The Credit Card I Really Want — But Cannot Get

The information related to this credit card has been collected by View From the Wing and has not been reviewed or provided by the product’s issuer.

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.

    Chase Palladium Card

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.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Does not appear anything special to me. Many yrs ago I was offered AMEX black. The card annual fees was I think 3K. I did not find the perks to be worth anything near those fees. Nothing special on this one also. And I have held several uncommon cards that offered me very special celebrity events and other things. I think you want this one because the card looks nice. But for 600.00 in fees?
    Also I have found all of these concierge things to be total garbage. I have tested the upper top concierge services. They do little that you cant do yourself with technology. The best they can do for me is make a restaurant reservation for me in another company without me calling. On the tough reservation restaurants they could not get me a damn thing. Many of these concierge services are highly touted. If you are a super busy person, maybe this can save you a little time. However you have to take the time to tell them exactly what you want and sometimes confirm from there. I have even used circles (concierge) they are highly touted. Nothing special there either for me. How did I get my reservation in London at the Ivy? I emailed my hotel concierge prior to my stay at the hotel and he got my the reservation.

  2. Yikes—I spy errors.

    “I’ll admit that I like to consider myself a rational maximize”

    You mean maximizer?

    “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.”

    Comma splice between either sides of the second comma. Gotta add a conjunction or change to two sentences. There are a bunch of these throughout the article that I don’t know if you want to fix.

    “There’s a strange gap in Chase branch coverage, and I’m nowhere near one.”

    That means you are nowhere near a Chase branch gap.

  3. i kinda agree with robertw… so far i have used Amex Platinum and some Chase card (can’t remember which one) concierge and they were both useless. they can’t do more than opentable or kayak can do.

  4. No don’t think less of yourself, we all have our less than ideal aspects, but maybe it is a wake-up call to take a look at the world around you. Most of us participating in this hobby are already so extremely fortunate.

  5. Plain and simple, it’s for bragging rights and wow factor. Nothing more to it. You could justify it however you want, as with anything in life, but the facts are the facts. You shouldn’t be ashamed if you want it just for the bling. They are pretty cool but I’m not paying $600 a year for it.

  6. It’s not really about the benefits, it’s about having a nice looking card. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

  7. I don’t understand…you acknowledge that the fee is high and that many of the benefits can be had elsewhere from other cards at a better annual fee point. So why do you want it?

    That thought seems to be missing from the post.

  8. My fund rep for JPMorgan who covers me for work has the card and its seriously more a collectors item than anything. The issue he says is the card draws such an attention when it’s used at a restaurant/stores and everyone wants to talk about it mostly due to its weight and look. He is afraid sometimes people are too interested and may try to scam off the card by taking the numbers or something, conspiracy theories I know, but understandle. If they had like a 100k sign up bonus it would make sense perhaps to more of the masses but nothing worthy to me.

  9. “there is no Chase bank within 100 miles of me”

    Me neither, but I had no problem opening an account with them by walking into a branch in another state while I was traveling.

  10. Palladium card has been great. Much better concierge service than the Amex Platinum. Nice to get United Lounge access.

  11. I’m sure if they ever offer you a referral link you would be the first one to push this card like you do with every other one. I’m actually surprised that you are even talking about it seeing as you don’t get anything for it and that’s unlike you.

  12. I don’t understand at all. I don’t want this card. I want a new Bentley convertible. 😀

  13. I was at ftu and enjoyed your presentations as usual. Thank you. I am a chase private client customer and have no intention of getting this card for exactly the reasons you mentioned. I am very happy with my other chase cards, which provide much better benefits. My chase banker has yet to pitch me on this card, but I am waiting. Keep writing your blogs and know that this particular card is more about the show than the go.

  14. I’ll pass. I would want 100k miles or points in the program of my choice. Access to all lounges of all types worldwide and an annual renewal bonus somewhere close to that. Besides if they really want me to do all my spending on this card and I’m “that” level of client then they can afford the signup bonus.

  15. @Jeff and others

    Where are all these gawkers? I’ve had my CSP for nearly 2 years and my Palladium for a year. I can count on one hand the number of times anyway has said anything about either.

    Everyone always says they are afraid of all the people going crazy over their heavy cards. I guess I’m lucky?

    Cool card nevertheless.

  16. Were we rational we’d never be doing most of what we do. Rationality is overrated anyway. You can have one if you really want it. I thought about it when my JPMC guy showed me one. I did not bite because it is too heavy. OTOH, I’ve banked with Chase, JPM and predecessors for decades, since I was a Chase exec myself, so I still think of it from time to time. You’re making me think I should be self-indulgent. Oh, I should not have read your blog!

  17. Gary,
    I understand, and it is good to have an aspirational card to keep at a distance, since you pretty much have (or had) every other card available on the market.
    My aspirational card is the AMEX Platinum. I could get it, but the cost-benefit isn’t there for my family. However, it would be nice to have the capabilities it affords just to have them. Someday I might, as it is fun to play in other sandboxes.

  18. I wonder if there are those desperate enough out there to have copied J.P. Morgan Palladium Card cards with real info from another card encoded into it, ( just to impress people)

    Seems like a good business to me, make status cards that work like regular cards.

  19. @gary you must not have read too closely yourself then cause its flyer94 not flyer84 🙂

  20. I know someone that has one of these. We have no Chase branches within 100 miles either, but does not mean there is not a JP Morgan office near by.

