Metal Credit Cards

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Metal Credit Cards – Last Updated: March 2019

Metal credit cards are nifty items. They are much weightier than usual plastic but rarely offer any additional benefits, other than it being a conversation starter. When opening a new account, you should be looking for the products with the best rewards.

Until recently, all metal credit cards have required strict eligibility criteria. This meant only wealthy and high net-worth individuals could apply. However, in February 2019, American Express refreshed their Platinum Card. Along with improved points earning options, the card is now metal.

American Express Platinum Card

American Express Platinum - Metal Credit Card

The American Express Platinum Card is the best known premium credit product in Canada. It is a charge card, which means you have to pay off the balance in full each month, but functions similar to other credit cards. The card is now metal for new cardholders. You do need good credit to apply. If you don’t currently know your credit score, here’s how to obtain it for free with Borrowell.

This is the only option available for most Canadians if you want a metal card. All other options listed below are invitation only. The current bonus is 50,000 Membership Rewards points (60,000 with a referral).The Platinum Card is one of the best choices for frequent travellers, with a swath of benefits including airport lounge access, hotel elite status, travel insurance, and more.

Application Link: The American Express Platinum Card

American Express Centurion Card

American Express Centurion Card

American Express Centurion Card

The American Express Centurion Card was probably the first metal credit card, and has been in Canada since 2009. Each country has its own Centurion card with differing features. The US version require a $5,000 initiation fee and a $2,500 annual fee. This card is invitation-only. Previously, there were rumours that $250,000 of spending was required to get an invite but that is not confirmed.

When it was first launched, this was one of the best credit products in the world. However, new credit card, such as the American Express Cobalt Card, now offer richer rewards. There have also been cutbacks with the Centurion program, and the annual fee is now higher. Added benefits of this card include Delta Platinum and Hilton Diamond status, as well as a dedicated concierge.

Additional Reading: American Express Centurion Card – Login Required

RBC Private Banking Visa Infinite Privilege

a close up of a credit card

RBC Private Banking Visa Infinite

The RBC Private Banking Visa Infinite Privilege is only available to private banking clients. Joining requires a minimum of $1 million dollars in investible assets or a net worth of $3 million dollars. The closest comparable card is their mass-market RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege, which has an annual fee of $399, although it’s not metal. Both cards earn 1.25 Avion Points per dollar, 25% more than the typical 1 Avion point you earn with an RBC Avion Visa Infinite or Visa Platinum.

Other than the Starwood American Express Credit Card, this is the only method of indirectly earning AAdvantage miles with a Canadian credit card. You also get other Visa Infinite Privilege benefits like Priority Pass, expedited security, and a dedicated concierge, although those benefits are easily matched with the American Express Platinum Card and NEXUS.

Additional Reading: RBC Private Banking

HSBC Jade World Elite MasterCard

HSBC Jade World Elite MasterCard

HSBC Jade World Elite MasterCard

Jade by HSBC is the upper echelon of HSBC Premier status, requiring a minimum of $1 million dollars in deposits or investible assets. HSBC Premier normally requires holding $100,000 with them and is much more attainable. This card was very interesting given that I only had learned about it recently. Of the three cards, this seems the most attractive metal credit card option.

First, the annual fee of $299 is waived indefinitely for those that meet the requirements. The card also comes with an annual $200 travel credit, free Etihad Gold elite status, and concierge service from Quintessentially. On top of that, it is also one of the few credit cards in Canada that waives foreign transaction fees, the other being the HSBC Premier World Elite MasterCard, and the HomeTrust Preferred Visa.

Additional Reading: Jade By HSBC Premier

Conclusion – Metal Credit Cards

Most cardholders who qualify for these invitation only credit cards do not really care about annual fees or rewards. For now, the easiest way to get a metal credit card is with the American Express Platinum Card, available to all Canadians who meet all the credit approval criteria. Alternatively, some people may be eligible for the American Express Global Transfer program, which opens many more options.

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  1. Your first line says the metal cards are mainstream… then you talk about how there are only 3 options in Canada and they’re all nearly impossible to obtain. A bit contradictory don’t you think? I’m waiting for Amex Platinum to be a metal card and I would order it in a flash.

  2. I thought the RBC private banking card is metal no? Or are they made of thicker plastic or something?

  3. It looks like the HSBC Jade card doesn’t offer a $200 credit, if it did, that would mean it only costs $100 per year.

    It offers a “travel enhancement” credit that applies to things other than directly to your booking, seat upgrades, lounge passes and baggage fees are the examples on their website.

    I’m looking for a no FX fee card, its a nice one but I’ll pass.

    • The Jade card does offer an annual $200 travel credit. As well, it’s a $299 annual fee that’s waived for Jade members, so effectively $0 annually. You only qualify for the card by having at least $1M of investments with HSBC, so it’s not really a card you can pass on.

  4. I wonder if they switched the benefits for HSBC Jade, the Etihad Gold status is nowhere to be found on the HSBC websites, I guess now the only real perk added to this card relative to the World Elite is the extra 100$ in travel enhancement credit, and the fact it’s free if you qualify for Jade banking.

  5. Regarding the few cards in Canada that waive foreign transaction fees, there is one more – Scotia Bank Passport Visa Infinite.

  6. I have just been invited to the RBC private, but is it worth it? the cost is still $399 a year. To be beneficial what would be the break even point in spending that you would have to do over other cards? I use my card for mainly travel, but when comparing points its a bit of a cluster f**k. They all redeem at different values, and they all get different amount of points. what is truely the best bang for your buck for travel if you can qualify for most visa’s, including these high value one?

    • Forget about the other benefits but from a cost only perspective the RBC private banking worth it if you use it enough and redeem off the schedule only. I put 350k a year on it. The extra .25 point per dollar means an extra 87,500 points extra per year. Sticking to the RBC redemption schedule gives you 2%. So one example is 45,000 points gets $900 off a ticket. I get $1750 extra per year (over the standard Avion) based upon my spending for $399 on this card. If you spent $80,000 per year you would break even on the extra $400 cost of the card assuming you buy flights that cost more than the redemption schedule (I do) without taxes and don’t use the points to pay for the extras at 1%. The net return on this card is 2.5% if you use it the way I do.

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