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What a high-limit credit card is and how to get one with your credit score

CNBC Select takes a look at high-limit credit cards and gives examples of different ones based on your credit score.

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When you open a new credit card account, most issuers will assign you a credit limit. This line of credit can be anywhere from $200 to tens of thousands of dollars, and in most cases, you can't spend more than your limit. 

You can qualify for a higher limit with almost any credit card as long as you have a good or excellent credit score and a stable income, but there are some high-limit cards that offer a minimum cap of $5,000 or more.

Below, CNBC Select takes a look at how you can get a high-limit credit card, as well as options for those who don't yet qualify.

What is a high-limit credit card

A high-limit credit card typically comes with a credit line between $5,000 to $10,000 (and some even go beyond $10,000).

You're more likely to have a higher credit limit if you have good or excellent credit.

A high-limit credit card can help you improve your credit score since it raises your overall available credit and can lower your credit utilization rate. It can also be helpful to cardholders who have high monthly expenses or are looking to purchase a big-ticket item. If you do have a high credit limit, just make sure that you spend within your means and avoid charging more than you can afford. 

How to get a high-limit card

Many card issuers don't publicize their credit limits, but some include a minimum credit limit in their pricing and terms. Be sure to read closely before applying for a credit card so you know what to expect if they do only offer a minimum.

You won't know your exact credit limit until your application is final, and credit limits vary depending on your specific credit score and income.

If you end up with a card that has a lower credit limit than you wanted, you can always ask for a credit limit increase by speaking to your issuer over the phone or making a request online. Some issuers will automatically increase your credit limit once you've made consecutive on-time payments after the first few months.

Examples of high-limit cards on the market

Because issuers don't typically advertise credit limits when they market their credit cards, it's hard to say for sure if you'll get a high credit limit (between $5,000 and $10,000 or more) when you sign up for a new card.  

Credit cards branded Visa Signature or Visa Infinite typically offer a starting credit limit of $5,000 or more. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a Visa Signature card, for example, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a Visa Infinite card (a tier above Signature). Credit limits are not published on Chase's site for the Sapphire Reserve card, but travel card generally have higher limits. Sapphire Reserve cardholders on sites like myFICO® Forums have reported having a credit limit as high as $80,000.

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Chase Sapphire Preferred®
On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022, 2X points on travel and dining worldwide, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening — worth up to $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    15.99% to 22.99% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Transfer points to leading frequent travel programs at a 1:1 rate, including: IHG® Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy™ and World of Hyatt®
  • Free DashPass subscription for a minimum of a year when you activate by December 31, 2021
  • Travel protections include: auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance and trip delay reimbursement
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No hotel-specific perks or credits
  • No introductory 0% APR
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,006
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,028

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    10X points on Lyft rides through March 2022, 3X points on travel worldwide (immediately after earning your $300 annual travel credit), 3X points on dining at restaurants worldwide, 1X point per $1 on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening — worth up to $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

  • Annual fee

    $550

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    16.99% to 23.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit for travel purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit up to $100 every four years
  • Priority Pass™ Select lounge access at 1,000+ VIP lounges in over 500 cities worldwide
  • Special benefits at The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
  • Free DashPass subscription for a minimum of a year when you activate by December 31, 2021
  • $60 DoorDash credit in 2020 and 2021
  • Complimentary year of Lyft Pink membership

Cons

  • High $550 annual fee, but it can be offset by taking advantage of all the card’s perks
  • No introductory APR
  • Relatively high balance transfer fee
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,231
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,755

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Often, two cardholders with the same card can have very different credit limits. For example, with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® approved cardholders will either receive the basic level Visa Platinum card (with a minimum credit limit of $500) or the upgraded Visa Signature card (with a minimum credit limit of $5,000), according to Chase Freedom Unlimited's pricing and terms

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card
Information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    1.5% cash back on every purchase

  • Welcome bonus

    $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    14.99% to 23.74% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a $5 minimum. After, 5% ($5 minimum).

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Long intro 0% APR period for purchases and balance transfers
  • Rewards can be transferred to a Chase Ultimate Rewards card
  • Generous welcome bonus

Cons

  • Below average 1.5% cash back
  • 3% fee charged on foreign transactions
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $532
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,859

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

If you have less-than-stellar credit and want the opportunity to improve your score, the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card does the trick and gives you the opportunity to increase your available credit line. You won't have a high limit right away, but Capital One automatically considers you for a higher credit limit after six months of on-time payments.

Cardholders on myFICO® Forums report that using your Capital One card consistently and paying your balance off in full each month is the best way to make sure you get access to a higher credit limit. One member said that cardholders may receive a $100 increase after their second or third billing statement. Once your score gets into the good range, you can try applying for a card like the Chase Freedom Unlimited or upgrading to another Capital One card.

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Information about the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    1.5% cash back on all purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $39

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    26.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    None

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good/Fair

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Redeem cash back at anytime and for any amount
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Access a higher credit limit after making your first five monthly payments on time

Cons

  • $39 annual fee
  • 26.99% variable APR
  • No welcome bonus
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $293
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,464

For anyone just beginning their credit journey or working to rebuild their credit, secured credit cards can help you get on track. Secured cards require that you make a deposit, usually around $200, which becomes your line of credit. So it's rare that secured cards have high limits. But if you do have the cash to put down a substantial deposit, the First Tech® Federal Credit Union Platinum Secured Mastercard® offers credit limits as high as $25,000. For a higher credit limit, you will need to deposit more money. You may want a high-limit secured credit card if you find yourself with plenty of savings but you don't yet qualify for a high-limit unsecured card.

First Tech® Federal Credit Union Platinum Secured Mastercard®

First Tech® Federal Credit Union Platinum Secured Mastercard®
Information about the First Tech® Federal Credit Union Platinum Secured Mastercard® has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the cards prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    1 point per $1 spent on all purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    9.00% to 18.00% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    None

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    N/A

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • $25,000 maximum credit limit, which is one of the highest for secured cards
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • $500 minimum security deposit, which is higher than average
  • Credit union membership is required, but it comes at no added cost
  • No clear timeline to upgrade to an unsecured card
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.