What are the best credit cards in the world? A credit card is a document issued by a bank or financial institution in the name of a person who can use it to make purchases by postponing payment to future periods. This payment mechanism is commonly used by millions of people. Today we will tell you about the 10 best credit cards in the world. However, we anticipate that one of the main requirements to obtain one of them is to have a high net worth. In addition, in many cases, membership is by invitation only.
The 10 best credit cards in the world
If you manage to get one of the top 10 credit cards in the world, you will enjoy a generous credit limit, luxury travel benefits and tailored concierge service. The card itself, in many cases, is already a great value because of the materials it is made of.
1. Centurion® Card from American Express
Known as the Black Card, the Centurion® Card from American Express is a very exclusive card and is issued by invitation only. To be invited, you must have spent and paid at least $250,000 in your Amex accounts in just one year.
To join this exclusive club of Centurion card members, you must pay an initiation fee of $7,500. And the card itself comes with an annual fee of $2,500.
The card has no pre-set spending limit and gives you access to a personal concierge who can fulfill any request you can dream up. It also offers luxury perks that Amex goes out of its way not to advertise: exclusive treatment at Centurion Airport’s best lounges, world-class surprise gifts, reservations at 1,000 of the world’s best restaurants and various travel benefits.
The Centurion Lounges are now exclusive only to those with The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, the American Express Corporate Platinum Card or Centurion® Card from American Express.
Even in these premium lounges, you’ll find perks reserved only for Black Card members. As of March 2019, American Express eliminated access to the Centurion Lounge for members arriving at their destination, a policy that does not apply to Black Card members.
Arriving at Hong Kong International Airport? The Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong offers an exclusive section for Black Card members. There, you’ll enjoy a menu prepared by Michelin-starred chef Lau Yiu Fai, as well as complimentary premium wines and champagnes.
2. J.P. Morgan Reservation Card
Among the top 10 credit cards in the world is also the J.P. Morgan Reserve Card (J.P. Morgan Reserve). It is made of palladium, a silvery-white chemical element that, valued at $1,295 per ounce, rivals gold in cost. It is offered by invitation only to J.P. Morgan’s top clients, who must have at least $10 million in assets under management at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.
With an annual fee of $595, this card offers unlimited access to select airport lounges, 3x points on travel and dining, a $300 annual travel credit, a credit toward your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application and a suite of premium travel protections.
You’ll also have direct 24/7 access to a customer service specialist. And you can breathe easy when making extravagant purchases, as they are covered for 120 days against theft or damage up to $10,000 per claim.
The previous version of this card, the Chase Palladium, is rumored to be a favorite of former President Barack Obama.
3. Dubai First Royale Mastercard
It has a 0.235-carat diamond embedded in its center and is adorned with gold. This elaborate card is Dubai First’s most exclusive option for UAE royalty and high net worth individuals.
The card is obtained by invitation only, and you might be denied even if you are ultra-wealthy. The initial fee is 7,000 UAE dirhams, about $1,900.
It has few of the benefits that are standard on most credit cards, which may not be of much importance to those wealthy enough to receive it. Without the credit limit, you could buy a yacht on a whim if you wanted to. And with 24/7 access to what the bank bills as Royale Lifestyle Management, which is a dedicated lifestyle manager who can connect you with virtually anything you want.
Dubai First is not kidding about the feature of not setting a credit limit for this card. Ibrahim al Ansari, the company’s CEO, was quoted by the UAE’s leading newspaper, The National:
“The needs of these customers are different. Whatever he or she wants to buy, the transaction must be done. If the customer likes a yacht on vacation, he or she should be able to buy it.”
4. The Coutts Silk Credit Card
Owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Coutts caters exclusively to high net worth clients. The prospect questionnaire gets straight to the point with its questions. At some point, you will be asked if you will bring assets to Coutts totaling more than £1 million. If your answers to this or other questions prove you’re not rich enough – or won’t be rich enough imminently – Coutts will politely suggest you try another bank.
If you are wealthy enough to become a Coutts customer, you can apply for the Coutts Silk credit card. The card has no annual or foreign transaction fees and gets you into airport lounges around the world through LoungeKey. In addition, you have access to exclusive events and experiences through the Coutts signature loyalty program, as well as 24/7 service from the Coutts Concierge.
The firm counts the British royal family among its distinguished clients.
5. Sberbank Visa Infinite Gold Card
If pure gold is not enough, how about adding mother-of-pearl and 26 diamonds? Yes, this is what the card is made of. Issued by Kazakhstan’s Sberbank to only 100 of its top customers initially, this Visa Infinite card costs $100,000 upfront. Of this money, an unprecedented $65,000 goes towards the minting of the card. The other $35,000 goes towards your account. In addition to the upfront fee, you’ll be charged another $2,000 for an annual fee.
If you get the card, you’ll have the pleasure of having a solid gold status symbol. Enjoy $250,000 of life and health insurance, 24/7 concierge service and a personal manager at Sberbank. You’ll get VIP access to luxury vacations and the best golf courses in the world. And if you forget to pay your card bill while traveling the world, rest easy knowing the card has no late fees.
This card has something that makes it unique and exceptional: It is the world’s first credit card that, according to Sberbank, is made exclusively of gold, pearls and diamonds. It doesn’t even have a magnetic stripe.
