The most exclusive credit cards

Young woman sitting in first class on an airplane and smiling because she knows that the 5 most exclusive credit cards areImage: Young woman sitting in first class on an airplane and smiling because she knows that the 5 most exclusive credit cards are

In a Nutshell

Here’s a roundup of the most exclusive credit cards with the most lavish perks. Learn how to get approved for one and if they’re really worth it.
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So you want an exclusive credit card?

For many people, credit cards may simply be a means to an end, used for the occasional purchase. But for a select group of people with strong credit scores and a lot of spending money, a variety of exclusive credit cards may be available — sometimes by invitation only.

These exclusive credit cards come with larger-than-life perks, such as personalized concierge service and luxurious gifts, but they also come at a cost. Many of these exclusive credit cards have high annual fees, and they may not even be available to the general public.

Read on to learn about the three most-exclusive credit cards and find out if they’re really worth the hype.

Mastercard® Gold Card™

From our partner

Mastercard® Gold Card™

3.1 out of 5

From cardholders in the last year

See details, rates & fees

What makes it special

The Mastercard® Gold Card™ is not just any credit card — it’s plated in 24-karat gold (yes, really).

The card comes with the following perks:

  • A concierge service
  • Up to a $100 application fee credit for the cost of TSA Precheck or Global Entry
  • Up to $200 in annual airline credits toward qualifying purchases
  • 2% value when redeeming for airfare through or by calling the customer service line
  • 2% value for cash back redemptions

The downside? The card has a steep annual fee of $995; $295 for each additional user.

Platinum Card® from American Express

What makes it special

Platinum Card® from American Express offers great travel perks and Uber rides.

American Express is known for offering some of the most exclusive cards on the market. It also offers the Platinum Card® from American Express, which provides cardholders access to an array of perks.

Members can use the American Express Global Lounge Collection℠, which includes access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries.

Other benefits include …

  • Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber credits each year for Basic Card Members
  • Five Membership Rewards® points per $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year, then one point per $1), and on prepaid hotels booked through

But it has a high annual fee ($695).

Centurion® Card from American Express

What makes it special

It offers cardholders luxurious perks and benefits.

Centurion® Card from American Express, also known as the “black card,” has started some of the greatest urban legends in credit card history. And to this day, it’s still shrouded in mystery. The American Express website provides little information about the eligibility requirements or the card benefits.

The perks of the card come at a hefty cost — currently, there’s a $10,000 initiation fee and an annual fee of $5,000.

Our methodology

We handpicked these credit cards and based their level of exclusivity on the following:

  • Availability — By nature, exclusive cards aren’t available to many people. Some of these cards are invite-only.
  • Annual fee The higher the annual fee, the less likely average consumers can afford the card.
  • Benefits These cards offer exclusive benefits for cardholders that are unmatched when compared to “regular credit cards.” After all, not many of us can have our own concierge at our service 24/7.
  • Exclusive perks Not only do these exclusive cards offer great benefits, but they offer exclusive perks to invite-only events, specialized gifts and more.
  • Reviews Based on our research, these cards are the cream of the crop and the costs are worth the rewards.

Bottom line: Are exclusive credit cards worth it?

What separates the most exclusive credit cards from the rest of the pack? Usually, it’s part urban legend and part brilliant marketing. While most of these prestigious credit cards are unattainable for regular folks, they are available for wealthy individuals at the higher echelon of society.

You can apply for some of these cards on your own — if you can stomach the annual fees.

The exclusivity of these cards can mean access to a variety of perks, luxuries and special events, as well as a higher credit limit. It can carry some status as well.

Review how the perks and bonuses shape up against the cost. Depending on your situation, some of these perks could be worth the cost. On the other hand, you don’t want to be stuck with a card you can’t afford.

About the author: Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer and editor currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy and empowering people to take control of their finances. Her work has been f… Read more.