Will the black American Express Centurion reign king of the ultra-lux, high end credit cards? Not if the J.P. Morgan Palladium Card from Chase has its way…
Upon its launch at the end of the 20th century (it was only 1999 but it seems like another era), American Express instantly defined the super premium credit card tier with its Centurion – a shadowy, much rumored charge card for Wall Street and hollywood types (the 1 percent of the top 1 percent) that charge at least $250,000 per year to their card (but often times, much higher than that). There have been other pretenders to this premium throne stick their toe in this infinity pool with a view, such as the Citi Chairman Card and the Bank of America Accolades Card (both of which have been discontinued since). Most would agree the Centurion has been largely unchallenged in this space, much like Rolex in a world of lesser Swiss watches.
Well all that may change thanks to the JP Morgan Palladium Card. Forget titanium, which the Centurion is made of. This bad boy is minted out of palladium and 24K gold and laser engraved with cardholder info. We all know what gold prices look like these days and with palladium hovering around $800+ an ounce, just the physical card by itself would probably fetch up to $1,000 or more if melted. Hmm…I hope cardmembers won’t be “losing” and requesting replacements of their Palladium while breaking out their bunson burners!So, what does the JP Morgan Chase Palladium Visa card offer to the well-heeled consumer besides being worth a small fortune in precious metals? Well, the website is just a single page that really does not reveal anything about this credit card. However, after pleading with some insiders at Chase they agreed to overnight a benefits guide (which could better be described as a book) to serve a proper reference guide in developing this credit card review. They also answered all the questions about the product and it appears, this is the first time all of these details about the card have been revealed on the the web!
What are the Palladium card qualifications?
First and foremost, I will answer the question that I know is on everyone’s mind… what are the requirements for the Palladium card?
The JPM Palladium Card doesn’t have a specific annual spending threshold you need to meet like the AmEx Centurion has, but rather it has an even tougher requirement… you need to have a private banker in order to qualify! It’s only offered to private banking clients of the JP Morgan Private Bank, Investment Bank, Treasury Services or Commercial Bank.
If you’re thinking about becoming a Private Bank client, good luck with that! According to Barron’s, the average client has $30 million at their bank! For this reason, the J.P. Morgan Palladium Card annual fee is only $595… that’s nothing considering the value of the metal alone is greater than that.
As my contact at Chase explained, they don’t need to charge an annual fee in the thousands like AmEx Centurion does, because the average Palladium cardmember already has $30 mil invested at their bank and that’s how they can afford to practically give away the card to ultra high net worth individuals.
What are the benefits?
The benefits guide (book) is a staggering 57 pages long so I won’t go into great detail for every one of the benefits, but I will list all of them below:
This is the top tier concierge service that is only offered on the Palladium card. Aside from the usual travel planning, dining reservations, and event ticket procurement, the guide states that they will “provide you with a virtually limitless array of unique offers, time-saving conveniences and personalized insider expertise.”
The JP Morgan Palladium credit card participates in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program:
- 2 points per dollar spent on travel
- 1 point per dollar everywhere else
- No caps or expiration
- A bonus of 35,000 additional points after you spend $100,000 annually
Points can be used for almost anything. My favorite benefit is the ability to transfer Ultimate Reward points on a 1:1 basis to British Airways, Marriot, and Priority Club. There are other cards that participate in this program that you can learn about here: Chase Ultimate Rewards
Unlimited Priority Pass Access
A good number of Palladium Card holders fly by private jet (which I will discuss in a moment) but if they happen to be flying commercial, they can enjoy unlimited complimentary access at over 600 airport lounges across the globe.
Marquis Jet Perks
As a Berkshire Hathaway company, Marquis Jet has access to the world’s largest fleet of private jets. For those with the JP Morgan Palladium, additional perks and benefits will be offered on Marquis Jet, including a free hour of flight time with the purchase of your first 25-hour jet card. To put that in perspective, the value of that exclusive Palladium card benefit ranges from $5,716 to $14,716!
British Airways Benefits
Even if you typically fly private, maybe you want to be green and skip your gas-guzzling Gulfstream V ride to Europe? If so, with the Palladium you will receive these two benefits on British Airways:
- Complimentary upgrade to first-class with each purchase of a full-fare, non-restricted, round-trip business class ticket from the U.S. to London
- Complimentary companion ticket for each full-fare, non-restricted, round-trip business class ticket from the U.S. to anywhere British Airways flies.
Travel and Purchase Benefits
Okay there a ton so it will be simplest to list them as bullets:
- Automobile Rental Collision Damage Waiver (primary)
- Roadside Assistance (up to $50 per incident)
- Emergency Evacuation and Transportation Coverage (up to $100,000)
- Travel Accident Insurance (up to $1,000,000)
- Repatriation of Remains (if you die while traveling, up to $1,000 will be paid to bring your body home)
- Emergency Medical and Dental Coverage (supplementary up to $2,500, may be subject to $50 deductible)
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance (up to $5,000)
- Trip Delay Reimbursement (up to $300 per ticket, to cover lodging, meals, etc. necessary due to your delay)
- Baggage Delay (excess coverage of up to $500 for emergency purchase of essentials if baggage is delayed 18+ hours)
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement (“up to amounts you actually paid for luggage and its contents”)
- Hotel Burglary Insurance (up to $1,000)
- Travel and Emergency Assistance (arranging for money transfers, emergency translation services, legal referrals, etc. while traveling)
- Purchase Protection (up to $10,000 per claim/$50,000 per year)
- Return Protection (for eligible returns not accepted by the retailer within the first 90 days, up to $500 per item, $1,000 per year)
- Price Protection (up to $500 per item and $1,500 per year)
- Ticket Protection (for unused, non-refundable ticketed events that cannot be attended due to covered reasons, up to $500 per event ticket, $2,000 per event, and $4,000 annually)
- Visa Warranty Manager Service (up to one additional year of coverage for purchases with a U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of 3 years or less)
- No foreign transaction fees
- Add-on fee waiver (late fees, over-limit fees, cash advance check fees, and return payment fees are waived)
Disclaimer: The above is a summary only that was listed in the Palladium Card benefits guide as of February 2011. Benefits are subject to change without notice. Please consult the card issuer for the rules, limitations, and restrictions applicable to each benefit.
What’s the credit limit?
The JP Morgan Palladium Card has no preset spending limit. One distinctive feature that it offers relative to the Centurion Card is that cardmembers have the option to revolve a portion of their balance if they prefer not to pay in full each month… and hey, that might be useful if you want to drop $2 million on a new Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport that could take a couple months to pay off. That’s if the Bugatti dealer is willing to eat the interchange on such a deal, of course. The benefits guide points out the card also comes with “generous cash lines” accessable through ATMs and banks using a PIN. Last time I checked most ATMs limit cash withdrawals to $300 a day, though, so regardless of the hyperbole this may be of limited value.
Over the last few years some benefits on the Centurion card have been scaled back or eliminated completely. American Express should strongly consider adding new perks rather than scaling back, because the JP Morgan seems to have their sites set on the ultra high end premium market. Time will only tell if they can win the hearts, minds and wallets of the top .1%.
How do you feel? Would you apply for a JP Morgan Palladium Card if you met the requirements… or would you opt for the Centurion? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Speaking of premium cards, surprisingly the $450 American Express Platinum has almost the exact same benefits as the Centurion black card (and without that crazy $5,000 initiation fee). Don’t believe me? Take a look at my AmEx Platinum review and compare for yourself!
Written or last edited on November 12, 2014