What is the most prestigious credit card?

The American Express Centurion sets the benchmark for elite and luxurious credit cards.

Also known as the Amex Black Card, this exclusive product has served the highest tier of American Express cardholders since 1999. Named after the iconic American Express centurion logo, this card is traditionally made of titanium and issued by invitation to the wealthiest American Express Platinum cardholders.

The American Express Centurion is so exclusive that none of this information is actually published on the company’s website. But rumour has it you have to spend an estimated £200,000 a year on your Platinum Amex card before you’ll be eligible to receive an elusive Black Card invitation. Several years ago it was also reported that Centurion cardholders had average annual household incomes of more than £1 million and net worths of about £12 million.

Features of the Amex Centurion credit card

If you’re aiming for one of these prestigious credit cards, here’s what you need to know about it:

  • Invitation-only. Despite the mystery shrouding the Black Card, one thing is for sure – you can only get one of these by invitation from American Express. Usually, you would also have to already hold an American Express Platinum card with a proven high annual expenditure.
  • Establishment fee. This varies depending on the country of issue, but in the UK, your one-time initiation fee is currently £3,400.
  • Annual fee. Similarly, this fee will vary depending on your country of issue. It is currently reported to be around £3,400.
  • Titanium card. Crafted out of anodised titanium, the Black Card is laser-etched with your account information. A plastic version of the card is also issued in some countries, for the sake of convenience.
  • Charge card. The Black Card is technically a charge card, not a credit card. This means that you are not charged an interest rate on purchases and are required to repay your full balance by the due date on each statement. If you don’t, you could be charged a late fee or have the card suspended.
  • No spending limit. Since it’s a charge card, there is no stated credit limit on the Black Card, although American Express commonly practises allocating a “spend ceiling” on your card based on past spending and repayment patterns.
  • Travel benefits. The Amex Centurion gives you access to premium airport lounges and clubs worldwide, complimentary companion airline tickets on select airlines, flight upgrades and travel insurance covers.
  • Hotel benefits. This card also offers hotel upgrades, late check outs and free additional nights at participating hotel chains globally.
  • Rental cars and other driving perks. Limousines, luxury sports cars and Formula One rides are all accessible rentals to the Black Card holder.
  • Shopping benefits. The Amex Centurion entitles you to your own personal shopper, exclusive luxury brand sales, advance tickets to exclusive events and VIP access to practically anything money can buy.
  • 24/7 concierge. Possibly the most celebrated perk of the card, you’ll also have 24/7 personal concierge services for almost anything you want, including getting you a table at the most chic booked-out restaurants, arranging your last-minute travel itinerary, or buying your kid the perfect pet – whatever you need done.

The top 5 most prestigious credit cards in the world

businessCCtieFrom gold plating to pure gold, rare metals to solitaire diamonds, there is a select group of credit cards that offer both luxury and extravagance. Based on exclusivity, perks and status, these prestige credit cards are top of our list:

  1. American Express Centurion. This Amex card is widely-acknowledged as the first, and most prestigious, invitation-only card in the world.
  2. JPMorgan Chase Reserve. Made of metal, palladium and 24K gold, this card is also issued by invitation alone to JPMorgan’s private banking, wealth management and investment banking clients with investments of at least $30million (£23million).
  3. Dubai First Royale Mastercard. Trimmed with gold and embedded with a .325-carat solitaire diamond, this card is only offered to royalty and ultra-millionaires in the UAE.
  4. Coutts World Silk Card. This tastefully unembellished card is only available to UK private bank Coutts clients only.
  5. Sberbank Visa Infinite Gold Card. This card is made of gold and is adorned with .17 carats worth of diamonds – and that’s before you get to any of the privileges and perks that come with it. With a reported upfront cost of US$100,000 (£75,000), Kazakhstan’s Sberbank has only issued it to 100 of its top clients.

The 10 most exclusive credit cards in the world

Bottom line

While credit cards are often used for everyday spending, they can also be a visible symbol of status and distinction. Remember though, that prestige can come at a cost – usually in the form of high annual fees.

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.
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Chris Lilly is Head of publishing at finder.com. He's a specialist in personal finance, from day-to-day banking to investing to borrowing, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their money. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more. See full bio

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Chris has written 611 Finder guides across topics including:
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