[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners here — American Express Platinum and United MileagePlus Explorer. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
While some credit cards users struggle to control their debt and make their minimum payments on time, others have responsible credit card use down to a science. They treat credit cards only as a convenient method of payment, and pay every statement balance in full and on time. Not only do these super users avoid interest charges, but their savvy use of credit cards, and other types of loans, vaults them into the ranks of the credit elite.
Those who pay their bills on time, and have little, if any, debt, are nearly certain to enjoy credit scores of 750 and above. The credit elite can apply for any card they want, with confidence that they will most likely be approved. In most cases, approval is instantaneous, but when the decision is delayed, it is often because the card issuer wants more information to justify a credit limit that is high enough to meet the cardholder’s needs.
Those who can qualify for virtually any card they want tend to focus on premium rewards cards with exclusive benefits. Here are a few examples of credit and charge cards enjoyed by the credit elite.
1. American Express Platinum
Applicants must have excellent credit to be approved for this exclusive card. As a charge card, cardmembers are always expected to pay each month’s statement balance in full. Nevertheless, the benefits offered by this card are considerable. Cardmembers receive access to several airport business lounge programs including the Delta SkyClubs, Priority Pass Select, and American Express’s new Centurion Lounge program. Other benefits include an annual $200 airline fee credit, a $100 credit toward the Global Entry application fee, and valuable Membership Rewards points for each dollar spent. There is a $450 annual fee for this card.
2. Citi AAdvantage Executive Card
American Airlines offers this card with an extremely valuable sign-up bonus. New cardholders receive 100,000 miles, but only after using their card to make $10,000 in purchases within three months of opening an account. Cardholders then receive benefits such as access to the Admiral’s Club and US Airways clubs, a checked baggage fee waiver, and priority service at check-in, security and boarding. There is a $450 annual fee for this card that is partially offset by a $200 statement credit the first year.
3. JPMorgan Palladium Card
One of the things that the credit elite often enjoy is a private banking relationship. This enables consumers to access a personal and business lines of credit as well as personal service by a banking specialist. Chase also offers its private banking customers its Palladium card. Cardholders enjoy having no pre-set spending limit as well as no late fees, returned payment fees, over-limit fees or foreign transaction fees. Cardholders receive one point in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program for each dollar spent, and a 35,000 point bonus when cardholders spend $100,000 annually. Although this card is not made from pure Palladium, a costly element, it is made of metal. There is a $695 annual fee for this card.
4. United MileagePlus Club Card From Chase
Applicants with excellent credit will qualify for this card, which offers customers a membership in the United Club lounges, as well as free first and second checked bags for cardholders and one companion. In addition, cardholders receive priority access at the airport at check-in, security screening (where available), and boarding, as well as expedited baggage handling privileges. Finally, cardholders earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent, 50% more than their standard United MileagePlus Explorer card. There is a $395 annual fee for this card.
5. Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card From American Express
This card offers a membership in Delta’s SkyClubs, but only for the cardholder, no guests. Cardholders earn 10,000 bonus miles after their first purchase, and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying miles (MQMs). Other privileges include priority boarding, a free checked bag, and a 20% discount on in-flight purchases. Delta will even offer first-class upgrades to cardholders before granting them to other travelers with the same elite status in Delta’s SkyMiles program. There is a $450 annual fee for this card.
Finally, if you’re looking for a credit card, but not sure of your credit standing, it’s important to find out before you shop for a credit card so you can apply for cards for which you’d more likely to be approved. You can check your credit scores for free through Credit.com, where you can also get an overview of what’s affecting your credit scores, as well as a plan to improve them.
It’s always a good idea to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best card for your needs. You can compare credit cards on Credit.com.
At publishing time, the American Express Platinum and United MileagePlus Explorer cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for either of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.