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The 4 Best Luxury Credit Cards of 2018

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If you're a frequent traveler, luxury credit cards can give you a VIP experience every time you take a trip. With perks like airport lounge access, trip protections, and stellar rewards, you'll travel in style, even on a small vacation budget.

Luxury cards typically come with a steep annual fee. But if you're savvy enough, you can get enough value out of the card's benefits to make up for the fee and more.

See the best credit cards for you now in Experian CreditMatch.

How to Pick the Right Luxury Card

All luxury credit cards offer a flurry of travel perks, but they don't always overlap. As a result, it's important to consider how you travel and what types of benefits you prefer.

As with any other credit card, you'll want to compare the features and terms of each luxury card and select the one that suits your needs best. Note, however, that applying for credit cards is different than applying for loans. If you're approved, your account gets opened automatically.

So, make sure you know which card you want and apply only for that card rather than applying for all of them to see what terms you'd get.

Also, note that luxury credit cards are typically designed for people with good and exceptional credit. Check your credit scores before applying to make sure you're score meets that standard, which can vary depending on which card you're looking at.

The 4 Best Luxury Credit Cards to Check out Now

If you're in the market for a luxury card, here are some of the best offers on the market today.

See the best credit cards for you now in Experian CreditMatch.

Best Luxury Card With Rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Overview: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® not only offers an impressive suite of benefits, but also a world-class rewards program. For starters, you'll earn 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in purchases over the first three months, plus 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere.

What makes that offer so special is that your points are worth 50% more if you use them to book travel through Chase. So, 50,000 points could be worth $750. Alternatively, you can transfer your points to any of the issuer's airline and hotel partners. The card charges a $450 annual fee.

Here are some other details to know:

  • A $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases.
  • Access to more than 1,000 airport lounges through the Priority Pass network.
  • Up to a $100 statement credit for a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ application fee.
  • Special rental privileges with National Car Rental, Avis, and Silvercar.
  • Trip cancellation or interruption insurance.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement.
  • Trip delay reimbursement.
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation coverage.

Benefits: Among the other luxury credit cards we reviewed, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers the best all-around package. The card's annual fee is mostly offset by the card's travel credit, and you can easily make up for the rest of it with the card's other various perks.

Drawbacks: Despite the card's benefits, a $450 annual fee is still too much for some. And the card doesn't offer as many elite perks as some of the others we reviewed. Depending on your preference, it might not be the best option for you.

See the best credit cards for you now in Experian CreditMatch.

Best Luxury Card for Elite Extras: Platinum Card® from American Express

Overview: The Platinum Card® from American Express has long been a status symbol, but it's relatively affordable if you consider the value you're getting from the card.

The card's rewards program is decent but not its strong suit. You'll earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in purchases during the first three months. You'll also get 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, and hotels booked through American Express Travel. Other purchases net you only 1 point per dollar.

The card charges a $550 annual fee. That said, here's a summary of the benefits the card provides:

  • $200 in Uber credits each year.
  • A $200 airline incidental fee credit (e.g., checked baggage fees, award flight fees, etc.).
  • Up to a $100 statement credit for a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ application fee.
  • Access to more than 1,100 airport lounges worldwide, including the Centurion Lounge, Delta Sky Club, and Priority Pass lounges.
  • Gold status with Hilton Honors and Starwood Preferred Guest.
  • Special upgrades and discounts with select premium car rental programs.
  • Complimentary access to more than 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide with Boingo.
  • Transfer your points to any of American Express' 19 airline and hotel transfer partners.

Benefits: If you travel even just a few times a year, you could get enough back from this card to make up for its annual fee. And with benefits surrounding airlines, hotels, and car rentals, almost every aspect of your trip is covered.

Drawbacks: The card's $550 annual fee is one of the highest you'll pay with a luxury card. The card also doesn't have a dynamic rewards program, which could turn off big spenders. Finally, the card's airline incidental fee isn't as flexible as a general travel credit and requires you to pick an airline for which you can receive the credit.

See the best credit cards for you now in Experian CreditMatch.

Best Luxury Card for a Smooth Travel Experience: Luxury Card Mastercard® Black Card

The Luxury Card Mastercard® Black Card offers a set of benefits that can help make your trip go more smoothly. For example, you'll get a professional representative to meet you at and escort you through the airport, access to a chauffeured transportation service, and the chance to charter a private jet or yacht.

The card doesn't offer a sign-up bonus and offers just 1 point per dollar spent. That said, you get a 2% rewards rate if you use your points to buy airfare, and a base 1.5% rewards rate when you redeem points for cash. The card charges a $495 annual fee.

Here are some other details to know:

  • $100 annual air travel credit toward flight-related purchases, including tickets, baggage fees, upgrades, and more.
  • Up to a $100 statement credit for a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ application fee.
  • Access to more than 1,000 airport lounges through the Priority Pass network.
  • Global luggage delivery to skip airport security and customs.
  • Competitive pricing and upgrades with Luxury Card's car rental partners.
  • Special privileges on more than 20 cruise lines.
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
  • Baggage delay insurance.
  • Travel accident insurance.
  • Luxury gifts.

Benefits: As long as you redeem your rewards for airfare, you'll get a great rewards rate that you can't get with any other luxury card. And if you want to take your travel experience to the next level, you can do it by chartering a jet or yacht.

Drawbacks: Unless you specifically want the luxury benefits the card offers, it might not be worth the steep $495 annual fee. Make sure you'll use the luxury card's benefits often before you commit.

See the best credit cards for you now in Experian CreditMatch.

Best Luxury Card Interest Rate: Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card

The average credit card interest rate is a variable 16.81% APR, and the Luxury CardTM Mastercard® Titanium Card offers a variable 16.49% APR. That's impressive considering travel credit cards often charge above-average interest rates.

Of course, it's always wise to pay off your balance on time and in full each month. But if you need to carry a balance, a card with a below-average interest rate is a better way to go. Like the Luxury Card Mastercard® Black Card, this card offers a 2% rewards rate on airfare redemptions. But if you redeem your points for cash, you'll get a mediocre 1% rewards rate. The card charges a $195 annual fee.

Here are some other details to know:

  • Global luggage delivery to skip airport security and customs.
  • Competitive pricing and upgrades with Luxury Card's car rental partners.
  • Special privileges on more than 20 cruise lines.
  • Airport meet and assist.
  • Chauffeured transportation service.
  • Private jet and yacht charter service.
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
  • Baggage delay insurance.
  • Travel accident insurance.

Benefits: The card has many of the same perks as its sister card but without the exorbitant annual fee. What's more, it offers a great rewards rate, as long as you redeem your rewards for airfare.

Drawbacks: The card doesn't offer a lot of freebies like many of the other cards on our list do. Also, its lack of sign-up bonus and other quantifiable perks, such as fee credits, make it hard to know if you're getting enough value to make up for the annual fee.

See the best credit cards for you now in Experian CreditMatch.

Which Card Is Right for You?

There's no single best credit card for everyone, and you might decide that luxury credit cards aren't your cup of tea. As you're reviewing these cards, consider how you spend your money and your personal preferences.

Also, compare these cards with other top rewards cards to see if you might get as much value out of a card with a lower annual fee but fewer frills. As you take the time and do your research, you'll be more likely to find a card that you can use and benefit from for years to come.

The information related to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card has been collected by Experian and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.
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