The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Friday, December 13, 2019

9 Best Luxury Credit Cards & Top Alternatives

9 Best Luxury Credit Cards & Top Alternatives

credit card advice

Matt Walker
By: Matt Walker
Updated: November 20, 2019

Disclosure: When you apply through links on our site, we often earn referral fees from partners. For more, see our ad disclosure and review policy.

My mother always told me, “If you’re going to do something, do it right or don’t do it at all.” I don’t think she was referring to credit cards with that advice, but it still applies.

After all, this list of luxury credit cards proves that doing something right can be quite appealing. Whether you’re looking for premium cash back options, high-style travel perks, or large credit limits, there’s a high-end card that matches the needs of anyone who qualifies.

Best Overall | Flights | Hotels | Dining | Business | Worst Luxury CardsFAQs

Best Overall Luxury Credit Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is our choice for the best overall luxury credit card because it’s a rare premium card that can justify its upfront cost with generous perks. The $450 annual fee nets you access to more than 1,000 premium airport lounges, a $300 annual travel credit and $100 in credit every four years for you to put toward your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application.

That’s not even mentioning the points you’ll earn toward the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.49% - 25.49% Variable
$450
Good/Excellent

The annual perks for this card alone make up for the yearly fee. If you use your points wisely, you can actually turn a profit using this card if you’re a regular traveler. That makes this offering a great addition to any wallet.

Best Luxury Card for Flights & Airport Lounge Access

The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best luxury travel companions you can invite along on your trip. This card pays 5X Membership Rewards® points per $1 spent on flights and hotels, and provides Elite status with Hilton and Marriott hotels. The card also gains you access to more than 1,000 airport lounges — including the prestigious Amex Centurion Lounges. Those perks alone make up for the $550 annual fee.

2. The Platinum Card® from American Express

Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points per $1 on flights/hotels booked directly with the airline/hotel or American Express Travel
  • Receive up to $200 annual airline fee credit
  • Pay a $550 annual fee

Cardholders can transfer their Membership Rewards® points to several leading hotel and airline loyalty programs, or use them for a host of rewards through American Express. The card has many of the same rewards offered to members of the ultra-exclusive American Express Centurion card — without the need to charge six figures to your card each month.

Top Alternative

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you’ll earn 2X points on travel and dining and 1X points on all other purchases. The 60,000 bonus point signup offer is worth up to $750 in travel funds if you spend at least $4,000 on new purchases during your first three months with the card.

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

The card charges a $95 annual fee, which is among the most affordable cards on this list. If you aren’t a regular traveler, that lower fee can still provide you with several perks that make this card a winner.

Best Luxury Card for Hotel Benefits

If you’re a Hilton Hotels loyalist, then the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card’s $450 annual fee is more than worth it. This card comes with plenty of credits that include one free weekend night each year, a $250 annual Hilton Resort credit, $100 Hilton on-property credit, and a $250 annual airline fee credit. Combined, these more than make up for the cost of adding this card to your wallet.

4. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

  • 14X – 7X – 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points rewards structure
  • 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $4,000 in your first three months
  • Pay $450 annual fee

All cardholders also get an automatic boost to Hilton Honors Diamond status — the highest possible rating a loyalty member can earn. With this upgrade, you’ll receive automatic room upgrades, free breakfasts, and several more valuable benefits.

Top Alternative

You won’t pay an annual fee for your first year with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. A $95 charge will post to your card every year after your first anniversary. You’ll also earn 2X miles on every other purchase, with no limit to the miles you earn.

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

Cardholders also receive a $100 statement credit toward their Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® application fee — which can make airport security lines a breeze and get you on your way much faster.

Best Luxury Card for Dining & Entertainment

The $120 annual dining credit you’ll receive as an American Express® Gold Card member nearly pays for half of the $250 annual fee the card charges. You’ll also receive a $100 annual airline incidental fee credit.

