Big spenders need more than your average credit card. Instead of the $10,000 to $20,000 credit limits most people are used to, millionaires and billionaires need special credit cards designed to handle the load, with extremely high credit limits and often very high spending requirements and annual fees.
Learn more about these high-end credit cards in our Q&A video with credit expert John Ulzheimer.
Hi, my name is John Ulzheimer and I’m a credit expert who contributes to CreditCardInsider.com and today’s question is this:
What credit cards do millionaires use?
Very good question. You know I think we all, despite fact that a lot of people make fun of the one percent, I think we all want to be the one percent. That’s why we work so hard and try to earn great livings, and so the question is “what credit cards do we use?”.
And the answer to the question is actually pretty simple. Millionaires tend to use the same credit cards that non-millionaires use. Although there are some cards out there that are what are referred to as invitation-only, kind of prestige level, of cards.
Cards like the American Express Centurion or the American Express Black Card which is supposedly made out of titanium and requires you to spend a quarter of a million dollars a year on plastic and they will, it’s an invitation-only card with an annual fee that reports suggest is five thousand dollars a year.
Then you have have the Chase Palladium card which is made out of palladium. It’s precious metal, very expensive, the card itself may be worth over a thousand dollars depending on the price of the precious metal any given day.
Again, it requires an enormous amount of spending on the card and comes with, again, a very high annual fee, so the question is are these cards any better than, say, just the plain old American Express Platinum Card or a Gold Card or any other credit card that you can use and the answer really depends on what you use it for.
If you are a super-wealthy individual who needs the buying power to essentially buy whatever you want on plastic, then no, a normal credit card is not going to work for you because it has a pre-determined credit limit and it’s generally going to cap out around 35 to 50 thousand dollars depending on your income and that is far sufficient, far more sufficient, than any of us watching this video probably will ever need, however, there are this, you know, mirco-percentage of the population that really does need to have a million dollar credit limit because of their businesses and their travel and just their personal expenditures.
But I would suggest that the vast majority of you can do it without the American Express Centurion Card or the Chase Palladium Card frankly because you’re never going to be invited to have one anyways so you’re actually jonesing for something that you’re never going to get.
So, what’s a really good to kind of second tier prestige card, if you will? And in my mind it really begins and ends with the American Express suite of cards.
American Express has a variety of high-end cards not only for personal use, but also for business use. So it depends on, really, what are you looking for? Are you looking for a business card? Are you looking for a personal card? Amex’s Platinum cards, which have an annual fee of $450 a year sounds incredibly high, but when you look at the benefits, then you see that the benefits are actually almost worth it, because you get free access to the airline clubs, you can buy tickets to sold-out events in advance that then would be going on sale to the public, so again if that’s your cup of tea then these are going to be the cards that you’re going to want to kind of gravitate towards.
For business travelers, again Amex has some great cards because you, again, get the the ability to go into these sky clubs and airport lounges. And I can tell you, as someone who spends a lot of time in an airport, that’s very important to me because it gets me out in the general population to a quiet environment with free wifi, and can have a couple of drinks and just kind of unwind before my flight. So to me, $450 a year is a tiny price to pay for that type of benefit.
And finally some of these cards will actually reward you with airline points that you can’t earn otherwise unless actually hop on an airplane. A lot of cards will give you airline miles, but that’s different than the airline points that actually move you up the different prestige ladders or priority ladders in your airline frequent flyer programs. So, very valuable to a frequent flyer.
Again, the annual fee on these cards is not a cheap date. You’re generally going to pay over four hundred dollars a year, so if you’re OK with doing something like that, and you’re able to apply it to business use or personal use that actually give you some sort of benefit equal to or in excessive of that value, then that’s really the way to go and not jonesing for these cards that you’re never going to qualify for anyways.
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