For people of average wealth, credit cards are ways to get by when money is tight, make additional purchases, or to earn generic rewards. Credit cards give the super-rich power, incredible perks, and help them further fund their extravagant lifestyles. Many of these exclusive credit cards come only through invitation or by achieving specific benchmarks.

Key Takeaways

  • For many ordinary people, a credit card is used to make purchases when cash is not readily available, with many Americans carrying a balance month-to-month.
  • For the ultra-wealthy, however, credit cards are used for accumulating perks, rewards, and flaunting status.
  • These cards, which we profile below, include the Centurian Card from American Express and Stratus Visa card, which is available by invitation only.

1. American Express Centurion Card

The American Express Centurion Card is the most exclusive credit card in the world and is commonly known as the original black card. Launched in 1999, American Express has kept it in a shroud of uncertainty, giving it a very high level of status in the minds of consumers.

Before even applying to own this card, a person has to be an American Express Platinum cardholder for at least one year. The cardholder must charge at least $250,000 on the Platinum card in one calendar year. Then, if a cardholder is lucky enough to be invited to apply for an American Express Centurion Card, she will need to pay an initial fee of $10,000 and an annual fee of $5,000.

The Centurion card is so exclusive that American Express won't release the card's full details or how one can become a cardholder, but a few criteria have been leaked.

With these criteria and fees come some very nice perks. The American Express Centurion Card reportedly provides access to a 24-hour concierge service, flight upgrades, complimentary hotel rooms, personal shoppers, and the ability to close a retail store for personal shopping.

2. JP Morgan Chase Palladium Card

The JP Morgan Chase Palladium credit card is made of laser-etched palladium and gold, and it is reserved for consumers who have a relationship with JP Morgan's private bank, wealth management, or investment bank. Unlike the American Express Centurion Card, this card has an annual fee of only $595 and has no prior spending requirement.

The JP Morgan Chase Palladium card offers its cardholders a very high rewards program. Each dollar that a cardholder spends on travel results in 3 points toward the card's reward benefits.

3. Dubai First Royal MasterCard

The Dubai First Royal MasterCard is trimmed in gold, with a diamond embedded in the center of the card. Consumers must receive an invitation from Dubai First to become cardholders.

The card comes with some amazing perks. Cardholders have access to a team of 24/7 lifestyle managers whose sole purpose is to meet the cardholders' every request. Additionally, the card has no credit limit and zero restrictions, allowing cardholders to spend as much as they want.

4. Stratus Rewards Visa Card

The Stratus Rewards Visa is a card that tries to differentiate itself from other elite cards, even down to its color. The bright white card is available to high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) only through invitation. However, these individuals can pool their rewards points together to use toward private jets and other perks, an option exclusive to this card.

These other perks include personal concierge services, discounted charter flights, car services, upgrades at luxury hotels, merchandise discounts, and consultations with lifestyle experts. The card has a $1,500 annual fee.

5. Coutts World Silk Card

Queen Elizabeth II uses the Coutts World Silk Card, as do at least 100 other people who have $1 million or more in a Coutts account. Known as England's most exclusive credit card, the Coutts World Silk Card comes with a 24/7 concierge service, access to exclusive airport lounges, and private shopping at designer stores.