Credit Cards

Banks and the Metal Credit Cards – Phase or Perk?

southwest companion pass for 2017
Written by Charlie

Metal credit cards appear to be the big thing now – but why? Is this push by the banks too much for their reach to be your preferred card?

There is no question about it – banks have intense competition among themselves to earn a place in your wallet for the annual fees and the regular use. Just in the premium card space alone we have seen this huge push in just the last year or so as more people see the value in certain card perks in exchange for high annual fees.

Are Banks Overreaching With “Metal” Premium Cards?

But, these same issuers are also making big deals about their metal cards, both in promotional material and in blogger coverage. In many cases, it is put forward as a perk – like it will make you forget that the Citi Prestige will no longer get you AA Admiral Club access if you get to feel the heft of the metal in the palm of your hand. Is this really working?

What is the Big Deal with Metal?

To be completely honest, I find the entire metal card phase to be somewhat ridiculous. Is it a push by issuers to appeal to customers’ vanity for having some prestigious card?

The American Express Platinum used to have that kind of effect on people back in the day – until it became a card that card enthusiasts jumped on as they figured out how to offset the high annual fee. Now it seems that these issuers are trying for that same feel again but doing it with metal instead of just the color of a card.

Unwanted Attention

Especially when traveling abroad, it is noticed for sure. I cannot tell you how many times I get comments about the heavy feel of it or how cold it feels. But, is that really something you want when you are traveling – attention being drawn to the unique form of payment you are using?

I really do not like sticking out, especially at a cash register in a store with many people around! I stick out enough being American when speaking English, having people’s attention drawn to my “shiny” credit card is not the extra attention I am looking for!

Mobile Wallet Solutions Are the Future

US Bank altitude reserve

The US Bank Altitude Reserve – Metal but with a great mobile wallet bonus

We are now the age where mobile wallet payment solutions are heating up. We have Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, payment solutions from banks, and even Garmin is getting into the digital payment arena with their latest watches. You can pay from your smartwatch, you can use your phone – it easier than ever now to not have a credit card on your person when trying to make purchases.

From Apple

So, why are banks pushing for metal when they should be trying to build more perks into the card itself? I mean, check out US Bank with their Altitude Reserve card. Yes, it is metal, but they are also giving 3X points when you use something like Apple Pay with the card for digital payments. I far prefer some meaningful perk/feature like that to the material a card is made from.

Not Necessarily More Durable

Some people will say that they are more durable. I do not find that to be necessarily true. I have already had 2 such metal cards have the metal plate start peeling away. That doesn’t scan in machines too well when that happens! 🙂


Maybe I am out of touch from the generation that the issuers are clamoring for (man, I feel old at 35 to even be saying “out of touch!”) but I do not get the excitement of the metal card. If an issuer wants to send me a replacement card that happens to be metal, cool. But I certainly would never apply for a card because it happens to be metal over the competition’s plastic card. Also, how unique is a metal card when all of the issuers now have cards like that?

Oh, by the way, if you want to replace your Amex Business Platinum card with metal, you can now do that online with a card replacement selection – if you like having more metal!

What do you think about metal cards? Give me some things you do like about it so maybe I can feel a little more pro-metal! 🙂

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • >Is it a push by issuers to appeal to customers’ vanity for having some prestigious card?


    While metal cards are a little interesting as a novelty, it wears off quickly and I find it pretty dumb. I prefer the look and feel of the Prestige before it went metal (people used to complain that it was too thin and flexible- why would you want a credit card to take up MORE space?).

    If an issuer made a card out of cardboard and scotch tape but offered good rewards and perks, I’d use it.

  • Meh… haven’t thought of it much but I did have an incident in a trattoria in Florence Italy. They remembered me by calling me Chase because of the metal card. It did get me remembered. ha

  • I find it a hassle to fit in my wallet. When you say about people commenting about the card It really depends on where you use it. In Europe for example you never handle your card to anyone anymore. You either input on the machine yourself or you use it as contactless. Thus, nobody will ever see your card so if it is fancy to have a metal card nobody will notice it.

  • I liked how light in weight and feel the Citi Prestige card was before they joined the metal bandwagon. I’d rather have plastic credit cards. Easier to destroy too when your card expires.

  • There’s nothing worse than the douchebag in front of you at the register clanking his metal card down on the counter. I also hate the way it ways down my money clip in my front pocket. FYI – Sapphire Reserve will send out a plastic card on request. Amex Plat still won’t – but hopefully they’ll start listening to us soon

  • Although I have two Chase metal cards, I prefer the plastic cards for two reasons. I can carry them through airport security metal detectors in my pocket and plastic is much lighter. For a travel card, metal is hassle. I am not looking forward to having my Amex platinum “upgraded” to metal.

  • I like having exactly one metal card in my wallet. I have two RFID keycards I use daily, and if I leave them in my wallet they interfere with each other–unless they are separated by a piece of metal.