Here's a sampling of some of the hardest-to-get cards with the biggest cardholder benefits.
1. American Express Centurion
Annual Fee: $2,500 (plus an initiation fee of $5,000)
Requirements: $250,000 spending minimum
Often regarded as the ultimate in its category, benefits of the "black card" include 24-hour concierge service, room upgrades at hotels and membership to the company's "By Invitation Only" program, which offers access to sporting, culinary and cultural events, including New York Fashion Week.
2. Bank of America Accolades
Annual Fee: $295
Requirements: At least $200,000 in assets with Bank of America
Bank of America's first high-end credit card launched in 2007 and provides customers with concierge service, cash-back rewards, comprehensive identity-theft protection and recovery services, as well as access to more than 500 airport lounges worldwide.
3.Coutts World Card
Annual Fee: $500 (waived if $100,000 is charged to your account over one year)
Requirements: Only available to Coutts clients who have at least $1 million in the bank
As the private banking arm of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Coutts offers cardholders travel insurance, 24-hour concierge service, Priority Pass membership and purchase insurance.
4. HHonors Diamond VIP Surpass from Hilton/American Express
Annual Fee: $75
Requirements: $40,000 spending minimum
Ideal for frequent travelers, this card rewards members with nine points on the Hilton loyalty program for every $1 spent at Hilton hotels, and free access to more than 500 airport lounges worldwide. Room upgrades and access to private lounges within the hotels are also included.
5. Sotheby's World Elite Mastercard
Annual Fee: $395
Requirements: You must earn over $250,000 per year and have over $2million in investable assets.
Designed for art collectors and fans, benefits include 24-hour concierge service, complimentary business-class companion international air tickets on certain flights, upgrades from economy to business class for international air travel, global airport lounge access, discounted prices in Sotheby's catalogs and free admission to top museums.
6. Visa Black Card
Annual Fee: $495
Requirements: No spending minimum, but membership is limited to 1% of the U.S. population
Launched in 2008, this is Visa's answer to Amex's Centurion. It offers similar benefits--24-hour concierge service, Priority Pass membership and 1% cash back on all purchases--without a spending minimum.
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