You don't have to be a millionaire to travel like one. That's thanks to the growing number of premium credit cards on the market these days that offer a wide range of luxury perks and features to qualifying cardholders. From concierge services to fee credits to complimentary airport lounge access and, of course, excellent rewards-earning possibilities, these cards offer members access to an elite world of luxury travel.
And the options extend beyond credit cards for individuals to credit cards for small business owners, making traveling for business just a little more comfortable and rewarding.
You'll obviously need an excellent credit history and score to qualify for these cards, and the annual fees will in some cases make them not the best fit for your lifestyle, but if you're a frequent travel with a taste for the finer things, take a look at the top luxury credit cards on the market:
Why We Like It: To start, five points earned for each $1 spent on airline purchases directly with airlines and on flight purchases and hotel stays booked through American Express Travel is a great perk for frequent travelers; however, the benefits don't stop there. While the annual fee price tag might seem steep at first, the plethora of luxury perks associated with this card quickly outweigh the cost. With up to $200 in annual Uber savings, a $200 airline fee credit with a pre-selected airline, a credit for your Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee, the annual fee easily pays for itself, and we've only even just got started with the long list of luxury perks that are offered with this card. (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser)
The Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 with your card in the first three months from account opening.
Annual Fee: $550; $175 for up to three additional authorized users. Terms apply. See Rates and Fees.
The Rewards: Five points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express travel, five points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com and one point per $1 on everything else. Read our full The Platinum Card® from American Express review.
Luxury Perks: Up to $200 in annual Uber savings with a $15 Uber credit each month, plus a $20 bonus in December; annual $200 airline fee credit with a pre-qualifying airline of your choice; fee reimbursement for your Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application; complimentary hotel benefits averaging $550 with the Fine Hotels and Resorts Program; access to more than 1,100 airport lounges across 120 countries; free room upgrades when available and a $75 hotel credit to spend on dining, spa, and resort activities when you book your stay with American Express Travel and stay at least two consecutive nights; complimentary membership in premium car rental programs, including special upgrades and discounts; complimentary access to unlimited WiFi through more than 1 million Boingo hotspots worldwide; platinum concierge services for assistance with things like reservations or ticket purchases; and a number of other elite shopping and travel benefits.
Why We Like It: Frequent travelers will appreciate that this card not only offers three points per $1 spent on airline purchases, but also on all travel related expenses (after the $300 annual reimbursement for travel charges), from taxi rides to hotel stays, and greater still, on dining purchases as well. Plus, users also receive a $300 credit each year for reimbursement for travel. Pair this with a $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee credit and the cost of airport lounge access (which is complimentary with this card), and suddenly, the annual fee cost doesn't seem so bad. In fact, MONEY® Magazine named this card the "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018.
The Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 with your card in the first three months from account opening. Your points are worth 50 percent more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Annual Fee: $450; $75 for each additional authorized user.
The Rewards: Three points per $1 on worldwide dining and on your travel, from airfare and hotels to taxis and trains, after you reach the $300 travel reimbursement each year; three points on dining worldwide; and one point on all other purchases. Additionally, users will receive up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to the account each anniversary year. Read our full Chase Sapphire Reserve® review.
Luxury Perks: Up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee; access to 1,000-plus airport lounges worldwide after a one-time enrollment in Priority Pass Select™; special car rental privileges from National Car Rental, Avis and Silvercard; special benefits during your stay with the Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection; and access to a Visa Infinite Concierge who can help with things like dinner reservations or Broadway, music, and sporting event ticket bookings.
Editor's Note: If you like the sound of what this card has to offer, but aren't super excited about that annual fee, you might consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card instead. This card offers fewer luxury perks, but still comes with a great opportunity to rack up Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. You'll earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months and those points are worth 25 percent more when redeemed through the portal, making your bonus worth $625. Furthermore, you'll earn two points per $1 spent on dining and travel purchases and one point per $1 on your other purchases. Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review.
Why We Like It: Unlike many credit cards with luxury perks, the American Express® Gold Card doesn't come with a super-expensive annual fee. This card not only offers users a chance to rack up Membership Rewards® points, but it also offers a number of great luxury perks such as airline and statement credits, which easily make the fee worth the cost. Note: The Limited Edition Rose Gold card is only available until 1/9/2019.
The Bonus: Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new card in the first three months from account opening. Also receive 20% back as a statement credit on charges at U.S. restaurants within the first three months, up to $100; this offer is available to new card members who apply by 1/9/2019.
Annual Fee: $250 Terms apply. See Rates and Fees.
The Rewards: Three Membership Rewards® points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com; four times the Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants and four times the Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X. You earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required. Read our full American Express® Gold Card review.
Luxury Perks: Up to a $100 annual fee credit to use toward things like incidental fees on a pre-selected airline, plus other elite shopping and travel benefits.
