Credit Cards For The Super Rich
The super rich have different needs than the rest of us. While you might need to get free travel insurance on your flight, they need to hire a private jet at a moment’s notice with their credit card. These ultra-high-net-worth individuals look for “special access, unparalleled benefits, and enhanced customer experience” when choosing a credit card, according to a survey by the Luxury Institute. So what are the credit cards for the super rich? Here are five of the most high-status, exclusive credit cards that you might find in their wallets:
1. American Express Centurion Card
“The Black Card” is the most popular exclusive card out there, the one everyone’s heard of. In the early 1980s, rumors of a super-secret high-end American Express “black card” started going around. Eventually, American Express decided to cash in on the rumor, making the Centurion Card in 1999 available for only its richest customers. It’s black because of the anodized titanium the card is made out of.
How do you get a Centurion Card? Well, you don’t apply for one. The Wall Street Journal reported that it’s only available to customers who charge more than $250,000 (P11.05 million) a year. The initiation fee is $7,500 (P331,624), and the yearly fee is $2,500 (P110,541). Yikes.
But what do you get for all these fees? Just about anything you want. There’s no limit on the card, so you can charge, as one customer did in 2014, HK$281 million (P1.60 billion) to buy an ancient Chinese ceramic cup from Sotheby’s Hong Kong. For this purchase, Liu Yiqian won 422 million American Express points, which he can exchange for “28 million frequent flyer miles or about $180,000 (P7.96 million) worth of vouchers at Hong Kong retailer ParknShop,” according to Bloomberg Business.
Cardholders also get access to a whole host of ridiculous things, a lot of which American Express keeps secret, but some details are available out there. Want to rent a Formula One car? The concierge service can arrange that for you. Benefits differ from country to country, but it’s safe to say that almost everything is within your reach with the Centurion Card.
2. JP Morgan Palladium Card
Titanium cards too pedestrian? Try this card on for size — launched in 2009, it’s made of palladium and 23K gold. A Bloomberg report estimates that the materials of the card alone cost $1,000 (P44,216). Your name and signature are laser-etched onto the card. Classy.
Getting this might be even harder than getting a Centurion Card. To qualify for the Palladium Card, you need to have a private banker with JP Morgan, and the minimum for that is $1 million (P44.21 million), although Chase Private Clients can also qualify, lowering the minimum to $250,000 (P11.05 million). The annual fee, according to Dr Credit Card, is $595 (P26,308).
What benefits do you get? Well, you get 1 point for every dollar you spend on the card, and 2 for every dollar you spend on travel. And once you hit $100,000 (P4.42 million) in spending, you get a bonus 35,000 points. There are no foreign exchange fees, late fees, cash advance fees, or overdraft fees. You also get access to more than 600 airport lounges worldwide, and if you don’t want to fly with the plebs, you can use MarquisJet, the world’s largest fleet of private jets. There are many other benefits to holding this card, and you can cash in your points for skydiving lessons, free golf lessons with a pro, and other exclusive rewards. Also, did we mention it’s made of gold (and palladium)?
3. Dubai First Royale Card
Precious metals not doing it for you? How about precious gems? Not only is the Dubai First Royale Card trimmed with gold, but there’s a white .235-carat diamond smack dab in the middle of it.
Ibrahim al Ansari, chief executive of Dubai First, told The National that this is “the most exclusive credit card in the world”. It’s available to members of the royal family and people with ultra-high net worth. Not just any person can apply for these cards. You have to be invited, and the bank scouts clients from all over the world.
The bank has partnered with Quintessentially, a luxury services company, to provide dedicated concierge services for the super-rich who own this card. “What are their needs? It’s not money – it’s service,” al Ansari said. The concierge services can hook you up with tickets to the Oscars. For one customer, wanting to try the latest Porsche, the bank flew him out to Stuttgart, Germany so he could test-drive it.
Not only that, you even get 4% cash back on all purchases. And there are no annual fees, but there is an AED7,000 (P84,242) joining fee (as of 2011). Of course, there’s no spending limit, because if you’re the kind of guy who has a diamond in his credit card, you don’t need one.
The card prides itself on its top-notch service. “You ask for the moon and we try and get it,” al Ansari said. And you can probably charge the price of the actual moon to this card.
4. Coutts Silk Card
This charge card, launched by the private bank Coutts & Co. in 2013, is the bank’s “most prestigious and sought-after card”. The Silk card gives you access to a world-class concierge service which can help you with anything, from event management to flight reservations to recommending gifts that will blow away the recipient. They’ll even help you hire the best tutors for your kid.
Coutts & Co doesn’t expect its clients to do anything as plebeian as keeping track of their rewards points. Instead, every time you pass a spending threshold, they’ll send you a letter telling you to choose the reward you want. For a taste, at £25,000 (P1.70 million), you can get two bottles of Brice Bouzy Grand Cru Champagne 2002 and 2007, and at £100,000 (P6.80 million), you can get a private guided tour, tasting and lunch at Hush Heath Estate for two with The Vintner.
This card has a £30,000 (P2,04 million) per month spending limit, but you can raise it by talking to the bank. The annual fee is £350 (P23,812), which is practically a steal. This card isn’t actually made of silk, though, but it is inspired by silk patters from Chinese tapestries.
5. Citibank Ultima Infinite
Now for something a little closer to home. Offered in Singapore, India, the UAE, and Hong Kong, Citi Ultima Infinite cards are invite-only for the richest Citibank clients, and is the first exclusive card to be first offered in Asia. When the Ultima first launched, it was targeted to consumers in Singapore who were earning at least S$350,000 a year, but they changed this to consumers with minimum assets of S$5 million (P163.08 million) when they relaunched in 2010. In Singapore, the annual fee of this card is S$3,888 (P126,808), a lucky number. In Hong Kong, it’s, HK$23,800 (P135,674).
Each cardholder gets a dedicated Lifestyle Manager, who can help you with booking travel, getting tickets to exclusive events, and other prestigious perks. Your Lifestyle Manager will hand-deliver your card to you and have a chat with you to understand your needs so they can recommend events or opportunities that cater to your interests.
The benefits differ from country to country. But to give you an idea, if you’re a Hong Kong customer, you get 120,000 Asia Miles every year, enough for a round-trip business-class ticket from Hong Kong to London (valued at P335,422). And you get complimentary green fees on some of the region’s finest golf courses. Not too shabby.
These cards and their fantastic perks are a pipe dream for most of us ordinary folk. But do you really need 24/7 access to private jets anyway? Didn’t think so. For us, the regular cards with perks that suit our lifestyles will do just fine.