The JP Morgan Chase Palladium card is developing a growing mystique among luxury credit card aficionados. At $595 per year it’s priced above the venerable Platinum Card from American Express but well below the original ‘black’ Centurion card at several thousand dollars per year. The benefits are intriguing, and the application process more so.
Before we get into qualification, here is a rundown of the of the card as we know it, subject to change (this is not official Chase information)…
- Full United Club membership. You need to call your concierge after receiving your Palladium card, but this is an official benefit and $475 annual value.
- Lounge Club access. This offers over 300 airport lounges worldwide, and your traveling companions can enter free of charge as well. Very few of these lounges are in the U.S. – just Alaska Airlines boardrooms and a few contract lounges at gateways like JFK. The United Club access offers U.S. coverage for United and US Airways lounges.
- 35,000 annual bonus points. Each year you spend $100,000 per year on the card you earn the bonus, effectively giving you 1.35 points per dollar spent
- Double points on travel purchases. Including airfare, hotel, and rental cars
- Premium concierge. The service is more personal and exclusive than that of the competing Platinum Card from American Express, and some argue as good or better than that with the Centurion card from American Express
- Points are ‘Ultimate Rewards’ points. That means you can combine them with other Chase points like from the Sapphire Preferred® Card. And you can transfer them 1:1 into United, Southwest, British Airways, Marriott, Hyatt, and more.
- No foreign transaction fees. A given at this level of card.
- EMV Chip and signature. This makes using the card outside the U.S. a touch easier, though not as easy as with full ‘chip and PIN’ technology
- Annual gifts. Cardholders report receiving premium gift cards (i.e. $1,000 for Harry Winston), though these are more like discounts than outright gifts since most places the cards are offered only sell items much more expensive than the gift card itself.
- Primary car rental collision insurance. This kicks in before your own coverage, an advantage vs most credit card based rental car insurance.
- Travel medical insurance. you are eligible to receive up to $100,000 for medical expenses related to sickness or accidental injury occurring during your trip and not paid or payable by your primary medical insurance. This is secondary to your primary medical coverage and is valid when you pay for your train, plane, bus, or ship ticket using the card.
- Purchase protection. Up to $50,000 per year.
- Free companion business class tickets on British Airways. You must buy a full fare business class ticket to be eligible.
- Global Hotel Alliance ‘Black’ status. The highest elite level in this program, it offers room upgrades at Omni, Kempinski, Marco Polo, Mirvac, Tivoli, Doyle, Anantara, Park Royal and other chains.
Why do people want it?
- It’s a fabulous looking card. This is wallet jewelry at its finest — it’s reported the cost to make each card in materials is nearly $1,000. It’s heavy, has a nice sheen, is made of palladium and 23 karat gold. Those elements and its rarity are guaranteed to attract attention from people who handle it.
- The United Airlines connection. While you can earn 1.5 United miles per dollar and get United Club access with the United Club Card, it lacks the ability to earn in neutral ‘Ultimate Rewards’ points that let you transfer to other programs like British Airways, Southwest, and Marriott. Ever since United ended the Continental Airlines relationship with American Express there has been a void in the premium card market for United flyers.
- Exceptional concierge reputation. People in online communities report good success getting hard to procure dining reservations, especially in places like New York. The phone reps are from a small group, are willing to go to bat with the general managers of restaurants, and very responsive to time sensitive requests.
- No fees for guest lounge access. The Platinum Card from American Express charges a fee for each guest who uses lounges part of the ‘Priority Pass’ network. The Palladium does not, though it uses the smaller ‘Lounge Club’ network.
- A hope for something later. Some people are speculating that JP Morgan Chase will increase the benefits of the card as more people sign up, offering things like more hotel chain elite status and better airline partner benefits. In other words, they are hoping the card becomes more exclusive and more like a Centurion card from American Express. They want to get ‘in’ on the card before applying becomes even tougher.
Qualifying for the card
Officially, the Palladium card is a product of JP Morgan’s Private Bank, which typically needs $1 million in liquid assets. However there are reports in various online credit card forums that ‘regular’ people without high net worth are having success applying for and receiving the card.
Most have excellent credit (well in the 700s) and a decent annual salary (low six figures has worked), though as always credit standards vary widely and there are no hard and fast rules.
You can read more discussion about this at MyFico.com.
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