Luxury and exclusive credit cards are a market in and of themselves. They have high annual fees and, in many cases, require invitations to join. From the Platinum Card and Centurion Card from American Express to the J.P. Morgan Reserve card, these credit cards for the ultra-wealthy can be incredibly hard to get. However, their perks — such as access to high-value rewards, virtually non-existent credit and spending limits, and access to airport lounges and concierge services — can be worth the fees for the select few who are eligible to become cardholders.
Many of us have heard about luxury credit cards in song lyrics or seen them used casually in movies and on television. Maybe you’ve dreamed about the possibility of one day getting to see these credit cards in person or even using one yourself. But have you ever wondered what kinds of premium credit cards might be available or thought about what being a cardholder of an exclusive credit card entails?
To qualify for these credit cards — which include the famous Amex Black Card, Coutts Silk Card, and Dubai First Royale Mastercard, which royal family members are known to use — requires meeting a specific set of criteria, and not all of them are created equal. Some cards are invitation-only, some come with exclusive rewards and privileges, and some require you to invest millions with the issuing bank before you can even think of applying. Let’s break down the pros and cons of some of these hard-to-get credit cards and shed some light on what exactly makes them so special and exclusive.
What are the hardest credit cards to get approved for?
There are certain credit cards that are available only to a select group of consumers or business owners, who must meet strict requirements in order to get approved. In many cases, a cardholder must be invited to apply by the card issuer.
If you’re looking for the hardest credit cards to get, any of the following exclusive credit cards certainly qualify:
American Express Platinum Card
The Platinum Card from American Express is well regarded for its travel rewards. Cardholders can gain airport lounge access in over 1,000 airports around the world as part of the American Express Global Lounge Collection, including all American Express Centurion Lounge locations and the 45 Delta Sky Club lounges.
New applicants who spend at least $6,000 within the first six months of opening an account earn a welcome bonus of 100,000 points. Additionally, you’ll gain $200 in credits for fees on a preselected airline each year and up to $200 per year in free Uber rides.
This card requires at least good credit for approval and comes with a $695 annual fee.
American Express Centurion Card
The Centurion Card from American Express is most commonly known as the Amex Black Card. It’s available by invitation only, and you reportedly need to charge at least $250,000 to your credit card per year to even be eligible. There’s also a $10,000 initiation fee and an incredibly high annual fee of $5,000.
There is not much publicly known about this card, which is typically only available to the super-rich and famous. Even the American Express website provides little information about the card’s eligibility requirements or benefits.
American Express Gold Card
The Gold Card from American Express is best suited for those who like to dine out, with 4X Membership Rewards points at both restaurants and supermarkets, as well as a $120-a-year dining credit. You can also earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months.
The Gold Card is certainly a more accessible option compared to other American Express offerings, also it does come with a high annual fee of $250.
American Express Business Platinum Card
The Business Platinum Card from American Express is one of the most exclusive credit cards in the business world. It comes with an annual fee of $695, but you can earn 120,000 points after you spend $15,000 within three months of opening an account. Perks for cardholders also include earning one to five points per dollar spent on purchases and rebates on points redeemed for airfare.
J.P. Morgan Reserve Credit Card
The J.P. Morgan Reserve Credit Card is limited to customers with excellent credit who have at least $10 million in assets under management by J.P. Morgan Private Bank. This card offers up to $300 in credits for travel purchases each year, as well as one to ten points per dollar spent on eligible purchases. You’ll also get 24/7 access to the Visa Infinite Concierge service.
This card has an annual fee of $550 and is available by invitation only.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Unlike many of the other cards on this list, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is available to the general public. However, you do need an excellent credit score to get approved, and the card has a $395 annual fee. With tons of available travel rewards, this card is easily considered prestigious, as you’d need to be able to afford plenty of trips to truly take advantage of the perks.
If you spend $4,000 in your first three months, Capital One Venture X offers an initial bonus of 75,000 miles, which is worth $750 in travel. The card also offers up to $300 in statement credits each year for Capital One Travel bookingsidget.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with a $550 annual fee and requires an excellent credit score to qualify. Benefits include outstanding travel perks, including access to over 1,300 airport lounges, the Visa Infinite Concierge service, and a credit for up to $300 in travel purchases each year.
