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This article was last updated Oct 09, 2013, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.
We are going to cover those cards you wish you had if you’re one of our readers living outside the United States –or for those who just like reading about these top-of-the-line credit cards (let’s be real, they are pretty cool). Keep in mind, just because they aren’t issued in the United States, doesn’t mean they aren’t accepted here, card issuers just chose not to offer them directly in the United States. What I’ve found as the most common feature to the prestigious credit cards I previously analyzed are the following:
- 24/7 concierge service
- Private jet access
- Really high reward rates
- Automatic upgrades and add-ons
- Cardmember Anniversary bonuses
- Protection (extended warranties, $0 fraud protection, roadside assistance, trip cancellation protection, etc)
Let’s see how these prestigious credit cards from overseas stand up to those offered here. Something tells me they may be just a bit snazzier.
Visa Infinite Exclusive Gold Card
Brought to you by Russia’s Sberbank in Kazakhstan, this card is embellished with pearls, 26 diamonds, coated in gold, and rumored to only be given to the top 100 of the 400,000 Visa Infinite customers (as of 2012). This card is an accompaniment to the usual card that contains a magnetic strip because this card only comes with a pin and chip. It will cost the card holder $100,000 up front, $65,000 just for the card and the remaining $35,000 will be placed on the cards balance. The annual fee is pretty steep too, at $2,000.
Perhaps the best feature to being a card holder is life and health insurance in the amount of $265,000. There seems to be a trend in foreign credit cards offering insurance, and makes me wonder why I haven’t heard of any in the United States offering insurance with their credit cards. I’m sure it has something to do with our health system in general. Some additional features to this card include:
- Access to over 280 business-class lounges
- 24-hour concierge phone service
- Discounts to over 800 hotels, restaurants, and car rentals worldwide
- Complimentary iPhone 5
- Complimentary Montblanc bankcard holder from Sberbank
Dubai First Royale MasterCard
Introduced three years ago, this is yet another card embellished with gold and diamonds and is brought to you by Dubai First Bank. One thing that really surprised me about this card is the no annual fee rumor. Apparently the bank makes enough money from their cardmembers that they don’t need to charge anyone and annual membership fee, however, the website states the annual fee at AED 7,000 (about $1,905 in American dollars). It also used to be only offered to the top 200 wealthiest bank customers, but they have since loosened their terms a bit. This card is only available to UAE residents.
The card is by invitation only -to those of royalty or a part of the upper echelons of the business and social community. The interest rate can be as low as 2.59% p.m and it comes with no pre-set spending limit. Probably one of the best features to this card is the Royale Lifestyle Manager and a Dedicated Relationship Manager. These guys basically tend to all personal and leisure requirements, such as personal shopping, event planning, travel bookings, and arranging for private invitations to exclusive openings worldwide. Some additional card features include:
- Royal Card Program (awarded Best Premium Programme Credit Award by MasterCard in 2008)
- Private jet access
- VIP service to restaurants, polo clubs, and more
- Yacht Charter access
- Membership access to premium clubs
Citibank Ultima Credit Card
This card is available to those in Asia, Russia, Germany, and parts of the Middle East and is processed by Citibank. Again, it is by invitation only to those who reportedly have assets of over 5 million in Singapore dollars. The annual fee is steep, as expected, at S$3,888. A lot of industry experts have complained that the card hasn’t (and won’t) been the same since they parted ways with Jet Airways in early 2013.
Perhaps the best features that come with this card –and the reason for its creation- is the private banking experience and relationship management experience. Similar to the Dubai First Royale MasterCard, the Lifestyle Manager will be their trusted adviser, who will hand-deliver the new card and conduct an analysis to understand the card holder’s specific needs and preferences. The Lifestyle Manager is also the communication line between the card holder and the bank. Cardmembers have access to luxury items like private jets, luxury automobiles, and yachts. Some additional card features include:
- Welcome gift in the form of air miles, equivalent to a pair of round-trip First class tickets on Singapore Airlines*
- Unlimited access to over 600 airport lounges
- Complimentary rounds of golf
- Membership to ITC Culinary Plus program
- International medical coverage of $50,000
- Rewards point program
- Over 7 airline partners to choose from
- Sailing privileges
Coutts World Card
This one is a favorite of mine because it’s rumored (I say rumored because there’s no real proof) that Queen Elizabeth II carries this credit card around with her, perhaps in one of her thousand dollar hand bags. Other rumors that follow this card around is that it’s THE most prestigious credit card to hold and harder to get than the American Express Centurion Card. Let’s start with the issuing banks reputation. According to the London Times, the bank is mostly owned by the British Public and is known as being THE bank for the rich and famous of British society with clients like The Beatles, the Duke of Wellington, and Elton John.
Some stipulations to being a card member is you must have over a few million in your bank. All over the web the APR is stated as 49%, but it is a charge card, so I’m assuming no cardholder actually ends up paying that ridiculous rate except on the few occasions they forget to pay their bill (or their accountant forgets). According to the tiny page of terms and conditions, the annual fee comes out to £350 (about $475 in American dollars), which is refunded if you spend £50,000 on the account in 12 months. Some of the benefits are rumored (again, I say rumored because I am unable to get to the actual card offer page to view all features and benefits) to include:
- Health insurance
- Travel insurance
- Concierge service- including home assistance for things like dog walkers and tutors, travel assistance, dining and entertainment, and shopping assistance
- Priority Pass Membership- includes free food & drinks, access to 600 executive airport lounges for you and 2 guests at no extra charge.
- Currency delivery service
From my viewpoint, I think the best benefit to being a card member would be the insurance coverage and the currency delivery service. For those who are always on the go and don’t have time to stop at the bank to get travellers checks or perform a currency exchange, for example, it’s great to have the option to have those delivered to your door at just a 1% fee of the face valued amount. This service also comes with a non-sterling transaction fee, which I’ve never heard of before; must be a Euro thing.
*Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Citibank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Citibank. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.