Compare black credit cards to enjoy everything from high credit limits and more points per $1 spent to airport lounge access, free flights and many other perks
Black credit cards are at the top rung of the status ladder for credit cards, offering even more premium features and services than platinum, gold or standard options. These cards are designed for the highest earners and spenders, with features ranging from generous reward programmes and exceptional complimentary insurance policies to dedicated concierge services, travel extras and more.
Here, you can find out what features set black credit cards apart, whether or not you should apply for one and how to get the most out of a black credit card when you use it.
This guide on Black Credit Cards will explain
What is a black credit card?
A black credit card is a super-premium option only offered by a limited number of credit card companies in New Zealand eg Westpac and American Express.
The “black” name actually refers to the level of the account and sets this type of card apart from platinum, gold or standard options. It is similar to the way Airpoints and other reward programmes have different status levels.
In the case of credit cards, black is generally the best you can get. Sometimes “black” level credit cards may also have another name to help them stand out from other cards, such as the Westpac World Mastercard . However, even when that is the case, these cards carry the same prestige as other black credit cards.
Unique features and benefits of black credit cards
Black credit cards offer a range of exclusive features, usually customised to suit the credit card company or even the individual cardholder. Some of the most exciting black credit card features you can get include:
- Higher credit limits (sometimes up to $100,000)
- Higher points per dollar for reward programmes
- More flexible reward programmes (i.e. high or no rewards caps and more ways to use points)
- Travel vouchers or free flights
- Greater financial coverage for insurance and/or lower excess payment requirements
- Complimentary status upgrades for loyalty programmes, such as the Fine Hotel and Resorts Programme
- A complimentary night’s stay at a premium hotel every year
- Access to hundreds of airport lounges around the world (through complimentary membership to a programme such as Priority Pass)
- Complimentary airport transfers
- Flight upgrades
- Dedicated travel booking services
- A personal concierge service
- Home Assist, available through Westpac, to arrange tradespeople for you 24/7
- Invitations to exclusive events or promotions
These features give you some idea of the status that comes from having a black credit card, but the specific details do vary between accounts. So when you are looking for a black card, it is a good idea to go through all the features listed or even ask the credit card company for more information about specific benefits you would like on your black credit card.Back to top
How much do black credit cards cost?
The high status of a black credit card is designed to be exclusive to big earners (and spenders), so these cards often have higher upfront and potential costs than regular options. You will see this reflected in black credit card annual fees, which currently range from around $390 to $1250.
Black credit cards also have standard interest rates between 16.95% and 22% p.a. (variable), which is on the higher end of the scale when you are comparing cards. The theory is that all the features and benefits that come with a black credit card justify these costs – but that does depend on how you use the card. However, the American Express Platinum Card comes with 0% annual fees, but does come with an annual fee of $1250.
Who should get a black credit card?
These cards are designed for people with high incomes who also spend a lot on credit cards each month. You can see this in the application requirements for black credit cards, which include minimum incomes of around $75,000 or more. You will also need to have a good or excellent credit rating.
Meeting the official requirements doesn’t necessarily mean you should get a black credit card. If you rarely use credit, for example, you won’t be able to make the most of the benefits and the annual fee won’t be worth it. On the other hand, if you are a frequent flyer and will take advantage of features such as travel insurance and airport lounge access, the benefits could help offset the cost of getting a black credit card.
Ask yourself these questions to decide if a black credit card is worth it
Figuring out whether or not you should get a black credit card can be hard, so we have come up with some questions to consider when you are comparing your options.
- Do you use credit a lot? If you regularly pay with plastic, the higher credit limit of a black credit card could help you avoid maxing out your account. It will also help you get the most out of features such as rewards.
- Do you regularly pay off your credit card? Black credit cards usually have high interest rates that could make them expensive if you are used to carrying a balance. If you regularly pay off your card and avoid interest charges, then you will get more value out of a black card without adding too much to your credit costs.
- How many of the features will you actually use? It is great to have access to the wide range of features that black credit cards offer but the value comes from actually using them. If you consider what features you want and how often you will use them, you can also work out whether or not a black credit card is worth it for you.
