A couple of years back I wrote a post about credit cards for the rich and went on and on about the secretive and mysterious American Express Black Card. In the beginning there were only rumors about the card, no one was really sure if it even existed. The thing is it's not exactly something most of us can apply for.
In fact, it's issued by invitation only to the richest of the rich, and by all accounts the membership list is both unforthcoming and reportedly quite low. But as details gradually leaked out, it seems this prestigious card carried a $2,500 annual fee and required a quarter-of-a-million dollars in annual purchases to keep it active - at least at the time.
The only reason I knew about the Black Card was because the former mistress of the house (who I miss like crazy) had one. In fact, she already had it before she came into the marriage - the end result of several successful divorces, no doubt. She would hand it to me to run errands around town, and boy did I have fun. No matter how hungover or grubby I might have looked at the moment, it was always amusing to see how the immaculately-groomed clerks at Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf's would buck up when I pulled out that card. 👀
But now there's something entirely new on the scene. Thanks to our friend Miss Helen I'm just now catching up to the latest craze about metal credit cards. They're hot, they're flashy, they're sexy, and they're oh so expensive! Here's a link to see what I'm talking about.
Oddly enough the demand for these cards is propelled by millennials who jumped on them like ducks on a June bug. Spokeswoman Lauren Francis at Chase Bank said:
"We've approved tens of thousands of applications for the card. Most of the customers are millennials who typically shun credit cards and are not usually a target for high-fee ultra-premium plastic."
But driven by the internet and social media, it's something new and novel for the millennials - and definitely a conversation piece. As US News & World Report said:
"Calling it plastic wouldn't do it justice. It is a high-end, high-fee, high-reward card made of a metallic alloy that gives it a satisfying heft and an impressive THUNK when you toss it onto the table to pick up the check."
Personally I have questions about these trendy metal baubles screwing up card scanners or if they cause problems with airport security. But I guess those bugs have already been worked out, right? I'm thinking that it's the thunk on the table that's causing all the rage.
But not to be cynical about millennials, I'm also thinking that perhaps they're being socially and environmentally responsible in knowing that their expired credit cards will simply rust away in the landfills - not sit there like plastic cards that will be around for kingdom come. Yes, I'm sure that's it! Why else would they abandon their anti-credit stance unless for a good social cause?
As always, thanks for dropping by this evening,
Editor's Note: There's additional vital observations of the rich in this writer's book The Billionaire's Butler; Mystery, Murder and Romance in the Wacky World of the Super Rich, available in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.