Metal credit cards aren’t new, but they’ve become increasingly popular among credit cardholders because of their aesthetic appeal. What’s more, you no longer have to be wealthy to get one — there are more and more metal cards with a low annual fee or no annual fee at all.
While having a metal credit card sounds cool, it’s important to pick a card based on the total value you gain from all of its features. Here’s what you need to know about metal credit cards and how to pick the right one.
What’s the deal with metal credit cards?
The first metal credit cards made their debut in the 1920s when department stores began issuing metal charge plates and coins that allowed customers to buy on credit. However, those “cards” were designed to be used at one store only.
When the first multi-purpose charge card, the Diners Club card, came around in 1950, it was made of cardboard and could be used at 28 different restaurants and two hotels. In 1958, when Bank of America created the first general-purpose credit card, which is what we’re used to today, plastic became the norm.
Then in 1999, American Express launched its exclusive Centurion Card, which was made of titanium. This introduction gave rise to other luxury metal credit cards, including the Visa Black Card — now the Mastercard Black Card — and more.
Now there are more than a dozen metal credit cards on the market. While some have steep annual fees, others are much more affordable, making it possible for just about anyone to have one in their wallet.
Depending on the card, it could be made of brass, copper, brushed stainless steel, gold, or palladium. Some cards are made from alloys or a combination of plastic and metal.
The weights of metal cards also vary — here are a few cards we weighed to compare:
- American Express Business Platinum card weighs 0.7 ounces
- Chase Sapphire Reserve weighs 0.5 ounces
- Regular plastic cards, on average, weigh about 0.2 ounces
Metal credit cards are heavier and sturdier than plastic credit cards and can add a little prestige to your experience. But they’re more difficult to destroy if you decide you want to close your account. Also, they may set off metal detectors at the airport and other places that require similar screening.
21 metal credit cards to consider
If you like the idea of having a metal credit card, there are plenty of options from which you can choose. Here are 21 cards from major credit card issuers to compare.
|Metal Card||Annual Fee|
|Amazon Business Prime American Express||$0|
|Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature||$0|
|American Express Business Gold Card||$295|
|American Express Gold Card||$250|
|Business Platinum Card from American Express||$595|
|Capital One Savor Cash Rewards||$95|
|Capital One Venture Rewards||$95|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||$95|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||$450|
|Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite||$450|
|IHG Rewards Club Premier||$89|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express||$450|
|Mastercard Black Card||$495|
|Mastercard Gold Card||$995|
|Mastercard Titanium Card||$195|
|Platinum Card from American Express||$550|
|United MileagePlus Club||$450|
|U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite||$400|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express||$0|
5 metal credit cards for frequent travelers
If you enjoy travel but can’t stomach a high annual fee, these cards could give you the benefits and rewards you want, plus the heft of a metal design.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Overview: The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers two points per dollar on travel and dining and one point per dollar on everything else. The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is one of the most valuable credit card rewards programs, and you’ll get 25% more value if you redeem your points for travel through Chase. You can also potentially get more value when you transfer your rewards to one of Chase’s travel partners. The card’s annual fee is $95, which is more modest than the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening — worth $750 in travel
Other perks: You’ll get various travel protections, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, primary rental car insurance, trip delay reimbursement, delayed luggage reimbursement, and more.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Overview: The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a flat two miles per dollar on every purchase you make, and 10 miles per dollar on hotels booked through Hotels.com/Venture. You can redeem your rewards for just about any type of travel by using the card to book it then using miles to get a statement credit against the purchase. The card’s annual fee is $95, and is waived for the first year.
Early spend bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
Other perks: The card offers an application fee credit of up to $100 every four years for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. You’ll also get travel accident insurance and the option to create temporary credit card numbers for secure online shopping.
American Express Gold Card
Overview: The American Express Gold Card carries a relatively high annual fee of $250. But people who spend a lot on dining, groceries, and travel could easily make up for it. You’ll earn four points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and on the first $25,000 spent each year at U.S. supermarkets, plus three points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through AmexTravel.com. All other purchases will net one point per dollar.
Welcome bonus: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
Other perks: The card offers an annual $100 airline fee credit and up to $120 each year in dining credits with participating retailers and food delivery services.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
Overview: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card is one of the few metal credit cards with no annual fee. When you look at the features, though, it doesn’t feel like it. You’ll earn three points per dollar on eating out, ordering in, gas, rideshares, transit, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals, and popular streaming services. All other purchases will give you one point per dollar.
Welcome offer: Earn 30,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. That’s worth $300 in cash back, gift cards, or travel.
Other perks: The card offers cell phone protection worth up to $600 per claim when you pay your phone bill with the card. You’ll also get an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months.
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Overview: If you’re loyal to the IHG hotel brand, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card may be a no-brainer. You’ll earn 10 points per dollar on IHG purchases; two points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; and one point per dollar everywhere else. You’ll also get platinum elite status with IHG. The annual fee is $89.
