The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, September 27, 2022

15 of the World’s Most Exclusive Credit Cards (2022)

Most Exclusive Credit Cards

credit card advice

Linsey Knerl

Written by: Linsey Knerl

Linsey Knerl

Linsey Knerl is a finance author and public speaker with a passion for helping everyday families earn more and live better. Her work can be seen in Investopedia, PC Mag, The Christian Science Monitor, TIME, Wise Bread, Next Avenue, MSN Money, and numerous other leading outlets. Her expertise lies in business economics, credit scores and reports, and saving and budgeting. Linsey has shared her financial knowledge with audiences at SXSW, FinCon, and the ASJA annual NYC convention.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Florida. Today, she edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Advertiser Disclosure

Credit cards are not created equally. That means it is always in your best interest to shop around, compare perks, and find the card that will reward your individual lifestyle and purchasing habits. With dozens of cards available at any one time, shuffling through them can be exhausting — especially if only the best will do.

While there may be a few credit cards reserved exclusively for the most elite leaders and business people, in reality, some of the best credit cards around are available to the average consumer with the right credit score.

The Most Exclusive Credit Cards

When it comes to the most exclusive credit cards, many people think of the invite-only luxury cards for high rollers. But while you can often buy your way to a big card, even some cards available to the everyday budget are exclusively for consumers with excellent credit, putting them out of reach for the average person.

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • 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.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — and its pricier sibling, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® — are well-known for its premium travel and dining rewards. Bonus point offers are available for certain purchases, and your perks go further when redeemed for travel. With its sleek metal finish, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is just as stylish as some of its more exclusive counterparts.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Enjoy two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges through our Partner Lounge Network
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

There is no limit to the rewards you can earn with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Travel perks and earnings opportunities are plentiful! Every 100 Capital One Venture miles you earn is worth a full $1 when redeemed for a travel credit, or transfer your miles to a participating partner loyalty program.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed 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 Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.24% - 23.24% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

This is the premier Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, available only to those with business owners with excellent credit. The Ink Business Preferred℠ Card makes a great everyday card for businesses with its triple point bonus rewards for multiple popular categories, including travel, shipping, and advertising purchases.

Luxury Card™ Mastercard® Gold Card™ Review

at Barclays Bank'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • Patented 24K-gold-plated front and carbon back—weighing 22 grams.
  • 2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. 2% value for cash back redemptions. Earn one point for every one dollar spent.
  • Annual Airline Credit—up to $200 in statement credits toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more. Up to a $100 application fee credit for the cost of TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry.
  • Enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select with access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide with no guest limit. Includes credits at select airport restaurants for cardholder and one guest.
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®—available by phone, email and live mobile chat. Around-the-clock service to help you save time and manage tasks big and small.
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits—average value of $500 per stay (e.g., resort credits, room upgrades, free wifi, breakfast for two and more) at over 3,000 properties.
  • Cell phone protection for eligible claims of up to $1,000 each year. Plus additional World Elite Mastercard® benefits.
  • Annual Fee: $995 ($295 for each Authorized User). Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening.
17.24%
$995 ($295 for each Authorized User added to the account)
Excellent

The crème-de-la-crème of Mastercard® is the Luxury Card™ Mastercard® Gold Card™, made from 24K-Gold-Plated carbon. It has the best rewards of all the luxury Mastercard®s, as well as one of the highest annual membership fees.  Cardholders also get the occasional luxury gift and a subscription to Mastercard’s members-only magazine.

Luxury Card™ Mastercard® Black Card™ Review

at Barclays Bank'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • Patented black-PVD-coated metal card—weighing 22 grams.
  • 2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. 1.5% value for cash back redemptions. Earn one point for every one dollar spent.
  • Annual Airline Credit—up to $100 in statement credits toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more. Up to a $100 application fee credit for the cost of TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry.
  • Enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select with access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide with no guest limit. Includes credits at select airport restaurants for cardholder and one guest.
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®—available by phone, email and live mobile chat. Around-the-clock service to help you save time and manage tasks big and small.
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits—average value of $500 per stay (e.g., resort credits, room upgrades, free wifi, breakfast for two and more) at over 3,000 properties.
  • Cell phone protection for eligible claims of up to $1,000 each year. Plus additional World Elite Mastercard® benefits.
  • Annual Fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User). Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening.
17.24%
$495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)
Excellent

We’re not surprised to see Mastercard® with its own version of a luxury card. This card happens to be open for anyone to apply for, however, and features tons of  perks. No need to wait for an invitation with this card. Those with worthy credit and a sizeable income can apply online.

Luxury Card™ Mastercard® Titanium Card™ Review

at Barclays Bank'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★

4.4

OVERALL RATING

  • Patented brushed stainless steel front and carbon back—weighing 22 grams.
  • 2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. 1% value for cash back redemptions. Earn one point for every one dollar spent.
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®—available by phone, email and live mobile chat. Around-the-clock service to help you save time and manage tasks big and small.
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits—average value of $500 per stay (e.g., resort credits, room upgrades, free wifi, breakfast for two and more) at over 3,000 properties.
  • Members-only LUXURY MAGAZINE®.
  • Cell phone protection for eligible claims of up to $1,000 each year. Plus additional World Elite Mastercard® benefits.
  • Annual fee: $195 ($95 for each Authorized User). Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening.
17.24%
$195 ($95 for each Authorized User added to the account)
Excellent

One step below the Luxury Card™ Mastercard® Black Card™ is the Luxury Card™ Mastercard® Titanium Card™. Made from brushed stainless steel, it’s pretty to look at and has amazing perks. This card carries a sizable annual fee, but is considerably more affordable than many other exclusive cards on our list.

