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Understanding the Differences Between Amex Credit Cards and Pay Over Time Cards

We explain how Pay Over Time cards differ from credit cards, and which Amex cards fall under each of those two categories, in light of Amex's 5-card limit.
Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Understanding the Differences Between Amex Credit Cards and Pay Over Time Cards

We explain how Pay Over Time cards differ from credit cards, and which Amex cards fall under each of those two categories, in light of Amex's 5-card limit.

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

American Express has a rule limiting the number of cards customers may have. Amex allows only up to five credit cards, regardless of whether they are personal or business credit cards. Amex has also indicated that the limit for Pay Over Time cards is 10.

With this new rule coming into effect, it’s worth understanding the differences between credit cards and Pay Over Time cards, and which Amex cards fall under which category.

How are Pay Over Time cards different from credit cards?

Credit cards allow you to spend up to a preset spending limit (your credit line). You are only required to make a minimum payment each month, and may carry the rest of the balance onto next month’s bill. However, doing so leads to high interest rate charges. This is why you should pay your statement balance off in full each month. Also, failure to make the minimum payment results in a late fee charge.

On the other hand, Pay Over Time cards do not have a preset spending limit. However, you are required to pay your balance off in full each month. Pay Over Time cards do not offer the option to make a minimum payment. If you do not pay your statement balance off in full, the card issuer may take certain actions on your account, such as blocking any additional purchases until you pay your balance off in full, or closing your account outright.

When it comes to applications, Pay Over Time cards typically require applicants to have excellent credit. Meanwhile, credit cards vary widely in the quality of credit required for approval depending on the card (think a student credit card compared to a premium travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example).

Which Amex cards are Pay Over Time cards and which are credit cards?

Here is a handy breakdown covering most American Express cards:

Credit Cards
(Limit: 5)
Pay Over Time Cards
(Limit: 10)
  • Amex EveryDay and EveryDay Preferred
  • Gold Card
  • Blue Cash Everyday and Blue Cash Preferred
  • Business Gold Card
  • Blue Business Plus
  • Green Card
  • Hilton cards (Hilton, Ascend, Surpass, Aspire, Business)
  • Business Green Card
  • Marriott (Bonvoy, Bonvoy Business®, Bonvoy Brilliant)
  • Platinum Card (including co-branded versions like Schwab and Morgan Stanley)
  • Delta cards (Blue, Gold, Platinum, Reserve, Gold Business, Platinum Business, and Reserve Business)
  • Business Platinum Card
  • Plum Card

Final Thoughts

Any limitation on the number of credits cards is always disappointing. But understanding the difference between Pay Over Time cards and credit cards and keep track of your count will help you stay within Amex's rules.

What is your favorite Amex Pay Over Time card? Join the discussion in our Facebook group!

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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