It might make you feel important to hand over a titanium or even a black credit card but is all the hoopla worth it? Do these elite credit cards offer exclusive benefits that are worth the price you’ll have to pay for them?
Credit card companies offer consumers many kinds of credit card accounts and chances are good there is at least one credit card that is designed in a way that matches your financial needs. There are cards designed for people with a wide variety of credit scores and classifications. For people who have excellent credit and a high regular income, credit card companies offer what are known as elite credit cards that come with exclusive benefits for big spenders. But what’s the deal with these special cards?
These elite credit cards are identified using names such as black or titanium or some other mysterious name. They also traditionally come with prestigious benefits the wealthy enjoy exclusively. This type of elite card typically does not impose a credit limit on its holder. Some of the other benefits include:
- Exclusive travel benefits including access to airport lounges, hotel and airline upgrades, later check outs at resorts and hotels, and other travel concierge services not normally available to other cardholders.
- Exclusive deals and private sales at high-end retailers just for cardholders.
- Exclusive tickets or reservations at restaurants, sporting, and other entertainment events.
- Rewards programs that can be used for travel upgrades or cashed in for luxury items.
- Extended warranties and protections on credit card purchases.
While the benefits may seem more than worthwhile, there is a high price to pay for such exclusivity. Traditionally all of the elite cards require an annual membership fee that is in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The offers are often “invitation only” for a select group of customers and not the general population. Some also require a one-time membership fee in addition to the annual fee. Just one example, American Express offers the Centurion card that is made from actual titanium and cost new members $5,000 in a one-time fee, and an additional $2,500 per year in annual fees. Of course, the perks to the user who can afford it may be worth the price to the wealthy but in reality, the average cardholder may find it impossible to justify the expense.
Moving On Up
Typical credit cardholders may have the opportunity to move up to a more elite credit card if they have excellent credit, verifiable income, and a great history with the card issuer. Regular cards may be boosted up to gold or platinum status that will also increase their benefits and even rewards programs. If you have a great history, you may want to speak with your issuing credit card company and ask how you can get access to more perks. For average cardholders however, you may gain more benefits but you must be cautious of the fees associated with this. There are advantages to be had but many will come with a price tag. If you are interested in moving on up, make sure you can afford it. Otherwise, your need or desire for these status symbols can wind up costing you dearly. Don’t apply for a credit card outside of your payment capabilities. Prestigious cards like this can be an enormous trap for those status conscious consumers, flying in the face of the most basic personal finance management principles.
You know the old saying: “If you have to ask how much it costs, you probably can’t afford it anyway”. This adage undoubtedly applies to these status symbol cards.