Can I Get a Black Credit Card in Canada? April 2021 | Finder Canada

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What is a Black Credit Card?

Think out-of-this-world spending, top secret qualification requirements and rewards fit for royalty.

Black and gold graphic design

What is a Black Credit Card?

A Black Credit Card — known simply as a Black Card — is a type of credit card used only by the richest of the rich. Designed for lavish spenders with high-tier needs, these cards come with luxurious perks you can’t get with ordinary credit cards. The catch is that Black Credit Cards come with strict eligibility criteria, heavy spending requirements and enormously expensive fees that can easily reach up to thousands of dollars per year.

Viewed as a status symbol, Black Card holders can safely say they’ve financially “made it.” Very few people are privileged enough to own such a card. In fact, out of more than 100 million American Express cardholders globally, it’s rumoured that only around 84,000 of them own an American Express Centurion Credit Card — the first, and most well-known, Black Card in the world.

Where can you get a Black Credit Card?

No single credit card company owns the sole rights to issue Black Credit Cards, and there is no universally-accepted definition of what counts as a Black Credit Card. Rather, the term “Black Card” is used generally to refer to the most exclusive credit cards in the world that multiple card issuers offer as a reward to top-spending clients.

That being said, the first such card to be released, the American Express Centurion Black Card, is often referred to simply as the “Black Card” and is perhaps the most well known Black Card on the market today.

American Express, Mastercard, HSBC and a number of other financial institutions in Canada, the US and around the world offer different versions of Black Credit Cards, each with its own unique fees and features.

Black Card features

Black Credit Card programs are typically loaded with premium features designed to make living and spending as easy as possible for cardholders. Below are just some of the benefits of owning a Black Card:

Check mark in green-filled circleService at your fingertips

Need a hard-to-get reservation at a high-end hotel? Want to upgrade your boring rental sedan to a luxury SUV? Feel like champagne and oysters at 3am? Complimentary Black Card concierge services have you covered. Of course, you’ll still have to foot the bill for any items that don’t come for free with your card (some Black Cards offer shopping credits to stores like Saks Fifth Avenue). Card services will handle the rest.

Check mark in green-filled circle

A full range of complimentary perks

When shopping for credit cards, you normally have to weigh fees against perks and add-ons, ultimately choosing a card with the best combo of what you want at a reasonable cost. But with Black Credit Cards, you typically don’t have to sacrifice any perks. Cardholders can enjoy a generous suite of complimentary travel insurance coverage, airport lounge access and other valuable add-ons along with standard credit card features.

Check mark in green-filled circle

Cash back or rewards points

Many Black Cards offer cash back or rewards points like other cards on the market. Surprisingly, the earning rates aren’t usually much higher than what you could earn with an ordinary credit card. The primary benefit of owning a Black Credit Card seemingly has more to do with prestige and convenience.

Check mark in green-filled circle

Premium card construction

Black Cards are made with premium materials like metal, which gives cards a durable and substantial or weighty feel. Some card providers even embed diamonds or other precious elements into cards to let cardholders flex their wealth even more.

How do you qualify for a Black Credit Card?

The greatest intrigue of Black Credit Cards is how people qualify to get one. The truth is — no one really knows. Black Card issuers keep eligibility criteria under strict confidence. Even cardholders don’t know what formula (if any) is applied during the approval process.

To deepen the mystery, some Black Credit Cards programs are invitation only, meaning there’s no application process. You can’t get a card unless the card provider reaches out to you first.

