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I’ll admit that I like to consider myself a rational maximizer, I don’t usually get emotional about things that ‘shouldn’t’ matter to me, I even self-deceive with a mental model of myself as a refutation of Veblen. While I do enjoy first class travel, I enjoy it most because I can obtain it cheaply, I don’t drive a new or high-end luxury car.
And yet there’s an entirely irrational desire that I have to get a credit card that’s probably much more expensive than it’s worth to me. And I suspect I really want it because I cannot get it.
No, I don’t mean the American Express Centurion (Black Card), that’s one I’ve chosen not to get in the past back when the qualification requirements were lower — I might not qualify personally but could certainly have gotten a business version of the card. The initiation fee and annual fee were too much for me to swallow for sure (and the business version of the card doesn’t seem to generate the same ‘surprise and delight’ gifts that the personal Black card does).
The one I want is the J.P. Morgan Palladium Card, $595 annual fee and all.
It’s the heaviest card out there, holding the thing has serious heft. It does have a tiny bit of Palladium in it but it’s mostly made out of copper and zinc. This thing will set off the metal detector going through airport security. Your personal signature is etched into the metal by laser.
It used to be possible to get the card by using any old application for it that might have been shared with you by someone that got it from a Chase private banker. There are even people who managed to get the card just by calling up and asking for it. But that’s no longer possible. You get the application from a Chase Private Banker or from a Chase Private Client representative.
Chase claims there are about 6000 cardholders, and that on average each has tens of millions of dollars invested through the bank. But it isn’t actually that exclusive. Apparently all you need is for a Chase Private Client representative to request the card. And that doesn’t actually mean giving them $250,000 of investable assets to play with — if the representative is aggressive in seeking out new business, and they think you might give them that sort of cash, then you can get them to give you the card.
There are even reports of people who do invest at that level (or more) with Chase getting annual fee waivers, although I don’t think that’s part of the card program per se — they get marketing money to attract and retain clients, and instead of taking you out for a steak dinner might put in for a fee waiver.
In any case, a private client or private banking representative needs to authorize the application for the card. And even if I could convince one that I had the sort of cash available to invest with them, there is no Chase bank within 100 miles of me. There’s a strange gap in Chase branch coverage, and I’m nowhere near one.
- Earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points (1 point per dollar but double points on travel – not as good as Sapphire Preferred which also offers 2x on dining)
- 35,000 bonus points each year you spend $100,000 on the card
- United Club membership
- Lounge Club membership including a free guest (the Amex Platinum Priority Pass membership doesn’t come with a free guest)
- GHA Discovery top-tier Black status
It’s the heaviest, most impressive card out there. And reports are that the concierge service is outstanding — maybe not the equivalent of the high end concierge services that you’d pay hefty membership fees for, $20,000 a year or whatnot, but from head-to-head comparisons by people I’ve spoken to that have the card they rate the performance of the concierge better than the service they get from the American Express Centurion (Black card) and this card comes with a much lower fee, albeit it doesn’t offer Delta and US Airways Platinum status the way Centurion does.
Chase has a pretty exclusive relationship with United, so they offer United lounge access and Lounge Club membership. American Express Platinum and Centurion offer Delta, American, and US Airways lounge access and Priority Pass Select which is a similar though not identical product to Lounge Club, from the same vendor.
The Palladium card waives most fees, and is intended to avoid inconveniences. While it’s never a good idea to pull cash from an ATM with a credit card, they’ll let you take out $5000 per day. There are no foreign transaction fees, no late fees, and no over limit fees. The card offers an EMV chip, useful when traveling to Europe (chip and signature, not chip and pin). And there’s primary collision damage waiver for rental cars, up to rentals that are 15 days long.
There’s also a hotel benefits program for booking through the card, in some ways similar to American Express Fine Hotels and resorts or through a Virtuoso agent (since the benefts are generally replicated elsewhere I don’t consider this a huge benefit). The 2012 hotel benefit guide (.pdf) is available online.
Here’s the card being unboxed.
Should I think less of myself for wanting this card?
(Note that some of the cards mentioned above, which I have or have had myself, offer referral credit to me if you use my links to apply and are approved. But there is no link to the Palladium card that I’m aware of, no credit to me, I don’t currently even know how I’d get one other than finding an out of state private client rep to pitch on the idea and I don’t even know if out of state reps can help me.)