Nowadays, the wealth of a person is not evident through the watch around his wrist, the tie around his neck or the shoes on his feet, but by the plastic in his wallet. A credit card often represents a person’s spending ability and credit history. Financial institutions transformed what a card represents by issuing cards that have strict requirements and qualifications that are based almost entirely on a person’s enormous assets, high income, relentless spending habits, and excellent credit history. A person can pull out one of these elite cards and the retail clerk can assume whether or not this person is wealthy because these luxury cards have become more than just cards for high rollers. They are status symbols.
Here are the six of the top luxury credit cards currently available in the United States:
Made with titanium, the Centurion is American Express’s most exclusive card. It is in the top echelon of luxury plastic in the U.S. as it is represents the most popular status symbol since it is sported by celebrities and the wealthy. The prestige accompanied by this card comes with the hefty costs of a $5,000 initiation fee and $2,500 annual fee, which is something that only those with plenty of money can afford to have. Becoming a Centurion cardholder is not easily achieved unless you must meet the most important requirement of an annual spending rate of $250,000 or more on an existing American Express Platinum card before being worthy of an invitation. Even though the black card seems to be one of the rarest cards in existence, it is estimated that there are approximately 30,000 to 100,000 Centurion members in the world.
The American Express Platinum card comes second to the Centurion. Despite lacking the elite status and glamor of the black card, the Platinum card is still a very exclusive card and it isn’t easy to be issued one. Again, potential members are screened based mostly on income and whether or not they are existing cardholders of an American Express Green or Gold card. In spite of a lower annual fee of $450, the card includes many of the same benefits as the Centurion card.
Visa Black Card
The Visa Black Card was introduced early this year backed by Barclays Bank as rival to the “Black” AMEX. Visa’s innovative design for the card was for it to be made out of carbon graphite instead of plastic. In order to place emphasis on the Visa Black card’s exclusiveness and to join the ranks of elite cards, Visa states that the card will be issues to only 1% of the U.S. population and catered to those who spend more than $50,000 a year while only requiring an annual fee of $495. Despite its claims to be issued to a very limited portion of the U.S. population, anyone can apply for one but many of their current cardholders received invitations in the mail.
Another card that is also affiliated with the American Express network, the Citi Chairman card is offers many of the same benefits as the other luxury cards in the network. This card is offered primarily to meet the needs of the clients of the Smith Barney division of Citigroup who expect exceptional standards and services. The annual fee of $500 has been a reason that many people have not caught on with the Citi Chairman card as they did with the other luxury cards available but it has been known to be waived for specific clients of Smith Barney.
Bank of America Accolades
Participating in the American Express network, the Bank of America Accolades card is targeted towards the wealthy clients in their Premier Banking & Investments and Family Wealth Advisors division. Again, this card offers the same services available with the American Express platform but at an annual fee of $295 and a spending limit of up to $595,000. Although the Bank of America Accolades cards doesn’t require an invitation, they do have a strict reviewing process before issuing one to a potential customer. Their primary requirement before inviting anyone for the card would the amount in assets with Bank of America, which should be in the six-figure range.
Stratus Rewards Visa Card
The stand-out in the war of the “black cards” is the Stratus Rewards Visa card. Perhaps, it is the least and most quiet of all the luxury cards but the Stratus Rewards Visa card certainly has its own share of prestige. Very little is known about the qualifications and demographics of a Stratus Rewards Visa cardholder except that there is an annual fee of $1,500 and becoming a member is possible only through invitation or referral from a current member. The Stratus Rewards Visa card has a unique rewards redemption program for rides in a private plane or for one-of-a-kind access to places such as the Louvre, the Pyramids of Egypt, or even the Los Angeles Playboy mansion.