Some credit cards are just a tool for managing your credit. Others offer rewards. And the best credit cards do both — but this list of the most elite credit cards goes beyond them all, offering perks like 24/7 concierge service, mystery gifts, and even gold-plated cards. If it’s style points you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.
Back in 1999, American Express became the first U.S. credit card company to use exclusivity to draw in customers. That was when the company first rolled out what was once one of the most elite credit cards: The Centurion Card. Nicknamed “the Black Card,” it has become synonymous with the idea of high rollers, heavy spenders, and all things luxury — it was a credit card for the rich.
Since the first day it became available, the Amex Black Card has been an invitation-only credit card. However, if you also want to take part in the world of exclusive credit cards, there’s no reason to wait around for an invitation. Simply peruse this list to find a luxury card that fits your unique needs.
Here are 10 of the Most Exclusive Credit Cards Available in 2019
1. American Express Centurion Credit Card (Black Card)
Our list of the most expensive credit cards starts with the famed American Express Black Card. The true name for this card is the Centurion Card. Part of its appeal is the mystery behind the card. This card isn’t open to the public, and American Express has to reach out to you first to qualify. It’s rumored that only those who spend (and pay off) at least $250,000 to $450,000 per year across all of their American Express accounts are invited to become Centurion Cardholders.
If you are invited, be prepared to pay a high premium to join this exclusive club. The initiation fee alone is $7,500, with a recurring annual fee of around $2,500, plus $2,500 for each additional Centurion Card you wish to add.
For those fees, cardholders get a wide range of benefits, including automatic hotel room and flight upgrades as well as discounts on cruises and luxury car rentals. Some airports even have luxurious lounges that are free for Centurion users. These are just some of the rumored perks. There are likely many other benefits you’ll find out about once you become a card member — if you’re ever invited.
2. Dubai First Royale Mastercard
Dubai First claims its Royale Mastercard is the most exclusive credit card in the world. Like the Centurion by American Express, the Royale by Dubai First is an invitation-only credit card with no pre-set spending limit. The card itself is trimmed with gold on two sides and features a solitary .235-carat diamond centered on the front. Most of the cardholders are located in the United Arab Emirates, but this card can still be found around the world.
The process that Dubai First uses to select invitees is kept secret, but it’s no secret you must be in the ultra-high net worth club to get your hands on the Royale.
Cardholders get a dedicated relationship manager with Dubai First. They also get a lifestyle manager who acts as a kind of exclusive concierge to obtain — for a price — almost anything the cardholder desires. Tickets to the Grammy’s last-minute? Box seats to a sold-out Broadway play? Reportedly, a lifestyle manager can accommodate all that and more when you have a Royale in your pocket.
Compare Rewards Cards
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Get 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, 1X points on all other purchases
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Earn 4% cash back on dining and entertainment
- Earn 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on everything else
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Get unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
- Lengthy intro APR on balance transfers
3. The Luxury Card: Mastercard Gold Card
Those looking for industry-leading rewards and perks without waiting around for an invitation should check out the Mastercard Gold Card. For the (relatively) low annual fee of $995, cardholders receive services through the Luxury Card Concierge; $200 in credits toward qualifying airline purchases; a members-only subscription to Luxury Magazine, and unspecified luxury gifts. The card itself is constructed, at least partially, of 24-carat gold.
Like many other exclusive credit cards, you must have a high income and excellent credit to be approved for the Mastercard Gold Card. And, just like others on this list, many of the top perks of being a cardholder are travel-related. Cardholders receive double points on airfare and a booklet of discounts on flights, hotel, and travel packages.
4. The Coutts World/Silk Card
Previously known as the World Card, the Coutts Silk Card comes with plenty of high-level benefits, earning it a spot on the list of the most exclusive credit cards. Cardmembers are charged no annual fee for the card, unlike many other elite cards on this list, and they get access to Coutts Concierge, an award-winning concierge service that provides cardholders with access to exclusive tickets, travel, and dining experiences. Coutts Bank also provides tiered gifts to cardholders who charge £25,000 or more annually.
In order to get the Silk Card, you must first be a client of Coutts Bank — which in and of itself is no easy feat. The British Royal Family are clients, along with many of Great Britain’s richest and most famous citizens — but no one knows exactly what the requirements are to be accepted. If you want the Silk Card in your pocket, you may want to book a visit to Great Britain first and open a checking account.
