Luxury credit cards offer a fast track to elite status, especially for professionals who can funnel both household purchases and reimbursable business expenses through a single account. Living the high life doesn't have to mean shelling out top dollar on travel, though. With excellent credit and the ability to push thousands of dollars in transactions through a single credit card every month, you can expect benefits that include:

  • no foreign transaction fees,
  • direct access to dedicated customer-service advisers,
  • flexibility with spending limits and available credit,
  • travel bonuses and airport privileges, and
  • booking privileges at cardholder-exclusive resorts.

Although the four accounts that made our hot list might not always bill themselves as luxury credit cards, they each include essential tools and rewards for cardholders who love to work hard and play harder.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Like American Express, Chase maintains its own ultra-luxury credit card, the J.P. Morgan Palladium Card. However, it's only available to private banking customers with accounts holding millions of dollars in deposits. Fortunately, an excellent credit score can earn you an invitation to a card with many of the same benefits: the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Along with generous rewards bonuses and significant discounts on reward travel, Chase Sapphire Preferred members can transfer rewards points to many popular frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. Chase's service advisers have earned a reputation for pulling off some highly customized, luxurious travel experiences for cardholders, even on short notice.

Citi Executive/AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard

The concierges that staff the phone lines for World Elite MasterCard customers claim that "no request is too big or too small," no matter where in the world your travels take you. Imagine what you'd have to pay to hire a personal assistant and you'll put this card's $450 annual fee into perspective.

You'll enjoy Admirals Club access for yourself and immediate family members, a perk that would normally cost up to $825 on its own. Citi Price Rewind can track your major purchases and refund any difference if the price drops by more than $25 over 30 days. Bonus miles and special travel rewards on American Airlines can enable your jet-set lifestyle with no mileage cap and free checked bags throughout the year.

Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

After your first $2,500 in eligible purchases within four months of account opening the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card treats you to two weekend-night certificates redeemable for a standard room at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio.

Your Visa Signature concierge can help you time your travel to coincide with member-exclusive events that celebrate fine wine and food at relaxing destinations. While you're away from home, you'll enjoy the benefits of Hilton HHonors Gold Status as long as you are a cardmember.

U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature

Like other Visa Signature cards, the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card includes access to around-the-clock concierges who can arrange access to exclusive travel and entertainment experiences. However, this card includes a unique way to treat yourself while helping others: triple rewards points on charitable donations charged to the card.

This card's other twist involves stacking up all of your purchases by category every month, then doubling points on all of that category's purchases. It's an unusual approach that rewards cardholders with atypical purchasing patterns. If you tend to lump most of your travel or your major purchases into just one part of the year, this card can help you maximize your earnings potential.

Selecting the best luxury credit card for your lifestyle

If you travel to Europe often, you might prefer a card that includes an embedded EMV chip. Look for opportunities to earn bonus rewards by issuing additional cards to family members. Most of all, call your card's concierge hotline and ask them for advice on how to maximize your earnings. With competition for quality customers at an all-time high, they're happy to explain how you can get the most benefits from your membership.