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

Susan Shain

Susan Shain | Blog

Oct 15, 2018 | Updated Nov 12, 2018

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 $2,500.

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 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.

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 $7,500 in the U.S., plus an annual fee of $2,500.

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
  • Free in-flight wifi and a $200 annual travel credit
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.

 

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:

  • 3X Ultimate Rewards 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 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.

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

 

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but you can learn more here, on our advertising partner's website.

Not only will this metal 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 Priority Pass access, and a $300 travel statement credit that will likely reduce your realized annual fee to just $150.

  • Annual fee: $450
  • Introductory bonus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Rewards: 3X points per dollar on travel and dining; 1X on everything else
  • Perks: $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass access, 50% bonus when redeeming through Chase’s travel portal, transfer points to partner airlines and hotels, primary car rental insurance
  • Purchase APR: 17.74%–24.74% Variable

 

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 card:

  • Annual fee: $995
  • Introductory bonus: N/A
  • Rewards: 2X points per dollar on airfare; 1X on everything else
  • Perks: 100% point bonus when redeemed for airfare or cash back, $200 annual airline credit, $100 Global Entry fee credit, concierge service, Priority Pass access, luxury gifts and subscription to LUXURY MAGAZINE
  • Purchase APR: 16.99% Variable

The Mastercard® Gold Card™ is the highest end card offered by Luxury Card, which offers three metal credit 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 cards (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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