7. American Express Centurion® Card (The Black Card)

Most everyone has heard of the coveted “Black Card”, but few know that it’s real name is the “Centurion.” This invite-only card is highly coveted and one of the most recognizable cards for big spenders. In addition, this card features:

American Express Centurion Card

  • Activation fee of $7,000+ and a $2,000+ annual membership fee
  • Dedicated concierge, travel agents, and shopping assistance
  • Travel perks of one free hotel stay with a booking, flight upgrades, and lounge access

In addition to the massive spending that must occur to be eligible for this card (rumored at $250,000 and up), it is currently not something you can apply for. American Express selects and invites those with high earnings to be part of this cardholder club.

8. The Platinum Card® from American Express

Another exclusive card from Amex, this account offers specially curated perks and member experiences. You’ll enjoy:

American Express Platinum Card

  • Automatically qualify for Hilton HHonors Gold Status and earn a 5th night free per stay
  • Receive preferred seating at games, events, and concerts
  • No pre-set spending limit

This Platinum card has a $550 annual fee, which is much lower than the American Express Black Card. Apply here

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® Bonus Miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.24% - 27.24% (Variable)
$450
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

If you fly American Airlines frequently, this is the exclusive card for you. Your membership offers free admission to any Admiral’s Club lounge worldwide. This includes additional cardholders on your account – even if they aren’t with you. Already a lounge member? You might qualify for a statement credit. 

Earn bonus miles rewards for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and get your first checked bag free.  

10. Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Delta flyers will love this card, which boasts 24/7 concierge service and travel assistance. These popular benefits are also included:

Delta Reserve® Credit Card

  • Free Companion ticket upon annual renewal
  • Complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club lounge with free snacks, beverages & WiFi
  • Free checked first bag for you and up to 8 guests

Apply for this card for frequent fliers at the website. The annual fee for this card is $495.

11.  Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Visa Card

If only the finest hotel experiences will do, then paying a $450 annual fee for this loyalty credit card shouldn’t be difficult. The very generous perks include:

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa

  • Earn an annual $300 travel credit and $100 hotel room credit
  • Upgrade to Ritz-Carlton Club level up to 3 times a year on stays up to 7 nights
  • Complimentary airport lounge access

Qualified travelers will also get free TSA Pre® privileges. Applications are accepted for those with excellent credit and who haven’t had the same card in the past 24 months.

American Express® Gold Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 6 months of card membership
  • Earn 4X Points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases. Also earn 4X Points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and 3X points on flights when booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. All other eligible purchases earn 1X point.
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, Boxed and other participating partners. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • Delight your senses when you book The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel. Get a $100 experience credit to use during your stay. A minimum 2-night stay is required.
  • $250 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 24.49% Pay Over Time
$250
Excellent

For those that aren’t turned off by the annual fee, there is some serious rewards potential with the American Express® Gold Card. It offers a tiered reward structure with multiple tiers in common spending categories. Earn bonus points on things like groceries and eating out or delivering in.  New cardholders also enjoy the benefit of a signup bonus when a purchase threshold is met in the first few months of account ownership.

With personalized travel services, airline and hotel credits, and no foreign transaction fees, this card is perfect for the seasoned traveler.

If You’re Not Platinum Status (Yet), Try These Instead

If you’re not black or titanium card material (or feel that even the Platinum doesn’t match your wardrobe), don’t feel bad. Most of us don’t have champagne tastes, and need something a bit more practical for our credit needs.

The following cards have excellent benefits and are ideal for those with excellent credit. The average Joe will see them do an extraordinary job of balancing perks with practicality.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24% - 25.99%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is appropriately named, as it promises unlimited cash back earnings on every qualified purchase. Plus, earnings never expire! Frequent Amazon shopper? You can link your Chase Freedom Unlimited® to your Amazon account to use your cash back rewards when ordering.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 14.24% to 25.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 months
0% Intro APR for 15 months
14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good

The Discover it® Cash Back provides an opportunity to earn max cash back at max places. Discover’s rotating quarterly categories include everywhere from gas stations and big-box stores to Amazon and home improvement locations.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24% - 25.99%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The sister card to the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, the original Chase Freedom Flex℠ instead offers rotating cash back categories. If you can keep up with the quarterly offers, this cash back card is hard to beat!

The Best Exclusive Card for You Depends on Many Factors

With so many fantastic credit cards available, your perfect card is likely on this list. What may be exclusive to you, however, may not be appealing to others. That’s why it’s important to carefully study your individual spending patterns, determine the perks you find most valuable, and think about the type of service you expect from a card issuer. Taking time to evaluate all the options is the best way to make sure your credit experience is world-class — each and every time you shop.

Advertiser Disclosure

CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across CardRates.com (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.