Consumer Payment Card News

To Be or Not To Be Elite

Whether the card is white, black, gold, platinum or dons a sophisticated name, premium & elite credit cards hold a particular fascination. If your credit rating is outstanding and you are both a high earner and big spender, you could be eligible for such a coveted card. It goes without saying, the extreme benefits benefits of these cards are appealing enough to make us start to checking our eligibility stat. But are these specialized products worth the price of admission?

Exclusive-to-Gilt Starbucks Card, in a limited edition of 5,000. Fashioned out of solid stainless steel, the card costs $450, but comes pre-loaded with $400, valid for drinks, food, and merchandise at participating Starbucks locations. Beyond that, you get automatic My Starbucks Rewards™ Gold Level membership, which entitles you to perks like a free birthday drink, and a free drink or food item after 12 Stars (some restrictions apply).

Sberbank-Kazakhstan, a Kazakhstani bank, plans to offer a new bank card claiming it’s the world’s first made entirely of gold, diamonds and pearls. Sberbank-Kazakhstan announced plans to issue a limited edition Visa Infinite Exclusive cards, made with pure gold, 26 diamonds, and inlaid mother of pearl, according to a press release posted on the bank’s website. The bank alsoproduced a video highlighting the card’s luxurious components.
A spokeswoman for the bank told ABC News it will cost $100,000 to obtain the gold card. About $65,000 of that goes into minting the card itself (customers will receive a plastic version as well), and the remaining $35,000 will remain in the user’s account.
After the first year it will also carry a $2,000 a year fee. But for all that, card holders can expect top tier perks, including life and health insurance worth over $250,000, lounge access at airports, concierge service, discounts at hotels and restaurants, car hire, and more.
“Visa Infinite Exclusive is more than a bank card: it opens its doors to the owners of exclusive services and privileges,” Galym Tabyldiev, the head of Visa in Kazakhstan, said in the Sberbank statement.
The bank will also provide cardholders a free iPhone 5 and a Montblanc card case. The bank plans to issue only 100 gold cards, but the spokeswoman told ABC News they will only be available to residents of Kazakhstan who have an account at the bank.

Coutts World Card

Available by invitation only and featuring extensive purchasing and travel services. The Coutts World Card is a most prestigious and sought-after card, designed for discerning clients

The Coutts World Card is a charge card which embraces a wide range of benefits. These include a high monthly spending limit, unlimited world concierge service 24/7, worldwide annual travel insurance and access to over 600 executive airport lounges.

Annual Fee: $500 (waved if $100,000 is spent)

How to get it: You must already have an account with Coutts worth at least $1,000,000.

US Bank Stratus Rewards Card

Annual Fee: $1,500

Benefits: Full concierge service 24/7, Executive lounge access at airports around the world, $1,000,000 travel accident insurance and emergency evacuation coverage, emergency medical coverage, $5,000 lost luggage insurance, enhanced purchase security, car rental warranty coverage, ATM access to 20% of credit limit, VIP access to exclusive events, private jet travel redemption points, and 16.75% APR.

How to get it: No application process; members are hand-picked by US Bank.

Barclays Visa Black Card

Annual Fee: The Primary Cardholder has an annual fee of $495 billed each year on the anniversary date. An annual fee of $195 will apply for each authorized user.

Benefits: Made of carbon, full concierge service 24/7, conference arrangement services, emergency translation services, computer rental services, A/V equipment referrals, car rental and limousine services, $250,000 worth of travel accident insurance, reimbursement for baggage delay and emergency purchases for needed items, warranty registration and extension services that double the manufacturer’s, and 0% APR for the first six months.

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.

So, in effort to decide if an elite card is for you, remember that whatever metal or other precious substance the cards are made from or named after, they all have one thing in common: all are payment tools. It would be a waste of money to pay for extras that don’t fit your lifestyle but if you do the research it’s possible to come out ahead & maximize the benefits.

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