The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Friday, September 25, 2020

15 of the World’s Most Exclusive Credit Cards (2020)

Most Exclusive Credit Cards

credit card advice

Linsey Knerl
By: Linsey Knerl
Updated: February 25, 2020
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 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 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, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% 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

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 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 $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Redeem on travel—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% - 24.49% (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

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $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 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
15.99%-20.99% 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 the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • 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.
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®—available by phone, email and live mobile chat. Reach out to manage tasks big and small.
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits—average value of $500 per stay (e.g., amenities, room upgrades and complimentary food and beverages) at over 3,000 properties.
  • 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.
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.
14.99%
$995 ($295 for each Authorized User added to the account)
Excellent/Good

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 the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • 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.
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®—available by phone, email and live mobile chat. Reach out to manage tasks big and small.
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits—average value of $500 per stay (e.g., amenities, room upgrades and complimentary food and beverages) at over 3,000 properties.
  • 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.
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.
14.99%
$495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)
Excellent/Good

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® Black Card™ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • 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.
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®—available by phone, email and live mobile chat. Reach out to manage tasks big and small.
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits—average value of $500 per stay (e.g., amenities, room upgrades and complimentary food and beverages) at over 3,000 properties.
  • 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.
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.
14.99%
$495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)
Excellent/Good

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

9. Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®

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. Additional perks include:

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard

  • The first checked bag is free for you and up to 8 traveling companions on the same flight
  • Receive a $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre® application fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fees

Annual fees and bonus offers will vary. See the American Airlines website for updated terms.  

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.

12.  Citi Prestige® Credit Card

Travelers with no loyalty to any particular airline or hotel will find this card for excellent credit holders to be a worthy possibility. The annual fee of $495 is offset by some attracting perks, including:

Citi Prestige Credit Card

  • Earn a $250 travel credit
  • Get your 4th night free at a hotel of your choice when you book through the Citi Prestige Concierge
  • 5X points per dollar on dining & air travel

A flexible rewards program (called “ThankYou” rewards), is another favorite feature. Apply via the Citi website to see if you qualify.

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

★★★★★

5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% 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.

14. Discover it® Cash Back

This card is currently not available.

Best Overall Rating

★★★★★

N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

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

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The sister card to the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, the original Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers rotating 5% cash back categories instead of a flat rate on all purchases. If you can keep up with the quarterly offers, 5% back 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.

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