Most Exclusive Credit Cards Of 2022 – Forbes Advisor


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Exclusive credit cards are often thought of hand-in-hand with wealth and privilege. Owning one of the most exclusive cards in the world isn’t just about having the bank account to back it up. Many of these swank cards are invite-only and there’s little-to-no confirmed information about what exactly it takes to score an invitation to apply.

For the fortunate few who do receive an invite, the benefits of owning one of these status-symbol cards are designed to appeal to those who already live the high life. Special concierge services, access to private planes and VIP experiences can all be benefits of card ownership, depending on the particular card. Here’s what to know about some of the most exclusive cards in the world.

Related: Best Credit Cards Of 2022

Exclusive Credit Cards That Require an Invitation

The following cards are so exclusive, you’ll have to be invited to apply. If you do have the clout to score an invitation for an application, you’ll not only get the chance to show your elite status whenever it’s time to pay a bill, you’ll also get elite perks and benefits like concierge services to cater to your whims, access to private planes and VIP services to select private and live events.

Premium Credit Cards That You Can Apply For

If you’re in the market for a high-end credit card that can help unlock access to exclusive experiences like premium airport lounge access, airline ticket upgrades or elite status with airlines and hotels, there are options that don’t require an invitation. If you have excellent credit and are willing to fork over a premium annual fee, you can simply apply to have one of these cards added to your wallet. Here are some of Forbes Advisor’s top picks for premium credit cards you can apply for.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

5X Reward Rate

Earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel; earn 5 Membership Rewards perRead More

Welcome Bonus

Earn 100,000 points

Regular APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Credit Score

Excellent/Good (700 – 749)

Why We Picked It

The Platinum Card is destined for frequent travelers who intend to fully leverage the rich set of luxury travel benefits and Platinum Concierge service. In the right hands, the classic status card’s staggering annual fee is well justified.

Pros & Cons

  • High reward potential on flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • Multiple credits can help justify the fee
  • Comprehensive airport lounge access
  • Luxury travel benefits and elite status with Hilton and Marriott with enrollment
  • Very high annual fee
  • Maximizing the statement credits takes some work and could be unworkable for many
  • Reward rate outside of travel is sub-par for a premium card

Card Details

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. And if you fly, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Up to 10x Reward Rate

Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travelRead More

Welcome Bonus

60,000 bonus points

Regular APR

19.24% – 26.24% Variable

Credit Score

Excellent (750 – 850)

Why We Picked It

This card offers superior points earning rates if you spend frequently on travel and dining out. The $300 travel credit justifies much of the annual fee, and redeeming points for travel on Chase Ultimate Rewards or when using the Pay Yourself Back feature nets you a 50% bonus.

Pros & Cons

  • $300 annual travel credit is incredibly flexible
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem points for travel through Chase, or for select purchases through Pay Yourself Back℠  program
  • Points transfer to valuable airline and hotel partners
  • High annual fee
  • High variable APR on purchases
  • Excellent credit recommended

Card Details

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Up to 10X Reward Rate

Earn 2 miles per dollar on all eligible purchases and 5 miles per dollar on flights and 10 miles perRead More

Welcome Bonus

75,000 miles

Regular APR

18.49% – 25.49% (Variable)

Credit Score

Excellent (750 – 850)

Why We Picked It

Capital One’s most premium travel card is packed with extras that put it firmly in competition with other upscale credit cards, but at an annual fee that leaves the others far behind.

Pros & Cons

  • Annual fee lower than others in its category
  • Annual travel credit and anniversary miles alone could justify the annual fee
  • Miles are easy to earn and easy to use
  • Lack of domestic airline and upscale hotel travel partners
  • Capital One lounge network in its infancy
  • Lack of hotel status benefits

Card Details

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

Mastercard® Gold Card™ *

Mastercard® Gold Card™

Up to 2X Reward Rate

2% value for Airfare Redemptions. 2% value fir Cash Back Redemptions

Annual Fee

$995 ($295 for each Authorized User added to the account)

Regular APR

15.74% variable

Credit Score

Excellent (750 – 850)

Why We Picked It

If what your card is made of is more important than what it does for you, consider the Mastercard Gold Card. Just remember, Mr. T’s jewelry is shiny, too.

