There are some credit cards that will make merchants roll out the red carpet for you.

Loaded with amazing credit card perks and rewards, these premium cards come with an aura of exclusivity and social status that will make your cashier go from “Yeah” to “Yes, Ma’am/Sir.”

These high-class cards come with a price, though. The annual fee can be astronomical, but for some cardholders, especially travelers – the rewards might outweigh the price, making it so worth it.

But your credit score might not make the cut, either. These cards often require a strong credit score, so you have to make sure you even qualify before you apply and take the inquiry hit.

What makes a credit card “premium”?

So you might be asking yourself, “How can a credit card be premium?” and the answer is perks.

A premium credit card is going to offer you much more or much better perks than a “regular” card can even think of providing.

These perks include:

  • higher earn rates,
  • nice welcome bonuses,
  • status,
  • lounge access and other perks,
  • annual credits, and
  • insurance.

Higher earn and redemption rates

Some cards will earn you higher earn rates – especially on dining and travel.

If you’re constantly in the air or staying at a hotel, these cards can be worth the annual fee because of the amount you’ll be getting back. Simply consult your spending and see which card’s rewards best match up with your spending, ensuring maximum rewards.

As an added bonus, your points might actually be worth more if you book through their partnered programs, so make sure you’re getting the most of your rewards when it’s time to redeem them.

Nice welcome bonuses and annual rewards

Some of these welcome bonuses are huge and can be worth a free flight or two. Often you only receive them after reaching a spending limit in a certain period of time, but if you know that’s what you’ll be spending anyways…why not?

Plus, some cards even have bonus rewards if you spend a certain amount, adding even more points to your account and free flights in your future.


A premium credit card will often earn you a status, like the .It’ll earn you automatic Gold Elite Status through Marriott Bonvoy or Gold Status through the Hilton Honours Program.

This is something earned by staying anywhere from 20 – 40 nights, so to have it automatically is a big plus. Assuming each night costs $100, you’re looking at a savings of $2,000 to $4,000 right there.

Related: Our Guide To Getting The Most Out Of The Hilton Honors Program

Lounge access

The ultimate airport perk: lounge access. Being able to put your feet up, separated from the hustle and bustle of a busy airport and showered in free drinks and food, could be the deciding factor for some when choosing a credit card.

If you frequently fly from airport to airport, this perk might even be essential for you. You spend a lot of time in the building anyways – you might as well do it in style.


There’s no need to be worried about insurance when you’re carrying a premium card because these are often decked out with a nice insurance package.

While the types of insurance premium cards offer might be common, it’s the amount it covers up to that really sets these cards apart from the average plastic.

Before you choose a premium credit card

Here are two things you need to think about when it comes to getting a premium credit card.

Premium credit card annual fees and APR rates

As we mentioned, these cards come with a price.

If you don’t make sure you break down your spending and the rewards you can earn based on it, you might actually lose money by going for a premium credit card.

With annual fees of $400 – $550, these cards are certainly not for everyone and should only be considered by those who can maximize their rewards.

Your APR rate on these cards is probably going to be a lot higher than that of a regular credit card, so make sure you’re paying off your bill each month to avoid racking up interest rates that will give you a headache.

Related: When Is It Worth It To Pay A Credit Card Annual Fee?

High-end credit card credit score requirements

Finally, these cards will require strong credit – so make sure your score is strong and you have a good credit history because these issuers won’t even consider a poor score.

Plus, it’s not worth the hit your credit score takes when you have an inquiry, so trust your gut if you don’t think you’ll get approved.

Our favorite premium credit cards

We’ve chosen 4 top credit cards that grace our list as our favorite premium credit cards.

Ringing in at a $550 annual fee, the highest on our list, the offers you impressive perks that range from unlimited access to 1,200 airport lounges worldwide to Gold Status through Marriott Bonvoy and the Hilton Honours program.

This card is for the ultimate VIP, with a tempting welcome bonus of 60,000 points when you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months and nice earn rates of:

  • 1 point for every dollar spent,
  • 5 points per dollar spent on hotels and flights booked through – as well as flights booked directly with airlines, and
  • 2x the points on dining, spa, and resort activities.

If that wasn’t enough, you get access to a premium concierge service, rental car privileges, VIP Uber status, an annual $100 airline fee credit, and 6 types of travel and purchase insurance. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg with this card.

A popular premium card, the offers you 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on qualified purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s a $750 credit towards airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Annually, you’ll also receive up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursement for travel purchases on your card’s anniversary.

These rewards don’t even include the earn rates of:

  • 3 points per dollar spent on travel,
  • 3 points for every dollar spent on dining, and
  • 1 point for every other dollar spent.

With unlimited Priority Pass airport lounge access, 50% more points when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and a 1:1 value when you transfer points to leading airlines and hotel loyalty programs, the $450 annual fee almost seems worth it.

With the , you’ll be earning 50,000 AAdvantage miles after you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months, and another 10,000 after you spend $40,000 annually.

On top of the welcome bonus, the card has earn rates of:

  • 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar spent, and
  • 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on American Airlines.

For a $450 annual fee, this card also offers you 11 different types of purchase and travel insurance, unlimited lounge access for you and a guest to over 50 Admirals Club lounges, dedicated concierge service, preferred boarding, and security and check-in privileges to make traveling a luxurious experience – every time.

We want to hear from you

Do these premium cards tempt you to earn VIP status?

Or will you stick with your “regular” card?