With the cost of everything on an upward spiral, have you ever wondered if no-limit credit cards exist in Canada? Solidarity, my friend. There are exceedingly few credit cards known for not having a set credit limit. But does a no-limit credit card really mean a spending free-for-all, or is there a catch? Here’s what to know about no-limit credit cards in Canada and where to get one.
- What exactly are no-limit credit cards?
- The pros of no-limit credit cards
- The cons of no-Limit credit cards
- What’s the catch with no-limit credit cards?
- The best no-limit credit cards in Canada
What exactly are no-limit credit cards?
No-limit credit cards are an elite class of premium cards that do not have a fixed credit limit. Instead, a no-limit credit card offers flexible spending limits that adjust based on how you use it, your payment history, credit score, and unique financial profile.
Sure, you can make big purchases without worrying about maxing out your card. But that doesn’t mean you can swipe with reckless abandon. At some point, the credit issuer will kill the music and end your purchase party. Before you jump on the bandwagon, let's dive deeper into the specifics of these elusive cards.
The pros of no-limit credit cards
Exploring the world of no-limit credit cards is like opening a treasure chest filled with benefits. These aren't just ordinary credit cards. They're like magic keys that unlock exclusive spending options premium, top-shelf perks not available on regular cards.
Obviously, the biggest pro of no-limit credit cards is the inherent spending flexibility. These cards don't come with a pre-set spending limit, which allows you to make very large purchases when necessary. This comes in handy for high net-worth people with substantial spending needs, as well as business owners or frequent travellers who have variable, big-ticket expenses.
Rewards & perks
Many no-limit credit cards are packed with rewards and other benefits like cash back on purchases, points, travel miles, purchase protection and travel insurance, as well as exclusive access to special events. You can take advantage of these perks to get the most bang for every buck you spend with the card.
Potential credit score benefits
Since there's no defined credit limit, these cards can potentially help improve your credit utilization ratio, which is a key factor in determining your credit score. As long as you keep your spending in check and pay your balance in full every month, a no-limit credit card can strengthen your credit file.
The cons of no-Limit credit cards
Just like a movie with a surprise twist, no-limit credit cards come with their share of plot twists, too. While they offer a lot of spending freedom and special perks, there are a few cautionary tales to keep in mind. Let's pull back the curtain and take a closer look at the less glamorous side of no-limit credit cards.
No Limit ≠ unlimited spending
Unfortunately, no limit does not mean you can spend to infinity and beyond. There is typically a point at which the credit issuer will decline a charge. They can and will cut off spending if they assess your charges as risky, or if you're significantly increasing your spending habits without a corresponding increase in income, savings, or other relevant assets, or fail to comply with the cardholder agreement.
Strict qualifying standards
No-limit credit cards require excellent credit scores and substantial income. They're typically marketed towards extremely high earners or high net-worth people with impeccable credit, which makes most no-limit credit cards out of reach for the average person.
These cards often come with hefty annual fees that range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars! The perks and benefits might offset the cost for some, but it's essential to make sure the benefits you get outweigh the fees you’ll pay before signing up.
What’s the catch with no-limit credit cards?
No-limit credit cards don’t actually exist. They are often confused with a type of credit card called a “charge card.” That’s because charge cards do not come with a pre-set spending limit – which makes them an entirely different beast than the traditional cards you’re used to.
While charge cards do not have a defined credit limit, there’s a catch – they do not allow you to carry a balance from month to month. You are expected to pay off every cent charged to the card every billing cycle.
If you don't, you’ll face an eye-popping interest rate and potentially hefty late fees. Your card could even be frozen until your balance is paid. Mark Cuban, billionaire Shark Tank investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, had his Amex Black Card declined when trying to purchase a $90,000 bottle of champagne. Despite popular belief, a purchase with a prestigious no-limit credit card can be turned down.
While these cards are typically geared toward high-income earners with excellent credit, there are a few that do not have any minimum income requirements. Still, the most prestigious and highly coveted cards are reserved for the 1% because using one requires an incredible amount of financial discipline and resources to pay off the balance in full every month. Not to mention, they come with a suite of ultra-premium perks and rewards that we regular folk can’t access.
The best no-limit credit cards in Canada
In case you missed it, there aren’t any! Even the most coveted no-limit credit card on the market is a charge card. This elusive unicorn bankrolls the elite lifestyles of the rich and famous and has been used to buy things like a private jet and a $170 Million dollar piece of fine art.
But even Warren Buffett himself is expected to pay his balance in full every month or face a draw-dropping interest rate. Here are the best no-limit credit cards in Canada.
American Express Centurion (Amex Black Card): most sought after
- Initiation fee: $5,000
- Annual fee: $2,500
- Annual interest rate: 18.24% variable for eligible pay-over-time purchases
Affectionally referred to as the Black Card, the American Express Centurion is the most prestigious no-limit credit card on the market reserved for the most elite members of society. In fact, you can’t even apply for it – you have to be invited to apply. Even then, the qualification requirements are shrouded in mystery. But what we do know is that at the very least, you have to:
- Have an active American Express Platinum card for at least one year, and
- Spend at least $250,000 – $500,000 on it per year (exact amount not disclosed)
- Have a near-perfect credit score
- Have an annual income of at least $1 Million
- Have significant net worth (minimum amount not disclosed)
Its handcrafted, embossed, and personally engraved design oozes prestige, while its elite benefits are truly indulgent. If you’re lucky enough to get this card, you’ll enjoy a personal concierge service available 24/7, exclusive perks at the world’s most luxurious hotels, and automatic membership with Delta – providing perks such as upgrades and free companion tickets on select flights.
