Personal Finance: Switching to platinum

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The Independent Online
WHEN IT comes to jewellery, truly classy people know that too much glitter is tacky: that's why they'll always choose platinum over gold to mount their diamonds.

However, until recently, gold was good enough for most credit card holders seeking that little bit extra. Now, gold cards are losing their cachet and credit card companies are launching platinum cards for people who spend a lot every month but always clear their debts. These are five of the currently available cards.

Amex

01273 693 555

Minimum Salary: By invitation only

Annual Fee: pounds 225

APR: N/A (this is a charge card)

Spending Limit: To be negotiated

Travel Accident Insurance: pounds 250,000

Free Purchase Protection: 90 days for lost, stolen or damaged goods up to pounds 20,000.

Other Benefits: Annual travel insurance, free upgrades with some airlines, hotel and car hire companies.

Capital One Bank

0500 200 400

Minimum Salary: pounds 20,000

Annual Fee: None

APR: 11.90 per cent

Credit Limit: pounds 25,000

Travel Accident Insurance: No

Free Purchase Protection: No

Others Benefits: Discounts with RAC, Interflora, Thorntons, holiday line.

Barclaycard

Contact your local branch.

Minimum Salary: pounds 20,000

Annual Fee: pounds 30, waived if the customer spends over pounds 6,000 a year

APR: 14.90 per cent to 17.9 per cent depending on volume.

Credit Limit: Minimum credit limit pounds 3,500, maximum to be negotiated.

Travel Accident Insurance: pounds 250,000

Free Purchase Protection: 100 days up to pounds 15,000.

Other Benefits: Two years extended warranty on household appliances purchased with the card and savings on travel and/or hotels.

Mbna

01244 672000

Minimum Salary: Not disclosed

Annual Fee: None

APR: 16.9 per cent with an introductory rate of 5.9 per cent for the first six months.

Credit Limit: To be negotiated

Travel Accident Insurance: pounds 250,000

Free Purchase Protection: 100 days for lost, stolen or damaged goods up to pounds 15,000.

Other Benefits: Insurance for flight delay and lost luggage, discounts on travel products.

Royal Bank of Scotland

Contact your local branch

Minimum Salary: pounds 25,000

Annual Fee: None

APR: 17.9 per cent with an introductory rate of 6.9 per cent till March 2000.

Credit Limit: Up to pounds 15,000

Travel Accident Insurance: pounds 250,000

Free Purchase Protection: 100 days for lost, stolen or damaged goods up to pounds 15,000.

Other Benefits: Emergency medical and legal assistance abroad, discounts on travel products, 10 per cent discount on tax check services.

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