The Credit Cards That Keep On Giving

Do the rich really keep getting richer? Whether its luck or skill or something else, the fortunate still have all the advantages. The American Express Platinum and Centurion Card, also known as the black card, continue to be the cards that keep on giving — at least to those those who can swing the annual fees of $450 and $2,500, respectively. The company recently announced some irresistible travel deals for its elite customers. 

The Priority Pass Selections

Platinum and Centurion cardholders get access to 600 airports lounges at 325 airports. Customers enjoy snacks, internet access and refreshments. 

Free Global Entry

Pre-approved low risk travellers get expedited clearance when re-entering the U.S.  Extensive interviews, background checks and paperwork are required. Anyone can apply for Global Entry privileges, but American Express will give Platinum and Centurion cardholders a statement credit to offset the $100 application fee, which covers five years in the program.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

Platinum and Centurion cardholders will no longer be charged a fee on foreign purchases. Most cards charge 1%-3%. Other cards, including some from CapitalOne and Chase, offer fee-free foreign transactions as well.

American Express is light years ahead of its peers when it comes to
getting chummy with the wealthy — the invitation-only Centurion card, made of metal instead of plastic, exudes a gravitas unmatched by other cards. But competitors may try to give the company a run for its money. As card companies are still gun-shy about taking on customers with bad credit after the recent crisis, they are starting to add more perks to attract high-end customers.

Chase is partnering with British Airways to offer a new credit card offering 50,000 miles for signing up and 50,000 for spending $2,500 in the first three months. The card, the British Airways Visa Signature Card, does not charge foreign transaction fees, either. Other issuers are flaunting benefits like access to private jets, VIP tickets, exclusive shopping sprees, room upgrades and concierge services. While it is
nice to carry around a card that makes you feel like the queen bee, these perks do not come without a fee.

The strategy of focusing on high-end cardholders seems to make sense. Premium cards usually require good to excellent credit, lowering the risk of default, and wealthy cardholders make more big-ticket purchases. Express makes about 4% on a transaction.  So if a celebrity buys a $1000 necklace, American Express pockets $40.