6. Eurasian Eurasian Visa Infinite Diamond Card
Another gem from Kazakhstan, the Eurasian Bank Diamond Card Visa Infinite is an elite product that you can’t just apply for. This striking black card has a gold trim encrusted with a 0.02 carat diamond in the center. It can only be obtained on the recommendation of the bank’s board of directors or two current cardholders.
Annual fees for the card range from 150,000 to 450,000 Kazakh tenge – approximately $395 to $1155 – depending on your balance with Eurasian Bank. Leading concierge companies make sure the world is at your fingertips, offering exclusive hotel reservations, visa services, private plane arrangements, translation services, butler services and more.
The minimum balance you must have at Eurasian Bank to qualify for this card is 15 million Kazakh Tenge (approximately $39,500). But the bank may invite you to become a cardholder if you are, in their words, “a customer of high social standing.”
7. Visa Stratus Rewards
Affectionately called the White Card, the Stratus Rewards Visa is often seen as the exclusive card for jet-setters. To obtain it, a referral from an existing cardholder or Stratus Rewards partner company is required before even being considered for an exclusive invitation.
It features a rewards program that allows cardholders to travel on private jets or charter flights. And if you wish, you can redeem your rewards for a personal consultation with a celebrity lifestyle expert. Priced at $1,500 per year, this card gives you access to personal concierge services, discounted charter flights, complimentary car services, luxury hotel reservations, special events and exclusive gift bags.
This card is designed for those who regularly spend a lot of money. Rumor has it that you must spend at least $200,000 a year with the card to remain a member.
8. The Merrill Lynch Octave Black Card
Made of black metal and emblazoned with the American Express logo, the Merrill Lynch Octave Black Card is an invitation-only card offered to the American bank’s highest net worth customers. To qualify, you must have at least $10 million in a Merrill Lynch account.
Cardholders pay $950 in annual fees and reportedly enjoy perks such as a non-preset credit limit, 2.5 points on all eligible purchases, a $350 annual travel credit or Delta SkyClub Executive Membership, savings on private jets and access to airport concierges.
Merrill Lynch is a firm that serves a high net worth clientele. Merrill brokers are said to be uncompensated if they advise new clients who bring them less than $250,000 in assets. The point: They are expected to serve wealthier clients, those who contribute more to the firm’s bottom line.
9. Santander Unlimited Black Card
This discreet black card is the product that Brazil’s Santander Group offers to its elite private banking clients. Rumor has it that only a few thousand cards are in circulation.
For about $275 annually, the card offers high and flexible spending limits, 24/7 concierge service, LoungeKey membership, travel insurance, Mastercard Airport Concierge and special experiences at fine hotels and restaurants.
The Santander Unlimited is a Mastercard Black. The closest U.S. equivalent is the Mastercard World Elite.
Mastercard Black extends elite travelers’ access to Mastercard’s exclusive VIP lounge at Brazil’s Guarulhos airport, located in Terminal 3. The only other way in is by accompanying the cardholder.
We end our list of the top 10 best credit cards in the world with the Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™. You can apply for it without an invitation, unlike many of the other cards we’ve mentioned. But be aware that it has a high barrier to entry that is simply due to its price: it costs $995 per year, twice as much as most premium travel cards and more expensive than some invitation-only cards.
The card is 24-karat gold-plated and offers access to a luxury concierge card and perks like global baggage delivery, chauffeured transportation and airport representatives who can speed through customs. You’ll also enjoy premium travel benefits like airline credits, airport lounge access and a $100 credit toward your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application.
The craftsmanship of this card is so exclusive, Luxury Card protects its design – loaded with gold, stainless steel and carbon – with 46 worldwide patents.
What features do the world’s top 10 credit cards share?
Like the customers who carry them, exclusive credit cards share remarkable similarities. The following factors can raise a card’s status and barrier to entry.
Some cards are issued at no cost to high net worth members. Typically, exclusive cards come with high annual fees of $1,000 or more, and some also require an upfront fee. At the extreme, a card can cost an outrageous $100,000.
Available only to a select few
Card providers make it difficult to obtain these exclusive cards by making it invitation-only, requiring endorsements from existing members or imposing minimum investment fees. To join the club, you must have the ability to pull strings – or show enough money to demonstrate wealth.
Made of expensive materials
An exclusive credit card must feel exclusive. That’s why it’s not just made of plastic, but of precious metals like gold, titanium or palladium. It might even come with diamonds encrusted for a nice look.
Dedicated concierge service
You’ll notice that many of the cards on this list offer common features. For example, you can get airport lounge access and travel credits with widely available credit cards.
What sets the exclusive cards apart is the personalized assistance. Concierge service is standard on premium travel cards, but dedicated concierge services (such as account managers who are specifically assigned to you) are reserved for ultra-premium cards.
Exclusive benefits without advertising
One of the reasons we don’t know much about super elite cards is because their issuers like them. If a premium card gives you access to a premium airport lounge, an ultra premium card gives you a dedicated space inside that lounge. The less the public knows about these privileges, the more special they tend to be.
Sky-high credit limits
Exclusive credit cards often include extremely generous credit limits. Of course, your provider can cut you off if your spending seems to exceed what your net worth allows. But if your coffers sound truly endless, the bank can allow you literally any purchase you want.
How do you get an invitation to one of the top 10 credit cards in the world?
In general, getting an invitation to an exclusive credit card requires high net worth and an excellent credit score. You may also have to be a private banking client of the issuing bank.
If you want one of these cards, start building your wealth slowly. Doing so involves mastering financial principles such as saving, investing and using credit responsibly.