If you are looking for some card bling for your wallet, a platinum card could deliver the goods. There was a time when gold cards had all the executive status, but in recent years platinum cards have taken over and now make up the bulk of the premium card market.
Sitting at the top of the credit card pile are black and diamond cards. These cards have higher credit limits, more lucrative rewards programs and stricter eligibility criteria.
Most banks and credit card providers in Australia will have a platinum credit card range and like other card types, there is no standard criteria for what makes up a platinum card. But as platinum cards do generally have higher fees and interest rates than standard credit cards you’ll want to make sure you’re getting more value out of the card than just the thrill of flashing platinum coloured plastic about.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is a platinum credit card?
A platinum card works the same as other credit cards. You get to make purchases on credit and repay them at a later date. Platinum cards differ from other basic credit cards in that they will have added features like complimentary insurance and personal services like concierge. Many Platinum cards also have rewards programs attached which have better point earning rates than standard rewards cards.
Who can get a platinum credit card?
A platinum credit card is a premium level credit card offered to people with good credit history and higher income level (usually over $60,000 p.a.).
As platinum cardholders need to meet higher eligibility criteria, the credit limit on platinum credit cards is also much higher.
Will a platinum card be a good choice for me?
There is a reason why there are so many different types of credit cards now available - we all have different spending habits and lifestyle needs. Because platinum cards generally have higher interest rates and annual fees they are best for people who:
- Pay off their balance in full each month. If you carry any kind of balance on your platinum card you could be paying more in interest than you get in benefits.
- Travel. As platinum cards generally come with inbuilt overseas travel insurance, if you do more than one trip a year the cost of the card’s annual fee is likely to be cheaper than taking out a standalone travel insurance policy.
- Love live events. One of the perks of a platinum card is getting exclusive discounts and pre-sale offers through either the Visa Premium or Mastercard Privileges programs. The programs cover everything from shopping, travel, entertainment, sports and dining so you’re bound to find an experience that will suit your interests.
How do platinum cards compare with standard credit cards?
Interest rates: The ongoing purchase interest rate of platinum cards tends to be much higher than on standard credit cards.
Annual fee: Annual fees of platinum cards with rewards programs are generally higher than basic cards.
Interest free days: You will get between 44 and 55 interest free days with a platinum credit card, which is the same as standard cards.
Foreign exchange fees: Most banks charge around 3% for foreign credit card transactions, so if you travel overseas or shop at international online stores frequently a platinum card with no foreign exchange fees, like our Experts Choice winners, could help you to save on these fees.
Insurance: Most platinum cards will include complimentary overseas travel insurance, though you must meet the eligibility criteria. Usually you will have to pay for your flight or a portion of your upfront travel costs on the card. Platinum cards also have extra insurances such as extended warranty, price protection and purchase cover insurance.
Rewards: You could accrue rewards points faster with a platinum card than a standard credit card. The points per dollar earning rate could be higher or you may get more bonus points on your purchases. Check out platinum rewards cards here.
Extras: You will have access to concierge services with a platinum card which could include discounts to special events or bookings. Standard cards don’t have this service.
Are there extra fees for Platinum cards?
Platinum credit cards have the same set of fees that come with regular credit cards. These include:
- Annual fee. Some cards don’t have annual fees but most platinum cards range from $80 - $300 a year.
- Cash advance fee. You will be charged a fee if you make a cash withdrawal using your credit card. This will be a percentage (between 2-3%) of the withdrawal amount or a flat fee depending on which one is higher.
- Foreign exchange fee. The standard foreign exchange fee is around 3% on overseas credit card transactions.
- Late payment fee. These fees can be as high as $30 if you make a neglect to pay the monthly minimum repayment amount before the due date.
A word on frequent flyer programs:
If the platinum credit card is direct linked to an airline frequent flyer program such as Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity Frequent Flyer you may have to pay a fee to join the airline program when you sign up for your card.
What information will I need to apply for a platinum credit card?
You’ll be able to apply for a platinum card online and in most instances you will be able to verify your identity online. Some of the identification information you might need will include:
- drivers licence or proof of identity card
- medicare card
- utility bill
In addition to this information you will need to provide information which confirms your income, current assets and liabilities.