Credit cards of the rich and famous
If you have one of these cards, you probably don't normally read a personal-finance site.
What benefits don't the wealthy get these days? According to The New York Times, they even get VIP service from the major credit bureaus. (While the rest of us get limited help from a contracted overseas customer-service rep when we call about errors on our credit reports, these folks get immediate, personalized, stateside attention, the article says.)
But if you really want to show who's who, you want to present the right type of plastic or, in some cases, titanium. Creditcents, the blog at Creditnet.com, has a rundown on the "7 elite credit cards for the rich and famous."
The Black Card -- formally called the American Express Centurion Card -- is probably the best known. For a $5,000 initiation fee, plus a $2,500 annual fee -- oh, the perks:
Benefits: Everything included in the Platinum program, personal concierge service, complimentary companion airline tickets with certain air fares, dedicated personal shoppers, first-class upgrades, one free night at most Mandarin Oriental Hotels with paid stay, privileges at several luxury hotel chains, complimentary enrollment in select car rental programs, and VIP access to celebrity events.
You can get this card when they invite you to apply.
The benefits of the American Express Platinum Card aren't too shabby either. Kevin Fleming from CreditShout.com says, "The bar-setter for elite cards, the Platinum Card From American Express has been showing rich people a good time since 1984."
Concierge service, upgrades of all sorts, access to VIP airport lounges, hotels and events, and attention from people who wouldn't normally give you the time of day are common features of elite cards. So are extra warranty protection, expanded travel insurance and other enhancements. Post continues after video.
Here are a few details about some of the other cards on the list:
- A $1 million account with Coutts may get you the Coutts World Card. (It's invitation-only.) The $500 annual fee is waived if you charge $100,000 in a year.
- You don't need to be the head of a company to get the Citi Chairman American Express Card, but you do need a credit score of 700 or higher. Annual fee: $500. It comes with emergency translation services, among many other perks. (This card apparently is no longer available to new customers. Oh, shucks.)
- The Bank of America Accolades Card is heavy on VIP access and upgrades, and offers "emergency medical evacuation," Creditcents says. The annual fee is a modest $295.
- Barclays has the other black card -- the Visa Black Card -- with an annual fee of $495. Creditcents says:
How to get one: You must be in the top 1% of income earners in the United States, have a proven credit history of spending a minimum of $50,000 per year, and maintain an excellent credit score.
- Finally, the U.S. Bank Stratus Rewards is another invitation-only card, known as the White Card. The benefits include access to "unique luxury experiences" and private jets, and even $5,000 in lost luggage insurance -- which is likely more than the value of my luggage and entire wardrobe combined. The annual fee is a steep $1,500.
We're not saying you should make one of these cards your goal. Sometimes it's just fun to read about how life is for people like the richest 1%, who, by the way, have 35.6% of the nation's wealth. (In fact, their share actually increased between 2007 and the beginning of 2010, The Wall Street Journal reports. "Meanwhile, share of national wealth held by the bottom 90% fell to 25% from 27%.")
Besides, do you really need a card like one of the above? CreditCards.com says probably not.
Many banks issue cards with no annual fee that also come with excellent customer service, heightened insurance and warrantee protection and a decent load of enticing travel and shopping rewards.
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