6. American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

  • 4X Membership Rewards Points at restaurants and supermarkets
  • $120 annual dining credit, $10/month at select restaurants and delivery services
  • $250 annual fee

AMEX also offers bonus rewards on supermarket purchases, and cardholders receive early access to ticket presales for certain popular events.

Top Alternative

If the $120 annual dining credit from the American Express® Gold Card whets your appetite, you may want to consider the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card. While AMEX only provides $10 in monthly credit toward specified restaurants or delivery services, the Savor card pays cardholders an unlimited 4% cash back on all dining and entertainment purchases and 2% at grocery stores.

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

The card charges $95 annually, but Capital One waives the annual fee for the first year.  Most people can easily make up that fee with the dining and grocery store cash back rewards alone.

Best Business Luxury Card

The American Express Business Platinum Card® works for business owners who accrue a lot of travel expenses each year. Cardholders can skip the travel agency and book discounted airfare and hotel stays directly through amextravel.com while earning 5X points for every dollar spent on the platform.

8. American Express Business Platinum Card®

American Express Business Platinum Card®

  • Earn 5X points per $1 spent on flights and hotels booked through amextravel.com
  • Earn 1.5X points per $1 on purchases of $5,000 and up
  • Pay $595 annual fee

Every purchase you make that exceeds $5,000 will also earn 1.5X points, which can quickly add up if you have large travel, advertising, or office supply budgets. When you’re on the road, you’ll also gain access to several luxury airport lounges through the Amex Global Lounge Collection.

Top Alternative

With the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card from Chase, you’ll earn 3X points for every $1 spent up to $150,000 in travel and select business purchases each year. Those extra points can yield massive returns through the popular Chase Ultimate Rewards program. All other purchases earn 1X point per $1 spent.

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 22.49% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

Chase also allows cardholders to transfer their points to one of a dozen different hotel and airline loyalty programs, which can net you free flights or hotel stays much faster. In addition to the perks, you can also leverage the 0% introductory APR to make a big business purchase you’ll need time to pay off.

Worst Luxury Credit Cards

Luxury credit cards are known for their bevy of perks, including concierge services, exclusive access, and generous signup bonuses, on top of rewards that lesser cards just can’t compete with. But sometimes, a product can’t hang with the competition, and that’s what we’ve deemed to be the case with this list of luxury cards that fall short when compared to other offers targeted toward affluent consumers with high credit scores.

Mastercard® Gold Card™: If the $995 annual fee didn’t make you flinch, the lack of a signup bonus will. This card features most of the same benefits as the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($200 airline credit, Global Entry fee reimbursement), but for twice the annual price.

Mastercard® Gold Card™

What you’re essentially paying for is the thin gold plating on the card that makes it look stylish when you pull it out of your wallet. But do you know what’s more stylish than gold plating? Not wasting money on a card that doesn’t give you premium benefits for a premium price.

Delta Reserve® Credit Card: If you’re a regular Delta flyer, you’ve likely considered the airline’s high-end premium credit card. But a closer look at the details of this offering shows a card that’s not quite ready for takeoff. The card starts with a $450 annual fee (which is set to increase to $550 if you apply after January 30, 2020).

Delta Reserve® Credit Card

You must spend $5,000 in your first three months with the card to earn the signup bonus, and you’ll only earn 2X miles on every $1 spent with Delta — and just 1X miles on all other purchases. Considering you can get so much more from other comparable miles cards, this card is quite underwhelming.

Mastercard® Black Card™: You’d expect a decent signup bonus when you have to pay a $495 annual fee, but that’s not the case with this card. As with its Gold Card™ brethren, these “luxury” cards do not come with a signup bonus.

Mastercard® Black Card™

On the surface, the 2% redemption rate on airfare purchases looks nice, but the fine print shows that you only earn that rate if you book your travel accommodations through the card’s affiliated agency. Add a paltry $100 annual airline credit and subpar rewards, and you end up on this list.

