Metal credit cards are literally made from metal — generally aluminium or stainless steel — and are noticeably heavier than their plastic counterparts. They are the most prestigious type of credit card on offer that can be applied for without requiring an invitation to do so, as is the case with the American Express Centurion Card.
Typical features and benefits
A metal credit card will typically have all the features and benefits of a black credit card, but with more generous terms.
- Elevated earn rate for status credits. Metal credit cards often come with an elevated earn rate on status credits, meaning you can attain and maintain higher status more easily simply by spending with the card. Having higher status can make a meaningful difference when travelling because with it comes priority for upgrades, improved lounge access, dedicated check-in desks, expres security, and so forth.
- Elevated and uncapped earn rate for points. While the earn rate and caps on black credit cards are more than sufficient for most, they are even more generous on a metal card.
- Airport lounge access. Get access to business class airport lounges at airports around the world. Some metal credit cards grant access to first class airport lounges, although there may be limitations on how many times your card can be used for access in a given year.
- Large sign up bonus. Most metal cards have a substantial sign up bonus with a target that requires more spending. Whilst appealing, the status credits and uncapped rewards earn rate are probably more useful for the typical metal card applicant.
- Travel credit. The amount of credit on offer varies between cards, but can amount to several hundred dollars each year. This doesn’t typically roll over if unused, is limited to redeem on travel (flights, hotels, etc.), and may have limitations such that it can’t be combined with other offers.
- 24 / 7 concierge service. Similar to what’s available with many black credit cards, you can ask the concierge to make reservations, book tickets, arrange pickups, etc. This is particularly useful for business travellers making frequent overseas trips.
Are metal credit cards worth it?
If none of this sounds cheap, that’s because it isn’t. Metal cards — being the most prestigious on offer — are also the most expensive. Annual fees can be in excess of $1,000.
Is the cost of having a metal card in your wallet worth the cost? Well, that depends. Do you travel regularly, especially internationally? And if you do, does the thought of skipping the queues and experiencing the best of what an airline has to offer appeal to you?
With the annual fee offset by a combination of travel credit, complimentary travel insurance, sign up bonus points, and premium travel benefits, it may well be worth it.
If you don’t meet the minimum eligibility criteria but would still like the heft and premium feel of a metal card in your wallet, there are some other options to consider.
- Order a custom metal version of your existing card. Brisbane-based card-swap.com.au will — for a fee — convert an existing plastic credit or debit card into a metal card. Your old card will be rendered obsolete, replaced with a new metal version.
- Consider a black credit card. While these lack the premium look and feel of a metal card, they typically have a strong proposition of rewards and benefits.