Why We Like It: Even the name of this card screams elite credit card, and if the name isn't enough, the look should do it. Uniquely engineered with a stainless steel front and carbon back for durability and distinction, the Mastercard® Black Card™ comes with a long list of luxury perks that are sure to make its users feel special. From airline and hotel credits, to VIP airport lounge access, to premium gifts, this card offers it all. It even gives users access to things like plane and yacht charter services, personal chauffeurs, and invitation-only, luxury experiences. When it comes to premium credit cards, the Mastercard® Black Card™ certainly lends itself to a life of luxury.
Bonus: There's no traditional bonus with this card; however, the value of your points redemption when it comes to airfare is high at 2 percent. That means that every point is worth $.02 when redeemed for airfare. That's a higher rewards rate than that typically offered.
Annual Fee: $495; $195 for each additional authorized user.
The Rewards: Earn one point for every $1 spent with 2 percent value for airfare redemptions and 1.5 percent value for cash back redemptions. Read our full Mastercard® Black Card™ review.
Luxury Perks: Annual $100 airline credit to be used towards flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, and upgrades; $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee credit; VIP airport lounge access to more than 1,000 lounges in more than 500 cities worldwide; luxury gifts from recognized brand names, given throughout membership; room upgrades, complimentary food and beverages and spa credits when booking hotel stays with your card; global luggage delivery services, which allow you to send your luggage ahead of time to nearly any destination worldwide to avoid the hassle of carrying, checking and claiming bags; competitive pricing and upgrades on premium car rentals; access to charter services, from flying by private jet to chartering a yacht; access to personal chauffeured services; 24/7 access to Luxury Card Concierge, a lifestyle management service tailored to your personal requirements, from booking an extravagant travel itinerary to sourcing hard-to-find gifts; access to invitation-only, luxury experiences such as courtside seats, backstage passes, and dress rehearsal tickets; LUXURY MAGAZINE subscription; and a number of other elite shopping and travel benefits and services.
Why We Like It: A good choice for those loyal to the American Airlines brand, users of this card are sure to appreciate the easy points that can be racked up when making American Airlines ticket reservations, as well as a list of other perks such as Admirals Club® access, priority check-in, priority airport screening and boarding privileges, free first checked bags and a number of other travel and shopping benefits. (Citi is a CardRatings advertiser)
The Bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases with your card in the first three months from account opening. You will also earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within a year.
Annual Fee: $450
The Rewards: Earn two AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and one mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Read our full Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® review.
Luxury Perks: Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee reimbursement; Admirals Club® access (or a prorated refund of your Admirals Club® membership fee if you're already a member); priority check-in, priority airport screening and boarding privileges for you and up to eight travel companions on the same reservation; first checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight travel companions traveling with you on the same reservation; and access to a dedicated concierge who can help with things like travel, shopping, dining, household and entertainment needs.
Why We Like It: At first glance, this card doesn't seem to fit with the other "luxury cards" we've been discussing in this article; however, recent changes to the Marriott Rewards® program make the card a solid contender in this space.
The Bonus: Earn 2 Free Night Awards (each valued up to 35,000 points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Then, earn 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
Annual Fee: $95
The Rewards: Earn 6X points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards & SPG hotels and 2X points for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Read our full Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card review.
Luxury Perks: You'll enjoy guaranteed Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year and can up that to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account anniversary year. And, here's a little something to look forward to: In 2019, Chase plans to introduce a perk that will award cardholders with 15 elite night credits each calendar year.
Why We Like It: This is another card that doesn't look like a luxury card at first glance. Once you realize that you can rake in up to a 75 percent bonus on your rewards if you carry a certain average balance across your eligible Bank of America checking and savings accounts, that luxury picture comes into focus.
The Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points – that's a $500 value – after you spend at least $3,000 on the card in the first 90 days from account opening.
Annual Fee: $95
The Rewards: You'll rake in two points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases as well as 1.5 points per $1 spent on all your other purchases. Read our full Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card review.
Luxury Perks: This card is really best for existing Bank of America account holders whose balances qualify them as Preferred Rewards clients. That's because Preferred Rewards clients receive an automatic 25-75 percent bonus on their rewards each time they redeem their points for a deposit directly into an eligible Bank of America account. Your bonus amount depends on your three-month average balance across your accounts, but even at the 25 percent bonus level that could be a big chunk of extra rewards.
Why We Like It: There are a lot of great perks to love with the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, such as the large five points per $1 earned on flights and pre-paid hotels booked through amextravel.com, or even hotel upgrades and airline fee credits, but one of the features that stands out to us the most is when you use your rewards points to book a first class or business class flight with any airline available through American Express Travel, or when you book any class flight with your pre-selected qualifying airline, you'll get 35 percent of the points back. With this benefit, you can get up to 500,000 points back per calendar year, which in the end, could put a lot of money back in your pocket.
The Bonus: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points. Spend $10,000 to earn the first 50,000 points and earn the next 25,000 points after spending an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases, all within your first three months of card membership. Plus, use your points for a first class or business class flight with any airline available through American Express Travel and get 35 percent of the points back, or get 35 percent of the points back when you book any class flight with your pre-selected qualifying airline. With this benefit, you can get up to 500,000 points back per calendar year.
Annual Fee: $450. Terms apply. See Rates and Fees.
