While many people consider their cards to be nothing more than payment tools, others consider them to be status and fashion symbols… like a piece of jewelry or the latest handbag. But what is the most prestigious credit card in the world? Here are several contenders…
The Top 7 Most Prestigious Credit Cards
Sherbank Visa Infinite Gold Card
Thanks to a boom in oil and natural resources, the rich in Kazakhstan are getting a whole lot richer. For that reason, Sherbank created this exclusive credit card for their top 100 customers. It is made with 26 diamonds and the card itself is made out of solid gold!
The cost of this card is more than what most Americans make in a year! For the first year you will have to pony up $100,000 – that’s $65,000 for the card and the $45,000 goes as a sort of security deposit for your credit line. Then after that, it’s “only” $2,000 per year.
Dubai First Royale MasterCard
Everyone knows Dubai is flooded with cash due to UAE’s massive oil revenue. First Dubai Bank created this ultra prestigious card for their richest jet setters. It’s actually made with real gold and a diamond!
Benefits include no spending limit, travel benefits, a personal “relationship manager,” it has a very generous rewards program too – up to 4 percent cash back.
The card isn’t available to everyone. It’s invite only and reserved for a “select group of people representing royalty and the upper echelons of the social and business community,” according to the bank’s website.
American Express Centurion
Without a doubt, this piece of titanium (also know as the Black Card) is the most well known and most sought after prestigious credit card in the world (although its requirements aren’t as exclusive as the Dubai First). It was launched in 1999 as an invite-only card with a $1,000 annual fee. Today, the annual fee is substantially higher; $2,500 per year plus a one-time initiation fee of $5,000 (so $7,500 for your first year).
Despite the higher price tag, there are actually fewer benefits than the card had originally. For example, the best feature was giving cardholders automatic upgrades to first class (when available) but that benefit was cut. Today you still have benefits like phone concierge service and numerous travel benefits, including lounge access. American Express is a CreditCardForum advertising partner.
JP Morgan Palladium Card
This card has been out since 2009, and it’s one of the flashiest pieces of
plastic metal around. It’s actually made out of metal; a palladium and 23 karat gold alloy. Aside from being blingy, it has a laundry list of insurance coverages and travel benefits.
The annual fee is “only” $595 but that’s because they gear it towards JP Morgan private banking client. To be a member of that elite group, you typically need to have a minimum of $5 million in assets at their bank (and their average customer in that group reportedly has $25 million).
Royal Bank of Scotland Coutts Silk Card
This card (formerly the “World” card) is available only to Coutts private banking clients. The annual fee is £350 but that’s waived for customers that charge at least £50,000 per year on the card.
The range of benefits are great considering the relatively low annual fee. For example you get airport lounge access, concierge, comprehensive insurance benefits, and, as your spending level increases, access/special offers for luxury goods and services (“art and heritage experiences,” wines and “luxury indulgences,” according to the website). You also get VIP membership with a variety of the bank’s partners, including private jet companies, cruise lines, hotels and airlines.
Merill Lynch Octave
This card has an annual fee of $950 a year and is available (by invite only) to those with $10 million in assets with Merrill Lynch.
In addition to offering rewards on every dollar spent, the card comes with airport concierge service, airfare discounts, a choice between a $350 credit and Delta SkyClub membership, savings on private jet flights and more. Read more about the Octave here.
American Express Platinum Card
This may not be the most prestigious credit card from American Express (since anyone can apply) but it comes darn close. For a $450 annual fee, you get many of the same benefits that the Centurion card has.
Due to the rising annual fees and overly-saturated cardmember base, I have heard from many Centurion holders who have actually switched back to Platinum because the benefits are so similar. Take a look for yourself and check out my American Express Platinum review. But remember the $450 annual fee is NOT waived for the first year.
A prestigious card without the high price tag?
Chances are, you won’t qualify for most of the cards listed above – and even if you do – they may not be worth the high price tag (unless prestige is important to you)
If you still want a “wow” card that’s also affordable and within reach for the average Joe or Jane, here are two you should consider:
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card:
This is not your ordinary piece of plastic! It’s made with real metal, so its heavy weight and feel make a real impression on people.
As funny as it may sound, I’ve heard from store clerks and waitresses who see it and say something like “wow, this must be like those black cards for VIPs!“
And right now with this link you can get 40,000 bonus points after spending at least $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. Those 40,000 points can be redeemed for $400 cash back or $500 worth of travel rewards. Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95.
Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card:
Here is another card that’s made out of real metal. Its smooth black finish makes its appearance pop even more.
Earn 50,000 Points after spending $1,000 in your first 3 months from account opening. After your account is approved, you also get 1 free night stay at a Category 1-4 location. $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year, then $85.
This post was written or last updated July 25, 2014