Palladium, gold and diamonds are but some of the precious metals and dazzling design features that have, in the past decade, graced the by-invitation-only credit cards held by the world’s wealthiest. Today, it appears that these high net-worth individuals are no longer as enamoured by all that glitters. “(Banks) used to do a lot of things around how a card looks, but that’s no longer as important. People still want to hold a card that looks different, but they want to go one step deeper to find out exactly how a card is different,” says Dwaipayan Sadhu, head of products and segments for retail banking, Asean and South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank.
Indeed, a key area coming under increasing scrutiny from cardholders is the travel benefits a card is able to offer. “We have seen a lot of travel products coming into the market and clients have become a lot more discerning and aware of the offerings available,” says the 42-year-old, adding that this audience is more well travelled than before and continues to demand benefits that go the extra mile.
As complimentary limousine transfers and airport lounge access become more of a standard-issue perk in the industry, banks are getting creative with what they can offer. Standard Chartered’s Priority Private (priority banking) customers holding the Visa Infinite credit card will find their application fees for the Apec Business Travel Card reimbursed, while those holding the UOB Reserve Card enjoy flight upgrades from business to first. American Express Platinum Card members who rarely set foot in commercial planes can have the bank’s concierge arrange for helicopter airport transfers, or charter a jet to their next meeting in London.