The Rewards: Five points per $1 on flights and prepaid hotels through amextravel.com and one point per $1 on all your other purchases. Additionally, you'll earn 1.5 points per $1 on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more. Read our full The Business Platinum® Card from American Express review.
Luxury Perks: Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee credit every four years; an annual $200 travel credit to use towards things like baggage or incidental fees with your pre-selected airline; access to 1,100-plus airport lounges in more than 500 airports around the world; complimentary benefits such as room upgrades, daily breakfast for two people, late check-out, complimentary WiFi and a unique amenity, such as a food and beverage credit or a one-way private sedan transfer, when booking hotel stays through Fine Hotels and Resorts group; Hilton Honors Gold Status benefits at stays within the Hilton Portfolio; complimentary, unlimited WiFi access on up to four devices at more than 1 million Boingo hotspots worldwide; access to platinum travel counselors who specialize in providing custom itineraries and tailored recommendations to help you make the most of your travels; access to premium seats for select cultural and sporting events; baggage insurance plans offering up to $3,000 in coverage; premium car rental privileges; and a number of other premium shopping and travel benefits and services.
Why We Like It: If you spend a lot in one particular category, the American Express® Business Gold Card might be a good option for you. With this card, users can get 4x Membership Rewards® points on the two select categories where your business spent the most each month. (4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*). This is a great feature for businesses who have high expenses in one area, as it truly allows for maximum point accumulation. Plus, this card also offers a number of great expense management tools such as a designated account manager, easy QuickBooks connection, and a detailed end-of-year account summary, making it a practical business credit card to have on hand.
Annual Fee: $295. Terms apply. See Rates and Fees.
The Rewards: Get 4x Membership Rewards® points on the two select categories where your business spent the most each month. (4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*) You also get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.* Read our full American Express® Business Gold Card review.
Luxury Perks: While the American Express® Business Gold Card does offer some great travel and shopping benefits like car rental loss and damage insurance, premium roadside assistance, travel accident insurance, baggage insurance plans, extended warranty, and purchase protection, this card is more so focused on offering users with great expense management tools, which truly makes it a great business credit card. Some of the featured perks of the American Express® Business Gold Card include a designated account manager to access and manage your business card account; a Spend Manager feature which helps you to manage card expenses by allowing you to add receipts and notes to your transactions; easy connection to QuickBooks; account alerts; and a detailed year-end account summary. A flexible payment option can help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.*
Why We Like It: The Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card offers a number of nice perks, such as complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club®, a Delta Comfort+® or main cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon card renewal, priority boarding, and premium roadside assistance, but what's fun about this card is that users easily have the ability to earn Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), which helps you reach new levels of Medallion Status, and subsequently, have access to even more benefits like waived fees, complimentary upgrades and more.
The Bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your card in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $450 review.. Terms apply. See Rates and Fees review..
The Rewards: Earn two miles for every $1 spent with Delta and one mile on every eligible $1 spent on everything else. Read our full Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card review.
Luxury Perks: Complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club® and a discounted rate for up to two guests when flying on Delta; priority boarding; 20 percent in-flight savings; a domestic first class, Delta Comfort+® or main cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card; your first checked bag free; baggage insurance plan with coverage up to $1,250; travel accident insurance up to $500,000; premium roadside assistance; concierge services; and a number of other travel, shopping, and expense management perks.
Why We Like It: Another elite credit card with a comparatively low annual fee, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express offers users a lot of perks for the membership cost and their loyalty to the Delta brand. For starters, users will receive a domestic main cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of the card, which can easily outweigh the cost of the annual fee itself.
Welcome Offer: Earn 35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $1,000 in the first three months and earn a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase on your new card within the first three months. Plus, make $25,000 in purchases in a calendar year to earn 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles; make $50,000 in purchases and earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs each calendar year.
Annual Fee: $195. Terms apply. See Rates and Fees review.
The Rewards: Earn two miles for every $1 spent directly with Delta and one mile on every eligible $1 spent elsewhere. Read our full Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express review.
Luxury Perks: Receive a domestic main cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card; your first checked bag is free; priority boarding; 20 percent in-flight savings; baggage insurance plan with coverage up to $1,250; travel accident insurance; roadside assistance hotline; car rental loss and damage insurance; and a number of other travel, shopping and expense management perks.
The perks and features of these cards are certainly appealing, but it's important to note that these cards aren't for everyone. In fact, they probably aren't even for most people.
Before deciding to apply for one of these cards, make sure you have a firm grasp on your credit history and credit score. The reality is that you're going to need a stellar credit history to be approved for one of these cards – and applying for a credit card for which you won't be approved will do nothing more than ding your credit score.
If you like what you see here, but aren't ready for the larger-than-typical annual fees, that's ok. There are still some excellent travel rewards credit cards out there that don't come with massive annual fees. Plus, those cards, while you still need a healthy credit history to qualify, will likely not require quite the same income base that these premium credit cards do.
So if you're enticed by the perks and features, but not ready to take the plunge for one of these cards, take a look instead at our picks for "Best travel rewards credit cards." You could very well find your perfect credit card match there.
Be the first to comment!