Best Luxury Credit Cards with High Annual Fees (That Pay for Themselves!)

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You may have heard some of the hype surrounding luxury/premium credit cards. Luxury credit cards have been popular with affluent spenders for decades, but now, they are starting to reach the mainstream. 

best luxury credit cards

As banks increasingly compete for our business, some of the perks they offer on upscale credit cards are pretty fantastic. This guide will explore some of the best luxury credit cards that – believe it or not – are worth the high annual fee!

 

Best Luxury Credit Cards

There are many luxury credit cards worth considering, but we’ve focused here on the two most popular: one from Chase, and one from American Express. Both offer a huge array of useful perks that you won’t find on most other credit cards.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Annual fee: $450

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is perhaps the most-talked-about luxury credit card, and for good reason! The CSR comes with a whopping $450 annual fee, but surprisingly, the fee is well worth paying for frequent travelers. Here’s why.

  • 50,000 point signup bonus (worth $750 toward flights/hotels)
  • $300 travel credit per year – for ANY travel expense
  • Priority Pass Select membership for free airport lounge access
  • Trip cancellation/delay insurance & other travel protections
  • Reimbursement for TSA Pre+ or Global Entry
  • Rental car damage waiver
  • Excellent rewards rate – 3x on travel/dining and 1x on everything else
  • Earn up to 4.5% back towards your next trip with dining/travel purchases
  • Points can be used for airline tickets, hotels, gift cards and more
  • Free roadside assistance and towing

So, while the $450 annual fee may look like a ridiculous sum, it’s easy to see why it may be worthwhile for some people. And given that the $300 annual travel credit works for anything (hotels, flights, Uber, parking, etc.), the effective annual fee is more like $150.

The real question then becomes, is this card worth $150 a year? If you’ll use any of the perks, it certainly is.

I have personally got a TON of value out of this card and plan to keep it long-term. In the 3 years I’ve had it, I have:

  • Accessed 15+ airline lounges for free, along with many guests (where we had free meals, alcohol, etc.)
  • Got my car towed twice for free, and another time got a flat fixed for free
  • Saved approximately $400 on rental car insurance (because the CSR provides it for free)
  • Fully utilized the $300 travel credit all three years
  • Earned over $2,000 worth of points on purchases + the signup bonus
  • And lots more

I’d say that’s well worth the cost of the annual fee – how about you?

 

American Express Platinum

American Express Platinum

Annual fee: $550

The American Express Platinum has been around for a lot longer than the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and is seen as somewhat of a status symbol in some regards. It’s got a jaw-dropping $550 annual fee – is it worth paying for? Maybe – here’s why:

  • 60,000 point signup bonus (worth $600 or more)
  • $200 airline fee credit per year (for checked bags, WiFi, inflight meals, etc.)
  • $200 in Uber credits per year ($15 per month, $35 in December)
  • $100 annual credit at Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Access to the Global Lounge Collection of airport lounges (includes Priority Pass Select, Amex Centurion Lounges, select Delta Sky Clubs, and more)
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Complimentary benefits (such as free breakfast, late check-out) at select luxury hotels
  • 5x points on select travel charges made with Amex Travel
  • Car rental damage waiver
  • Much more

So, is the Amex Platinum worth it? For some people, absolutely! However, it’s not quite as clear-cut as the CSR’s value.

For one, some of the perks on the Amex Plat are a bit more difficult to use. For example, the $200 airline credit can only be used on airline incidental charges (for a single specific airline), while the CSR’s $300 credit can be used for anything. Additionally, some people won’t be able to get much value out of the Saks credit or the Uber credit, depending on their spending habits.

On the other hand, in some areas the Platinum really shines. For airport lounges, the selection far exceeds what’s offered on the CSR, as the Amex Platinum includes Priority Pass, Amex Centurion, Delta Sky Club and other lounges.

In short, this is a luxury credit card that’s probably worth the annual fee, but it’s one that you should do the math on for your specific situation.

 

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Check out our guide to the best credit cards overall for some more great options!

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