3 Credit Cards Millionaires Use

Here’s a glimpse of the higher-end of the credit card market.

There is a tremendous amount of variety in the credit card market, with products ranging from simple no-annual-fee credit cards with few frills, to credit cards with annual fees of several hundred dollars or more and the perks to justify the price tags. Here’s an overview of three of the higher-end credit cards in the market today — is one of them the right credit card for you?

The most exclusive credit card in the world

Known informally as the American Express “black card,” the Centurion® Card from American Express is considered by many to be the most exclusive and most feature-rich credit card in the world.

Available by invitation only and made out of anodized titanium, the Centurion® Card from American Express has a $2,500 annual fee per card, so if you want an additional card for your spouse, your annual fee is doubled. There is also a $7,500 one-time initiation fee. While the exact criteria to receive an invitation for the card aren’t made public, the consensus seems to be that you’ll need to spend and pay off at least $250,000 on other American Express credit cards annually.

The Centurion® card has no pre-set spending limit (like several other American Express charge cards), and there are reports of cardholders charging expensive purchases such as artwork, homes, and yachts to their accounts.

While the cardholder perks of the Centurion® Card from American Express are not officially made public, we do know a few. Cardholders get automatic status at several major airlines and hotel chains, such as Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion and Hilton HHonors Diamond status. Perhaps the most appealing benefit to cardholders is the Centurion® concierge service, which assists cardholders with requests ranging from the typical (dinner reservations, travel arrangements, and so on) to the bizarre.

The “junior black card” is more than enough for many wealthy individuals

Even if they can qualify for it, many wealthy consumers simply can’t justify the cost of the Centurion® card. This is especially true since the Platinum Card® from American Express offers many of the same benefits at a fraction of the cost.

With a $550 annual fee, the Platinum Card® from American Express offers benefits such as a $200 annual statement credit for airline incidentals, airport lounge access (including the Centurion® lounges), and elite status at certain hotel chains. Cardholders also get $200 in annual credits for Uber rides, given as a monthly credit, as well as a credit of up to $100 to reimburse the Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee. There’s also a concierge service, although they aren’t likely to jump through quite as many hoops as they would for Centurion® members.

Although a $550 annual fee is still expensive, it can be a justifiable cost for frequent travelers who use the benefits. For example, an individual membership to the Delta Sky Club airport lounges costs $495, so this benefit alone almost financially justifies the cost of the card — if you use it. When you add in the airline incidental credit, Uber credit, and global entry credit, it’s easy to see how some cardholders could get more than $550 of value out of the card.

Excellent perks at the finest hotels

For affluent consumers who frequently stay at luxury hotels, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card, which is issued by Chase, could be worth a look.

Cardholders receive automatic Gold Elite status for the first account year and can maintain their status by spending $10,000 on the card annually. Hotel benefits also include complementary upgrades to the Ritz-Carlton Club level three times per year, as well as a $100 hotel credit on paid stays of two nights or more. You’ll also earn five points per dollar on qualifying hotel stays, and two points per dollar on travel and restaurant charges.

Other benefits include a $300 annual travel credit, $100 savings on multi-passenger ticket purchases, access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide, and Global Entry application fee reimbursement. With a $450 annual fee, the card is actually priced rather reasonably for a high-end credit card.

If none of these cards is right for you

Not everyone needs a high-end credit card like these — not even all wealthy consumers. For many people, a more moderately priced travel credit card or cash-back rewards credit card is more than sufficient for their needs.

It’s also worth mentioning that competition among credit card issuers has never been higher, and that situation has produced some of the best sign-up bonus offers in history. So if you’re in the market for a new credit card, you might be surprised at the generous offers you can find.

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Matthew Frankel owns shares of American Express. The Motley Fool recommends American Express. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.