Celebrities, CEOs, rockstars and royalty; what is the one thing known to unite them all? The luxury credit card.
From rare metals to diamond encrustation and solid gold, the world’s most exclusive credit cards not only unlock a world of extravagance, they look the part too.
Black credit cards, or luxury credit cards, offer a long list of perks and benefits. Whether it’s Dead Sea sand deliveries by a motorcycle concierge, first class travel upgrades, or access to world stadium suites, these credit cards open the doors to a world privileges the average cardholder can only dream of.
A “black” credit card simply refers to a luxury credit card above platinum and provided by some credit card issuers. It comes with a significant number of perks and benefits, generous credit card limits (if applicable), as well as very high annual fees.
These credit cards are strictly for applicants with higher incomes and generous spending habits – typically in the $100,000 per year range and above. Their exclusivity comes from the fact that you will usually need to be invited to join instead of applying yourself.
So, let’s explore the most exclusive credit cards on the market, as well as what makes these credit cards so coveted.
The most exclusive credit cards in the world
American Express Centurion
The card that helped coin the term “black credit card” due to its coloring, this invitation-only premium AMEX card is arguably the most well-known luxury credit card – though it’s still very much around. little known.
The American Express Centurion would have no spending limit. And while AMEX doesn’t publish the eligibility criteria for this card, it’s been said that cardholders need to spend between $250,000 and $450,000 a year to qualify.
It is also reported to have an initiation fee of $10,000, as well as a hefty annual fee of $5,000. However, cardholders who are invited to join are expected to earn revenue that can more than pay for these fees.
In a recent episode of Comedians in cars drink coffee, says Jerry Seinfeld that the Black AMEX card might not have existed without it. As the brand’s spokesperson in the ’90s, Seinfeld was asked by a crew member if he had “the black card.”
The crew member said: “There are only three in the world. The Sultan of Brunei has one, the President of American Express has one, and I thought you would have the third.
Seinfeld claims that the next day he called the president of American Express, who told him the card didn’t exist but maybe she should. Then, in 1999, when he finally issued the card, he was said to have received the first.
In fact, the card is so famous that it has its own Snopes page. A myth of the prestige concierge services offered by AMEX includes that a cardholder decided he wanted to purchase the horse ridden by Kevin Costner in dance with wolves, and the team purchased said horse from a ranch in Mexico and delivered it to the cardholder in Europe.
JPMorgan Reserve Card (formerly Chase Palladium)
This premium credit card is another invite-only offer from one of America’s largest banks.
Originally named for the rare metal it is created from (palladium), it was introduced in 2009 for cardholders who would have a minimum of $10 million in assets managed by JP Morgan’s private bank .
It has an annual fee of $595 and offers cardholders several benefits, including:
- 3x points on world travel and a $300 annual travel credit
- Priority access to the airport lounge
- Comprehensive travel insurance
- Free subscription to DoorDash
- Lyft Pink Free Year
- Access to events and VIP experiences
Despite its prestige, the card offers essentially the same benefits as the bank’s popular travel rewards card – the Chase Sapphire Reserve – but with 50% more value for redeemed points. It’s primarily a status symbol, the company of cardholders including big names like Barack Obama.
Dubai First Royal Mastercard
A card designed for royalty, this credit card has its edges adorned with real gold and features a 0.235 carat diamond in the middle. It is said to be offered only to royalty and the ultra-rich living in the UAE.
This is another strictly invitation-only credit card offer offered by Dubai First, with only 200 cardholders said to be members globally. Although the annual fee is not made public, it would be around $2,000.
Just like with the AMEX Centurion, the Dubai First Royale Mastercard has no spending limits. It is said that each cardholder is assigned a dedicated “relationship manager” to help them with all personal financial enquiries.
According to Lendu, a cardholder would have liked to try the latest model from Porsche. Their dedicated relationship manager therefore arranged a private jet to take them to Stuttgart, Germany for a test drive.
President of Citi American Express Card
The global provider, Citi, would also have its own invitation-only credit card, the Citi Chairman American Express Card. Membership is only available to those who have large investments with a Citi brokerage account.
It reportedly has a credit limit of up to $300,000, as well as a relatively affordable annual fee (as far as invite-only credit cards go) of $500. Cardholders are said to enjoy perks like access to private airport lounges, 24/7 concierge services and more.
White card Visa Stratus Rewards
Breaking with the trend of black credit cards, the Stratus White Card is another invite-only option, commonly referred to as “White Card”.
To access this card, one can be invited to join or nominated by an existing member, which makes access to this card slightly more accessible than the others on this list. Cardholders will still need to be generous spenders, with some estimates of at least $100,000 per year expected to qualify. It is also said to have an annual fee of $1,500.
The full list of carte blanche benefits is not known, but there are reports that it may offer travel on private jets or charter flights, 24/7 concierge services, upgrades to luxury hotels and more.
Coutts silk card
Apparently the credit card used by the British royal family, the Coutts Silk Card is an offer from UK-based private bank, Coutts.
Unlike most of the cards in this article, Coutts lists the Silk Card on its website and allows existing Coutts customers to sign up if they meet strict eligibility criteria. It is said that cardholders must be prepared to deposit £1 million when opening their account.
The Silk Card offers access to experiences and events through its loyalty program, as well as a dedicated concierge team, free room upgrades, and special dining and spa offers in “more than 1,800 luxury properties worldwide”.
The Coutts Concierge team is also on hand to help with the social life of their clients. According to their website, “Not only do we offer priority access and benefits to the world’s best restaurants, but our specialists can also recommend local gems worth visiting in some of the world’s most popular destinations. We can also book tickets for the best musical, sporting and theatrical events, and even offer access to our very own suite at London’s O2.
Sberbank Visa Infinite Gold card
For members of the Sberbank Visa Infinite Gold card, gold is the new black. This card is said to be made of real gold and is decorated with 26 diamonds and mother of pearl to top it off.
While eligible members will no doubt have to adhere to high spending limits and earn extravagant earnings, it’s worth noting that just to order this card, you’ll need to spend $100,000. It takes $65,000 of that initial deposit to create the card, with $35,000 being credited to the account.
In terms of benefits, in addition to the typical access to luxury lounges and concierge teams, cardholders are reported to get $250,000 life and health insurance policies. Golf enthusiasts can also access some of the best golf courses in the world.
Luxury credit cards available in Australia
If a jewel-encrusted credit card favored by the royal family isn’t on the cards for you right now, but you’re looking for a premium card offer, it’s worth comparing some options. available in Australia.
Here are two of the most reputable credit cards that do not require an invitation to be approved:
- Amex Platinum – requires personal income of $100,000, annual fee of $1,450
- Qantas Premier Titanium – requires personal income of $200,000, annual fee of $1,200
Australia’s big four banks also offer their own high-status or black credit cards. While these may offer slightly less extravagant perks than the cards listed above, they can still offer generous rewards and perks.
“Black” credit cards from the big four banks:
Source: RateCity.com.au. Data accurate as of 01/02/22