Pros & Cons

  • 2% of spend cash back and travel redemptions (earned as 1 point per dollar spent)
  • $200 annual airline credit
  • $100 Global entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No welcome bonus
  • High $995 annual fee
  • Additional $295 per-authorized-user annual fee
  • Ostentatious to the point of being tacky

Card Details

  • 24K-Gold Plated – Patented Card Design
  • Luxury Card Rewards Program
  • 2% Value for Airfare Redemptions
  • 2% Value for Cash Back Redemptions
  • 24-7 Luxury Card Concierge™
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel Benefits
  • $200 Annual Airline Credit Toward Qualifying Purchases
  • $100 Global Entry Application Fee Credit
  • Luxury Gifts
  • Members-Only LUXURY MAGAZINE
  • Annual Fee: $995 ($295 for each Authorized User)
  • 15.74% variable APR on Purchases and Transfers
  • 0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles on balance transfers made in the first 45 days after account opening; After intro will be 15.24% variable

Mastercard® Black Card™ *

Mastercard® Black Card™

Up to 2X Reward Rate

2% Value for Airfare Redemptions; 1.5% Value for Cash Back Redemptions

Annual Fee

$495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)

Regular APR

16.49% variable

Credit Score

Excellent (750 – 850)

Why We Picked It

With an annual fee on par with most top-tier cards, you ought to expect great things from the Mastercard® Black Card™, but it falls short on delivering rewards. This card is ideal for someone with excellent credit and an appetite for luxury experiences and status, but if earning rewards is paramount, look to another premium card with a better earnings rate.

Pros & Cons

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Decent reward redemption rates of 1.5% and 2%, depending on redemption type
  • Various travel perks like TSA PreCheck and Global Entry credits
  • Introductory APR on balance transfers
  • $495 annual fee
  • $195 authorized user fee
  • Rewards earnings and perks don’t compare well to other high annual fee cards
  • High 3% balance transfer fee

Card Details

  • Stainless Steel – Patented Card Design
  • Luxury Card Rewards Program
  • 2% Value for Airfare Redemptions
  • 1.5% Value for Cash Back Redemptions
  • 24-7 Luxury Card Concierge™
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel Benefits
  • $100 Annual Airline Credit Toward Qualifying Purchases
  • $100 Global Entry Application Fee Credit
  • Luxury Gifts
  • Members-Only LUXURY MAGAZINE
  • Annual Fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User)
  • 0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles on balance transfers made in the first 45 days after account opening; After intro will be 16.49%

How To Get Exclusive Credit Cards

There are no official steps to take in order to score an invite to a card like the Centurion® Card from American Express*. In most cases, it requires exceptional wealth and significant annual spending on your existing credit card. For example, American Express is rumored to only extend invitations for the Amex Centurion Card to those who already carry The Platinum Card® from American Express and spend a minimum of $250,000 a year on the card. Even so, that doesn’t mean everyone who can check those two boxes will be invited to apply. That’s part of the mystique and appeal that makes this card—and others like it—so exclusive.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The term “black card” has come to symbolize an ultra-exclusive high-end credit card, referenced in pop culture as the ultimate status symbol. In the U.S., a black card is typically synonymous with the Centurion® Card from American Express*, a card both elusive and exclusive, with invitations to apply extended only to a select few based on unknown criteria.

What is the most prestigious credit card?

One of the world’s most prestigious credit cards is the Centurion® Card from American Express*. Though there may be other cards with more elaborate benefits, those cards are kept well under wraps. The Centurion card offers elite perks you can only dream of while still being relatively well-known, a combination that makes it particularly prestigions.

What makes a credit card exclusive?

Most credit cards you can apply for, although some may not be attainable for everyone. For example, most high-end premium rewards cards are only available to those with excellent credit and a strong financial history. But applications for the most exclusive credit cards are by invitation only, meaning you have to be selected to apply. Rumors abound as to who gets invited to apply for one of these cards but the details have never been confirmed.

What card do billionaires use?

The honest answer is that not all billionaires use the same credit card. The most exclusive credit cards may require extraordinary, pre-existing banking relationships. For example, the Coutts Silk Charge Card* is only available to Coutts’ clients. Other cards like the Dubai First Royale Mastercard* are rumored to be reserved for the ultra-wealthy specifically living in the United Arab Emirates.

That said, it’s most likely that billionaires use exclusive cards not available to the general public.




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