You’re out to dinner with friends when the bill arrives. “Let me get that,” you say as you toss your metal credit card onto the table, where it lands with a satisfying thud.
You’re not one of the plastic masses. You possess the elegance, confidence and possibly even the shoulder pads of one of those rich people in '80s movies.
But rich people wear hoodies now, and metal cards are everywhere. And those friends you just bought dinner for probably also have a metal card or two. They were just too polite to stop you from picking up the check.
Metal cards are ideal for anyone who appreciates a commonplace object that offers both form and function. But after weighing a heavy stack of cards, here was a surprising finding: Some of the most “premium” of the bunch actually weigh less than cards that are of the workhorse cash-back variety. So, yes, style matters, but substance does, too. Picking a card by weight alone might not get you the features you actually want.
Here are some of our top picks for the best metal credit cards in a variety of categories.
The best metal credit cards
General travel credit cards
The Platinum Card® from American Express (18.5 grams)
What’s so good about it: The Platinum Card® from American Express has long been one of the toniest cards around. It packed on more perks, along with a switch to a metal design, in a 2017 glow-up that added Uber credits (for rides or eats orders in the U.S. up to $15 each month and $35 in December), access to multiple kinds of airport lounges, exclusive dining experiences and more. The card even offers an annual credit to Saks Fifth Avenue. (Terms apply; see rates and fees.)
How it can make you feel fancy: This absolute unit clocks in at 18.5 grams, making it the card on this list that’s most likely to impress cashiers as they struggle to hoist it into the chip reader. Fun fact: If The Platinum Card® from American Express was actually made of platinum, it would cost more than $780, which makes its $550 annual fee a steal if you think about it.
U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card (13 grams)
What’s so good about it: With the 13-gram U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card, you get loads of premium travel benefits, like a generous annual statement credit, airport lounge access, credit toward TSA Precheck or Global Entry and free passes for in-flight Wi-Fi, but for a slightly lower $400 annual fee. A yearly $325 statement credit for eligible travel and dining purchases (including takeout) wipes out much of the cost.
How it can make you feel fancy: Get 30% off rentals with Silvercar so you can travel in style, instead of traveling around in an economy car. Also, you have to get past the velvet ropes of becoming an existing U.S. Bank account holder before you can qualify for the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card.
Citi Prestige® Card (18 grams)
What’s so good about it: The Citi Prestige® Card is one of the heaviest cards on this list at 18 grams, and it comes with a hefty annual fee to match. But you'll get an impressive rewards rate of 5 ThankYou points per $1 spent on dining and air travel, plus 3 points per $1 spent on hotels and cruises. A $250 annual travel credit helps defray the cost, too.
How it can make you feel fancy: With the Citi Prestige® Card, book four consecutive nights at a hotel on ThankYou.com and get the fourth night for free. So go on, take a slightly longer vacation.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® (12.6 grams)
What’s so good about it: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® made its societal debut with a splash in 2016 thanks to a jaw-dropping 100,000-point sign-up bonus. (That bonus has since changed.) People were so inspired that they made unboxing videos. Chase swiftly ran out of the metal version of the card and had to ship out temporary plastic placeholders (the horror!). It’s an ideal card if all that influencer stuff means anything to you.
How it can make you feel fancy: At 12.6 grams, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is actually on the lighter side, but it remains a solid premium travel rewards card. One favorite feature that can help defray the card's $550 annual fee: If you carry multiple cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, you can transfer them to this card and redeem them for 1.5 cents each when booking travel through Chase. This card is the ultimate rewards multiplier.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (12.4 grams)
What’s so good about it: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the older sibling of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, though it weighs a smidgen less at 12.4 grams and has a smaller $95 annual fee. The earnings rate is lower and you don’t get some of the same travel extras, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card rocks a reliably impressive sign-up bonus and packs plenty of punch.
How it can make you feel fancy: Points are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed for travel through Chase, and you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® from other cards. That makes this card a very decent downgrade option if you no longer want to pay the fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® but you still want that Sapphire sparkle.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (16.6 grams)
What’s so good about it: It has that luxury feel at 16.6 grams, but thanks to how simple it is to redeem rewards for travel expenses, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card fits like a pair of comfy sweatpants. With the Purchase Eraser function, cashing in your miles is as simple as requesting a statement credit to reimburse yourself.
How it can make you feel fancy: At times, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers downright enormous sign-up bonuses worth as much as $1,000, but the annual fee remains a modest $95.
Airline credit cards
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (18 grams)
What’s so good about it: Both its name and its weight (an impressive 18 grams) evoke the seriousness of the status-conscious traveler who has important places to be and important presentations to give once they arrive. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® comes stuffed with additional perks in exchange for its $450 annual fee. The only thing that won’t be stuffed is your small suitcase: You and up to eight travel companions get a free checked bag on domestic flights.
How it can make you feel fancy: Three words: Admirals. Club. Membership. Plus you and up to eight travel companions can get whisked through the airport with priority screening and boarding (clearly this card is for people with entourages).
