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What Are the World’s Most Exclusive Luxury Credit Cards? Here Are 8

6 min read
Susan Shain By Susan Shain Oct 15, 2018 | Updated Mar 27, 2020

In movies about the other half — rockstars, mobsters, CEOs — there’s often a dinner scene at some low-lit restaurant with mahogany tables and white napkins. There are bottles of wine, massive steaks, and tuxedo-d waiters.

And then, at the end, there’s a credit card… Which one, though? Which pieces of plastic (or metal) do people with Rolls-Royces roll with?

In all likelihood, probably one of the cards below — the most exclusive credit cards available.

The 5 Most Exclusive Credit Cards

These prestigious credit cards provide an immediate signal of your status and wealth.

Most are available only by invitation, and only if you meet certain requirements (like, say, being ultra rich). They come with top-tier perks, including personal concierge services, and top-tier annual fees, some as high as $5,000.

While these cards might not be available to most of us, it’s still fun to imagine the lifestyles that go with them. If you’re looking for a baller rewards credit card you can actually apply for, jump down to that section below.

For now, we’ll focus on the most elite credit cards around.

Centurion® Card from American Express

Centurion® Card from American Express

Our rating
Min. credit levelExcellent
Details
Annual Fee$5,000
Regular APRNot Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly
  • Available by invitation only
  • Initiation fee of $10,000
  • Annual fee of $5,000
  • Made of anodized titanium
  • Many luxury benefits
  • Premium status at the world’s leading hotels and airlines

The information related to Centurion® Card from American Express has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

The most famous of the bunch is the Centurion Card from American Express, commonly known as the Amex Black Card.

You won’t find details or an application online; instead, Amex must invite you to apply. To get noticed, according to online gossip, you’ll need to charge between $250,000 and $450,000 per year on your current Amex cards. (A mere $20,000 per month!)

After receiving your coveted invitation, you’ll pay an “initiation fee” of $10,000 in the U.S., plus an annual fee of $5,000.

Then you’ll qualify for a slew of benefits, including:

  • No pre-set spending limit (because it’s a charge card)
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar spent; 1.5X on purchases over $5,000
  • 24/7 personal concierge program, which can get you tickets, reservations, and who knows what else
  • Elite status at Delta Airlines and several hotel and car rental chains
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass lounges, along with several other lounge brands
  • Complimentary Equinox and CLEAR memberships
  • Private Suite membership at LAX
Insider tip

Wondering what that concierge can do? There are reports that an Amex employee traveled by motorcycle to the Dead Sea to snag a handful of sand, all because a cardholder’s child wanted it for a school project.

JP Morgan Reserve Card

JP Morgan Reserve Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelExcellent
Details
Annual Fee$595
Regular APRSee Terms
  • 3X points per dollar spent on travel (after the $300 credit is used) and dining
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Points redeemed for travel rewards are worth 50% more
  • $300 annual travel reimbursement credit
  • Points don’t expire as long as your account is open and in good standing
  • VIP sports and entertainment access
  • 24/7 direct access to customer service specialists
  • 1:1 point transfer
  • 1:1 point transfer between frequent travel programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $595 annual fee

You might know this exclusive credit card as the Palladium card. Though it still includes palladium in its composition, the bank recently rebranded this card to the “Reserve.”

To snag an invite, you must allegedly have at least $10 million in holdings with J.P. Morgan’s private bank. (Being President Barack Obama doesn’t hurt either.) The card’s annual fee is $595.

Here are its benefits, which look very similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card in the next section:

  • 10X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides; 3X points per dollar spent on travel and dining; 1X on everything else
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • High-quality travel protections and insurance
  • Visa Infinite benefits, which include 24/7 concierge services, hotel and car rental upgrades, Priority Pass access, and a $100 Global Entry (or TSA PreCheck) application fee credit

Citi Chairman

Citi Chairman Card.

Citi Chairman Card. Image credit: Luxurylaunches

As with most invite-only cards, we have few concrete details about this black piece of plastic. Most sources say you must use Citigroup’s private bank to be eligible. To be honest, it’s probably one of those things where if you have to ask, you don’t qualify.

Rumored perks include a $300,000 credit limit, access to members-only events, a 24/7 concierge (of course), and airport lounge access. Its annual fee is supposedly only $500 — a bargain compared to the others.

Dubai First Royale Mastercard

The Dubai First Royale Mastercard.

Dubai First Royale Mastercard. Image credit: Dubai First

No list of the most exclusive credit cards would be complete without the Dubai First Royale Mastercard, which is trimmed in gold and has a .235-carat diamond on the front. According to the bank’s website, it’s “desired by many but attainable by only a select few.”

To get invited, you may need to live in the UAE, and you probably need a high net worth. You’re also welcome if you’re a member of the UAE royal family. While it touts its lack of a pre-set spending limit, the only listed benefit is a “lifestyle manager” who acts as your personal concierge, getting you, well, whatever you can think of.

As one of the bank’s executives promised: “You ask for the moon and we try and get it.” The initiation fee is reportedly 7,000 UAE Dirham, which equates to roughly $2,000 U.S.

Stratus Rewards Visa

Stratus White Card.

