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With everyday credit cards now charging hundreds of dollars in annual fees, don’t be fooled into thinking you already have a prestigious card. The ultra-wealthy, super-elite and celebrities don’t settle for something on the mass market. Instead, they hold out for cards you’ve never heard of: accounts veiled by secrecy. Their unattainability offers an extra allure.
Prestige is just the beginning. These high-end, exclusive cards often come with specialized concierge services that cater to your every whim. Individual account managers bend over backwards to fulfill requests and create a bespoke customer experience. Plus, lavish perks and luxury gifts aren’t unheard of, nor are credit limits in the six figures.
As you might expect, having a solid credit score and healthy checking account won’t be enough to obtain one of these cards. The most exclusive credit cards are invitation only, a gateway precisely designed to keep things reserved for a select few. Applicants may be hand chosen based on strong, existing relationships with the card issuer. It’s likely their spending habits are at levels the average American only dreams of.
Are these exclusive credit cards simply a status symbol or lucrative opportunity? That’s up to you to decide.
Centurion Card from American Express
Better known as the “black card,” the Centurion card’s prestige is partly due to the mystery behind it. Exact criteria to receive an invitation isn’t published, though if you’re an existing Amex cardholder with high spending, you can request an invitation online. What we do know is that the $5,000 annual fee comes with elite travel statuses and memberships to luxury outlets along with unsurpassed personal service.
With this card and some others on our list, the perks available to you aren’t publicly disclosed. But we know the card comes with an Equinox All Access Gym membership (valued at $3,120 annually), a $1,000 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit and numerous travel benefits, like airport lounge access, including dedicated seating at Centurion Clubs and VIP airport arrival services at 32 major airports.
This card also earns you top status on Delta, Hertz and Hilton
Related: The Best Credit Cards Of 2021
J.P. Morgan Reserve Card
Other than the J.P. Morgan branding on this card and the extra heft from its palladium composition, this product is suspiciously similar to the publicly-available Chase Sapphire Reserve. That makes this invitation-only card one that you get primarily as an immediate signal of your status rather than one you covet for the perks. After all, sometimes playing hard to get is half the draw.
With this card, you’ll earn bonus rewards on Peloton equipment purchases or a $120 rebate on a Peloton Digital Membership. You’ll also receive a $300 annual travel credit and unlimited restaurant deliveries through DoorDash with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12.
Coutts Silk Card
In Coutts’ own words, the Silk charge card “opens doors to a world of privileges and benefits” through its signature loyalty program and exclusive network of global concierges. Unlike other cards, this U.K. card is less focused on hand-selecting applicants and more about serving high wealth clients.
How wealthy is wealthy enough? Gossip on the street suggests you’ll need to have at least 1 million pounds in a Coutts account, making this a more attainable option.
Dubai First Royale Mastercard
Like the city of Dubai itself, there’s nothing understated about the ultra-exclusive Dubai First Royale Mastercard. Diamond-studded and trimmed in gold, the physical card is extravagant. and the intrinsic benefits are even more droolworthy.
It’s also invitation-only and reserved for some of the world’s wealthiest individuals. Rumored to be held by royal families and billionaires, it’s safe to say that if you have to ask how to get the card, you’re not in the right circles yet.
MasterCard Gold Card
Plated in real 24K gold, the MasterCard Gold Card lives up to its name. While the card offers a number of travel benefits similar to premium cards available on the mass market, it stands out for its comprehensive concierge services. Whether you’re looking to skip the line, get behind-the-scenes access or deal with a crisis, there’s someone ready to assist you 24/7. It’ll cost you $995 per year, but no invitation is needed to apply.
For the cost, we think a still-premium but lower-annual-fee card provides a better value proposition—if you’re willing to give up the 24K gold.
Related: The Best Metal Credit Cards Of 2021
Other Exclusive Cards
There are other exclusive cards available, cards so exclusive that you’ll only find out about them if your private banker calls you directly. If that happens, listen carefully. While not all cards will have over-the-top designs with gold and gemstones, you can bet they’ll be prestigious offers that convey status immediately. More importantly, if you’re one of the lucky few, you’ll have access to unparalleled service that’ll leave you wondering how you ever survived without one.
Becky Pokora is a travel journalist who specializes in travel rewards and credit cards points.