Roll out the red carpet and check out the 10 most exclusive credit cards.
Sure, credit cards are generally a dime a dozen. But once in a while, you hear about a card that’s the exact opposite: spoken about in hushed tones, available to only the rich and famous.
We’re talking about a card fit for someone who can shell out $4 million for a private jet, perhaps, or even a cool $21.5 million for a private island. Someone who needs an astronomical credit limit to cover their extravagant spending. And someone who expects top-of-the-line, luxury perks to match.
In this guide, we’ll give you the inside scoop on the 10 most exclusive cards in the world.
Exclusive credit cards in this guide
The top 10 most exclusive credit cards
1. Centurion® Card from American Express
Also known as the Black Card, the Centurion® Card from American Express is an elusive and exclusive card issued by invitation only. To be invited, you reportedly must have spent and paid off at least $250,000 across your Amex accounts in a single year.
That’s not all. To join this exclusive club of Centurion cardmembers, you’ll need to pay a $7,500 initiation fee. And the card itself comes with a $2,500 annual fee.
The card has no preset spending limit, and it gives you access to a personal concierge who will fulfill any request you can dream of. It also offers luxury perks that Amex takes great pains not to advertise: exclusive treatment at the best-in-class Centurion airport lounges, world-class surprise gifts, reservations at 1,000 of the world’s best restaurants and a suite of luxury travel benefits.
2. J.P. Morgan Reserve Card
Made of metal and literally minted with palladium and 24K gold, this is one card you can’t take with you through the metal detectors. Although previously available by application, this card is now only offered by invitation to clients of JPMorgan’s private banking wealth management or investment banking arms. This means you’d have to have at least $250,000 privately managed by them.
For $450 a year, this card offers travel perks including a full United Club membership, unlimited lounge access and Priority Pass, a strong suit of travel insurance covers and access to private jets if you should prefer to fly that way. You’ll also earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel, 1 point on all other eligible purchases, and 35,000 bonus points if you spend more than $100,000 a year.
3. Dubai First Royale Mastercard
Embedded with a white .235-carat solitaire diamond and trimmed with gold, this elaborate card is the Dubai Group’s exclusive offering to UAE royalty and the region’s top millionaires.
The qualification and fee details of this card are almost as elusive as the card itself. Rumor has it the fee alone is nearly $2,000. But if you had the honor of being offered one, you could enjoy no pre-set credit limit, your own dedicated relationship manager and “Royale Lifestyle Management” services. Based on what we’ve read about this card, it seems you can get anything you want with it.
4. Coutts World Silk Card
The prestigious Silk Card offered by the Royal Bank of Scotland-owned UK private bank is exclusive to Coutts clients only – including the Queen. The card starts with about a $26,000 monthly credit limit, although this may differ depending on the bank’s personal assessment of your finances.
The Silk Card has an annual fee of $456 that’s waived if you spend above $65,225 in your card membership year. With this card, you can expect a host of insurance, travel lounge and Priority Pass perks, luxury brand offers, concierge services and exclusive memberships with hotels, airlines, jet and cruise companies.
5. Sberbank Visa Infinite Gold Card
If being crafted from solid gold isn’t quite enough, throw in .17 carats worth of diamonds (totalling 26 stones to be precise) and some mother-of-pearl. Issued by Kazakhstani outfit Sberbank to only 100 of its top clients, this Visa Infinite Gold card reportedly costs a neat $100,000 upfront. Of this money, $65,000 is an account fee, and $35,000 goes to the account’s opening credit.
Aside from the pleasure of owning a solid gold status symbol, cardholders enjoy above $250,000 life insurance coverage, exclusive concierge services, VIP access at some of the world’s finest golf courses, luxury vacations and fast-track immigration treatment in hundreds of airports globally.
6. Eurasian Diamond Card (Visa Infinite)
Another Kazakhstani offering, the Eurasian Bank Diamond Card is an elite Visa card for invitation-only clients. This striking black card features a pure gold inlaid heart with a .02-carat diamond centrepiece, and can only be obtained by recommendation of the bank’s management board, or upon referral of two existing Diamond cardholders. You must also make more than $300,000 a year to qualify.
Annual card fees range between $460 and $1400, depending on the size of your current bank balance. Perks include personalized concierge services, VIP airport lounge and Priority Pass access, as well as super-charged Visa exclusives such as hotel discounts, ticket pre-sales, luxury dining, spa offers and purchase protection from loss and theft.
7. Stratus Rewards Visa
Fondly called the White Card, the Stratus Rewards Visa is often seen as the definitive card for ultra elite jetsetters. To get this card, you need a referral from an existing cardmember or a Stratus Rewards partner company before you’ll even be considered for an exclusive invitation.
As far as features go, this is the card for those who want to fly in privacy and style, with a rewards program that offers private jet flight-time as a redeemable reward. If you like, you could also trade your reward points in for a personal consult with a famed lifestyle expert. At $1,500, this card will give you access to personal concierge services, discounted charter flights, complimentary car services and luxury hotel upgrades, special events and exclusive gift bags.
8. The Merrill Lynch Octave Black Card
Made of black metal and sporting an American Express logo on its front, the Merrill Lynch Octave Black Card is an invitation-only card that caters to the American bank’s highest-net-worth clients. To qualify, you must have over $10 million sitting in a Merrill Lynch account and also be a Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management or US Trust client.
Lucky cardholders pay $950 in annual fees and enjoy perks including no pre-set credit limit, 2.5 rewards points per $1 spent on all eligible purchases, an annual $350 worth of travel credit or a Delta SkyClub Executive membership, select airline and private jet flight discounts and premium concierge services.
9. Santander Unlimited Black Card
This understated Black Card represents the “unlimited credit” that Brazilian Santander Group offers to its elite private banking customers. Although eligibility details are undisclosed, only about 2,000 to 3,000 cards are in circulation.
For approximately $275 annually, card perks include high, flexible spending limits, 24/7 concierge services, VIP airport lounge access, Priority Pass, private jet discounts and the usual suite of insurance covers. You also earn 2.2 points for every $1 spent on the card.
10. Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™
You can apply for the Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™ without an invitation, unlike the other cards we’ve mentioned. But it’s exclusive merely by its pricing: It costs $995 a year, double the price of most premium travel cards and more expensive than some invite-only cards.
Front-plated with 24K gold, the card gives you access to Luxury Card Concierge and perks like global luggage delivery, chauffeured transportation, and airport representatives who will fast track you through customs. You’ll also enjoy premium travel benefits like airline credits, airport lounge access and a credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application.