If you enjoy the finer things in life, a credit card with premium features might be for you.
The premise behind platinum credit cards is simple: they’re packed out with features and rewards but offer an annual fee and interest rates to match. They are made for big spenders who use their card regularly, and for whom the extra charges pale in comparison to the rewards offered.
Comparison of Premium Credit Cards
What are premium credit cards in Australia?
Premium credit cards are all fairly similar in functionality, with varying levels of service offered depending on the kind of platinum card you are signed up for. Big spenders are an attractive market for credit card providers, continuing to live it up even during the global financial crisis when the rest of Australia's spending slowed.
Premium credit cards are targeted precisely for this market; people with a flashy lifestyle whose frequent use of credit card services warrants rewards from banks and financial institutions.
In exchange for outstanding rewards and services, cardholders pay an elevated annual fee and above-average interest rates.
How do higher end credit cards work?
The use and management of these premium cards implies a lifestyle that has a high cash flow. The standard feature of a premium credit card is a points program which rewards the cardholder for every dollar spent. With some cards you can even pay for an item upfront and then tell the bank to use your points to pay for it instead.
Other tempting features include concierge services available 24/7, extended warranties on items bought, personal shoppers and special access to online stores. Due to the increased annual fees and rates, these cards are suitable for and targeted to shoppers for whom the rewards of the card outweighs the cost.
What are the types of premium credit cards?
- Gold cards - Gold credit cards mostly offer complimentary insurance policies and have higher interest rates compared with a low-rate credit card.
- Platinum cards - These offer the benefit of having two cards linked to the one account. For example, you can have an American Express and Visa or Mastercard to use in different situations to maximise your points. Platinum cards have more features compared with gold cards and a higher annual fee.
- Black cards - Black cards are the crème de la crème of credit cards, offering comprehensive complimentary insurance, concierge services, the highest credit limit and complimentary frequent flyer membership amongst other goodies. Of course, you can expect to pay an annual fee to match this level of features.
How to compare these types of credit cards
Complimentary travel insurance comes as a feature of most premium cards. If you are a frequent traveller or are considering a holiday, you may be able to benefit from this feature. Levels of cover differ from card to card and as a general rule, the more premium your credit card, the more comprehensive your insurance will be.
Personal shoppers and concierge services
These kinds of features fit well with the image of luxury and lifestyle these cards project. The exact nature of these services is up to the individual policies of the providers, but concierge services are usually offered 24/7.
Depending on the card you use, premium credit cards use a points program to reward you when you spend money, either through access to a frequent flyer program or with the bank's own rewards services. Again, the more premium your card, the more rewards you will receive.
Access to Visa and Mastercard lifestyle benefits
Being part of the Visa Entertainment or Mastercard Moments lifestyle programs gets you perks like preferential seating at concerts and shows, and VIP services at events.
Pros and cons
- A higher earn rate. You can expect to benefit every time you spend. If you are likely to enjoy benefits from access to services such as a frequent flyer program, the rewards you enjoy could outweigh the costs.
- Features. Premium cards are feature-packed with luxurious services and benefits. If you are time-poor, perhaps having a concierge to organise tickets or gifts for you would be a useful advantage. On the other hand, maybe gaining access to great seats at a concert would be the thing that makes a premium card worth it for you.
- Insurance coverage. These cards offer more comprehensive insurance coverage compared with other cards, which can be especially beneficial if you are a frequent traveller.
- High annual fee. Premium credit cards have much higher annual fees than regular low-rate credit cards
- Higher interest rates. Premium credit cards have generally higher interest rates compared with other cards
Things to avoid about premium credit cards in Australia
Due to the higher interest rates, to get the most from these cards it’s a good practice to pay them off each month. If you are someone unlikely to do this, maybe a credit card with a lower interest rate would be a better choice.