Who Needs a Black Card?
When many of us think of a Black Credit Card, we imagine celebrities and wealthy people. The truth is that many consumers won’t ever need a Black credit card, but if you do, you may find the benefits are worth considering. Here’s what you need to know about the luxury cards referred to as Black Credit Cards.
Types of Black Credit Cards
Many credit card issuers provide some form of Black credit card considered the most elite of the line and ranking above all the other cards they offer. You can find a Black card with American Express, Visa, and MasterCard, as well as with specific banks. One of the most popular is the American Express Centurion (Black) Credit Card comes with an annual fee of $2,500, as well as an initiation fee of $7,500. The MasterCard Black Credit Card and the Visa Black Card both have lower annual fees of $495, and for some consumers, are affordable especially considering that many luxury cards for regular people charge the same fees. All Black credit cards are known for providing extensive card and travel perks, intended to provide more luxurious experiences whenever you use your card.
Black Card Requirements and Approval Criteria
Part of the appeal of Black cards is the ability to join a “club” whose members are all considered elite. Those who carry these types of credit cards are generally those considered rich people, who don’t need or use the card for the same purposes the rest of the general population uses them. For instance, regular credit cards offer a variety of travel rewards and cash back options for consumers who want to earn from the purchases they make with the credit card. Other cards focus on low-interest opportunities for those who need to carry a balance and don’t want to rack up a ton of interest. With Black cards, however, many of these options don’t matter as much as the exclusivity that comes with carrying the card.
Card issuers which provide Black cards aren’t usually particularly clear about how you qualify for one of these cards, which can also be part of the allure. Consumers who are extremely wealthy don’t worry about whether or not they will be approved for a credit card, they just qualify. In fact, many luxury cards are available by invitation only, and the card issuers choose the customers they want to offer the card. There are some factors you can count on being considered as part of the approval process. Though it will vary according to the card issuer, some of the criteria includes the following.
- A high income, generally, at the very least, in the six-figure range and higher
- A credit rating as close to perfect as possible
- A history of using credit cards to make expensive purchases
Credit Limit and Credit Lines
Many Black credit cards don’t even bother with credit limits or credit lines and allow the cardholder the freedom to spend as they choose. Others may have credit limits that are higher than you’ll find on other cards. For instance, you might get a $10,000 credit limit for each month rather than for the entire year. In either event, these cards allow you to charge and spend significantly more than other credit cards.
White Card vs. Black Card
There are elite credit cards that aren’t actually black credit cards. For example, the Stratus Rewards Visa White Card is considered in the same category and in competition with the American Express Centurion card. This card has an annual fee of $1,500 per year, which is higher than many of the other black credit cards available. It also includes benefits like the ability to earn points for flight hours on private jets, personal concierge, and special perks at luxury hotels. Like some of the other luxury credit cards available you have to be referred or invited to apply for the card. There is currently a waiting list in the works for people who are interested in the card.
Affordable Luxury Cards for Regular People
Although most consumers will never need or qualify for a Black credit card, there are a number of luxury cards available that provide travel benefits and similar experiences. If you aren’t yet ready for a Black card, you might consider one of the following luxury cards available for regular people.
$95 annual fee, waived for the first year
or no annual fee for basic Sapphire card
2x points on travel and dining
1 point per dollar on all other purchases as usual
the card is made of metal
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card isn’t always considered a luxury credit card, especially with just a $95 annual fee that is waived the first year. However, this card includes many of the travel benefits and perks you’ll find on luxury credit cards. For instance, you get a 20% discount when you redeem for travel through the Ultimate Rewards program, and as far as appearance goes, its sleek metal card design is similar to the luxury cards made of titanium and steel. New cardholders can also earn a bonus of 50,000 points after spending $4,000 with the card in the first 3 months, and 5,000 bonus points if you add an authorized user and make your first purchase in the first 3 months. If you redeem through Ultimate Rewards, this bonus can be worth $625 in travel.
Gold: $95 annual fee, waived for the first year
Platinum: $195 fee
Reserve: $450 fee
For those who frequently fly with Delta Air Lines, you may appreciate the luxury benefits that the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express. This card has an annual fee of $450 and includes a plethora of flight and card benefits like access to Delta Sky Club airport lounges, a companion certificate each year you renew, concierge service, free checked bags, priority boarding, and many others. Although the annual fee is in line with Black Credit Cards, many people find that the benefits this card provides make the annual fee well worth it.
This card also carries an annual fee of $450 and includes travel benefits like a $250 air travel credit each year that you can use for various travel expenses such as baggage fees, airline tickets, or upgrades. You also get complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges and hundreds of VIP lounges in the Priority Pass Select program. Plus, if you book four consecutive nights in any hotel, you get a complimentary night. The Citi Prestige Card provides global concierge services as well as a number of other benefits that can be valuable when you travel.
Image by Robert S. Donovan
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