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:
#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.
#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!
#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).
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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!
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
Updated August 30, 2016