Generally, you must satisfy the following criteria to be considered for a Black Credit Card:

  • You must have a high net worth. Given that annual fees can start around $1,000 per year and entry fees can range from hundreds to $10,000 or more, card providers want to be assured that you can afford to maintain your status in the program. Furthermore, high net worth individuals can afford to make expensive purchases, go on luxurious vacations and travel frequently, making them likely to meet minimum spending requirements and cash in on Black Card perks.
  • You must be a big spender. Credit card companies make money off interest fees, and Black Card programs are expensive to service. Approval for a Black Credit Card usually requires a history of big spending on another account with the same card provider as well as adherence to a minimum annual spending requirement (or else you’ll face steep interest charges). Minimum spending amounts can easily reach 6 figures annually.
  • You must already be a client of the issuing financial institution. Some Black Cards are only offered to people who use other services offered by the same financial institution like wealth management, banking or investment services.
  • You must reside in an eligible country. Black Card providers typically require that cardholders reside in certain regions, which depends on the countries in which the provider operates or where it’s based. Some Black Credit Card providers may allow nonresidents to open an account from outside a country to qualify for a Black Card issued within the country. However, laws and regulations in some nations prohibit this option.

6 of the most prestigious Black Cards on the market (plus alternatives)

Since the AMEX Centurion Black Card was released in 1999, a number of card issuers have designed prestigious cards programs to rival its popularity and cater to top-tier spenders. The list below highlights some of the best Black Cards on the market today. Find out which Black Cards are available to residents of Canada and how to apply (or if an application process even exists).

Note: this information is current as of October 24, 2020. Card details — including rates, fees and qualification criteria — may change over time. Check with the card issuer to get the most up-to-date information.

American Express Centurion Black Card

American Express Centurion Black Card image

  • Issued by: American Express (AMEX)
  • Available in what countries? No known geographical restriction (open to residents of Canada)
  • Annual fee: $5,000 USD
  • Initiation fee: $10,000 USD
  • APR: This is a charge card, so balances must be paid off in full each billing period or a penalty APR of Prime + 25.99% will apply.
  • Physical card: Made of anodized titanium and weighs almost 14 grams.
Alternative: The Platinum Card from American Express
  • Features: Rewards points, complimentary travel insurance, concierge services, hotel benefits, annual travel credits and airport lounge access. Cardholders are also fast-tracked to elite status with leading hotel loyalty programs such as Marriot Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, Shangri-La Golden Circle and Radisson Rewards.
  • APR: This is a charge card, so your balance must be fully repaid by the end of the billing period or a penalty APR of 30% will apply.
  • Annual fee: $699
  • Required credit score: 700
The Platinum Card by American Express
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Mastercard Black Card

Mastercard Black Card image

  • Issued by: Barclays Bank Delaware (through Luxury Card financial services company)
  • Available in what countries? United States (Canadian citizens can apply if they reside in the US and have a valid US Social Security Number)
  • Annual fee: $495 USD
  • Initiation fee: None
  • APR: 14.99% (varies with Prime rate)
  • Physical card: PVD-coated stainless steel front and carbon back. Weighs 22 grams.
Alternative: Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
  • Features: Rewards points, 0% foreign transaction fee, complimentary travel insurance, concierge services, discounted car rentals in North America and airport lounge access. Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (that’s up to $400 towards travel) Apply by August 31, 2021.
  • APR: 19.99%
  • Annual fee: $120
  • Required credit score: 700
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
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HSBC Black Credit Card

HSBC Black Card image

  • Issued by: HSBC
  • Available in what countries? United Arab Emirates (Canada citizens can apply if they reside in the UAE and have an HSBC Premier Account)
  • Annual fee: $1,575 AED (includes VAT), which is approx. $565 CAD
  • Initiation fee: None
  • Interest rate on purchases per month: 2.75%
  • Physical card: Metal (weight unknown)
Alternative: American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card
  • Features: Earn AIR MILES on your purchases. Get one, free companion flight annually when you redeem miles for a flight reward. Automatically receive Onyx status in the AIR MILES program, which gives you major discounts on flights, merchandise and events. Cardholders also get complimentary travel insurance and airport lounge memberships.
  • APR: 20.99%
  • Annual fee: $299
  • Required credit score: 700
American Express Air Miles Reserve Credit Card