Further, if you spend at least $4,000 within three months of opening your account, you’ll also earn 60,000 points, which can be redeemed for $900 in travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card
The Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card is one of the most difficult business credit cards to qualify for. Perks include 1.5% cash back on all purchases and an initial bonus of $1,000 for spending $25,000 within three months of opening an account.
It’s a difficult card to get approved for, and you may find it tough to meet the initial bonus spending requirement. However, there’s no annual fee for the first year, and after that, you’ll only pay $125 a year.
Simmons Bank Visa Card
The Simmons Bank Visa Card is one of the more accessible of the exclusive credit cards on this list. Aside from no annual fee, there’s a 0% interest APR for balance transfers, and you can get up to $1,000,000 in travel accident insurance at no additional cost. That said, you do need an excellent credit score to qualify for this card.
Dubai First Royale Mastercard
This could be the single most exclusive credit card in the world, with only about 200 cardholders in the world as of 2022. This invite-only credit card is rumored to be held by members of the Dubai and Saudi royal families. The Dubai First Royale Mastercard is also rumored to have an annual fee of around $2,000, no spending limit, and 24/7 access to a concierge service.
Mastercard Black Card
The Mastercard Black Card is one of the few luxury credit cards you can actually apply for, although the $495 annual fee doesn’t make it accessible for everyone. It comes with a range of travel perks, including a $100 annual airline credit, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, and Priority Pass Select lounge membership.
There’s also a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of opening the account, and a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, depending on whichever is greater.
Luxury Card Mastercard Gold Card
As with the Mastercard Black Card, you can apply for the Luxury Card Mastercard Gold Card, although it does come with a $995 annual fee. The card is front-plated with 24-karat gold and offers access to perks like global luggage delivery, chauffeured transportation, and airport representatives who can fast-track you through customs.
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card is only available to existing U.S. Bank customers and has an annual fee of $400. It comes with $325 in annual statement credit toward travel and dining purchases and offers lucrative rewards opportunities, including five points per dollar spent on car rentals and prepaid hotels booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center, three points per dollar spent on eligible travel and mobile wallet spending, and one point per dollar spent on everything else.
You can obtain this card with slightly less than excellent credit scores; however, it’s still considered a premium credit card.
Coutts Silk Credit Card
The Coutts Silk Credit Card is offered by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and is available to high-net-worth clients exclusively. Its prospective client questionnaire includes a question asking whether you’ll bring investable assets to Coutts totaling more than one million pounds.
The card has no annual or foreign transaction fees and allows you to enter airport lounges worldwide. You can also get access to exclusive events and experiences through the Coutts signature loyalty program and 24/7 service from Coutts Concierge.
Merrill Lynch Octave Black Card
The Merrill Lynch Octave Black Card is an invitation-only credit card that caters to some of the wealthiest clients on the bank’s books. Stamped with an American Express logo, this card requires you to have at least $10 million in a Merrill Lynch account to qualify. The card also has a $950 annual fee and offers a $350 annual travel credit along with Delta Sky Club Executive Membership, private jet savings, and access to numerous airport concierges.
How can I qualify for one of the hardest credit cards to get?
There are three main factors credit card issuers will look at to determine if you qualify for the most exclusive credit cards: your income, your credit history, and your age.
Minimum income requirement
Although some of the cards on this list may not mention a minimum income requirement on their application page, it’s likely to be a factor when the issuer is deciding whether to approve you for your desired card.
The Centurion Card from American Express, for example, requires you meet a minimum spending requirement to even be considered for the card, meaning you likely need a high income level to be approved. Most of these premium cards also have a high annual fee, which won’t be worth paying unless you make a lot of money.
Credit history length
All of the most exclusive credit cards will require you to have an excellent credit score and a positive credit history in order to qualify. To improve your credit, you need to make your monthly payments on time and in full as much as possible. The better your credit, the better your chances of qualifying for a premium credit card.
The age limit for credit cards in the United States is either 18 or 21 years old, depending on the credit card issuer. You’ll need to meet this minimum age requirement to start qualifying for credit cards. Note that it’s unlikely you will be able to qualify for any prestigious credit cards if you have recently reached the age limit, as you still need to build up a credit history.
