When the super rich use credit cards, they don't do it the same way as the rest of us.
Rather than standard credit limits and customer service hotlines, elite invite-only cards can come with unlimited credit lines and personal shoppers willing to track down just about anything.
Details are limited, but in order to get this high-profile plastic, the main thing you need is a well-padded bank account — and royal or celebrity status certainly doesn't hurt.
Queen Elizabeth II and Elton John have reportedly used the Coutts & Co.’s World Card, a highly prestigious card rumored to offer private after-hour shopping sessions wherever cardholders want. Kim Kardashian and Oprah Winfrey, meanwhile, have used the American Express Centurion, which is said to enable cardholders to buy anything they desire, no matter how seemingly inaccessible.
Here's a closer look at three of these exclusive credit cards and what they offer.
American Express declined to disclose many details about the Centurion, including how many cards it issues. But a representative noted that signing up requires a $7,500 initiation fee followed by a $2,500 annual fee, and said the card's benefits are customized to suit a cardholder’s lifestyle and needs.
Reports indicate that to score an invite you need to spend between $250,000 and $450,000 per year on another American Express card. And the Centurion is said to offer some of the same perks as the American Express Platinum, including Centurion lounge access and premier airline and hotel benefits.
But the card offers more than just that. The company goes to unbelievable lengths to please its clientele. The fact-checking site Snopes deemed the claim "American Express issues a special black card that allows its holders to buy anything" to be true.
Snopes cites a few famous examples to back up their stance. One cardholder wanted to purchase the horse that Kevin Costner rode in the 1990 film “Dances with Wolves,” so American Express located the animal in Mexico and delivered it to Europe. Another Centurion holder in London wanted sand from the Dead Sea for their child’s school project, so the company dispatched an employee by motorcycle to go get some.
The J.P. Morgan Reserve is the updated version of its better-known predecessor, The Chase Palladium, a card Barack Obama reportedly used. Bloomberg called it the credit card for the 1 percent of the 1 percent. To qualify for an invite, you need to be a member of the Chase Private Bank.
Private Bank membership is exclusive to wealthy clients who reportedly have at least $10 million in their accounts, though Chase declined to confirm this figure.
In many ways, the J.P. Morgan Reserve resembles the Chase Sapphire Reserve, a popular travel rewards card. It requires the same annual fee of $450 and offers a $300 travel credit. Plus, it has the same reward structure, promising 3 points for each dollar you spend on travel and restaurants and 1 point on all other purchases. Every point redeemed on travel is worth 1.5 cents. The perks are similar, too, and include Priority Pass Select lounge access, a Global TSA precheck credit and VIP access to events.
What distinguishes this card from the Sapphire Reserve is its exclusivity. It is primarily a status symbol, confirming your entry to one of the world's most select clubs.
The Dubai First Royale MasterCard is trimmed in real gold and has a .235-carat diamond embedded in its center.
The card requires an undisclosed annual fee that buys you a "dedicated relationship manager" who provides "royal lifestyle management," according to Dubai First. (The company, based in the United Arab Emirates, did not respond to requests for comment.)
"What do these clients require? What are their needs? It's not money — it's service. You ask for the moon, and we try and get it,” Dubai First CEO Ibrahim al Ansari told the National, an English-language newspaper based in the United Arab Emirates.
The Royale is rumored to have no credit limit and zero restrictions. "Whatever he or she wants to swipe it on, the transaction must go through. If the client likes a yacht on holiday, he or she should be able to buy it,” said Amit Marawah, Dubai First's former senior vice president and head of marketing and communications.
Only ultra-high-net-worth individuals have a chance at being invited, and the card is said to be perhaps the most exclusive in the world.
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