Black credit cards: Everything you need to know | finder.com
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Black credit cards: Everything you need to know

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Compare travel credit, airport lounge access and other luxury perks for these elite cards.

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.

Our pick for a black credit card

Luxury Card Mastercard® Black Card™

  • Stainless steel card
  • 2% point value when you redeem for airfare
  • 1.5% point value when you redeem for cash back
  • Enjoy 24/7 access to Luxury Card Concierge
  • $100 annual airline credit toward qualifying airline purchases
  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit
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Compare black credit cards

Updated March 20th, 2019
Name Product Filter values Annual Fee APR for Purchases (Purchase Rate) Intro APR for Balance Transfer
$495
17.24% variable
0% for the first 15 billing cycles (then 17.24% variable)
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
$2,500

N/A

Available by invitation only to a select number of people with an extensive range of luxury perks.
$450
17.99% to 25.99% variable

N/A

Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

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The best black credit cards

Centurion® Card from American Express

  • Available by invite only.
  • Made of anodized titanium.
  • Earn 1x Membership Rewards points on all purchases.
  • $200 in airline fee credits per calendar year.
  • Credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application.
  • Complimentary upgrade to Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion, Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Hilton Honors Diamond, IHG Priority Club Rewards Platinum Elite and Relais & Châteaux 5C.
  • Complimentary upgrades when you stay at properties in the Centurion Hotel Program and Fine Hotels & Resorts collection.
  • Airport and airline perks like Centurion International Arrival Services and International Airline Program.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Travel credits.
  • Access to hundreds of airport lounges around the world, often through complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select.
  • 24/7 concierge service.
  • Access to special events and experiences.

What is the most prestigious credit card?

How much does a black credit card cost?

A black credit card typically has a higher annual fee than other cards. Expect to pay at least $450 a year for one.

Annual fees can be sky-high: The Centurion® Card from American Express, for example, has a $2,500 annual fee on top of a $7,500 initiation fee. And there are other prestigious, invitation-only cards with undisclosed annual fees.

Who should get a black credit card?

Group of students using a credit card

Black credit cards are designed for people with high incomes and high monthly charges. They’re also usually reserved for those with excellent credit scores.

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.

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How to compare black credit cards

Take into account these major factors when comparing black credit cards.

Rewards

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.

Complimentary extras

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.

Fees

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 American Express® Card offers a $100 annual air travel credit and a credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. It offers better rewards than many black credit cards. And it has no annual fee.

Our pick for a black card alternative

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5x Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn more.
  • $200 airline fee credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms apply.
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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. 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases within 3 months of your account opening.
  • Travel credits. Up to $200 in annual Uber credits, up to $200 in annual airline fee credits and a 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. 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel. And 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.

Bottom line

Not everyone can get a black credit card — that’s part of the appeal. This type of card comes with a high annual fee and robust luxury features, and might be available by invitation only.

However, you don’t have to get a black card to enjoy high-class travel benefits. Compare travel credit cards and you might find the perfect alternative.

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Frequently asked questions

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Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards writer at finder.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order and build credit responsibly. Kevin has written across many personal-finance niches at finder, including cryptocurrency, personal loans, car insurance, real estate and money transfers. In his spare time, he likes to travel, read and play poker.

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