You’ll also enjoy the American Express Global Lounge program which gives you unlimited access to the exclusive Centurion Lounge. In order to maintain this card, you need to spend at least $250,000 on it per year.
J.P. Morgan Reserve Card (formerly Palladium): most exclusive
- APR on Purchases 13.49% (V)
- Balance Transfer APR: 13.49% (V)
- Balance Transfer Fee : 5% (min $5)
The J.P. Morgan Reserve card, previously called the Palladium Card, is one of the best-kept secrets in the elite world of no-limit credit cards. This invitation-only Visa is renowned for its high-end look, boasting a weight of 27 grams of handcrafted brass in a palladium and 23-karat gold plating that screams “Hey everybody, come see how rich I am!”
If you haven’t heard of this card, that’s because it’s not advertised. Reserved exclusively for the richest of the rich, the J.P. Morgan Reserve card is primarily targeted at uber-wealthy Americans. But here's a little-known fact; there aren’t actually any geographical restrictions.
That means crazy rich Canadians could qualify for this prestigious card as long as they have at least $10 million in assets under management with JP Morgan Private Bank. But like the Amex Black Card, it's available by invitation only and the exact eligibility criteria are just as elusive. Since this card is not openly marketed, it’s hard to know if it’s truly a no-limit card or if holders are, in fact, restricted to a credit limit based on their unique financial profile – albeit a super high credit limit.
The J.P. Morgan Reserve card not only serves as an elite status symbol but also provides comprehensive United Club membership and unrestricted Lounge Club access. Additionally, cardholders can earn double the points on travel and are exempt from cash advance fees and late payment penalties – suggesting this card works more like a traditional card with an exceptionally high credit limit rather than a charge card with no pre-set spending limit.
American Express Platinum Card: best travel perks
- Annual fee: $699
- Interest rate on purchase: n/a
- Interest rate on cash advances: n/a
- 🥡 3X points on qualifying dining and delivery purchases
- ✈️ 2X points on eligible travel purchases
- 💳 1X points on other purchases
In order to qualify for the American Express Centurion card, you have to have the American Express Platinum Card open and active for at least a year and spend somewhere between $250,000- $500,000 on it annually. It can be considered a no-limit credit card because it is a charge card with no preset spending limit, and happens to be one of the best Amex cards in Canada. Having said that, American Express does note that certain purchases might not be approved based on your spending and repayment habits.
While there is no minimum income required to apply, it's best suited for people with above-average incomes. With a steep annual fee and a hefty 30% annual interest rate, this card is intended to be paid off in full every month. Sometimes, you might be able to lock in part of your eligible balance at a slightly lower 20.99% annual interest rate. If there’s any chance you might not be able to pay off the balance in full by the due date, you should consider other great reward cards with friendlier interest rates.
But the Platinum Card is all about the perks if you use it like a classic charge card. Round-the-clock concierge service, a range of travel insurance benefits – including emergency medical coverage, NEXUS statement credit, upgraded hotel perks, access to travel lounges, and a yearly travel credit of $200 are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to benefits.
American Express Aeroplan Card: best for Air Canada lovers
- Annual fee: $120
- Interest rate: n/a
- 2 Aeroplan Points per dollar on Air Canada purchases, 1.5 Aeroplan Points per dollar on meals and 1 Aeroplan Point per dollar on everything else
Think of the American Express Aeroplan Card as the final frontier in the realm of what Amex officially considers a charge card. This card might surprise you with its comparatively humble annual fee, especially compared to the previous no-limit credit cards on this list. But don't let the lower annual fee fool you – it's still packed with perks! Plus, there's no minimum income requirement for this card either.
Imagine you're about to catch a flight with Air Canada. Not only will you enjoy the luxury of a free checked bag, but so can up to eight of your travel companions. With no pre-set spending limit, this charge card is one of the best Aeroplan credit cards in Canada and puts you on the fast track to Elite status. The American Express Aeroplan Card drops the rope to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf airport lounges and makes it a breeze to score flight upgrades.
This card also blankets you with various types of travel insurance coverage, significantly reducing the need to hunt for third-party insurance for cross-border travel. And let's not forget about the array of welcome bonuses that often come with this card. The latest deal on the table? Up to $1,100 worth of welcome offers and travel benefits in the first year!
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About The Author: Heidi Unrau
Heidi Unrau is the senior Finance Journalist at Hardbacon. She studied Economics at the University of Winnipeg, where she fell in love with all-things-finance. At 25, she got her first bank job as an entry-level teller. She moved up the ranks to Credit Analyst, Loans Officer, and now a Personal Finance Writer. In her spare time, you'll find her hiding in the car listening to Freakonomics podcasts, or binge-watching financial crime documentaries with a pint of Häagen-Dazs. When she's not chasing after her two little boys, she's in the hot tub or arguing with her husband over which cash back card to use for date night. She’s addicted to coffee, crypto, and obsessively checking her credit score on Borrowell.
Fun Fact: Heidi has lived in five different provinces across Canada, loves her free Tangerine bank account, and will never cut back on Starbucks. Like ever.
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