In Europe, Insignia claims to have about 800 clients. In the US, it has about 50 clients and aims for a maximum of 300 to 500. At least 20% to 25% of its US customers are billionaires.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on December 23, 2019

A distinctive credit card has always packed a punch and now, if you are exceedingly rich, you can pull out a credit card encrusted with gems from Insignia Cards.

Yes, a credit card inlaid with diamonds, pearls and other precious gems that you desire.

Insignia Cards, an all-encompassing global luxury lifestyle management group based in London, UK, has the credit cards handcrafted in Switzerland and one can be yours only if you are invited.

Insignia Cards’ diamond and sapphire-studded card was on display last month along with other gem-encrusted examples during a private event at New York’s Jewelry Week, Bloomberg reported.

The gathering, showcasing the works of Clarissa Bronfman, was sponsored by Insignia, which is partnering with private equity firm Certares to launch the “Jewelry Card Collection” early next year.

Insignia said it has created fewer than 100 jewelled cards for clients – pre-eminent figures in business, politics, culture and sport – across the UK, Middle East, Monaco, Russia and now the US. Cardholders pay a US$10,000 annual fee and charge more than US$1 million a year, mostly on travel, said Richard Lewis, Insignia’s US president. Most clients insure the cards, which are chip-enabled.

The less visible side of Insignia’s business is its luxury lifestyle and travel service, which debuted in the US about six months ago. In Europe, Insignia said it works with about 800 clients. In the US, it has about 50 clients and aims for a maximum of 300 to 500. At least 20% to 25% of its US customers are billionaires, according to Lewis.

For membership, clients have a dedicated personal assistant who is available 24/7, 365 days a year. The assistants reportedly know details as specific as which side of the bed clients sleep on, so they can tell hotels which side to turn down, and may do things like send a client’s personalised toiletry kit to hotels in advance.

“The people we are dealing with, the vast majority are very well-connected in their own right,” Lewis told Bloomberg. “But they don’t like to ask friends for favours all the time.”

Lewis said American ExpressCenturion – the black card – is Insignia’s main rival. Among rival is London-based Quintessentially Group, the luxury concierge service, where Lewis worked before joining Insignia.

Insignia expects to sign with a bank partner in the US in the first quarter, so clients who want one sooner would have to use a European bank, Bloomberg reported.

Lewis said half of the US business is owned by New York-based Certares, which specialises in travel and hospitality. The private equity firm is part of an investor group that owns a 50% stake in AmEx’s business-travel division.