Are you fed up with calling up your credit card customer service, only to wait on hold so you can speak to some customer service rep in India? Or maybe you’re just disappointed with the lack of benefits your card offers. Credit cards can be frustrating, but they don’t have to be… in fact, with premium credit cards, prepare to be pampered instead (or at least, that's what they should do).
The top 5 for 2013
Theses rankings take into account the value you get in return for the fee you pay. That is why the most expensive aren't necessarily at the top of the list, or even on it at all.
- American Express Black Card - $5,000 initiation fee + $2,500 annual fee. By invite only.
- American Express Platinum - Pictured above. At $450 per year (and that is NOT waived the first year) it's not for everyone. But if you are a frequent traveler who stays at high-end hotels, you can easily recoup your investment.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card - This card is actually made out of metal! It leaves quite the impression when you set it on the counter and you hear the cling. The annual fee is quite reasonable too.
- JP Morgan Palladium - $595 annual fee. The ironic part is it's hundreds more than the Sapphire Preferred, yet it gives lower rewards and the benefits aren't that much better.
- HSBC Premier Credit Card - $600 annual fee. This is only worth it if you get it a fee waiver for it (and to do so, you need to keep a $100k at their bank.
Many people won’t even consider applying for high end credit cards because they don’t like the idea of paying an annual fee. However the truth of the matter is that if you’re upper middle class and can qualify, luxury credit cards will pay for themselves many times over. Just take a look at a few of the perks you typically get:
- First Class Airport Lounge Access
Let’s face it, today traveling is a nightmare. Airports are one of the most stressful and congested places to be. However if you have a premium card in your wallet or purse, you can get free access to the airport lounges. Here you will find plush, comfortable seating, free wine and hor'dourves, plus a wide array of other benefits. Normally to gain access you either need a first class ticket or be willing pay $50 to $80 per person, per visit. Many (but not all) premium credit cards include unlimited complimentary access. It's typically included on the ones that charge annual fees of $450 or greater.
- Personal Concierge Service
Odds are that between your work and personal life, things are always busy. Wouldn’t it be great to have a personal concierge service? From hunting down and buying hard to find gifts, booking reservations, and more… a personal concierge will save you time. There are many credit cards that include this service for free.
- Luxury Gifts
Imagine receiving a complimentary Chanel handbag or other luxury gifts throughout the year just for being a cardmember? Centurion cardmembers have been known to be showered with gifts.
- Travel Insurance
Normal credit cards don’t really offer much in terms of insurance, however premium credit cards have you covered. Both American Express Centurion and Platinum offer a wide array of travel related insurances free of charge; collision/theft for eligible car rentals, lost or delayed luggage, trip interruption/cancellation, and even $250,000 in travel accident coverage.
- Protecting Your Purchases
Both of the aforementioned premium level cards also will double the manufacturer warranties, by up to one full year, on your eligible purchases for absolutely free. This is especially useful for purchases like computers and electronics which seem to go bad soon after their one year manufacturer warranty is up. If your eligible purchase is stolen, lost, or accidentally damaged within the first 90 days, they will also reimburse you up to a certain amount (usually a few hundred dollars). But the good news is you can get these benefits on many free cards, too.
- Travel Discounts
If you have money, chances are you do a decent amount of traveling. This is why so many upper tier cards come with travel benefits. For example, AmEx gives upgrades at over 700 hotels (worth at least $450 per stay) on their Platinum and Centurion cards.
The AmEx Centurion was the first, but to be honest, they’ve gotten too big for their own good. For example, the annual fee was a $1,000 and today it is $7,500 for the first year between the initiation and annual fee… this card is no longer worth it.
The Citi Chairman has failed miserably to catch on, and there have even been rumors of the card being pulled from the market because of it. It's a stretch to put the B of A Accolades in this category, because the benefits and customer service aren't what you would call top notch.
Do a comparison and you will see the AmEx Platinum is clearly the superior choice. In fact, there's a Centurion member I know that recently switched to the Platinum because he's basically getting most of the same benefits, but for only a fraction of the cost.
Check our our sponsored review and the special signup bonus we currently have if you signup for the American Express Platinum.
However with that card your annual fee is NOT waived the first year (so the $450 fee will show up on your first billing statement. For most people, that simply isn't worth it.
If you want a high end card that is still affordable, then check out this offer: