Plastic with prestige: Cards that signal wealth status

By Helen Fowler

Though we might not like to admit it, most of us have, at some point, dressed to impress. Wearing your best suit or finest jewellery to dinner with a potential business client is not unusual. Even pulling out the right credit card to pay for the meal could signal to others your status.

Here are a few credit cards guaranteed to make an impact. prestigious-cards

1. Silk
Offered by Coutts & Co, private bankers to Her Majesty the Queen. Although nowadays owned by the troubled Royal Bank of Scotland, Coutts & Co remains synonymous with privilege, nobility and aristocracy. The sight of the Coutts insignia of three gold crowns tells others straightaway: This is no ordinary credit card.

The card's design is borrowed from Chinese wallpaper depicting silk production that hangs in the bank's London boardroom. Britain's first ambassador to China brought the wallpaper back in 1794, and presented as a gift to his friend Thomas Coutts.

"We don't expect our clients to collect points or keep track of how many they've accumulated," Coutts spokesman Grant McDonald  wrote in an email. "Instead, cardholders receive a gift or invitation to exclusive experiences as they reach certain levels of spends. These gifts include art and heritage experiences, exclusive restaurant experiences and luxury indulgences, such as Bulgari lunch and spa packages, Forman & Field luxury hampers, or dinner and wine at Alain Ducasse."

The main cardholder can request up to six additional cards, with the ability to tailor access to benefits on each card. Each comes with customised spending limits. Spend on each card is itemised on a single statement. Comprehensive travel insurance automatically covers the whole family.

Silk is available to all Coutts clients subject to credit approval. Representative APR is 0%.

2. The J.P. Morgan Palladium Card
This card comes with benefits only available to Chase Private Clients, who receive personalised attention and premium banking solutions. Said to be made of laser-etched palladium and gold -- a rumour the Chase press office declined to confirm -- the card is designed with international travel in mind, thanks to its Chip and Signature technology. No foreign transaction or cash advance fees apply. Likewise, you won't have to worry about paying extra if you bust your credit limit or fail to pay your bill on time. Like most high-end credit cards, the Palladium comes with a travel concierge service.

3. American Express Centurion or "Black Card"
The American Express Centurion Card, known informally as the Black Card, is an invitation-only charge card, meaning there is no pre-set spending limit or APR, according to an AmEx spokesperson. It comes with a £1,800 annual fee.

4. Visa Infinite
This card is aimed at what Visa describes as "a select group of upscale consumers". For example, it is available to Barclays Wealth Management clients, who pay an annual fee of £300. Representative APR is 32.2%, including the annual fee. And RBC offers British Airways Visa Infinite with an annual fee of $165, and a purchase rate of 20.5%.

See related: Car hire credit card charges: A nasty post-holiday surprise, Your heart is ready for a furry companion, but is your wallet?

Published: 17 April 2014