What is the Best Luxury Credit Card?

There’s a reason why Money Magazine named the Chase Sapphire Reserve® as its “Best Premium Travel Credit Card” of 2018. That’s because this card can take you places if you use it properly.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.49% - 25.49% Variable
$450
Good/Excellent

The card’s generous signup bonus is worth 50% more when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. That bonus alone makes up for the $450 annual fee for your first year.

Beyond the bonus, you’ll continue to earn 3X points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1X point per dollar on all other purchases. You’ll also receive a $300 annual travel credit that you can redeem as a statement credit and $100 in credit every four years for you to put toward your Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® application.

After you breeze through security, you can use your card as a key to more than 1,000 airport lounges around the world via your Priority Pass Select membership.

Chase designed this card with the traveler in mind. If you’re not big on leaving the house, you may want to look at another luxury or premium credit card. But if you’re always on the move — whether for business or pleasure — this card can help you travel in style.

What is the Most Elite Credit Card in the World?

We’ve limited our list to luxury credit cards that card issuers have made available to the general public. But that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the most exclusive or elite credit cards in the world.

In fact, there are a handful of cards so elusive, they’re almost like the Fight Club of the financial world — and the first rule is that you don’t talk about the cards.

Centurion® Card from American Express

The Centurion® Card from American Express — also known as the Black Card — tops most lists that detail the most elite credit cards in the world, but you can’t apply for the card. AMEX has to personally invite you to apply.

No one knows exactly what qualifies consumers for this card. Some experts who track these cards state that those who spend (and pay off) at least $250,000 to $450,000 per year across all their American Express accounts receive invitations to become Centurion® cardholders.

And you’ll need far more than an invitation to put the card into your wallet. The initiation fee alone is $7,500. Then there’s the $2,500 annual fee (with another $2,500 for each additional Centurion Card you wish to add) that gets you lots of perks — but no one knows for sure exactly what the benefits are.

Rumored rewards include automatic hotel room and flight upgrades as well as discounts on cruises and luxury car rentals, and access to super-secretive and luxurious airport lounges.

Are Luxury Cards Worth It?

Something is only worth what you’re willing to pay for it. Just make sure you’re ready to pay handsomely for a luxury credit card — regardless of the issuer or bank name on the card.

The top cards on this list will provide you with several tremendous travel discounts, purchase reimbursements, and cash back opportunities. Some cards can more than pay for their annual fee if you take advantage of all the perks.

And, if you’re wanting to carry a card that’s held by many millionaires, then these cards may be your style. But if you’re an infrequent traveler — or you don’t use a credit card very much — you’re going to pay a lot of money for a shiny trinket that rarely comes out of your wallet.

The key to making the most out of any rewards credit card is to maximize your rewards while minimizing your costs. If you can do that with a luxury card, then it’s a good investment. If not, you should consider a more cost-efficient rewards card that offers great perks without the high annual fee.

How to Maximize Credit Card Rewards

Most premium credit cards focus heavily on travel rewards and benefits. You can earn airport lounge access, be reimbursed for the cost of programs that help you skip security lines, and even obtain annual travel credits that pay for airfare, hotels, or other accommodations.

These card issuers have the traveler in mind when curating their high-end cards. Before you hit the apply button, assess your travel habits and goals and decide if the cost of the card is something you can offset through its perks or if it’s going to be just another expense that doesn’t yield dividends.

Make Sure the Rewards & Benefits Match Your Lifestyle

There’s something exciting about being stylish and ahead of the curve. Whipping out a fancy gold-plated or titanium-lined credit card may bring momentary thrills, but a luxury credit card should provide far more than a fleeting feeling.

With one of the best luxury credit cards, you can step up your travel game and start experiencing a different side of life. Just remember that these cards only pay for themselves — and their steep annual fees — if you can maximize the rewards and use the perks they offer.