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What Are the Most Prestigious Credit Cards in Canada and Do I Want One?

July 23, 2019
3 mins
A pile of three credit cards

Have you heard of the American Express Centurion Card, aka the "Black Card" or "Titanium Card"? This American Express product is available in many countries around the world, but with a catch: it is invitation only.

In Canada, the AMEX Centurion Card has an annual fee of $2,500 and a one-time initiation fee of $5,000. Considered the ultimate in prestige credit cards, the AMEX Centurion Card provides rewards similar to the American Express Platinum card. Perhaps the thrill of being invited to use this exclusive credit card designed for high net-worth, high-earning people is worth its cost.

If you're interested in a prestigious credit card, it's wise to review your reasons for wanting one. If you just want to flash the card while dining out, you may want a card that offers excellent dining rewards benefits. If you usually use contactless payment -- who will know what type of credit card you have anyway?

What are prestigious credit cards in Canada like?

Canadian prestige or high-end credit cards are relatively modest in their reward offerings in comparison to some other world regions.

One credit card reviewer referred to Canada's prestige card options as "mostly spartan." Canadians still have choices in prestigious credit cards, especially ones that offer travel rewards and points-based rewards programs.

Prestige credit cards come with annual fees, and may also include initiation fees and -- instead of spending limits -- may require that you make a certain level of eligible charges or purchases each year.

Which are some of Canada's most prestigious credit cards?

The American Express Centurion Card is available to Canadians, albeit by invitation only.

Among cards you can apply for directly, the AMEX Platinum Card offers rewards and travel benefits nearly as extravagant as the Centurion Card. It also comes with a lower annual fee. The AMEX branded Platinum card for Canadians has an annual fee of $699, comes with “Platinum” experiences and provides up to 3% rewards through the AMEX points system.

There is also a precision-cut and engraved metal version of the card available, if you want the added prestige. Scotiabank's AMEX Platinum card has a lower interest rate than the regular AMEX Platinum card and offers up to 4% rewards. Travellers appreciate the AMEX Platinum card because of its bonus point structure and perks, particularly airport lounge privileges and elite hotel benefits.

AMEX cards are primarily charge cards, not credit cards, which means you are expected to pay the balance in full each month with certain exceptions. It is worth pointing out that the Scotia AMEX Platinum card is not a charge card, however.

Other prestigious Canadian cards include RBC's Private Banking Visa Infinite Privilege card, offered by invitation to high net worth private banking clients. You can apply for the RBC Avion Visa Infinite or Visa Platinum Cards which offer points-based travel rewards and travel perks.

Triangle, TD, HSBC, and many other credit card companies offer platinum or elite cards with travel and other bonus rewards. According to credit card analysts, most people who have prestige credit cards don't care how much the annual fee is and may not pay attention to their rewards.

Prestige credit cards offer the allure of a private airport lounge, concierge services, and special access to concerts or sporting events. If you're willing and able to pay for the privilege, prestige credit cards can offer both tangible and intangible benefits to cardholders. Find the card that has the right mix of annual fee, prestige, interest rate, and rewards for you.


The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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