5. The JP Morgan Reserve Card (formerly the JP Morgan Chase Palladium Card)
Do you have $10 million or more to invest with JP Morgan? If so, the next card in our ultra-exclusive list — the JP Morgan Chase Reserve Card — may be right for you. This card, which replaced the JP Morgan Palladium Card, is targeted to extremely high net worth clients. Like its predecessor, the Reserve Card is made of metal with palladium plating, and it weighs approximately five times as much as a conventional plastic credit card. It is offered only to clients of JP Morgan’s Global Wealth Management who have investible (non-real estate) assets of $10 million or more, so this is truly a credit card for the rich.
Cardholders pay a respectable annual fee of $595 and receive $300 in annual travel credits as well as complimentary airport lounge access. Visa Infinite benefits are also available and include hotel and car rental privileges your average cardholder can’t possibly hope to get.
6. The Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is one of the best-known cards on our list. Much of the exclusivity of the Sapphire Reserve Card comes from the high fees necessary to become a card-holder. The card has an annual fee of $450. And you must have an excellent credit score to be accepted.
Once you are a cardholder, the benefits are significant — and again, primarily related to travel and lodging. In addition to an annual $300 travel credit and triple points on travel (after using full travel credit) and dining purchases, those with a Sapphire Reserve Card in their wallet get access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide when they enroll in the Priority Pass Select program. Cardholders also get special travel assistance from a dedicated Chase Travel Team and can take advantage of the Visa Infinite Concierge.
7. The Delta Reserve Card from American Express
For a relatively reasonable annual fee of $450 (plus $175 per additional user), you could join the ranks of cardholders with the Delta Reserve Card from American Express.
As the name suggests, this card is very flight-oriented, offering the chance to earn Delta miles for every purchase made on the card, whether you’re charging gas and groceries or trips to the Bahamas. There’s no limit on how many Delta miles a cardholder can earn, which makes this a desirable card for big spenders who are frequently on the go. And no exclusive card would be complete without a concierge service, which is provided 24/7 to Delta Reserve Card users.
8. The Stratus Rewards Visa Card
Although black seems to clearly be the favored color among most elite credit cards, the Stratus Rewards Visa card bucks this trend by being known as the “White Card.” This card is available only to those invited or nominated to join and has a hefty annual fee of $1,500.
You need exceptional credit to even have a chance of owning a White Card, but that alone won’t get you into the club. It isn’t really known what gets a Stratus Rewards Visa Card into your wallet, but for starters, it’s likely only available to those who spend upwards of $100,000 a year on their current credit cards.
Membership offers perks such as free luxury hotel room upgrades and, of course, a personal concierge at your beck and call. Whether you want them to book you a flight or pick up the dry cleaning, rumor has it that the concierge service does it all.
9. The Citigroup Black Chairman Card
The Citi Chairman American Express Card’s exclusivity is owed to the fact that membership in this card club is only open to those who have significant investments with a Citigroup brokerage account.
It’s rumored to come with a credit limit as high as $300,000 and a relatively low annual fee of $500. Along with the other cards on the list, the travel perks are extreme and include upgrades, access to private airport lounges, and the ubiquitous concierge service to arrange travel and dining at your pleasure.
Excellent credit alone won’t get you a Black Chairman Card — you need an invite to get this card into your wallet. Just be sure to drop some serious dough into your Citigroup Brokerage account to score that coveted invite.
10. The Visa Infinite Card
The Visa Infinite Card rounds out our list of the most exclusive credit cards because it was created with the wealthiest of customers in mind. There are many iterations of the Visa Infinite Card out there from many different card issuers, but they all have two things in common: luxury and exclusivity.
You may have noticed that other entries on our list also mention Visa Infinite. Perhaps it’s better to define Visa Infinite as a suite of super cards, fancy credit cards made for and used by the very highest echelon of the wealthy.
With Visa Infinite cards in their pockets, members get access to exclusive sporting events, VIP booths, and shows. The Visa Infinite card system is better known outside of the U.S., but it is becoming increasingly popular here as a greater number of credit card issuers choose to take advantage of the network of benefits to lure in affluent customers. Simply booking a luxury hotel room with a card on the Visa Infinite system will give you an automatic room upgrade and complimentary breakfast at over 900 properties worldwide. While not an invitation-only credit card program, it takes excellent credit to obtain any of the Visa Infinite Cards.
Bottom Line: Exclusive Cards are Available — for a Price
As you can see, there are plenty of elite credit cards out there. But, to get your hands on the most exclusive credit cards, you’ll need to be a big spender or a big investor to get an invitation – and you’ll need to be ready to fork over a big annual fee. Still, if you want the style points that only an exclusive credit card can offer, it may be worth it.
To continue comparing cards, you can check out our page dedicated to highlighting high-end or premium credit cards. Many of these exclusive credit cards have unique designs. You can check out our page for some cool credit cards based on design, if interested.
Author: Christy Rakoczy
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