Most credit cards try to be our friends. We receive emails, post, web adverts inviting us to apply. But there’s a more exclusive range out there that you can’t apply for – cards for the super-rich.
Oh how the other half live. While we “civilians” are robbing Peter to pay Paul, the wealthy are laughing all the way to the bank with their exclusive, invitation only credit cards.
Here’s a selection of the most exclusive cards out there, aimed solely at those with the cash to splash.
Coutts Purple World MasterCard
Take the Coutts Purple World MasterCard, a credit card from the private bank best known for holding the Queen’s accounts.
This purple piece of plastic is designed by British designer Ozwald Boateng and is available by invitation only.
It’s actually a charge card which means that the balance has to be repaid monthly. But it has an initial spending limit of £20,000.
Coutts says benefits include: “... a high monthly spending limit, concierge service, worldwide annual travel insurance and access to over 600 executive airport lounges.”
The 24/7 concierge service can help you with flight information, chartering a yacht and finding “cleaners, gardeners and nannies” – just what you need when your wealth runs into millions.
It has an annual fee of £350 but this is waived if you spend more than £50,000 a year on the card.
Harrods American Express card
Yes, an invitation-only charge card from one of the world’s most famous department stores.
Like the Coutts card it does have an annual fee, although it’s a bit less at just £150 a year.
Perks include a concierge-assisted luxury personal shopping experience at Harrods. I imagine this is in a different league to a personal shopper at Debenhams.
The personal shopping perk has a £2,500 minimum spend, which probably isn’t a hard requirement to meet if you’re an Arab sheikh or Russian oligarch.
Harrods isn’t above offering reward points to cardholders either.
You receive points with every purchase and 500 points gives you £5 to spend in store. Rich or poor, I guess we’re all a sucker for a reward point or two.
What’s more, spend more than £40,000 on your Harrods American Express Card in any given year, and you can redeem them for a night at the Ritz hotel in Paris.
J.P. Morgan Palladium card
Even in the super-rich card market providers are trying to outdo each other, as demonstrated by a familiar name across the Atlantic, J.P. Morgan, and its Palladium card.
The card is made from palladium metal – a rare silver-coloured metal that resembles platinum – and the cardholder’s signature and account number is lasered into the metal.
There’s no spending limit but there’s a price to pay for such free rein - apparently, the typical cardholder will have an estimated £18.6 million in savings.
What’s in a name?
Even when it comes to the mass market it seems we’re all a sucker for a bit of card exclusivity.
Barclays has a number of platinum cards on the market at the moment and even Vanquis – which offers cards aimed at those with a bad credit rating – have a gold card offering.
The right card for you
But, as always, you should only be swayed by a card’s benefits and not its name.
Kevin Bray, banking expert at financial analysis firm Defaqto, says: “The key is for people to choose a card that fits their circumstances.
“However, the benefits offered by credit cards vary widely so it’s important to focus on the features that are most important to you when comparing the options to take advantage of the best offers available.”
So if you pay your bill in full every month a cashback credit card may be the one for you.
If you maintain a balance on your card, you should opt for a card with a low APR, or consider a card offering 0 per cent interest on balance transfers.
Still, we can all dream about earning as much as the Lord Sugars and David Beckhams of this world so that we’re invited to apply for a credit card made out of precious metal.