Are you a frequent traveler with a hefty income and excellent credit? If so, you may find a premium credit card to be appealing. These high-end cards are typically accompanied by a pricey annual fee, but the travel-related perks can be quite enticing.
Is a Premium Credit Card Right for You?
For many years, only those with high six or seven-figure incomes qualified for high-end credit cards. However, a lot has changed with regards to qualification criteria, with the recent wave of high-end credit products. Now, these premium accounts are accessible to consumers with excellent credit and a steady source of income.
The $450 annual fee you'll find tacked on to many of these cards may seem excessive to the everyday consumer, but avid travel hackers may find the generous introductory offers, reward programs and generous travel incentives worthwhile. Even though these accounts have very high annual fees, they "often make sense for customers with excellent credit" even if they are not super-rich, notes CreditCards.com.
Case in point: When Chase released its premium Sapphire Reserve Card, the demand was so overwhelming that the credit card issuer ran out of metal cards and was forced to send out temporary plastic cards for a while. "A huge sign-up bonus, valuable rewards, and choice perks caused point-thirsty borrowers to salivate, despite the card's $450 annual fee," notes Time.
Popular High-End Options
There are several appealing high-end card options on the market.
American Express Platinum Card
The Platinum Card from American Express is accompanied by an introductory offer of 40,000 points when you make at least $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening the account. Cardholders can also earn 5X points on flight when they purchase flights through the airlines or American Express travel.
As a cardholder, you'll also enjoy:
Complimentary access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide
An annual statement credit of up to $200 for airline incidentals
A hotel credit of $75 to use on incidentals when lodging reservations are booked through American Express travel
There is no foreign transaction fee or APR (since it's a charge card and the balance has to be paid in full each month), but an annual fee of $450 applies.
To apply for the Platinum Card from American Express, complete the online application or call 1-800-519-6736.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
When you're approved for a Chase Sapphire Reserve card and spend $4,000 or more within the first three months, you'll receive 100,000 bonus points. This amount is equivalent to $1,500 in travel costs. (Quick note: if you redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards platform, they automatically double in value.)
Cardholders also enjoy the following perks:
3 points for every dollar spent on travel and dining purchases
1 point for all other purchases
Annual statement credit of $300 for travel expenditures.
No foreign transaction fee applies, but the annual fee is $450. Also, purchases are subject to a variable APR between 16.24 and 23.24 percent.
To apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, complete the online application or call 1-800-432-3117.
Delta Reserve Credit Card
If you've always dreamed of accessing the Delta Sky Club, the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express is for you. Not only does it grant you complimentary access, but you'll also receive 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 10,000 bonus miles after your first purchase.
All other purchases earn:
- 2 miles for every dollar spent on Delta purchases
- 1 mile for every dollar spent on all other purchases
In addition, cardholders earn 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles when they spend $30,000 or more in a calendar year. This amount doubles when you reach $60,000 in annual expenditures.
An annual fee of $450 applies, but cardholders receive a round trip companion ticket annually.
To apply for the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express, complete the online application or call 1-800-223-2670.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards cardholders enjoy three nights on the house when they spend $5,000 or more in the first three months. You can also earn 10,000 bonus points by simply adding an authorized used and making a purchase in this same three-month period.
Once the introductory period has lapsed, the rewards system is as follows:
5 points for every dollar spent on hotel purchases
2 points for every dollar spent on travel and restaurant purchases
1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases
10 percent Annual Points Premium at the end of the year
Furthermore, cardholders receive a free TSA PreCheck membership and complimentary airport lounge access. However, an annual fee of $450 applies and the variable APR ranges between 16.24 and 23.24 percent.
To apply for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card, complete the online application or call 1-800-432-3117.
Citi Prestige Card
As a Citi Prestige cardholder, you'll receive 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 or more within the first three months. In addition, you will receive a $250 air travel credit annually to cover in-flight incidentals.
The card also comes with the following tiered rewards system:
3 points for every dollar spent on all air and hotel purchases
2 points for every dollar spent on all dining and entertainment purchases
1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases
There are no foreign transaction fees, but an annual fee of $450 applies (and $50 for each authorized user). Furthermore, the card is accompanied by a variable APR of 15.49 percent.
To apply for the Citi Prestige Card, complete the online application or call 1-800-347-4934.
Worth the Premium Fee?
If you will actually use the card enough to derive the maximum benefits to offset the annual fee, one of these premium options may suit your needs. However, you should definitely read the fine print before applying so you'll know exactly what you're getting into.