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card (14.8 grams)
What’s so good about it: Several cards in the Delta AmEx family — including the 14.8-gram Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card — match their metal designs with a slew of posh perks aimed at frequent travelers. (The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card are also made of metal.)
How it can make you feel fancy: The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card offers an annual companion pass, which covers airfare for a travel partner and can easily make up for the card's annual fee of $250. (Terms apply; see rates and fees). If you're willing to pay a higher annual fee, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card features companion passes that can be used in first class. This version of the card also offers complimentary access to Delta Sky Club and American Express's Centurion Lounge. (Terms apply; see rates and fees).
United Club℠ Infinite Card (12 grams)
What’s so good about it: The United Club℠ Infinite Card is a comparatively light 12 grams, but it’s great if you’re not a light packer. You and a travel companion get two free checked bags. That saves you $80 per person per flight in bag fees.
How it can make you feel fancy: Wait for your flight in style (and without cumbersome luggage) with a United Club membership.
Hotel credit cards
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (14.6 grams)
What’s so good about it: The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card weighs 14.6 grams. It’s middle-of-the-road, weight-wise, but this is the high-end card of the Bonvoy family. Besides its big welcome bonus, you get a Free Night Award worth up to 50,000 points (compared to 35,000 points with other co-branded Bonvoy cards). Terms apply; see rates and fees.
How it can make you feel fancy: Instant Gold Elite status gets you room upgrades, late checkout and more.
Credit cards for dining
American Express® Gold Card (14.7 grams)
What’s so good about it: The American Express® Gold Card earns rich rewards in two of the most popular household spending categories: dining and U.S. supermarkets. At 14.7 grams, it doesn’t pack the travel-perks punch of its cousin, The Platinum Card® from American Express. But if you’re more foodie than road warrior, the American Express® Gold Card is worth its weight in, well, you know. (Terms apply; see rates and fees.)
How it can make you feel fancy: Pick between traditional yellow gold or trendy rose gold for your card.
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card (17.42 grams)
What’s so good about it: In a list of travel-focused cards, this cash-back card is a standout. With the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you’ll earn a whopping 4% cash back on dining, eligible streaming services and entertainment. The “entertainment” category is broad and includes movie theaters, tourist attractions, professional sporting events and, for some reason, video rental locations.
How it can make you feel fancy: At 17.42 grams, this card outweighs many premium travel cards. Plus, cash back can buy you anything you want.
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card (11 grams)
What’s so good about it: Get the same 4 points per $1 spent on dining, delivery and takeout as the other two dining cards listed here, for a $0* annual fee. The 11-gram U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card also offers a sign-up bonus. It’s a solid choice.
How it can make you feel fancy: You get a $15 annual credit toward streaming services. Sometimes the little things go a long way.
Store credit cards
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card (12.4 grams)
What’s so good about it: Look, there’s nothing particularly elegant about all the shower curtain liners and dog leashes you buy on Amazon. But 5% cash back on Amazon purchases when you use the 12.4-gram Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card? Yes.
How it can make you feel fancy: You also get 5% cash back at Whole Foods. They have elderflower kombucha on draft.
Verizon Visa® Card (16 grams)
What’s so good about it: The Verizon Visa® Card, coming in at 16 grams, earns a rich 4% back at grocery stores and 3% on dining in the form of Verizon Dollars, which you can use to pay your wireless bill or buy a new phone.
How it can make you feel fancy: Use your Verizon Visa® Card to pay your Verizon bill and get $10 off per month for each account line on up to 10 lines. You can be that magnanimous person who lets a whole bunch of people join their family plan.
» MORE: Review of the Verizon Visa® Card
Options with more style than substance
The Apple Card is titanium, which is pretty impressive if you know anything about metallurgy. You’re advised to clean it with a “soft, slightly damp, lint-free microfiber cloth.” If you shove it into a jeans pocket and it gets stained blue, it can be a collossal disappointment. But as far as rewards go, you earn more of them when you don’t use the physical card. Use Apple Pay (with your significantly more delicate and expensive iPhone) and earn 3% back on purchases at Apple and select merchants, and 2% back anywhere else (assuming Apple Pay is accepted there). The physical card earns just 1% back.
The family of ‘Luxury Cards’
The Luxury Cards from Barclays include the Luxury Card™ Mastercard® Titanium Card™, Luxury Card™ Mastercard® Black Card™ and the Luxury Card™ Mastercard® Gold Card™. They offer many of the perks you’d expect from a premium travel card, like concierge service. The pricier Gold and Black cards come with travel credits, airport lounge access and more. But while the Titanium card charges a $195 annual fee (pocket change!), the Black and Gold cards charge $495 and $995, respectively.
Yes, the Gold card is legitimately plated in 24-karat gold, but higher-karat gold is actually softer and scratches more easily. Keep this card away from your keys.
Grand Reserve World Mastercard
The Grand Reserve World Mastercard is a niche card whose rewards can be redeemed only for items in the Grand Reserve catalog, which are focused exclusively on wine-related accessories and experiences. Good for oenophiles, bad for anyone who doesn’t know what “oenophile” means.
To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page.
The information related to the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.