J.P. Morgan Reserve Card (formerly known as the Palladium Card)

J.P. Morgan Reserve Black Credit Card

  • Issued by: Chase Bank
  • Available in what countries? No known geographical restriction. Cardholders must have an account with J.P. Morgan Private Bank, which takes clients from all over the world.
  • Annual fee: $595 USD
  • Initiation fee: None
  • APR: (Unknown)
  • Physical card: Minted out of brass and plated with palladium. Weighs 27 grams (this is the heaviest credit card on the market).
Alternative: BMO World Elite Mastercard
  • Features: Rewards points, complimentary travel insurance, concierge services, discounts on popular shows and an airport lounge membership with exclusive VIP access. Annual fee of $150 waived in the first year. Enjoy free access to 1,000,000+ wifi hotspots around the world plus special offers on digital susbcription services.
  • APR: 19.99%
  • Annual fee: $150
  • Required credit score: 760
BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard
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Coutts Silk Charge Card

Coutts Silk Charge Card, Black Credit Card

  • Issued by: Coutts
  • Available in what countries? The United Kingdom. Services UK clients but accepts international clients with ties to the UK.
  • Annual fee: $0 annual fee
  • Initiation fee: None
  • APR: This is a charge card, so balances must be paid off in full each billing period or a high APR will apply. The exact APR is determined on an individual basis. (Coutts also offers the Silk Credit Card, which is a regular credit card with a variable-rate purchase APR and no annual fee.)
  • Physical card: Material and weight unknown
Please note: All information about TD Platinum Travel Visa Card has been collected independently by Finder and this card is not available through this site.
Alternative: TD Platinum Travel Visa Card
  • Features: Rewards points, complimentary travel insurance, Emergency Travel Assistance Services, discounted airport lounge membership and discounted car rentals. TD Rewards Points never expire as long as you’re a cardholder and can be redeemed for travel discounts, gift cards, merchandise and statement credit.
  • APR: 19.99%
  • Annual fee: $89
  • Required credit score: Good to Excellent
TD Platinum Travel Visa Card

Dubai First Royale Mastercard

Dubai First Royale Credit Card, Black Credit Card

  • Issued by: Dubai First
  • Available in what countries? Issuing bank is based in the United Arab Emirates, and many cardholders are reportedly UAE residents. It’s unknown whether international clients are accepted.
  • Annual fee: Unknown
  • Initiation fee: 7,000 UAE Dirham or roughly $2,000 USD
  • APR: Unknown
  • Physical card: Trimmed in gold with a 0.235 carat diamond embedded in a crest on the front of the card
Alternative: Business Platinum Card from American Express
  • Features: Rewards points, complimentary travel insurance, access to car and limousine services, dedicated concierge services, airport lounge access and discounted fares and upgrades through AMEX’s International Airline Program. Cardholders have up to 55 days to repay their balances with zero interest. They can also enjoy invitations to cardholder-only experiences and preferred seating at select events.
  • APR: This is a charge card, so your balance must be fully repaid by the end of the billing period or a penalty APR of 30% will apply.
  • Annual fee: $499
  • Required credit score: 700
American Express Business Platinum Card
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How are Black Cards different to other luxury credit cards?

Credit card designations like “Black,” “Gold,” “Platinum,” and “Elite” are neither regulated nor universally defined, but financial institutions nevertheless use these terms fairly consistently to indicate whether a luxury card is basic, top-tier or somewhere in between. This comparison is primarily used to differentiate between credit cards offered by the same company but can also be used to make certain cards competitive with other cards on the market bearing the same designation.

Though credit card issuers are free to classify luxury credit cards however they want, Black Credit Cards tend to differ from other luxury credit cards in the following ways:

Black Cards are much more exclusive.

Income and credit score requirements for Gold and Platinum cards may be out of reach for some, but it’s still possible for anyone with a good salary and spending history to qualify. However, Black Cards tend to have enormous income requirements well beyond what most people earn in a lifetime.