  21. Nothing special about this piece of metal. Rather use your platinum Amex and go buy a nice dogtag at Tiffany?

  22. Personally anyone who uses Chase (or any large bank) to manage their investments need serious financial lessons. There are significantly better, and usually cheaper, ways to invest large sums of money.

  23. @Mark- I get comments on the CSP all the time, but I live in middle America where they’re not as common a sight. 😀

    @Gary- I’m with you, I think the card just looks cool and there’s part of me that wants one. Enjoyed your talks at FTU as well!

  24. The centurion concierge is amazing. They’ll get you a table at an impossible to get restaurant within minutes. In one case, the concierge called up a personal friend and got a table. The concierges at centurion are paid so handsomely for their connections. The concierges at Chase/Citi aren’t and that’s why what they do has almost no value add. Not sure about Palladium, though. One would hope so.

  25. It’s not all that great. I had it for a year and was able to justify the annual fee but then couldn’t justify it for another yeaar. The first year I made up the annual fee mainly through their price protection benefit, and Global Entry fee waiver for me. The GHA Black status is nice, but unless you qualify through stays during the first year, you won’t get Black status for the second year, and you don’t get any local experiences with it either. One of the biggest issues I had with the card was the lack of clarity around the benefits, for example, the United Club membership isn’t a published benefit. I had to call up and request it, and even then the first rep didn’t know what I was talking about. The card has a long way to go to make it worth the steep annual fee.

  26. Any reason that this card is better than AMEX plat, particularly if you don’t fly United all that much?

  27. Where I live Chase is huge. We have a Chase of some sort ten minutes away in every direction. But I’ve never once considered this card. No matter how fancy the card looks when you get it that same card will look like crap after you start using it on a regular basis. That’s probably why most cards are made of cheap plastic. My CSP looks like it’s been through hell and back. Scrapes, chips, gouges, and discolorations even though it’s been kept in an extremely soft passport wallet its entire life. If you’re one of those folks who uses a money clip for their cards it would look like hell if it worked at all. If you’re not going to use it then I guess it wouldn’t get beat to heck but why on earth would you pay the fee if you’re not going to use it. Sounds like this post honestly has little or nothing to do with the typical travel blog reader and everything to do indirectly reaching out to a potential overture from Chase. This way Gary gets to test the reception waters without having to risk being told no.

  28. I have a Chase Private Banker, and he push’s this card on me all the time, I’m thinking he gets a commission or something for signing people up. Like most people that have commented I do not see the true benefit of this card, except for bragging rights. However, at times it is nice to shut the people who brag all the time about what status they have, like some people where doing this past weekend at the FTU. So it would be nice to flash this card and ask if they have it!

  29. The Sapphire Preferred card isn’t as good looking as it used to be when I got it a few years ago. The lettering is no longer etched into the card, it’s now raised like all other credit cards.

  30. Hard to see any real benefit to paying such a high annual fee for such little in value that can be obtained for less elsewhere, i.e. United Club membership.

    Personally I would rather have a Chase Ritz Carlton card, the perks appear more certain for luxury hotel stays (assuming there are enough RC locations that appeal).

    Unless you really need airport lounge access, it is hard to justify any annnual fees >$100. And even for $75-100 I expect a free hotel night (or an airline companion cert a la Alaska or BA).

  31. I am interested in earning the most United miles as I fly them the most. After Amex severed ties with United I cannot transfer any of those miles for free tickets.

    I have the Chase Mileage Plus card and was offered Palladium?

  32. Your forgetting its most impressive benefit. Secret trade line. Your credit line does not show up on any of your credit reports. Most of us with this card have a 25-50k line of credit if you charge a lot it’s great as it does not effect your scores. Plus it’s exclusive if that matters to you 5000-6000 cards in the world . Turns heads every time I use it. Like anything else it all depends on what you like.

  33. I work for JPM and was considering J.P. Morgan Palladium Card for myself. I haven’t been able to get details on benefits. One perk that got my attention from the Perks guide book was:

    British Airways Benefits

    Even if you typically fly private, maybe you want to be green and skip your gas-guzzling Gulfstream V ride to Europe? If so, with the Palladium you will receive these two benefits on British Airways:

    •Complimentary upgrade to first-class with each purchase of a full-fare, non-restricted, round-trip business class ticket from the U.S. to London

    •Complimentary companion ticket for each full-fare, non-restricted, round-trip business class ticket from the U.S. to anywhere British Airways flies.

    will inquire from one of my Private Bankers how exactly it works

  34. I love my palladium! I often get upgrades at hyatt and car rentals for no reason. I have been able to transfer 100k ($1,000)points to united to redeem for business class to lhr (7.5k!)

  35. Seriously, take this thing out of your wallet to show off by buying dinners and drinks and then just bide your time until someone grabs you and kills you just for the value of the metal in the card. Since people who feel the overwhelming urge to splash their money around also tend to wear watches that can survive beyond the crush depth of nuclear submarines, they will no doubt take the opportunity to cut off your hand and grab your watch, too.

    Thieves follow hotel status tags on luggage all over the world – how much more interesting do you think this will make you? And tapping out your compulsive little “look at me, I’m rich!” plinking noise with your card on a bar in Hong Kong or Paris will give you a chance to see if your concierge can get you an ambulance in an alley. Oh, darn, they snatched your Vertu phone TOO??

  36. I have the Citi Prestige, and the concierge service is just as bad. They keep you on hold while they make the reservation. The travel agent is over priced, and I can get better deals online. I would rather save the 500 $ and buy an extra night at the Hyatt!

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