By Kelli B. Grant
A gold card just isn’t what it used to be, now that card companies are making premium cards available to, well, just about anyone.
But for shoppers looking for something truly exclusive to carry in their wallet, a card that keeps out the riffraff, say, banks have created new, super-premium cards. Among the contenders:
JP Morgan Palladium. Launched this spring for the financial services firm’s high-net-worth private banking clients, the card is made from an estimated $1,000 worth of actual palladium. For an annual fee of $595, the card offers no spending limit and a long list of benefits, including free first-class upgrades on British Airways when you buy a full-fare business-class ticket, a free hour of flight time with the purchase of a 25-hours at a partner company that charters private jets by the hour, unlimited access to many airport lounges… and two points per dollar spent on travel, one point per dollar on everything else.
Citi ThankYou Prestige. Also a no-spending-limit card, this represents the top tier of Citi’s three new premium cards. Perks include a free domestic or international companion ticket each year and automatic gold status at Hilton, which itself gets you upgraded to rooms on swankier “Executive floors,” free high-speed Internet and bonus points toward free nights, among other deals. The annual fee is $500, and cardholders also earn a point per dollar spent, plus anniversary bonuses of up to 4%, and a 30% bonus at gas stations, drugstores, supermarkets, commuter transportation and parking merchants. (Parking merchants? As if. The wealthy aren’t shelling out $100,000 for condo parking spots for nothing).
Of course there are other, longstanding uber-elite cards — American Express still offers its $2,500-per-year Centurion (aka. Black) card, and even the $450 Platinum card offers a long laundry list of benefits.
Feeling lucky? If you haven’t received an invitation (an oversight, we’re sure), these cards still allow for application by phone or web.