Additionally, approval for Black Cards is often discretionary. So, even if you’re wealthy and have an excellent credit history, you may still need to be connected with the right people or have a certain degree of social or economic influence to be approved.

Black Cards typically offer higher-value perks.

Black Card issuers design card benefit programs with their clients’ affluent standard of living in mind. While luxury credit cards ordinarily offer valuable perks like travel discounts, accelerated rewards points and dining deals, Black Cards up the ante by offering benefits such as dedicated service teams, free upgrades at the worlds’ most elite hotels, on-demand access to sold out events, zero spending limits (or super high spending limits) and flexible repayment options to accommodate mega purchases.

Of course, not all Black Cards come with the same benefits. There is some debate about the real value of Black Cards. Some non-Black luxury credit cards come with comparable benefits for much lower annual fees. In the end, the value of a Black Card depends on how much you’ll use the perks that come with it.

Myths about Black Credit Cards

Given the mystery surrounding “The Black Card,” it’s not surprising that a number of myths have developed around its use and qualification requirements. Let’s walk through some of the misconceptions about Black Cards:

  • Only AMEX or Mastercard issue Black Credit Cards. While the term “Black Card” often refers to the American Express Centurion Card or the Mastercard Black Card, these are not the only Black Cards on the market. The Centurion Card is sometimes referred to as “The Black Card,” because it was the first of its kind. But “Black Card” now refers to a credit card category rather than a specific card.
  • All Black Credit Cards are black in colour. Not all Black Cards are actually black. The J.P. Morgan Reserve Card is silver in colour, while the Coutts Silk Charge Card has a grey-brown tone.
  • If it doesn’t have “Black” in the name, it’s not a Black Credit Card. While some card issuers may include “Black” in the name of a card for marketing purposes, not all choose to do so (consider the Dubai First Royale Mastercard and the J.P. Morgan Reserve Card).
  • Only celebrities have Black Credit Cards. Many A-list celebrities qualify for Black Cards (think Kanye West, Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian and Jerry Seinfeld, who reportedly received the first ever Black Credit Card). But you don’t have to be famous to qualify for a card. Many Black Card holders are successful business people with high-value investment portfolios or “old money” families with massive estates.
  • If you’re wealthy, you can get a Black Credit Card. Wealth isn’t the only factor in determining your eligibility for a Black Card. Credit score and sometimes minimum annual spending play a role too. Some financial institutions only issue Black Cards to existing clients, while others only work with certain clientele (say, royals or titled individuals). Still others have net worth requirements that far exceed what many wealthy individuals actually have.
  • You can buy anything you want with a Black Card. It depends. Some cards, like the Dubai First Royale Mastercard, come with unlimited spending and guaranteed approval of all purchases charged to the card. Other Black Cards come with credit limits that are determined on a case-by-case basis. Primary cardholders often have the option of setting spending limits on supplementary cards given to family members or coworkers.
  • Businesses can’t get Black Credit Cards. Many Black Credit Cards, such as the American Express Centurion Card, are offered in both personal and business formats to suit different types of clients.

Compare alternatives to Black Credit Cards

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
American Express Cobalt Card
45,000 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 45,000 bonus Membership Rewards points in your first year as a new Cobalt Cardmember. Apply by May 5, 2021.
The Platinum Card from American Express
50,000 points
Up to 3 points per $1 spent
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn 50,000 Welcome Bonus points when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first 3 months.

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card
10% cash back
Up to 4% cash back per $1 spent
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 750
Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases) and pay no annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards (A welcome offer value of $350). Apply by August 31, 2021.
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
40,000 points
Up to 2 points per $1 spent
Min. recommended credit score: 750
Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (that’s up to $400 towards travel). Apply by July 1, 2021.
American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card
2,400 Miles
1 Mile for every $10 - $15 spent
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 2,400 AIR MILES when you spend at least $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months.

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