I just wrote about how both the American Express personal and the business SPG credit cards are offering their all-time highest sign-up bonuses at 35,000. If one were to jump on both of these cards then they could come out with 70,000 SPG points. Since SPG provides you with an automatic 20% bonus on transfers to airlines in increments of 20,000, this means that for many airlines you could come out with 90,000 miles (factoring in the minimum spends) with just two cards! But is it possible to get both cards at once?
Update: Some offers are no longer available — click here for the latest deals!
Amex application rules
The first step here is to look at the American Express application rules.
American Express applies different rules based on whether the cards you are applying for are charge cards or credit cards. Charge cards are cards like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card that must be paid off in full each month (subject to exceptions). However, credit cards are the type of cards you typically think of: you get approved for a specific credit limit and it’s up to you how much of that limit you use.
In this instance, both the American Express SPG personal and business cards are credit cards. So the more restrictive credit card rules will apply.
Here’s a rundown of the questions to ask yourself:
Once per lifetime restriction
The first thing you should ask yourself is have you ever received the sign-up bonuses for any of these cards? If the answer is yes, and it’s been less than seven years since you received that sign-up bonus, then there’s a chance you might not be eligible.
2 credit cards in 90 days
The Amex 90 day rule does not allow for you to be approved for more than two credit cards within any 90 day period. Business credit cards are usually factored into this along with personal credit cards. So if you’ve been approved for an Amex credit card in the previous 90 days you will probably be rejected for one of the SPG cards on this basis.
This isn’t always the case as some people tend to get lucky and get around the rule, but it seems the majority of applicants are not able to get around this rule.
Four or five total Amex credit cards
American Express limits you to four or five total credit cards, including business credit cards. Some say that you’re only allowed five cards if one of your cards is a certain type of brand, such as a Hilton card or SPG card. There may be some truth to that but based on the data points I’ve reviewed, the information is a bit conflicting. But it is clear that many people are now being allowed five total credit cards.
One credit card application per day
This is the rule that might cause a little bit of trouble when attempting to get both cards. You’re usually limited to one credit card application approval per five business day period. So, for example, if you apply for more than one credit card in one day, the second application will usually go to pending.
This is an automated fraud-prevention feature that Amex uses and it will usually apply whether you’re applying for personal or business credit cards. As far as I know, there’s no way around this besides getting lucky. Typically, your second application will go to pending for 3 to 5 business days and then you might be automatically approved or receive a rejection and need to call into reconsideration.
If your second application goes to pending, your hard inquiries from the two applications will usually not be combined by the credit bureaus, which means that your credit score will feel the effect of two hard pulls. It’s not the end of the world, but don’t be surprised if your score drops 6 to 10 points due to the two inquiries.
So can you apply for both the business and personal card at once?
The answer is yes but you should expect for one app to go to pending and to wait 3 to 5 days to receive a decision on your second application. Your hard pulls will probably not be combined, either.
Whether or not it’s worth it will depend on the person. Some would rather not deal with a pending review and just wait out about 6 days to make another application but others would rather chance getting the hard pulls combined. It’s all up to you.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.