DALL-E rate limits confusion

We’re on a paid API plan. According to the FAQs, DALL-E should have a rate limit of 50 images/min. However, if we generate 4 images at once, we get an error that the limit would be only 5 images/min on second attempt. How can we fix that?

Does this answer the question?




No. We are getting these messages when using DALL-E 2.

You may then only have a tier-1 account, having paid under $50 so far to OpenAI, where those figures are 5 images per minute for each model. You can follow the link I posted above to view your account’s figures.

5 per minute = 300 per hour (for $6 per hour of DALL-E 2) – just at a rate limit not quite where you can resell those services.

OpenAI has set up a prepay system where you have to pay a decent amount in prepay credits or past API monthly payments to unlock higher rate limits.

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Ok, thanks, wasn’t aware of this. The response I get from the API says the limit is 50/min. That’s pretty confusing.

Hello ! I’m new user with Dall E 3 and not sure of how the credits works with rate limit.
I mean, I already pay 20$/month and I am tier 1.
I read that to reach tier 2, I have to pay 50$ for more credits and wait 7 days.
But will I have to pay 50$ each month to stay tier 2 ? Or once enough I pay the cost, tier 2 will stay forever ?
Thank in advance for your answer !

The subscription you pay is for ChatGPT Plus and its particular entitlements such as GPT-4, GPTs, DALL-E 3, etc just within that chat platform.

The API billing is completely separate, and doesn’t rely on or benefit from a ChatGPT subscription. The tier system is just a constantly elevating level of trust based on how much you’ve paid OpenAI in the past for API services or to add API credit without them getting reported fraud or chargebacks, a system to prevent new cards instantly going to $4000 in usage.

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Thank you for that answer,
If I understand well, the more regular user I am, the more the tier will increase ? So no need to pay a lot of money at the begining in order to unblock a better higher rate ?

Tier 1 users were (unexpectedly) hit with lower streaming rates from AI models, the words appearing slower, as an incentive to move up by purchasing at least $50 in pre-pay credits.

The actual rate limits of API calls align with or even exceed the amount of money you put in, and are oriented more to be spread over multiple users by developer apps, so you are unlikely to hit rate backoff limits for “chat” or other applications except when you have short bursts in usage.

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This is all completely intransparent. In our case, we would love to pay more for better DALL-E service, but have no idea how.

Yes, the tier system is not placed front-and-center in an account, nor how the payment system works made part of “required reading” before you get started, but I can provide a better overview.

Learn tiers and limits

This first link will take you into a document for “rate limits”. It advises you to read thoroughly (because of convolution).


Above the link destination is a button bar where you can pick from “free tier” to “tier 5”, and then see the different rate limits, for different classes of AI model, when having achieved that higher tier. Example:

Tier 1 rate limits

This is a high level summary …

dall-e-2 5 img/min - - -
dall-e-3 5 img/min - - -

Tier = trust

The tier system is basically: How much have you previously paid OpenAI that is now “trusted”. For example, tier 2 to boost DALL-E 3 from 5 to 7 images per minute is “$50 paid and 7+ days since first successful payment”. This provides a path where a new account can’t rapidly defraud OpenAI with bad cards.

Pay up - prepay credits

So for the first tier increase from free trial with its limitations, entering a payment method (credit card), and continue to purchasing at least the minimum credit of $5 to become “paid user”. First fill out account billing preferences with your company info that matches the card you’ll be using.

Congrats, within a few hours of processing, your API is now upgraded to tier 1, while the API services are still using the free credit until it expires or is exhausted.


Free-credit-only users should be able to make one DALL-E 3 image per minute via API. Something went wrong with this backend limit system – or we are missing the documentation that they now disallow DALL-E 3 on “free”.