The 5 most exclusive credit cards

The 5 most exclusive credit cards The 5 most exclusive credit cards Image:

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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Dubai First Royale MasterCard Most luxurious perks and no credit limit
Centurion® Card from American Express Highest annual fee
The Black Chairman Card from Citigroup Best for invites to special events
Mastercard® Gold Card™ Most expensive card design
Platinum Card® from American Express Best for travel

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 five most exclusive credit cards and find out if they’re really worth the hype.

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 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.

The 5 most exclusive credit cards

Dubai First Royale MasterCard

What makes this card exclusive

The card isn’t available to the general public and is by invitation only. You may also have to live in Dubai in order to have a chance of qualifying.

What makes it special

Cardholders have access to a relationship manager and “Royale lifestyle management.”

Dubai First Royale MasterCard is one of the most elite credit cards in the world. This card is offered by Dubai First, a consumer finance company based in the UAE. According to its website, the card is “Desired by many but attainable by only a select few…”

To emphasize its commitment to luxury, the card has a small, embedded diamond crest and comes with:

  • A dedicated relationship manager for each card member. Generally, the relationship manager’s job is to cater to the customer’s every whim and keep him or her happy.
  • Royale lifestyle management. This card offers a Royale Lifestyle Manager who can help you book private excursions, exotic trips and more — all at your leisure, 24 hours a day.

This is one of the most exclusive cards because of its limited availability. The annual fee and interest rates are unlisted on their website but rates tend to run high with most luxury cards. In order to get this card, you must be personally invited by Dubai First.

Centurion® Card from American Express

What makes this card exclusive

It’s an invite-only card associated with a high status.

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.

This by-invitation-only credit card is tough to get. Though the American Express website provides little information about the eligibility requirements or the card benefits, it’s believed that members must charge in the six figures each year and be an existing American Express customer to get an invitation for the card.

The “black card” offers members the following perks:

  • Exclusive benefits and upgrades related to travel, dining and more.
  • Membership Rewards® points.
  • And more… only the select few are in the know.

The perks of the card come at a hefty cost — currently, there’s a $7,500 initiation fee and an annual fee of $2,500.

Chairman Card® by Citi

What makes this card exclusive

This card is reserved for certain Citigroup customers.

What makes it special

It offers a high credit limit, travel perks and invite-only events.

When it comes to the most exclusive credit cards, black is the gold standard. And Citigroup has its own exclusive “black card” — Chairman Card® from Citigroup.

There is not a lot of available information about this card – it’s reported to be only for those wealthy individuals who are part of Citigroup’s private banking and investing units. The card’s mysterious website touts that it offers “Exciting privileges. Outstanding Service.”

This exclusive credit card is rumored to come with the following perks:

  • A $300,000 credit limit.
  • 24/7 access to concierge service.
  • Access to airport lounges and travel upgrades.
  • Ticket protection.
  • Special access to invite-only events curated for cardholders through Citi® Private Pass BEYOND®.

Mastercard® Gold Card™

From our partner

Mastercard® Gold Card™

From cardholders in the last year

What makes this card exclusive

The high annual fee makes this card an exclusive luxury for those who can afford it.

What makes it special

The card is plated in real gold.

The Mastercard® Gold Card™ is not just any credit card as it’s plated in 24-karat gold (yes, really). Like the Centurion® Card from American Express, the eligibility requirements remain hush-hush, but the benefits offer a high level of luxury for customers.

The card comes with these perks:

  • A concierge service.
  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit.
  • $200 annual airline credit toward qualifying purchases.
  • Double points when redeeming for airfare.
  • A subscription to Luxury magazine.
  • Exclusive gifts from recognized companies.
  • 2 percent value for cash back.

The downside? The card has a steep annual fee of $995 per year, plus $295 for each authorized user added to the account.

Platinum Card® from American Express

From our partner

Platinum Card® from American Express

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

What makes this card exclusive

It has a high annual fee ($550).

What makes it special

The card offers great travel perks, invite-only events and Uber rides.

American Express is known for offering some of the most exclusive credit cards on the market. Aside from its “black card,” it also offers the Platinum Card®, which provides cardholders access to an array of perks.

Members can use the American Express Global Lounge Collection℠, which includes access to more than 1,000 airport lounges (including proprietary lounge locations) across 120 countries. Cardholders also receive up to $200 in airline credits annually for baggage and other incidental travel fees at a qualifying airline of their choice.

Using this card, members can use their special concierge service to arrange transportation, tickets for shows, gifts and more. In addition, cardholders get exclusive invites to private events that are for members only.

In March 2017, American Express announced that the Platinum Card® was getting a makeover and boosting some of its benefits, including:

  • Up to $200 in Uber credits each year for Basic Card Members.
  • Additional global events.
  • Five Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent on eligible purchases.

These extra perks will come at a cost though, as in March 2017 the annual fee rose from $450 to $550.


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 and get into credit card debt.


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