Premium tanks are single-configuration tanks that are located outside of their nations' tech trees. These include tanks that are purchased with gold in-game, tanks purchased in the gift shop, or tanks that are gifted/given for special events. All premium tanks come with Elite status and require no module research.
Premium tanks benefit from greater credit income than regular tanks (but see the "Special Event Vehicles" section below). This credit bonus increases with the tiers, which makes tier VIII premiums the most profitable tanks available to all players in the game. Many players regularly play tier VIII or other premiums to earn the credits necessary to pay for new tanks, modules, equipment, et cetera.
Aside from their usefulness as money makers, premium tanks are also good for training crews. Unlike regular tanks, premium tanks can accept crew members trained for other tanks of the same nationality and type without a proficiency penalty. In addition, crews in premium tanks will also benefit from a 50% crew experience bonus on top of what they would receive in a non-premium. Premium tanks can also be used to stack x2 experience bonuses. A player can earn a x2 XP bonus in one tank and then transfer the crew to a premium tank and do it again, giving them XP from multiple x2 bonus games.
Since all premium tanks come with elite status, they also come with accelerated crew training available. When accelerated training is turned off, premium tanks can accumulate combat experience which can be converted to free experience with gold. This free experience can be used to hasten or skip hard module/tank grinds. Premium tanks also benefit from a combat experience multiplier. This multiplier decreases linearly as the tanks' tiers increase; a tier II premium will gain a 70% bonus XP, whereas a tier VIII premium will only get 10% bonus XP.
The performance of premium tanks varies greatly from tank to tank. Many (such as the IS-6 or Valentine II) perform less well than regular tanks of their tier, and thus have preferential or some other form of special matchmaking. Generally, most premium tanks fall somewhere between stock and fully upgraded vehicles of their tier. Still, some premium tanks (such as the T34 and Type 64) get standard matchmaking and are expected to perform equally as well as corresponding tanks of their tier.
Premium tanks' gold values are displayed on their respective pages. A premium tank's credit value is equal to its gold value times 200.
Tanks displayed below with a gold icon next to their name are available for purchase either in-game or in the gift shop. Tanks with a blue star next to their name are gift tanks, tanks removed from the store, or any other tank that is in the game but not otherwise available for purchase in most cases. Some of these tanks appear in gift shop bundles from time to time, and others are available through other purchase methods (see specific articles for details).
Special Event Vehicles
Some tanks have all the benefits of a premium tank EXCEPT the premium tank's greater credit income. These tanks are sometimes popularly called "reward" tanks, as they were never available for purchase, but are instead given as prizes in contests or missions. Wargaming.net calls these tanks "special event vehicles" on their official worldoftanks.com tank pages. (Stug 4 example here) Keep in mind that some tanks that have been given out as contest prizes (like the SU-100Y) are indeed true premium tanks with extra credit income. Some examples of Special Event Vehicle tanks are: StuG IV, T28 Concept, T 55A, and Object 260, among others.