When used responsibly, it's possible to receive tremendous value from rewards credit cards. These products are so valuable to cardholders, that some even wonder if it's possible to have two of the exact same card.
In general, most credit card issuers will not approve a credit card application if you already have an account open with the exact same product. Nevertheless, there are several possible exceptions. First, cardholders can have an account in their own name as a primary account holder, and also hold the same card issued to them as an authorized cardholder of someone else's account, even a spouse. In addition, there are instances when cardholders have been offered a second credit card when downgrading an existing credit card with an annual fee to one without an annual fee. The card issuer may do this in order to retain a customer account, rather than have it canceled.
Furthermore, business cardholders may be approved for multiple versions of the same credit card, so long as their cards use the names and employer identification numbers of separate business entities. Another option is to open up two very similar credit cards from the same issuer. For instance, a card issuer may have a version with an annual fee, and another version without an annual fee, with very little difference between the two products. The two cards may even have the same name, but the card issuer's systems will still consider them to be different cards, allowing applicants to potentially be approved for both. In other cases, a credit card issuer may make a slight change to a card such that it is considered to be a new product.
Finally, there are a few credit card issuers who will actually issue multiple consumer accounts for the same product to the same primary cardholder. These card issuers are rare exceptions, but they do exist. Unfortunately, card issuers do not publish guidelines on whether or not this practice is permitted, so applicants are left to search for others' reported experiences, or simply use the method of trial and error to find out.
Why Would Someone Want More Than One Rewards Credit Card?
There are several reasons why it can make sense to have multiple versions the same credit card. First, rewards credit cards can offer impressive sign up bonuses in the form of points, miles, or cash back, so having multiple cards gives you a chance to earn these bonuses more than once. In addition, there are many credit cards that offer bonuses for particular types of purchases, but have limits on the amount of spending that qualifies, so by having multiple cards, you can earn more bonus rewards.
Also, having multiple cards can also allow you to separate your expenses. For example, you might wish to use one card for business travel that is being reimbursed by your employer, and a second card for personal expenses.
The Disadvantage of Having Multiple Rewards Credit Cards of the Same Type
Just because you might be able to open up more than one of the same account doesn't mean you should. Having multiple accounts makes it harder to manage and makes it easy to accidentally make a payment to the wrong account. In addition, anyone who is tempted by credit cards to make unnecessary purchases or to incur debt should strongly consider whether they should be applying for additional cards.
By closely looking at the advantages and drawbacks of opening multiple accounts with the same credit card, you can decide if this strategy will work for you.