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Black credit cards are the top rung of the status ladder, offering more premium features and services than platinum, gold or standard options. You’ll find they’re designed for the highest earners and spenders — with features ranging from generous rewards programs and insurance policies to dedicated concierge services, travel credits and more.
Access to first-class experiences, including special events such as the Grand Prix de Monaco, The List, Centurion Wine and the Centurion Dining Program. Contact the Centurion Concierge whenever you need help securing reservations.
Access to airport lounges around the world, including the best-in-class Centurion lounges.
Baggage insurance and car rental insurance.
$7,500 initiation fee, $2,500 annual fee.
Luxury Card Mastercard® Black Card™
Made of stainless steel and carbon.
Earn 1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
$100 annual airline credit.
$100 Credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application.
Access to airport lounges.
Access to Luxury Card Concierge and Luxury Card Travel perks.
Trip cancellation and interruption, trip delay, baggage delay, lost luggage and car rental insurance.
Access to invitation-only events through Mastercard Priceless.
$495 annual fee.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months of card membership.
2x miles on American Airlines purchases and 1x miles on other purchases.
Complimentary Admirals Club membership.
Credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application.
American Airlines perks: Priority boarding, priority check-in and airport screening, first checked bag free and more.
$450 annual fee.
How do black credit cards work?
A black credit card is a premium credit card that offers more status and benefits than standard, gold or platinum credit cards. The use of the term “black” for this type of credit card refers to the level of the account, similar to how airline and hotel programs have different status levels. In the case of credit cards, black is generally the best you can get.
What benefits can I find with a black credit card?
Black credit cards offer a range of exclusive features that vary between cards. A few notable features may include:
Higher credit limits.
Special card construction — such as titanium or carbon.
Greater travel insurance coverage.
Complimentary status upgrades for hotel and airline programs.
Special upgrades at select hotels.
Access to hundreds of airport lounges around the world, often through complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select.
But meeting the application requirements doesn’t necessarily mean you should get a black credit card. If you never travel, for example, you won’t leverage perks like travel credits, airport lounge access and status upgrades in hotel and airline programs. In that case, it might not be worth paying a high annual fee.
On the other hand, if you travel often and love accessing special events through your card, you might find your card pays for itself many times over.
Take into account these major factors when comparing black credit cards.
Black credit cards often don’t have the most powerful rewards, as their main value lies in their benefits. If rewards are important to you, consider a travel card or look into cashback credit cards.
When evaluating a black card, check if it offers elevated rewards for certain categories. Then consider your spending in these categories.
Compare benefits based on what’s valuable to you. Black cards tend to offer certain features across the board, such as Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credits and access to airport lounges. But you’ll see differences between products, such as varying values of airline fee credits and perks in specific loyalty programs.
Preferably, your card’s benefits will outweigh the annual fee. Consider whether you’ll use perks like airport lounge access and travel credits. Additionally, look into your spending and see whether you’ll earn enough rewards to offset the annual fee. Compare concierge credit cards
What’s an alternative to a black credit card?
You don’t necessarily have to get a black card to enjoy black-card features.
For example, the PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card offers a $100 annual air travel credit and a $100 credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. It offers better rewards than many black credit cards. And it has no annual fee.
If you’re not quite ready for the most exclusive black cards — such as the Centurion® Card from American Express — The Platinum Card® from American Express is an excellent choice. It has a hefty $550 annual fee, but it has expansive features that include:
Welcome offer. 75,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases within 6 months of your account opening. You’ll also earn 10x points at US gas stations and supermarkets, up to $15,000 within your first 6 months of account opening.
Travel credits. Up to $200 in annual Uber credits, up to $200 in annual airline fee credits and a $100 credit every four years for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application.
Rewards. 5x points on flights booked through American Express Travel or directly with airlines and 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel.Starting January 2021, this accelerated rate lasts until you’ve spent $500,000 in combined purchases annually and will then revert to 1x points. You’ll also earn 1x points on other eligible purchases.
Airport lounge access. Access more than 1,100 airport lounges, including the highly regarded Centurion Lounges.
Special benefits at Fine Hotels & Resorts properties. Enjoy daily breakfast for two, complimentary room upgrades when available, guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout and more.
This depends on the card. Some cards offer general rewards — like points or cash back — that you can redeem for a variety of travel benefits. Others, such as the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, offer rewards that are mostly redeemable for flights.
This varies based on the provider and card. Black cards are marketed to those with high incomes, as they have high annual fees and luxury features. Typically, users of these cards pay off their balances every month.
Minimum income requirements can reach astronomic heights, such as with the Centurion® Card from American Express.
If you look at platinum and black cards from the same issuer, you’ll usually find the black card offers more premium benefits. For example, it can give you access to experiences and luxury travel perks you won’t find with a platinum card.
This depends on your individual circumstances. In some cases, you might find a platinum credit card offers all the benefits you need and has an annual fee that suits your budget. In others, you might be drawn to the luxury privileges and perks of a black card.
The simplest way to decide between a black and platinum card is to compare them side-by-side, based on the features that interest you. Consider your spending habits, budget and eligibility for both card types. Eventually, you’ll decide which card is right for you.
Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.
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