Sign-up bonus:Earn 80,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
Other perks: Cardholders will receive one free night stay every year that’s worth up to 40,000 points. You’ll also get your fourth night free when you use points to book a hotel stay of four or more nights.
4 metal credit cards for cashback enthusiasts
If you prefer cash back over points and miles, these cards — including two with no annual fee — may be a good fit.
Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card
Overview: The Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card is a solid choice for foodies. It offers 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back at grocery stores, and 1% back everywhere else. You’ll also get 8% cash back on tickets bought at Vivid Seats through May 2020 and credits for a monthly subscription to Postmates through December 2019. The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95 after that.
Early spend bonus: Earn $400 cash bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
Other perks: The card provides access to curated culinary experiences, as well as discounts and VIP packages at music and sporting events.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Overview: While the card doesn’t have an annual fee, it’s only available to Amazon Prime members. The card offers 5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores; and 1% back everywhere else. You can redeem your rewards on Amazon.com or as cash back.
Sign-up bonus: Earn a $70 Amazon gift card when you open your account.
Other perks: The card offers travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, travel and emergency assistance services, and more.
Overview: The Apple Card, which will be launched summer 2019, charges absolutely no fees, and is primarily designed for use with Apple Pay — you’ll get a physical card, but it won’t have your card number on it. You’ll earn 3% cash back on Apple purchases, 2% back when you use Apple Pay, and 1% back on everything else. Cash back will be paid out daily.
Sign-up bonus: N/A
Other perks: The card’s primary benefits are its integration with the Wallet app along with its security. It uses a virtual card number for apps and websites, comes with a physical card with no numbers on it, and doesn’t track purchase data through Apple Pay.
Mastercard Titanium Card
Overview: The Mastercard Titanium Card offers one point per dollar on every purchase you make, and gives you one cent per dollar on cash back redemptions and two cents per dollar on airfare redemptions. While that’s not overly impressive, the card does come with some luxury travel benefits.
Sign-up bonus: N/A
Other perks: The card comes with several travel benefits, including chauffeured transportation, cruise privileges, charter services, global luggage delivery, car rental discounts and upgrades, and various trip protections.
3 metal credit cards for business owners
If you have business-related expenses, you may be better off with a business credit card than a personal card. Here are a few business cards that are made of metal.
Amazon Business Prime American Express Card
Overview: This card is designed for business owners who have an Amazon Prime or Business Prime membership. The card itself, however, doesn’t have an annual fee. It offers 5% cash back or 90 days to pay interest-free at Amazon Business, Amazon Web Services, Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market. It also gives you 2% cash back at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. providers. Get 1% back on everything else.
Welcome bonus: New cardholders receive a $125 Amazon gift card upon approval for the account.
Other perks: The card offers enhanced data views for your purchases, the ability to add receipts and notes to transactions, free employee cards, and various purchase and travel protections.
American Express Business Gold Card
Overview: The American Express Business Gold Card has a steep $295 annual fee but makes up for it with flexible rewards and perks. You’ll earn four points per dollar on the two categories where you spend the most each month, from a select list. All other points will net you just one point per dollar. When redeeming your rewards, you’ll get 25% more value if you use them to book flights using Pay with Points. You can also transfer them to Amex travel partners for potentially more value.
Welcome bonus: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
Other perks: In addition to a valuable rewards program, you’ll also get up to one year of G Suite Basic for up to three users and one year of ZipRecruiter Standard for free. According to American Express, those benefits are worth up to $3,200.
Business Platinum Card from American Express
Overview: The Business Platinum Card from American Express is a premium business charge card that requires you to pay your balance in full each month. While it carries a $595 annual fee, frequent travelers and big spenders will likely have an easy time getting that back and more each year. You’ll get five points per dollar on flights and hotels booked through AmexTravel.com and 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more. You’ll get just one point per dollar on everything else.
Welcome bonus: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points: 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
Other perks: The card is packed with benefits, including one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork for free, a $200 annual airline fee credit, a $200 annual Dell credit, complimentary access to more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide, an application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, hotel elite status, and more.
9 metal credit cards for luxury travelers
If you travel on the regular and want a VIP experience every time, these luxury metal credit cards can make the difference you’re looking for.
Platinum Card from American Express
Overview: The Platinum Card from American Express is a charge card that offers significant travel perks, a generous welcome bonus, and a flexible rewards program. You’ll earn five points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel (same goes for hotels booked via Amex Travel), plus one point per dollar on everything else. This card’s annual fee is $550.
Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Other perks: Like the business version, this card provides several elite benefits that make the annual fee easier to justify. You’ll get $200 in annual airline fee credits, $200 in annual Uber credits, and $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue credits each year. You’ll also get complimentary access to several airport lounge networks, an application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, hotel and car rental elite status, and more.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Overview: The Chase Sapphire Reserve combines the strength of the Ultimate Rewards program and a suite of elite travel perks. Cardholders earn three points per dollar on travel after earning their $300 annual travel credit, three points on dining, and one point per dollar on everything else. When redeeming rewards, you’ll get 50% more value if you use points to book travel through Chase. Alternatively, you can transfer your points to the bank’s travel partners. The card has a $450 annual fee.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening — worth $750 in travel
Other perks: The card offers a slew of perks, including an annual $300 travel credit, an application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, and complimentary access to Priority Pass airport lounges. You’ll also get access to various trip protections, including primary rental car insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, emergency evacuation and transportation, and more.
Citi Prestige Card
Overview: The Citi Prestige Card offers bonus rewards on several categories in addition to some premium travel perks. Cardholders will earn five points per dollar on air travel and restaurant purchases, three points per dollar on hotels and cruise lines, and one point per dollar on everything else. You can redeem rewards for travel, cash back or gift cards, or transfer them to select frequent flyer programs. The card’s annual fee is $495.
Sign-up bonus: New cardholders will earn 50,000 bonus points after they spend $4,000 in the first three months.
Other perks: Each year, earn a $250 travel credit along with complimentary access to Priority Pass lounges and a complimentary fourth night on hotel stays of four or more consecutive nights.
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
Overview: While the card isn’t as much of a heavy-hitter as other general premium credit cards, it still packs a punch for existing U.S. Bank customers. You’ll get three points per dollar on travel and mobile wallet purchases and one point per dollar on everything else. The annual fee is $400.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,500 in the first 90 days. You can redeem your points instantly for almost any purchase through your U.S. Bank mobile app.
Other perks: Card benefits include up to a $325 annual travel credit, a 12-month membership to Priority Pass lounges, an application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, 12 complimentary Gogo Inflight WiFi passes each year, and chauffeur and rental car perks.
Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
Overview: If you fly American Airlines often, the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard could provide benefits that go above and beyond the typical priority boarding and free checked bags. You’ll earn double miles on American Airlines purchases and one mile per dollar on everything else. The annual fee is $450.
Sign-up bonus: After you open the account, earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months.
Other perks: The card offers priority check-in, priority airport screening, and preferred boarding for you and up to eight others on your flight reservation. You’ll also get an application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, Admirals Club lounge membership, a 25% discount on in-flight food and drinks, and 10,000 elite qualifying miles when you spend $40,000 or more in a year.
United MileagePlus Club Card
Overview: Frequent United flyers could find incredible value in the United MileagePlus Club Card, including lounge access and other common airline card perks. Cardholders earn two miles per dollar spent on United ticket purchases and 1.5 miles per dollar everywhere else. The card’s annual fee is $450.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
Other perks: Unlike most airline cards, this card gives you your first and second checked bag free. You’ll also get United Club lounge membership, premier upgrades on award tickets, Hertz President’s Circle elite status, and more.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
Overview: If you’re a fan of Marriott hotels, this card may add a lot of value to your experience. Cardholders earn six points per dollar on Marriott Bonvoy purchases, three points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and two points per dollar on everything else. The card’s annual fee is $450.
Welcome bonus: After you open your account, earn 75,000 bonus points after you make $3,000 in purchases during the first three months.
Other perks: The card offers a $300 annual statement credit toward purchases made at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, one free night worth up to 50,000 points for your account anniversary, complimentary gold elite status, Priority Pass Select membership, and more.
Mastercard Black Card
Overview: The Mastercard Black Card is an elite travel card that provides luxury perks you can’t get with most other metal credit cards. Cardholders can redeem their rewards for airfare at a rate of 2% and will get 1.5% back when they redeem for anything else.
Sign-up bonus: N/A
Other perks: Cardholders get access to several perks, including a $100 annual airline credit, luxury gifts, cruise privileges, charter services, chauffeured transportation, airport meet and assist, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, Priority Pass Select lounge access, and more.
Mastercard Gold Card
Overview: The Mastercard Gold Card has the highest annual fee of any of the cards on our list at $995. But that cost may be worth it for some who like the card’s prestige and the perks it provides. The card has a 24-carat gold-plated design and cardholders can redeem their points at a 2% rate for airfare and cash back rewards.
Sign-up bonus: N/A
Other perks: Cardholders will receive luxury gifts, as well as have access to global luggage delivery, cruise privileges, charter services, chauffeured transportation, airport meet and assist, a $200 annual airline credit, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application credit, Priority Pass lounge access, and invitation-only, once-in-a-lifetime experiences through Mastercard Priceless.
Metal credit cards are becoming more accessible than ever, and some of them don’t even have an annual fee. As you consider different travel credit cards and other rewards cards, it’s important to view them holistically to find the right one for you.
If the best credit card for you happens to also be made of metal, you’ll get the extra “wow” factor that comes with it. If not, you can still have the certainty that you’re getting the best value that you qualify for.