The highest end card is The Platinum Card® from American Express because it has a wide array of high-end benefits, including airport lounge access and yearly credits of up to $200 for airline fees, up to $200 for Uber, and up to $100 for Saks Fifth Avenue. American Express Platinum card also has a high-end annual fee, at $550. And it’s only available to people with good credit – the highest credit score tier.
To be clear, the best high end credit cards aren't necessarily the most exclusive credit cards. Being hard to get does not automatically make a card one of the highest end options. But a stellar credit profile still is required to be in the running for the highest end credit cards.
The difference is that qualified applicants who get approved for one of the highest end credit cards will find themselves with credit limits, benefits, and rewards that are far superior to what's available from a regular, everyday credit card. In other words, the highest end credit cards are at the intersection of the best credit card offers on the market and the most prestigious options.
The most expensive credit card is the Centurion® Card from American Express (also called the Amex "Black Card"), because it has an initiation fee of up to $10,000 and a $5000 annual fee. But considering that you have to be invited to even apply for this card - and you have to spend (and pay off) hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on Amex credit cards to get an invitation - most of us probably won’t have to worry about how expensive this charge card is.… read full answer
Some credit cards with high annual fees end up being worth it because of extra rewards or travel perks, if you can use those perks frequently enough. Considering that the specific terms and benefits of the Amex Black Card aren’t easy to verify, it’s hard to know if a $5000 annual fee is worth it. But people with credit cards that are seen or marketed as status symbols, such as the Amex Black Card and the Mastercard® Gold Card, are likely paying more for the inferred status than they are for a good credit card.
That said, expensive credit cards don’t only end up in the hands of high-rollers, and annual fees aren’t the only metric to measure how expensive a card is. “Expensive” means different things to different people, and people with bad credit are often the ones who end up paying more for a credit card. They pay in the form of monthly, one-time, and annual fees, with few or no ongoing rewards to make those fees worth it. Generally, these fee-laden credit cards for bad credit also come with high regular interest rates. So those who carry a balance on an unsecured card for bad credit will pay dearly for the privilege.
For example, the First Access VISA® Credit Card has a one-time fee of $95*, a $75 1st yr, $48 after* that annual fee, and a monthly fee: None 1st year, $6.25 after*. And its regular APR is 34.99%*. For someone who doesn’t make a lot of money, that’s pretty expensive, even if they’re not carrying a balance from month to month.
If you have bad credit, you’re far better off putting down a deposit on a secured credit card with rewards - Discover it® Secured Credit Card, for example - than trying to get an unsecured card for bad credit. And for everyone else, always make sure to consider what credit card fees buy you, relative to the best no annual fee offers, to see whether the added benefit (if any) is worth it in light of your spending and payment habits.
The most prestigious credit cards are the Amex Centurion Card, the J.P. Morgan Reserve Card, and the Citi Chairman Card because all 3 cards are invitation-only. In addition, all 3 cards require applicants to meet high income and/or spending standards for approval.
J.P. Morgan Reserve Credit Card (formerly Chase Palladium Card)
Citi Chairman Credit Card
If you’re looking for a prestigious credit card, but you don’t quite qualify for an invitation from any of these 3 ultra-exclusive credit cards, don’t worry. You might get a better - and less expensive - credit card experience with a normal rewards credit card. Or, a good travel credit card might fit your lifestyle. The best credit cards don’t usually require a million-dollar income or private banking clout, and they still deliver plenty of great perks.
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