Platinum, gold and black credit cards are premium credit card options that offer a range of exclusive benefits. Designed for people who spend a lot of money on their credit card, these cards are a step up from standard offers, with features such as higher credit limits, more reward points per dollar spent and a wide range of complimentary extras.
However, along with the perks and prestige, platinum, gold and black credit cards often have annual fees and interest rates that are much higher than standard credit card options.
In our guide, we look at both the benefits and costs of these three premium choices so that you can find the credit card that’s right for your needs.
Finder Canada does not currently have any black credit cards available to compare. This table will be added when they become available.
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What’s the difference between platinum, gold and black credit cards?
While platinum, gold and black credit cards are all premium options, each represents a different level of status and service. Gold credit cards are a step up from standard cards, platinum credit cards are above gold, while black credit cards sit at the top of the pack and tend to be unobtainable for most consumers in Canada (due to incredibly high spend and income requirements).
Gold credit cards
Gold credit cards are considered the “entry level” option for premium credit cards and are designed to suit people who are interested in getting more features and benefits, but who don’t want to pay much more in annual fees than they would for a standard credit card.
Some of the features of gold credit cards include:
Complimentary travel insurance
Complimentary purchase protection insurance
More reward points per dollar than standard cards
Higher point caps than standard cards
Annual fees ranging from $0 to $180 (with first year rebate offers)
Higher credit limits
Gold credit cards have slightly higher income and credit history requirements than standard cards – but not as high as those for platinum or black credit cards.
Platinum credit cards build on the benefits offered by gold credit cards by providing a wider range of features with more flexibility. They are designed for people who regularly pay with their credit cards, and want to be rewarded for it in a variety of different ways.
Some of the features of platinum credit cards include:
Complimentary international travel insurance with broader coverage, such as car rental insurance
Complimentary purchase protection insurance
More reward points per dollar spent than gold cards and higher reward points caps
Personal concierge services
Much higher credit limits
Annual fees ranging from $0 to $700
Some platinum credit cards may also provide other spending benefits for customers, including no international transaction fees for purchases made overseas or online with an international retailer.
The minimum income requirements for platinum credit cards also tend to be higher in comparison to gold cards. While some platinum options have minimum income requirements as low as $30,000, most are around $40,000 and higher.
Black credit cards are considered the ultimate in premium credit cards, with the highest level of service and the widest range of benefits. Getting a black credit card in Canada is very difficult: you typically have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on plastic and have an income to match. To provide an example, one of the best known black credit cards is the American Express Centurion. Just to get an invitation to apply for this card, you’ll need to spend upwards of US$250,000 a year on your current Amex card. For now, Canadians patiently wait for an everyday black credit card to enter the market.
Some of the features of black credit cards include:
The highest number of points per dollar for reward programs
Complimentary airport transfers
Dedicated travel booking services
A personal concierge service
A personal shopper
Invitations to exclusive events or promotions
Higher credit limits (sometimes up to $50,000 or higher)
Annual fees ranging from $700 to $5,000+
Black credit cards are designed for high earners and big spenders who pay with plastic very regularly. As such, the minimum income requirements for these cards is usually into the hundreds of thousands a year. You also typically need an excellent credit history to get a black credit card.
How to choose a platinum, gold or black credit card
The benefits of a platinum, gold or black credit card are only worth it if they offer more value than the costs that come from any interest charges or annual fees. Asking the following questions before choosing which type of card to get will help you find options that work for you.
How often do you use your credit card? Premium gold, platinum and black credit cards are designed for people who regularly use a credit card, and their annual fees and credit limits reflect that. Many of the complimentary extras available on these cards, such as travel insurance, also require you to pay with your credit card in order to activate them. If you don’t use a credit card very often, you might want to consider a low rate or no annual fee option instead.
How much money do you earn? Platinum and black credit cards typically have higher minimum income requirements than standard credit cards. Gold cards have generally low income requirements in Canada, however you should still consider the need to pay for a card if you can’t reap its benefits
How many premium card features will you actually use? Complimentary extras can help offset the cost of a credit card, but only if you use them. When considering different cards, make sure you’re realistic about which benefits you will use so that you can find a card that provides value based on your spending habits and circumstances.
Do you carry a credit card balance? Some gold, platinum and black credit cards have standard interest rates. This means you could end up paying hundreds of dollars in interest every year when you carry a balance on one of these cards. If you don’t pay your account off in full each month, you may want to consider a premium credit card that has a low ongoing interest rate. Find low interest rate cards in our guide.
Do you have an excellent credit history and credit score? These credit cards all require good to excellent credit history. If you have marks on your credit file, such as late payments or defaults, you may not be eligible to apply for a gold, platinum or black credit card.
Case study: Natasha chooses between a gold and platinum credit card
Natasha is interested in getting a premium credit card to earn rewards points. She immediately recognizes that she doesn’t earn enough to receive an invitation to apply for a black credit card, so she will choose between a gold or platinum card. To help her make a decision, Natasha decides to compare a credit card from each of these categories.
This is a charge card and the balance must be paid in full each month.
1–3 points per $1 spent.
25,000 welcome bonus points, $200 in annual credit, airport lounge access, concierge and dining program, car rental, travel, medical and emergency insurance and much more.
With these details in mind, Natasha considers her own circumstances and spending habits:
She regularly uses a credit card for everyday purchases.
She spends around $5,000 per month on her credit card.
Her annual salary is $85,000.
She takes one overseas vacation per year.
She aims to pay her balance in full each month.
Her credit score is excellent.
Since Natasha meets the spend requirement for both credit cards, she could potentially be eligible for both. The Scotia card allows her to earn more points on everyday expenses such as gas, groceries, dining and entertainment, while the Amex offers less points for specific categories such as dining and travel. Natasha only goes overseas once a year so she decides to go for the much cheaper Scotiabank Gold American Express Card. Had she travelled more regularly throughout the year, she would have chosen the powerful American Express Platinum Card.
Premium credit cards unlock a whole new world of potential value through features such as higher credit limits, greater rewards, complimentary insurance, travel perks and more. So now that you know the differences between gold, platinum and black credit cards, you can choose the right credit card for your financial circumstances and start comparing cards to find a great option for you.
Frequently asked questions about gold, platinum and black credit cards
Generally, you’ll need a positive to flawless credit history. The majority of these cards also have a minimum annual earnings requirement of around $12,000 – $80,000.
When you apply for the credit card, most providers will let you know if your application has been approved or rejected within a minute. If you receive a pending response, this means the bank needs to spend more time assessing your application. In this case, you can usually expect a response within a week.
Emma Balmforth is a producer at Finder. She is passionate about helping people make financial decisions that will benefit them now and in the future. She has written for a variety of publications including World Nomads, Trek Effect and Uncharted. Emma has a degree in Business and Psychology from the University of Waterloo. She enjoys backpacking, reading and taking long hikes and road trips with her adventurous dog.
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