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I thought I’d take a minute to clear up a bit of credit card terminology that trips a lot of people up and that’s the concept of “No Preset Spending Limit.”
This feature only applies to charge cards and cards that act as charge cards (also see:” Charge Card vs Credit Card: What’s the Difference?“)
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No Preset Spending Limit
In addition to having to be paid off in full each month, a charge card is missing a number that all credit cards have: a preset spending limit!
When you receive a new credit card, you know what you can spend each month. If your credit limit is set at $20,000, you know that’s what you can spend in a month (although, really, you ideally want to spend less than 30% of your credit line to preserve your credit score).
Charge cards have no preset spending limit. But even more confusing is that this doesn’t mean you can spend an unlimited amount. It means you can spend up to what a computer algorithm says you can. It’s determined by many of the same factors as your credit limit would be with a credit card, however, your behavior over time impacts your spending limit.
Let’s say you have an Amex Gold card with no preset spending limit. You charge $10,000 your first month, $15,000 your second month, and $13,000 your third month. The computer gets that you are spending in the $10,000 – $15,000 range each month. If you suddenly slam a Ferrari on that card, it’s likely going to get rejected, although it may not be necessarily. You really don’t know.
But that said, it’s a nice feature for business cards. If you had, for example, the American Express Business Gold card (which has a nice 70,000 point welcome bonus now, by the way), or an Amex Business Platinum card, you could ramp your monthly limit up to almost anything.
I know people that spend six figures every month on these charge products. They pay each month on time and over time, the system knows they are good for it. They can basically spend whatever they want, as long as it fits their spend pattern over time.
What Cards Have No Preset Spending Limit?
Fewer than you think! Currently in the US market, only American Express markets cards with No Preset Spending Limit.
- The Platinum Card
- Business Platinum Card from American Express
- The American Express Gold Card
- American Express Green Card
- American Express Business Gold Card
- The Business Green Card
- Plum Card from American Express
- Centurion and Business Centurion Cards (The “Black Card”)
Chase did have a charge product called the Ink Bold, but that hasn’t been available for many years now.
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You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.