12 Best High-End Credit Cards (2018)

By: Adam West • 8/15/2018

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The phrase “high end” can mean take on different meanings for everyone. Some may envision luxurious fabrics and sparkling jewels, while others imagine fast cars and rivers of champagne. Or perhaps, as part of the digital generation, you picture the epitome of modern technology and automation.

While the world of high-end credit cards doesn’t have a lot of silk or octane, it is rich with exclusive perks and rewards that can make you feel like more than an ordinary consumer. These high-end cards will also often have the latest financial technology and security, offering peace of mind as well as a top-of-the-line experience.

At the same time, our favorite high-end credit cards aren’t the most exclusive cards or the most expensive ones. In fact, our list of the best high-end credit cards are actually attainable, giving you many of the bells and whistles reserved for the crème de la crème — without the exorbitant costs and income requirements that put other cards out of reach.

Big Spenders | Cash Back | Points | Travel

Best High-End Cards for Big Spenders

For many, nothing says high-end more than dollar signs — lots and lots of dollar signs. These consumers want to see plastic that can purchase just about anything, regardless of its cost, and the high-end cards are those that can make it happen. You won’t need an invite-only Black Card to obtain a credit limit that would make a movie star take notice; you simply need great credit and the right high-limit card.

Indeed, the high-end cards on our list for big spenders have reported credit limits in the tens of thousands (and beyond). In fact, our top pick, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, is rumored to offer credit limits up to $100,000 for the most qualified cardholders. While the others on the list don’t get quite that high, you can still look forward to limits far and above the average everyday card.

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Of course, it’s important to remember that just because you can charge tens of thousands of dollars to your credit card doesn’t mean you should — and you most certainly shouldn’t carry that balance for very long. Even an interest rate at the very bottom of your credit card’s range can mean hundreds to thousands in interest fees on a five-figure balance.

Furthermore, receiving a limit over $25,000 most likely means your credit is excellent, and jeopardizing that credit by carrying a massive balance is more than simply unwise — it’s downright reckless. Your minimum payment may eventually be unable to keep up with your interest fees, and if you become delinquent on just one payment, your excellent credit score can plummet faster than you can say “new home entertainment system.”

Best High-End Cards for Cash Back

To me, one of the most (colloquially) ironic occurrences is that people are constantly giving free stuff to celebrities, a.k.a. the people who least need free stuff. Well, with the right card, you can feel more like a celebrity everywhere you go as you earn cash back on every purchase — especially when you receive a hefty bonus just for signing up and hitting the spending requirement.

The best part of boasting one of our favorite high-end cash back cards? You won’t be stuck paying high-end fees for the privilege. You can enjoy unlimited cash back, quarterly rotating bonus categories, and sweet signup bonuses all without ridiculous annual fees. Even better, many of our picks won’t actually charge you an annual fee at all. How’s that for high end?

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When comparing cash back cards, be sure to select the rewards program that best fits your personal spending habits. For example, if most of your spending occurs in popular categories, you may earn the most cash back from a program that offers bonus categories. If your spending is more generalized, however, you may be better off with a flat-rate unlimited cash back program.

In most cases, your cash back rewards can be redeemed as a statement credit you can put toward your card balance, or as a check through the mail. Many programs also give you the option to redeem your cash back rewards for gift cards to popular stores and restaurants or even as a charitable donation to your favorite cause.

Best High-End Cards for Points

While the exact definition of a high-end credit card varies from person to person, I think most of us can agree that one surefire way for a credit card to qualify for “high-end” status is to unlock exclusive, awe-inspiring rewards for its cardholders. Well, the cream of the credit card crop includes a range of high-end points cards that do just that.

These cards allow you to earn and redeem your way to unforgettable trips, the latest technology, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Rewards points programs operate in much the same way as cash back programs, offering a set rate of points per $1 spent, with some programs providing bonus categories for extra points. What’s more, our best high-end points cards have reasonable annual fees and may offer an introductory 0% APR on your new purchases.

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The best way to get the most out of your credit card points is to research the per-point value of your redemption options. For instance, the popular Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers Chase Ultimate Rewards, which can be redeemed for travel purchases at a better value than if used for cash back. But the best value comes from transferring your points to a partner airline or hotel, where they’re worth up to $0.04 per point.

Best High-End Cards for Travel Rewards

When you look up the top high-end cards, a great many of them are often pricey travel cards, though with good reason. For those who spend a lot of time in the air or on the road, access to the perks and rewards offered by a high-end travel card can make the difference between munching on peanuts in coach — or sipping bubbly in first class. And that’s not to mention the money-saving possibilities of paying no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.

As you compare your high-end travel card options, consider how you’re most likely to use your rewards. If you’re loyal to a specific airline or hotel brand, you can typically get the best rewards and perks from a branded card. On the other hand, our top-rated picks for high-end travel rewards credit cards offer more flexible redemption options, as they won’t limit you to a specific brand nor will you be subject to bubble-bursting blackout dates.

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You can really jump-start your travel rewards experience by taking advantage of the great signup bonuses that come with high-end credit cards. These bonuses allow you to earn tens of thousands of miles all at once and are often enough to get you flying for free right away.

To earn signup bonus, you’ll need to meet the card’s spending requirement within a certain period of time, usually the first 90 days. Only net new spend will typically count toward the requirement, which means balance transfers and cash advances won’t qualify as spend.

Of course, you should never charge more on your card than you can afford to repay in a timely manner. Ideally, pay off your entire balance each month to avoid paying any interest fees. The longer you carry your balance, the more interest you’ll have to pay, and you can quickly eat into any savings earned through your rewards and signup bonus with excessive fees.

”High-End” Doesn’t Need to Mean “High Fees”

We all have our own definition of a high-end product. For some, it’s all about the rich finishes, such as the sleek metal of the Chase Sapphire Preferred®. For others, it’s all about access, like the blackout-free travel rewards from a Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Whatever your fancy, you can probably find a high-end credit card to fit the bill.

The question is, can you afford it?

Happily, “high end” doesn’t need to mean “high fees.” With a little research, you can enjoy the perks and rewards of a high-end credit card without the high cost, and those with the best credit can revel in high limits, great bonuses, and all the points and miles you can stand.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

About the Author

Adam West

Adam West is the Managing Editor for BadCredit.org and Contributing Editor for CardRates.com, where he routinely corresponds with financial experts to produce the latest news and advice on topics related to helping subprime consumers achieve greater financial literacy and improved credit. He has more than 12 years of storytelling, editing, and design experience in print and online journalism and is most knowledgeable in the areas of credit scores, subprime financial products and services, and the banking industry.