Stratus White Card. Image credit: Business Wire

If you don’t have your own private jet (you pauper!), this “white card” might be the one for you. It’s rumored you must spend at least $100,000 per year to nab an invite. Once you’re in, the annual fee is $1,500 — and you can redeem your rewards for flights on private jets or other charter flights.

Another interesting feature, according to rumor, is that you can pool your points with friends, meaning you could all chip in on a private jet ride together. (P.S. Where do we find friends like that?)

The 3 Most Exclusive Credit Cards You Can Actually Apply For

Still waiting for your invite to one of the cards above? (Don’t worry, so are we.)

In the meantime, consider applying for one of these luxury credit cards. While prestigious, they also welcome applications from the general public. Upon approval for your card of choice, you’ll enjoy a solid rewards program and a variety of helpful perks and travel benefits.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$550
Regular APRN/A
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

So it’s not quite black, but it’s still pretty shiny. The Amex Platinum card comes with a range of travel perks — and unlike the Black card, you don’t have to wait for an invitation.

It earns 5X points at most hotels and airlines, and comes with a handy $200 in Uber credits per calendar year. It also has excellent airport lounge access: You’ll be able to use more than 1,000 lounges in 120 countries, including Centurion and Priority Pass, and Delta Sky Clubs when flying that airline. (This is almost as good as the lounge access provided by the Amex Black card!)

  • Annual fee: $550 (Rates & Fees)
  • Introductory bonus: 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • Rewards: 5X points per dollar on flights booked through the airline and flights and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel; 2X on other Amex Travel purchases; 1X on everything else
  • Perks: $200 airline fee credit (good for incidental costs, like baggage fees), American Express Global Lounge Collection access, hotel elite status, 24/7 concierge, up to $200 in Uber credits annually
  • Purchase APR: N/A (it’s a charge card; you must pay in full each month)
Insider tip

Deciding between this card and the next one? Here’s a head-to-head breakdown of the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Our rating
Min. credit levelExcellent
Details
Annual Fee$550
Regular APR16.99%-23.99% Variable

Not only will this metal travel card turn heads, it’ll also earn phenomenal rewards. It earns 3X points per dollar on travel and dining, which is one of the highest rates around. It also comes with a Priority Pass Select membership, and a $300 travel statement credit that will likely reduce your realized annual fee to just $250.

  • Annual fee: $550
  • Introductory bonus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Rewards: 10X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides, 3X points per dollar on travel (after using the full $300 travel credit) and dining; 1X on everything else
  • Perks: $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass access, 50% bonus when redeeming through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, transfer points to partner airlines and hotels, primary car rental insurance; $60 annual DoorDash credit and membership
  • Purchase APR: 16.99%-23.99% Variable

 

Mastercard® Gold Card™

Mastercard® Gold Card™

Our rating
Min. credit levelExcellent
Details
Annual Fee$995
Regular APR16.49% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Patented 24K-gold-plated stainless steel front and carbon back—weighing 22 grams.
  • 2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • 2% value for cash back redemptions.
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®-available by phone, email, and live mobile chat.
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits (e.g., amenities, room upgrades and complimentary food and beverages).
  • Up to $200 annual airline credit and $100 Global Entry application fee credit.
  • Cell Phone Protection, Lyft credits, Postmates discounts, Fandango perks and more.
  • Annual fee: $995 ($295 for each Authorized User).
  • Terms and conditions apply.

You can’t deny this is one of the prettiest cards available: It’s made of stainless steel and plated with 24-carat gold. Its looks, however, may not make up for its outrageous annual fee. If you’re looking for a luxury card that pulls its weight, we’d recommend one of the two cards mentioned above.

Still want to go for gold? Here’s what you need to know about this American Express card:

  • Annual fee: $995
  • Introductory bonus: N/A
  • Rewards: 1 point per dollar spent, redeemable for $0.02 each for cash back or airfare
  • Perks: 100% point bonus when redeemed for airfare or cash back, $200 annual airline credit, $100 Global Entry (or TSA PreCheck) application fee credit, concierge service, Priority Pass access, luxury gifts and subscription to LUXURY MAGAZINE
  • Purchase APR: 16.49% Variable

The Mastercard® Gold Card™ is the highest end card offered by Luxury Card, which offers three metal rewards cards. The other two are the Mastercard® Black Card™ (Review) and the Mastercard® Titanium Card™ (Review).

Are You Ready for an Elite Credit Card?

While the cards in the previous section aren’t only for the likes of Lady Gaga, they still have stringent application requirements.

To qualify, you’ll need excellent credit scores and a strong income. So, before applying, check your credit scores and credit reports to make sure you’re a good candidate. You can also see if you’re pre-approved for any credit card offers (you may find a luxury card waiting for you to apply!). If your scores aren’t yet up to par, build your credit with other credit cards first.

Since these luxury cards also come with high annual fees, run the numbers to ensure you’ll get enough value out of your chosen card.

And no matter which of the best credit cards you apply for, always use it responsibly. You’ll never get to Black-card status if you’re deep in Platinum-card debt.

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For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

At a glance

The world’s most exclusive luxury credit cards tend to be invite-only, strikingly designed, and exclusive to big spenders with millions of dollars in assets. But there are also several premium credit cards that look sharp and provide surprisingly valuable luxury benefits without such extreme restrictions.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Centurion® Card from American Express has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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