There was a time when Gold credit cards were considered to be elite. Soon after that, it was platinum. Now, both gold and platinum cards are widely accessible and there is not much prestige attached to them anymore. Currently, the most prestigious, elite, and exclusive credit cards available on the market are usually black.
The Exclusive Benefits of Black Credit Cards?
The black credit card is one of the best status symbols for those who wish to flaunt their wealth. With most of them, their availability is restricted to those with extremely high incomes and spending capacities, so possessing a black card can make a major statement about your net worth.
Let’s do a quick comparison of some of the most luxurious black cards in the industry. This list has been updated for 2013. The very last one on this list you might have a chance at actually qualifying for!
American Express Centurion Credit Card
This credit card has been awarded the honor of being the most prestigious credit card by Luxury Institute, New York. You can get a Centurion card if you spend over $250,000 a year and it attracts a very high annual fee – a one time initiation fee of $5,000, plus $2,500 annually. It has no preset credit limit. You also need to pay your outstanding balance every month. This is by far the most popular and sought after black credit card out there.
Merrill Accolades American Express Card
Previously branded as the Bank of America Accolades, it was switched over to the Merrill Lynch label about 3 years ago, after BofA acquired them during the recession. The card comes with a spending limit of up to $500,000 and has a relatively reasonable annual fee of $295 (which is waived if you keep at least $250k in your Merrill brokerage account). Even though this is a black card by color, the benefits and perks are more comparable to the American Express Platinum. Even though the Accolades has been out for several years, it has yet to gain much prestige or popularity.
Citigroup Chairman American Express Card
One of the latest black credit cards to hit the market, it offers premium services and privileges to Citi’s most affluent customers. This card was scheduled to be discontinued, but upon checking the Citi website, it still appears they are offering the Chairman card. Its benefits are comparable to the Accolades and like that card, it has been out for several years but it has failed to catch much popularity.
Natwest Black Credit Card
In a nutshell, this black credit card can be thought of as the UK-version of the previous two mentioned. In addition to the concierge, airport lounge, etc., this one also comes with some additional insurance benefits such as “home emergency cover” which offers help ’round the clock with plumbing, heating/AC, locksmith services, and the like. When I first read that I assume it must just be a lame phone support line, but it says “includes labour, call-out charges and parts and materials up to £750 (including VAT) per call-out.” That’s pretty impressive! Too bad this card is only available in the United Kingdom. The annual fee is £250 (about $400).
Dubai First Royale MasterCard
Out of the bunch, this is definitely the most flashy… it has a damn diamond embedded in it! The First Dubai Bank website labels it as a “super premium” credit card that is by invitation only. It was launched in 2008, which was bad timing considering the financial meltdown was merely months after its debut. Only a few hundred are said to be in circulation and I know you’re dying to know the annual fee, right? Well there have been rumors of a modest fees (ranging from the hundreds to a couple thousand) but my sources have confirmed the fee is waived for qualified applicants. Benefits include a “personal relationship manager,” the “Royale” rewards program, and various VIP privileges.
Visa Black Card
Within the black credit cards niche, this one has already gained quite a bit of press, mostly bad. It’s issued by Barclays and has a $495 annual fee. It offers airport lounge access, some complimentary gifts and the usual benefits. The rewards program earns 1 point per dollar. All in all, this card is black in color, but it doesn’t even compare with the Platinum from Amex.
Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Chances are, you probably won’t qualify for most of the above cards – or even if you do qualify – their high annual fees just aren’t worth it for most lifestyles.
The solution? Try this one out! This card looks prestigious because it’s black in color. Yet unlike the cards above, this one is geared towards the average Joe or Jane (if they have excellent credit).
This card is made out of real metal. The only other one on this list that’s made of of metal is the American Express Centurion. However unlike that one which costs $7,500 for the first year, this one has an Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $85.
With that price tag, obviously it doesn’t have the same scope of benefits as the others on this list. However, from my experience, other people are still impressed by it. They see the black color and hear the cling of the metal on the countertop when you use it to pay and seem to assume you must be some VIP multimillionaire.
Qualifications? If you have excellent credit, my recommendation would be to try for this one.
And right now they’re running an enticing offer: 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in first 3 months from account opening. Here is the link to to get this card offer
Many cardholders expect to get star treatment – and with some of these cards – they get just that. There’s personal assistance from the concierge to help you with your business, personal, travel, gifting, and entertainment needs. Some of them offer VIP access at airport lounges across the globe. Cardmembers are wooed by luxury brands as they shop at “invite only” private events at stores like Saks, Neiman Marcus, and Tiffanys. Last but not least, there’s once-in-a lifetime opportunities to experience the unthinkable (like a zero gravity flight which was offered to AmEx Centurion cardmembers).
While some black credit cards are only available by invitation, others are only available through nomination by an existing card holder. But generally speaking, you will probably have to be a big spender to qualify. Most are setup as charge cards (which require the balance to be paid in full every cycle) but sometimes they offer financing capabilities, in case you want to stretch out payments on your new yacht or Gulfstream jet!
Last updated November 8, 2013