No matter how much money you actually have in the bank, exclusive credit cards still have an incredible allure around them.
While American Express’ Centurion card (aka the Black card) was the first and arguably most well known exclusive credit card, several more have joined its ranks in recent years to cater for the world’s uber-wealthy.
They are nearly always invite-only and offer incredible rewards including free private jet usage, concierge services, gifts and private banking services.
They also boast ridiculous annual fees with the cheapest card on this list asking you to pay $950 in annual fees (R12,800) in addition to you spending a required yearly amount on the card.
1. AMEX Centurion
The original “black card”, the Amex Centurion card was first introduced in 1999 to customers who meet American Express’ extensive eligibility criteria.
While other cards have tried to top it with exclusivity and rewards programmes, the Centurion retains top spot on the list due to the air of mystery and exclusivity cultivated around it.
What is known is that the card requires a $7,500 (R100,000) initiation fee, as well as a yearly account fee of $2,500 (R34,000), while it is reported that customers must be willing to spend around $250,000 (R3.4 million) a year to qualify.
Card holder perks include travel benefits in the form of airline and hotel upgrades and access to airport lounges. It also provides access to a 24-hour concierge service and VIP access to exclusive events.
Spending limits and other rewards have remained secret.
2. JP Morgan Palladium
The JP Morgan Palladium card is exclusively available to customers with private bankers, who are assigned to them when they become clients of JPMorgan’s high-net worth banking units.
The credit card’s standout feature is that its made out of palladium and 24K gold – the only credit card to be made of the two materials. Cardholder information is laser engraved.
Perks include complimentary access to a fleet of private jets, and a concierge, while its ‘Ultimate Rewards program’ rewards two points per dollar spent on travel, along with a of 35,000 additional points for clients who spend $100,000 (R1.37 million) annually.
3. Coutts World Silk Card
As few as 100 people are estimated to own one of these credit cards, which is closely affiliated with the British Royal Family.
A client would need £800,000 ($1.2 million – or R16.2 million) in disposable cash to own a credit card, but it comes with a 24/7 concierge service, and access to private shopping at designer stores.
4. Dubai First Royale Card
Dubai’s First Royale Card is invitation-only and is available exclusively to royalty and “high-class” clients in the UAE region.
Set on a black background, the card features a white .235-carat solitaire diamond, while two of the card’s edges are also trimmed with gold.
Entry requirements are currently unknown although the rumoured opening fee is AED 7,000 alone (R25,700). Benefits include no pre-set credit limit, your own dedicated relationship manager and a full concierge service.
5. The Merrill Lynch Octave Black Card
The Merrill Lynch Octave Black Card effectively replaced Merrill Lynch’s now famous “Black Bull” card in 2015. It is currently only available through invitation to Merrill Lynch’s highest-net-worth clients.
This new card features a hefty annual fee of $950 (R12,800) but cardholders can expect $350 (R4,700) in annual travel credit, airport concierge service and savings on private jet flights.
There is also no reported spending limit.
6. Visa Infinite
Visa’s Infinite cards are reserved for countries outside of the USA and offer different rewards based on the countries and banks which offer them – all of which are exclusive.
The most well-known of these is Sberbank’s limited edition Visa Infinite companion card, which is made of solid gold and embedded with 26 diamonds.
The credit card originates from Sberbank-Kazakhstan – a Kazakhstani bank – and provides cardholders with access to a “Sberbank First” personal manager, preferential treatment at some of the world’s best golf course, luxury vacation getaways, and fast-track immigration at more than 280 airports worldwide.
7. The Luxury Card: MasterCard Gold Card
Mastercard’s most valuable offering, the Luxury Card MasterCard Gold Card features a patented design made of carbon, and 24-karat gold plating.
The perks include a 24-hour concierge service, an industry leading rewards programme, luxury gifts and $200 Annual Airline Credit Toward Qualifying Airline Purchases.
It has an annual fee of $995 (R13,400).
8. Stratus Rewards Visa
In comparison to the other black and gold cards on this list, the Stratus Rewards Visa stands out in plain white.
The invitation-only card is available to to high-net-worth consumers who consider private jet travel a must have. This includes the unique ability to pool Stratus Reward points with friends and other cardholders to use toward flight hours on private jets.
Perks include personal concierge services, quarterly award-show-style gifts and trend-setting items, discounted charter flights, complimentary car service, upgrades and special amenities at luxury hotels, and upscale merchandise discounts.