The Most Exclusive Credit Cards11th April 2011
For most people, credit card perks might encompass a lower interest rate or free travel insurance, maybe a small gym discount if they're lucky. For the wealthy though, the perks are much more extravagant, providing their owners with trips aboard private jets or last minute tickets to the UEFA Champions League, to name a few. These cards are exclusive to the extreme, and only the extremely wealthy are able to procure them. This article takes a look at a few of the most exclusive credit cards out there.
Coutts Purple World MasterCard
To start with, let's look at what is arguably the UK's most exclusive card there is, the Coutts Purple World MasterCard, a sleek piece of plastic hand designed by Ozwald Boateng. This card is obtainable by invitation only and one of the requirements for opening a Coutts account is having £500,000 in liquid assets, meaning that the money is not tied up in any way whatsoever. There is a small annual fee associated with the Coutts Purple World MasterCard that comes to £350, but if you spend over £50,000 in any given year the kind folk at Coutts will waive that fee. The perks are what really stand out with the Purple World MasterCard - a concierge service is available anywhere in the world that will take care of any scheduling, reservations, or anything else you want - perhaps to invite a few celebrities to entertain you. You personal assistant can even get you last minute tickets to the champions league. International flights on a private jet are included with the card, and Coutts will even provide a top author to pen a biography of you if you so wish.
American Express Centurion
This card actually comes right out and says that it is the world's most exclusive credit card, which may well be true as membership is acquired by invitation only. Only a few people are invited every year. In addition plastic isn't exclusive enough for the Centurion, it's made from aerospace grade titanium. The annual fee to carry one of these in your wallet is £1,800, but it comes with some incredible perks, including free upgrades for Delta and Virgin airlines, as well as a few others. There is a concierge service included with Centurion membership and you can even have your own personal Gucci shopper. Members also receive special treatment at any Ritz or Ritz-Carlton hotels that they choose to grace with their presence. The Centurion also offers exclusive access to private islands and private jets. This is one of the most, if not the most sought after exclusive credit card in the whole world.
Dubai First Royale World MasterCard
Available only to residents of Dubai, the small city south of the Persian Gulf, and rated the 20th most expensive city in the world, the Dubai First Royale World MasterCard is a status symbol more than anything else. The card is black with elaborate gold trim and an inset diamond. There is no preset spending limit on the Royale World MasterCard, but membership, like the Centurion, is by invitation only. The Royal World MasterCard sets new standards in luxury credit cards. The perks included with this card encompass a lifestyle manager, a relationship manager, yacht and helicopter charters, and a plethora of shopping benefits that most people can only dream about.
Visa Black Card
Originally designed to compete with the famous American Express Centurion, the Visa Black Card is crafted from carbon graphite and is available for the relatively low annual cost of $495, mere pocket change compared to the annual fees of other exclusive credit cards out there. The one difference with the Visa Black Card is that only United States residents are able to procure one, and only an estimated 1% of the U.S. population actually has one. Unlike other exclusive cards this one is not offered exclusively by invitation only, anyone can apply for one and obtain one provided they meet the high requirements. The fee may be minimal, but the perks are far from it. There is a 24 hour concierge service available to cardholders, as well as membership in the Priority Pass VIP lounge program at airports, one of the most sought after rewards programs out there.
Stratus Rewards Card
Is an invitational only Visa card for the private jet-setter created by Stratus Rewards and U.S. Bank. This credit card carries a $1,500 annual fee. For every dollar spent by the user, Stratus Rewards Visa cardholders earn a point. Roughly 200,000 points are needed for an hour free ride on a seven passenger "Citation Ultra". Additionally, members also receive discounted charter flights and complimentary car service, upgrades, and special benefits with luxury hotels. They can also expect upscale merchandise discounts, unique offers through Vivre and discounted initiation fees at Sports Club/LA, and a continuously expanding list of collective advantages with a network of affinity partners. Another option enables cardholders to donate their points for cash contributions to a handful of select organizations.
Bank of America Accolades Card
This is the first premium card offered by Bank of America targeted exclusively for their wealthy clients. This card is a co-branded card that is accepted by merchants who accept American Express cards. The Accolades Card lacks the level of exclusivity of by-invitation-only cards as it is open for unsolicited applications. This card comes with a comparatively low annual fee of $295 which may be waived for private client members of BofA with more than $200,000 of assets with their private wealth management unit. Like other credit cards with a reward program, for every dollar you spend using this card, you will earn a point equivalent to the amount you spend. Unfortunately, the benefits of this card extend only towards the WorldPoints program and is inferior compared to other high end card reward programs.