Woman with gold credit card
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You probably know some of the names. You’ve probably heard some of the folklore. You’ve definitely seen some of the perks — if only from celebrities’ Instagram accounts.

Luxury credit cards may come across like rarefied air, but there are more of them out there than you might expect. And while most feel like accessories for the upper crust alone, others are more attainable than you’d think.

Allow yourself a moment’s indulgence and follow along while we break down the luxury credit card market.

What exactly is a luxury credit card?

The definition of a luxury credit card seems to expand with the state of the industry. More and more crop up every year, though generally speaking, a luxury card is any that could be seen as a symbol of prestige. The types of cards that come with almost-unbelievable perks, and even-less-believable annual fees.
Think of the most recent big budget action movie you’ve seen. Now think about that swanky dinner scene. When the waiter brought the bill, more likely than not, your protagonist paid with the American Express Centurion Card — commonly referred to as “the Black Card.”

The Black card is a pop culture icon. Extended only to current American Express customers and high profile outsiders, it starts with an invite-only application extended to those spending upwards of $20,000 per month. Certainly no small chunk of change — especially when you consider its $2,500 annual fee.

The most impressive luxury credit cards

While the Black Card name may dominate the airwaves, nearly every major issuer carries a luxury card for top-tier customers. Here’s a sampling of the most impressive, and what they offer:

Mastercard Gold Card

Set and plated in 24-karat gold, the Mastercard Gold Card is a travel-focused card that accepts applications from the general public (though the requirements for membership are still kept under wraps). Every account holder receives airport lounge access, a 24/7 concierge service and luxury gifts throughout the year.

  • Annual fee: $995
  • Standout perk: 2% redemption value on all airfare purchases

JP Morgan Reserve Card

Formerly known as the Palladium Card, the JP Morgan Reserve Card is available only to Chase Private Bank customers with a particularly high net worth (rumor has it at $10 million+). Sporting a (relatively) lower annual fee than its luxury competitors, the Reserve card rewards its customers with 3x points on travel and 3x points on dining.

  • Annual fee: $595
  • Standout perk: $300 travel credit upon signup

Dubai First Royale MasterCard

The Dubai First Royale MasterCard is about as exclusive as it gets. Typically available only to residents of the United Arab Emirates, it’s the calling card of regional royalty and the wealthy few. With it comes a direct line to relationship managers who can secure tickets, chartered flights and nearly anything else a cardholder can dream up. Also, there’s a diamond embedded in the center of it.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Standout perk: 4% cash back on every single purchase

Stratus Rewards Visa Card

Available via personal invite, the Stratus Rewards Card was designed for the most frequent of flyers. Luxury hotels, free room upgrades and a personal concierge to do your bidding come standard with the account. To get the invitation, customers must spend a minimum of $150,000 yearly on existing credit cards.

  • Annual fee: $1,500
  • Standout perk: Ability to pool points with other cardholders and redeem rewards collectively

Citigroup Chairman Card

For those with a large amount of assets invested with a Citigroup brokerage account, the Citigroup Chairman Card offers many of the same perks you’ll see in any luxury travel card: 24/7 concierge service, lounge access and flight upgrades. The difference is a $300,000 credit limit and the potential of an annual fee waiver depending on a client’s relationship with Citi.

  • Annual fee: $500
  • Standout perk: 2% redemption value on all airfare purchases

Should you apply for a luxury card?

So what if you’re not part of the three comma club? Or even the two comma club? For most of us, luxury cards are little more than a daydream, especially given the fact that so many are available only through invite. The good news is that you can still apply for a number of premium cards that offer some of the same perks without much in the way of wealth or status requirements.

Take the Chase Sapphire Reserve, for starters. While it may not arrive in a gold-plated package or transport you to a yacht in Dubai, it’s still one of the most lucrative travel cards available — luxury or not. Each cardholder is entitled to airport lounge access, 3x points on airline purchases and a TSA Pre✓® application fee credit. Not bad for a responsible consumer with a solid credit score.

Perhaps the most useful thing a consumer can get from researching luxury credit cards is a set of priorities. Explore what each card offers, assess the perks that are most important to you and see if you can find a more attainable card that offers a handful of them.