What are the benefits of qualifying for one of the hardest credit cards to get?
The benefits of having one of the luxury credit cards listed here can be worth paying the high annual fees and spending the money required to earn a sign-up bonus. Being a cardholder of one of the most exclusive credit cards can open up your world to new experiences and opportunities. Perks of these credit cards include:
- Travel credits
- Prepaid fine hotels
- Hotel loyalty programs access
- Flight bonuses
- Luxury shopping
- Cash back bonuses
Are exclusive credit cards worth it?
If you believe its many prestigious perks outweigh its high annual fee and sign-up bonus threshold, an exclusive credit card can absolutely be worth it. In addition to the benefits that come with the card itself, it can also be good for building an excellent credit score, which in turn is useful for obtaining loans, qualifying for a mortgage, and more.
However, if you aren’t comfortable with the annual fees, or if your financial outlook changes and you think you may have trouble making monthly payments, you may want to opt for a more accessible card instead.
What is a credit card?
As you likely know, a credit card is a thin, rectangular piece of plastic or metal issued by a bank or other financial institution that allows you to borrow funds to pay for goods and services. Credit cards require cardholders to pay back the borrowed money plus any applicable interest, as well as any additional agreed-upon charges, either in full by the billing date or over a set period of time.
How do I qualify for a credit card?
To qualify for a credit card, you’ll need to meet several requirements. First, you must be at least 21 years old. You also need to be able to provide proof of income or a minimum amount of assets to show you have the ability to make your minimum monthly payments.
After meeting these two main requirements, you should take a look at a variety of credit cards to decide which one is right for you. Depending on your income and credit history, you may not qualify for certain cards.
What is the hardest credit card to get?
The most difficult credit card to get is the Centurion Card from American Express. Known by its more popular name, the Amex Black Card, it’s available by invitation only, and you reportedly need to spend at least $250,000 annually to be approved.
Which is the rarest credit card?
The rarest credit card is the Dubai First Royale Mastercard. Only about 200 people in the world have one, many of them members of the Dubai and Saudi royal families.
What is the highest level in credit cards?
The highest level of credit cards is typically a platinum card or titanium card. Credit cards made from these materials are often exclusive credit cards that come with high annual fees and, in some cases, are only available by invitation.
What is a Black Card limit?
The Centurion Card from American Express, also known as the Amex Black Card, does not have a credit limit or spending limit. The clients who qualify for this card, which is available by invitation only, are highly wealthy and have an outstanding credit history, meaning they pose a low risk of missing their monthly payments.
Is the Amex Gold Card hard to get?
The Gold Card from American Express is considered an exclusive credit card; however, it is not as hard to get as a Platinum Card. With a $250 annual fee, it is more accessible than certain prestigious cards that have annual fees in the high hundreds or thousands of dollars. The Gold Card is also one of the best rewards credit cards for dining out.
What card do billionaires use?
All of the cards listed here are used by wealthy consumers, including millionaires and billionaires. That said, the Centurion Card from American Express, the Dubai First Royale Mastercard, the Merrill Lynch Octave Black Card, and the Coutts Silk Credit Card are among the most exclusive options on the credit card market, with availability only by invitation and high spending requirements for approval.
- A credit card is issued by a financial institution and allows cardholders to borrow funds that can then be used to pay for goods and services. Credit cards require cardholders to pay back the borrowed money plus applicable interest.
- To qualify for a credit card, you must be at least 21 years old and be able to provide proof of income or a minimum amount of assets that shows you will be able to meet your minimum monthly payments.
- The hardest credit cards to get include the Platinum Card, Centurion Card, Business Platinum Card, and Gold Card from American Express; the J.P. Morgan Reserve credit card; the Capital One Venture X Rewards credit card; the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card; the Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card; the Simmons Bank Visa Card; the Dubai First Royale Mastercard; the Mastercard Black Card; the Luxury Card Mastercard Gold Card; the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card; the Coutts Silk Credit Card; and the Merrill Lynch Octave Black Card.
- Benefits of qualifying for these exclusive credit cards include travel credits, prepaid fine hotels, hotel loyalty program access, flight bonuses, luxury shopping, and cash-back bonuses.
Ready to apply for your own credit card? Use SuperMoney’s comparison tools to find the best credit cards for you!