Credit cards of the rich and famous
By Megg Mueller
Did you know JPMorgan Chase offers a credit card made out of gold and palladium? No? Not surprising, as the Palladium Card is only offered by invitation to a select few. Reading about it in a recent Bloomberg story, I found myself wondering, "Who does Chase think it is, American Express?" Well apparently, AmEx is thinking the same thing.
The Street reports American Express vice chairman Ed Gilligan told a group of investors recently that "...Chase in particular certainly has been executing well their strategy, but their strategy seems to be to follow American Express's strategy from a couple of years ago."
AmEx has long had the reputation of being the card of the rich and famous, but Chase now appears to be chasing that same affluent customer. While the Chase Palladium comes with many perks (deals on private jet service, anyone?) it also has a steep annual fee of $595. But that still doesn't even come close to the American Express Black Card which has not only a $5,000 initiation fee, but an annual fee of $2,500.
But for those of us not quite so highbrow, how do the two companies' ordinary flagship rewards credit cards stack up? For those with a healthy budget, a look at the JPMorgan Select Visa and the American Express Gold Card reveals a couple of similarities: travel insurance offers, and no blackout dates for travel booked with rewards points. But that's where the comparable features end:
JPMorgan Select Visa
- For $95 a year (waived the first year) you get the smart chip technology the rest of the world is using, which makes international travel much easier and is a big selling point for some.
- The card has no preset spending limit, so if you pay your bills on time, you can charge pretty much anything within reason.
- Earn 2 reward points for each $1 spent, and up to 3 points for travel booked through the card website.
- If you spend $100,000 in a year, then make one more purchase, you get 25,000 bonus reward points.
- There are no foreign transaction fee, late fees or over-limit fees.
American Express Gold Card The Gold card has no preset limit either, but you have to pay your balance in full each month which is what AmEx is all about. So, no interest charges, but that payment plan isn't for everyone.
- Access to Exclusive Benefits: Baggage Insurance Plan* when you travel, and shop with confidence with Extended Warranty* and Return Protection
- Use points for gift cards for dining, entertainment, and to shop over 300 of some of your favorite merchants
- Get discounts and low rates at hotels and resorts, plus a $75 hotel credit when you book through Gold Hotel Collection
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $125
- Terms and Restrictions Apply
Chase may be going after the rich kids, but right now its credit card selection is still geared mostly toward the working-man set. The Palladium is the big boy for now, but there's a major gap between ludicrously rich and merely being very comfortable, and Chase's cards don't address that range at this point. The Palladium, according to Bloomberg, is in the hands of almost half the world's billionaires, but I'd guess that so is the AmEx Black Card, which is made of titanium and is probably just as cool to those of us who can't identify metals on sight and are standing on the other side of the cash register.
American Express offers a Platinum card, for instance, that comes with a $450 annual fee and an exclusive airport lounge membership when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select, 25,000 bonus reward points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of Card membership and lots of bonuses for the frequent flier, which is whom the card is targeting.
So if plastic isn't your preferred material when shopping, now you know there are some more interesting options. But if you can afford those cards, I am betting you already knew that.