Getting Pre-Approved for a High-End Credit Card Can be Difficult

High-End Credit Card SIM Card Illustration

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Credit Sesame discusses getting pre-approved for a high-end credit card.

Credit card pre-approval promotions are common. You may have received one. Credit card promotions are sent to consumers in all income brackets. However, only the ultra-rich receive offers for high-end credit cards. High-end credit cards are offered by invitation only but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a high-end or elite credit card. If you spend enough money on your credit cards, you may be able to apply without an invitation.

What is an elite card?

Elite credit cards have ridiculously high annual fees, high credit limits, great perks, and typically require spending $250,000 or more on your current credit cards to qualify. You may also need a high net worth and liquidity, with some cards requiring millions of dollars in liquid assets.

High-end cards offer some of the best perks around. Here are some of the benefits you may expect:

  • Personal concierge
  • Airline elite status
  • Hotel elite status
  • Car rental benefits
  • International airline arrival services
  • Annual statement credit for CLEAR (airport security) membership for up to four people
  • Cruise credits

What the top cards can entail

Holders of high-end, elite credit cards are special, celebrities and high income and high net worth individuals.  While some regular credit cards have millions of members, a truly elite, high-end credit card may have under 20,000.

High-end cards are expensive and can can cost as much as:

  • $10,000 initiation fee
  • $5,000 annual membership fee
  • $5,000 annual fee per card for up to two more cards

If you fancy a high-end card for yourself, your spouse and your child, and you might pay $25,000 in the first year.

A high-end credit card often requires high-end spending, with annual spend requirements of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even if you can afford this, you are not guaranteed to qualify for an elite card. Credit card companies also analyze candidates’ spending habits and prioritizes individuals with purchases for luxury goods, dining, events, and travel.

Applying for a high-end credit card

Many card providers don’t lay out the details of how to qualify for their rare cards. Credit experts say there aren’t income requirements per se, but being a big spender on your credit cards should help.

If your credit card company sees that you’re charging $350,000 to your regular card each year, then it may send you an application for its most elite card. 

Other cards allow applicant referrals from other elite card members. If you have wealthy friends, then you may be able to get an invitation. 

Some cards also offer nomination codes through luxury partner companies. If you shop at high-end stores often, it may be worth asking if the store has invitation codes for elite credit cards.

At the high-end of high-end credit cards, you may be expected to invest in a credit card provider’s brokerage account. Or have $10 million in liquid assets. Or a perfect credit score.

Sometimes, you need to be in the know, with elite cards deliberately not advertized on the company website alongside regular credit cards for the masses.

If you fulfill all or some of these requirements, you may end up enjoying a credit limit of $300,000.

Alternatives to high-end cards

Even if you get an exclusive invitation, and you are affluent with a high net worth and millions in liquid assets, you may feel that a high-end credit card is not worth the annual fees. Or perhaps you’re not interested in the elite status of a special credit card.

Top tier travel perks are great, but many other credit cards offer good travel perks with reasonable annual fees or sometimes no fee at all. It’s worthwhile shopping around for travel credit cards or cards with other types of rewards, such as cash back. Bonus offers can make a card’s annual fee worth paying for at least a year if you meet the minimum spending requirement through your regular purchases. The ongoing rewards can be just as good, too.

If there’s a hotel or rental car chain you like, chances are there’s a credit card with a rewards program tied to it. Some cards give members elite status at brands they partner with, so you could get free upgrades without paying an annual credit card fee. 

Don’t forget that one of the other requirements is a perfect credit score. You can achieve an excellent credit score without a high income. And good credit opens the doors of financial opportunity.

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Disclaimer: The article and information provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

Aaron Crowe
Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist who specializes in personal finance topics. He has written for Wise Bread, AOL, AARP, Bankrate and other websites that focus on financial literacy and saving money. He has also worked as a newspaper reporter and editor. You can follow him on Twitter @AaronCrowe.

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