses if spending more on the card
  • Have a buffer for emergencies and unexpected expenses
  • Shows lender confidence in your financial profile

Potential Cons

  • Higher potential balances and interest charges
  • Difficulty controlling spending habits with more available credit
  • Higher minimum payments due each month
  • Owing more debt to the lender if you carry a balance
  • Possible hard credit inquiry if requesting a large increase

Evaluate both angles. If you have concerns about taking on more available credit, hold off on requesting an increase and focus instead on using your existing limit responsibly.

Alternatives to Increasing Your Limit

If American Express declines your request for a higher limit, don’t panic. Here are some alternative strategies to consider:

Pay Your Balance More Frequently

Rather than maxing out your limit each month, try making multiple payments during the billing cycle. This frees up space faster for additional spending.

Use Another Card for Big Purchases

Put large or recurring payments on a different card with room to spare on its limit. Reserve the Amex for smaller discretionary purchases.

Request a Lower Limit

You can actually ask Amex to decrease your limit. This can help manage temptation to overspend. Once you demonstrate responsible use at a lower limit, request an increase again.

Upgrade to a Charge Card

With a charge card, you pay balances in full each month so there’s technically no preset spending limit. The Platinum and Centurion cards are popular charge card options.

Open a Supplementary Card

Add a family member as a supplementary card member on your account. Their spending power chips away from your shared limit.

Upgrade Your Card

Request to upgrade to a premium Amex card with more perks, rewards and built-in higher limits to attract affluent customers.


At the end of the day, your American Express credit limit should strike the right balance between covering your spending needs and avoiding overextension. If you’ve been a responsible Amex cardholder and have the financial profile to support a higher limit, requesting an increase at the right time can be reasonable. But pursue alternatives like making more frequent payments if a higher limit would potentially enable poor spending habits. With mindful credit management, you can enjoy the convenience and perks of your Amex without taking on excessive debt.

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