The Most Exclusive Credit Cards?

Every credit card has requirements to get approved, but which ones are strictest? Here is Credit Card Forum’s ranking of the world’s most exclusive credit cards:

amex centurion#1 – American Express Centurion

The exclusivity of this credit card from American Express (a CreditCardForum advertising partner) has definitely came into question over the past few years as the benefits package gets smaller and the cardmember base gets bigger. Based on circulation data provided to advertisers for the Centurion’s Black Ink magazine (which is given to every cardholder) some estimates peg the current number of Centurion cardholders as high as 100,000 or more… which if true, certainly makes the American Express black card a whole lot less special. Regardless, it still remains a very exclusive credit card.

How to qualify? Spend $250,000 annually on another AmEx charge card (like the Gold or Platinum) and then be “invited” to apply. However, there are plenty of purported stories of people simply asking AmEx to “invite” them after meeting the spending requirements. You will have to shell out the $5,000 initiation fee and the $2,500 annual fee up front.

JP Morgan Palladium card#2 – J.P. Morgan Palladium

Launched in 2011, this is Chase’s ultra-premium credit card. It’s branded under the J.P. Morgan label, which of course is the famous investment bank for high net-worth clients. In terms of physical value, this card is probably worth the most since it’s made of out palladium and 23k gold!

How to qualify? Initially you needed to be a client of the JPMorgan Private Bank, Investment Bank, Treasury Services or Commercial Bank. During the summer of 2011 they allowed open applications but have since gone back to requiring you to be either (a) JPMorgan Private Bank client, or (b) Chase Private Client, which is a newer tier of Chase banking customers who have $5M+. The $595 annual fee for the JPMorgan Palladium is actually a steal considering the value of its material!

dubai first royale mastercard#3 – Dubai First Royale MasterCard

If you live in the UAE and want an exclusivity, then this will be right up your alley. The actual card is made with gold and has an embedded diamond (albeit a very small one) and like the AmEx Centurion, there is no pre-set spending limit.

How to qualify? Initially it was only offered to Dubai First bank’s 200 wealthiest customers. That was back in 2008 and it’s unknown how many cardmembers there are now, but it is undoubtedly still one of the most exclusive. In 2011 Dubai First Bank started listing the card on its website. Previously, they were very hush-hush about it. My source has informed me there’s no annual fee, since the typical cardholder is an oil tycoon with a net worth in the 9 figures, sometimes even 10 figures (in other words, the bank makes enough money off these clients, so they don’t charge them for the card).

Coutts silk#4 – Coutts Silk Card

If you live in Great Britain, this is the exclusive credit card to have! Reportedly Queen Elizabeth II and Elton John are cardholders.

How to qualify? You need to have least £500,000 (US$800,000) in ‘disposable funds’ to qualify. The annual fee is £350 but that’s waived if you spend at least £50,000 per year on the card.

rbc visa infinite#5 – RBC Visa Infinite Privilege

Issued by the Royal Bank of Canada, this card is only available to Canadians. Its annual fee is $399 for private banking clients and $599 for non-private banking clients. You can’t say it has the same benefits as the Centurion, but many say the RBC Visa Infinite is a better value.

How to qualify? What’s different with the RBC Visa Infinite is it has an asset requirement…. 1 million Canadian Dollars in liquid assets and 3 million Canadian Dollars in net worth if your income is less than $250,000 (for example, trust fund babies that don’t work might technically have no income). However if your income is over $250,000, the asset requirements reportedly do not apply.

Merrill-lynch-octave-card large#6 – Merrill Lynch Octave Card

This card offers travel perks and extra value when you redeem rewards for travel purchases. The perks run the gamut from practical (discounts on flights) to high-end (savings on private jet flights)

How to qualify? This card is invite-only, and you must have $10 million in assets with Merrill Lynch to get the invitation. The annual fee is $950.

American Express Platinum Card#7 – American Express Platinum Card

While anyone can apply for this card, it carries a reputation for exclusivity and prestige. The $450 annual fee is not cheap, but it does offer a wide array of benefits that make it a smart choice for the avid traveler.

During 2011 a couple new features were added to the card. It now reimburses you up to $200 per year for airline incidental fees, such as baggage fees and in-flight food/beverages. Another new perk is that AmEx will pay the application fee for the U.S. government’s Global Entry, which is a program that basically let’s you skip the customs lines during international travel back to the U.S. The American Express Platinum continues to be synonymous with exclusivity.

Want your own “black” card that’s made of metal for much less?

