As you may or may not have noticed, a lot of credit cards come with labels that help separate them from the rest. Unlike the most common credit cards, luxury or elite cards offer their users a distinctive look. A luxury card might be made of titanium instead of the plastic most consumers have in their wallets. Also, users can put high-end expenses on their cards without having to worry about the limits of more common cards. Rewards can come in the form of travel upgrades, access to special events with celebrities, and shopping perks. This type of card may also be given a "black" or "diamond" brand or label. Take a look at some great luxury card choices below.
For the last several years, luxury or elite credit cards have garnered a lot of mystique. They may be black, white and even made of metal depending on the card. Also, they tend to be quite a bit more exclusive than the general rewards card and may have much higher fees than your regular card. Let’s get to know these cards a little better and see who can benefit the most from them.
These cards are pricey. Fees for these cards are higher than most rewards cards you may encounter. As an example, the American Express Centurion Card has a one-time fee of $5,000 and an annual fee of $2,500. Other cards of this type may have annual fees of around $400 or more. Some of these cards have introductory offers of 0% APR, then raise the rate six months later. Some are charge cards and you’ll need to be ready to pay off your balance each month. The flip side? You won’t have to fret about a pesky annual percentage rate. These luxury cards are a contrast to the American Express Gold Card, which has an annual fee of only $125 and fewer privileges.
Luxury or elite cards may appeal to people because they convey the idea that members belong to an exclusive club. You’ve probably seen these cards tastefully displayed in leading business magazines or in the hands of hard-spending celebrities. Of course, you have to work rather hard to get into this club, because your income needs to match your higher spending levels.
If you’re someone who likes services to go beyond the typical, then a luxury card can fill that slot nicely. A concierge service, travel benefits and premium rewards may even seem like necessities if you’re in the middle of running your own successful business or if your personal life is full of daily obligations. If you travel a lot, the airport club access may make the card pay for itself over time.
If you’re the type of spender who only likes to use a credit card occasionally for smaller purchases, then you might NOT be a good fit for these types of cards. A luxury card can be of better use to someone who prefers to put expensive purchases on it. Those high-dollar purchases will make it easier to accrue the rewards that are offered, too.
You’ll also be a better match for a luxury card if you have a high income of at least six figures. Your credit needs to be excellent as well. If you’ve missed a few credit card payments or your credit rating is only average, you’ll probably have to wait until your credit improves. After all, the banks want to offer their luxury cards to top tier clients only. If you’re offered one, consider yourself part of a special group of consumers. Some of the luxury cards are so exclusive that you can’t apply for them online. Instead, you may have to wait for a bank to invite you to join.
You don’t have to be a mogul or tycoon to appreciate these luxury cards. Apparently, one enterprising cardholder purchased a Bentley with his card, according to an American Express representative contacted by Snopes.com. Other elite card holders have taken advantage of the concierge services to track down exotic gifts and even plan weddings. This type of credit card will buy you a lot of flexibility and exclusive options.
Holding a luxury credit card can give you access to a number of programs. For the Centurion Card, membership includes access to airlines clubs like Delta Platinum, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold and the American Airlines Admirals Club. Membership in the Admirals Club is usually $400 or more on its own. You can earn a free night when you book a night at most Mandarin Oriental hotels, too. You’re also enrolled in several rental car clubs. In addition, you get all the rewards that Platinum members enjoy.
You’ll find similar rewards with a Barclays Visa Black card, which is made of carbon. It offers points you can redeem for 1% cash back or you can put those points towards airfare on any airline you like. The concierge service is available 24 hours a day and can help you while you travel or can assist you with other business needs. There's insurance coverage for your purchases, too.
Meanwhile, the white card or Stratus Rewards Visa has travel accident insurance, emergency medical and dental services, a redemption program for private jet travel and other rewards aimed at members who make travel part of their lifestyle. But you'll have to be nominated by a current member or await an invitation to receive this card.
How do these cards fare in the card market based on economic conditions? Actually, these cards might be more popular now than in the last few years. Ironically, it has been reported that users seem to be spending and traveling more than in previous years. Also, the market for these cards has expanded since the introduction of the original black card in 1999.
If you qualify for a luxury, black or elite credit card, the benefits can be worthwhile, especially the concierge service and the airport lounge access. However, if you don’t anticipate using the rewards and perks associated with these types of cards, you might be more comfortable with a platinum or gold-style card instead. Evaluate your needs and the full cost of membership before you sign up for such a credit card.