4 Invitation-Only Credit Cards

invitation-only-credit-cards

If you have reasonably good credit and a steady income, credit cards aren’t usually that difficult to come by. In fact, you may be throwing credit card offers out with the rest of your junk mail on a regular basis. (Actually, we hope you’re shredding them so you don’t put yourself at risk for identity theft.) But it’s likely that the companies sending you mailers are just hunting for new customers, and there’s nothing too exclusive about them.

By contrast, there are some credit cards that are rarely advertised anywhere, and are available to top tier customers by invitation only. Consumers can’t apply for them, and offers are only extended to the most qualified.

These are four of the most exclusive credit cards that come by invitation only.

1. The Dubai First Royale MasterCard

The Dubai First Royale MasterCard is a black card so ritzy it has diamond and gold details embedded on the face of the card. The card is invitation only for a very limited group of the “upper echelons of the social and business community.” The card comes with no limit, a dedicated account manager, and Royale Lifestyle Management — presumably a “lifestyle manager” similar to a personal concierge — but details are slim, so you can let your imagination run wild with what this entails.

2. The American Express Centurion Card

This American Express invite-only card is referenced in rap songs and TV shows, and is known as one of the most exclusive black cards on the market. But information on the features that come with this anodized titanium card is scarce. However, it’s reported the card will get you access to Amex’s Centurion lounges at airports, as well as (rumored) free upgrades at hotel chains, airline credits and other special services. It comes with a hefty price: an “initiation fee” of $7,500 and an annual fee of $2,500.

3. The Visa Infinite Eurasian Diamond Card

According to Kazakhstan-based Eurasian Bank, the Visa Infinite Eurasian Diamond Card is the world’s first card to feature diamond-and-gold ornamentation. To become a cardholder, you must be recommended by two bank members of the Eurasian Bank’s Management Board.

Unlike other cards on this list, the card provider is very transparent about the benefits. Features include concierge services that arrange transportation (including private planes), translator and courier services and even butler services. There is no credit card limit, but there are fees associated with the card, depending on the year of service and the customer’s status.

4. MasterCard’s Luxury Card Priceless Program

This is a departure from the other invitation-only cards on the list, as the MasterCard Priceless service is actually a program available to MasterCard’s luxury line of credit cards, including their Gold Card, Black Card and Titanium Card. Technically, you can directly apply for all three of these cards through MasterCard’s website.

But we’re including them as a bundle on this list because of MasterCard’s Priceless program, which is unavailable to most MasterCard holders. This service gets cardholders access to invitation-only, exclusive experiences. These could include backstage tickets and courtside seats, access to VIPs and industry experts, exclusive golf experiences and other curated excursions.

OK, so most of us probably won’t be using these cards. But if you’re considering a rewards credit card that is more within your reach (and there are plenty of great ones out there), it’s important to know where your credit stands. After all, you have to have good or excellent credit to get the coveted perks and you don’t want to apply (and take the hit of a hard inquiry) just to get denied. You can see two of your credit scores for free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: andresr

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Would You Pay $15 for Early Hotel Check-In?

Most of us are familiar with this scenario: Your flight just landed, and you and your bags are off to the hotel, only to discover that check-in time is still hours away. You certainly don’t want to hang around the hotel just to look after your bags and you don’t want to lug them around with you either. What if the problem could be remedied, or even avoided, for a small fee. Would you pay it?

Turns out, 63% of American travelers would.

According to a recent poll of 2,000 American travelers, 37% of those who said they would pay a fee would shell out up to $10 for the added convenience and 16% would pay $15. Ten percent of those who would pay a fee said they would hand over more than $15.

The July 2016 poll, conducted by Jetsetter, a travel deals website, had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1% at a 95% confidence level, according to an email from a Jetsetter spokesperson.

Added Fees for Travel

It’s important to remember that fees can add up, whether they’re to check in to your room early or to check your bag on a flight. Some travel credit cards do offer free checked luggage, but these cards often come with an annual fee, so consider how often you travel and if paying that annual fee is worth it. (You can read about the best airline credit cards here.)

If you are in the market for a new credit card, it’s a good idea to review your credit before you apply, as a good credit score can help you qualify for better terms and conditions. You can see where your credit currently stands by viewing two of your credit scores for free, updated monthly, on Credit.com.

Image: Pamela Moore

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