Chances are, you probably won’t qualify for the uber-exclusive cards like the Centurion of Dubai First Royale. But guess what? You still might be able to get your own black-colored credit card!

photo of Marriott Premier metal card

The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card is something you don’t see everyday. Because it’s made out of real metal and has a matte black finish, a lot of people are wowed by it when they see it.
Just clunk it on the counter tap at the bar and watch the eyes dart your way!
And at the moment it has a ridiculously generous offer:

  • 80,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in your first three months from account opening
  • $0 Introductory annual fee, then $85
  • Achieve Elite Status faster with Annual Credit & Everyday Purchases – 15 Elite Credits after account approval and every year after your account anniversary

Here is the link where you can get this deal

Updated August 30, 2016

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


You are right it is of lot of money for young people working at MCD. When you leave school and start working on your own , you will realize that the benefit you can receive especially on long trip are needed.
I think when you start working you know the difference, Good luck.

I myself love using premium credit cards. High validity, no limits, owners that don’t look look twice at charges for hundreds of dollars, and readily available for about 15 bucks a pop. It’s refreshing to have to worry about a charge not being *high* enough to avoid tripping fraud detection. I find purchases made with some dipwads centurion just that much more satisfying than, say, some chumps discover card. I don’t think Neiman’s even takes that gutter card.

Affluent suckers are the sweetest candy.

i find it odd that someone would be proud that they spent $450 of annual fee’s to get the platinum Amex when they only make $40K. What a waste of 1% of your income.

My salary is 65K and have the palladium card with a $595 is that a waste of 1% of my salary? It’s so funny that you are quick to judge people. Just a word to the wise to find out the whole picture before judging people. Financial advisors wait to get the whole picture. High-end retail shops, and car dealers don’t judge. One legitimate reason to do it is because that 40K person travels for work quite a bit and the $450 card fee is cheaper that the $600 lounge access. and i work with people that make 50K and that $450 makes so much sense. If you have ever been stuck in an airport than you know what I mean. In my case i have a 9-5 that makes 70K and I have a part-time business that has a 6 figure payout few couple months and I about 100% of my salary in bonuses not guaranteed. But I focus on building my net worth which is 7 figures and I have a palladium. which fee would be almost 1% of my salary. I travel a lot at least 50-60% sometimes 70% is that a waste of 1% of my salary? How much is Warren Buffet’s salary? It’s 100,000 (that is just salary excluding other compensations that are not all guaranteed) . If he got the centurion card it would cost him $10,000 in the first year i.e. 1% of his salary. Would that be a waste?

One card that was not mentioned in this review was the J.P. Morgan Ritz Carlton card. I have had a platinum AMEX for 15 years now, I Also possess a business AMEX platinum card in addition to. American Express is a fantastic product, no two ways about it. I do find however, that my Ritz Carlton card is night and day as to a positive arena when it comes to the concierge service vs my AMEX platinum cards.
I believe the J.P. Morgan Ritz Carlton card is worth adding to the top three at least From my experience. On a sidenote, when processing the Palladium card the only requirement was for me to have $1 million in one of their private client services avenues. That was all.

I agree. The ritz card is worthy of the top 10. Amazing benefits and amazing service.

How is the Amex Platinum exclusive? The only requirement it has is “Are you willing to pay $450?” There’s no pre-requisite to obtaining that card at all. Those charge cards have low requirements. At least 660 FICO, no baddies, and income at least 30K is all you need. Benefits wise, it’s VERY nice, but to be exclusive means it should be very hard to obtain i.e. Centurion, Palladium, and the rest of the list.

AmEx doesn’t publicly disclose the credit score requirements for Platinum but they are quite picky with approvals (much more than their other cards). As far as income requirements, that is another thing they don’t publicly disclosed but if you apply with less than $100k income you might not be approved, at least based on the feedback I have heard from many who have tried.

I had a AMEX Plat. card about 15 years ago when I was making about $40,000 a year

I was approved with a 670 FICO, 30K income, AAoA 5.7 years, and a 60% UTIL rate. Pretty easy to get these days..

Oh yeah, and 5 months later I was denied for an Amex Blue card. Charge cards are so easy to get vs revolving cards…

Will, you know their concierge services are the same people in AmEx.

My vote still goes to the JPM Palladium card. It virtually matches the Centurion on benefits, with the exception of not as many partner perks. However, they, JPM, printed a book in late 2011 which showed a lot of hotel and cruise ship partnerships. I think they are constantly working on improving it so it will be competitive. There are only about 2,500 Palladium cards in circulation. Compare this to about 40,000 Centurions (US only) and about 1mil AMEX Platinums, and there’s some exclusively in the numbers alone. I see people using the Centurion on a fairly regular basis, but neither I nor anyone I’ve presented it to has ever seen the Palladium before. Three final comments: the Palladium is priced about right; the Centurion is way over-priced, partially as a barrier to entry, IMO. It certainly doesn’t appeal to me to pay that much for a card. Finally, the Palladium is a VISA Signature so the merchant acceptance factor is much greater than AMEX. Both the non-automated CS line reps and the Concierge at JP Morgan really seem to put a bit more customer satisfaction effort into their service than does AMEX. I love the card and plan on keeping it as my main personal card.

How about the Chase Palladium? Its were you have to be in the private banking for chase and have 30+ million in the account.

Has anyone got anymore information on the SBS World Service Royal Mastercard?