- How many credit cards do you have? Some Kiwis may have more than one credit card in their wallet. With a black credit card, you get more value the more you can use it. So having multiple cards could make it more expensive and less valuable. If you want to upgrade from your existing card to a black credit card, you could consider getting one with a balance transfer offer. This would allow you to consolidate your credit card debt and cancel your other cards.
- Is there a black credit card you actually want? It is important to find a credit card that ticks as many boxes as possible based on your circumstances. That may or may not be the black option. Comparing cards before applying will help make sure you choose the right one for your circumstances either way.
Here’s what to look at when you compare black credit cards
Black credit cards may have high flying features and rewards but they are still essentially the same as any other credit card with a high credit limit. This means comparing them is incredibly important for finding the right card for you. Here are the major factors you need to consider to compare black credit cards:
Some black credit cards have their own reward programme, such as the Westpac’s Hotpoints World Mastercard Others may be linked to the Airpoints programme.. Take some time to look at the reward programme options and particularly the number of points you will earn per $1, so you can tell which one will give you the best bang for your buck.
Compare complimentary extras based on what is practical and valuable to you. For example, someone who frequently pays for entry to airport lounges might want a black card that has complimentary Priority Pass membership, while someone else might place a higher value on a card that offers a complimentary night’s stay in a hotel.
Some black cards will offer both of these benefits (and so much more), but knowing exactly what extras are worth the most to you will help you choose your ideal card. Make a list of the extras you are interested in based on their importance, then see which black card has the best terms for them.
Quality of extras and customer service
The terms and conditions for complimentary extras, as well as the level of service you get with a black credit card, impact on its overall value. The quality of customer service offered, for example, could be very different depending on the credit card company and the way it is set up.
Likewise, the coverage available with complimentary insurance could be more or less limited depending on the partnering insurance company. Browse online forums and discussion boards for information on particular cards, or even post your own question. You could be surprised by what you find out this way, and it has the potential to save you a lot of money down the track.
Minimum credit limits
Black credit cards come with high minimum credit limits that can be from $18,000 upwards. Make sure you look at the details of this limit and consider how much access to credit you will need so you can get a card that allows you to spend as much as you need without going beyond your means.
Black credit card fees
When you are looking at black credit cards, make sure you check the annual fees and other potential costs so you can work out how much each card will cost you. Remember, ideally the benefits should outweigh the costs of the black credit card you choose.
Interest rates and interest-free days
Even a difference of 1% p.a. could save you a lot of money if you carry a balance, so it is always important to check the standard interest rates when comparing black credit cards. Interest-free days, on the other hand, offer greater convenience and value if you regularly pay your balance off in full. For instance, you could get a lot more flexibility if a card offers up to 55 days interest-free compared to one that offers up to 45.
What about introductory offers for black credit cards?
If you want to get a new black credit card, you could also enjoy bonus points, a low or 0% interest rate or a reduced or $0 annual fee for the first year. Some cards may offer a combination of introductory offers, which all have the potential to add value to the card you choose in the short term.
However, make sure you check the details of introductory offers and look at the ongoing or standard costs to determine the long-term value of the card . Ideally, you should get a card that will continue to offer you value long after the honeymoon period ends.
As black credit cards have so many different features, it is important to make sure you look at all of these categories when choosing which one will be right for you. There are only a few black cards on the market, so it should be easy to narrow your choices down.
Remember, even though black credit cards are definitely at the pinnacle of premium options, the most important thing is always finding the right card for your circumstances, so that it really works for you (and not the other way around). If you don’t think a black card is for you, start comparing other cards down the ladder to find an option that suits your needs.
What does a black credit card represent?
There are black credit cards available in New Zealand for those looking for the ultimate level of prestige and the features that come with it. These cards may seem like the perfect balance of rewards and features, but remember some may come with higher fees.
Most people don’t know the difference when it comes to black credit cards, so you can still get the same level of awe by flashing any other premium credit card. In terms of features, be sure you will use what is offered. If you have no intention of taking advantage of the concierge service and other benefits that cards like the American Express Platinum Card offer, then there really isn’t any point in paying over $1,000 a year just to show it off.
Regardless of which black credit card you opt for, the fact is that people may treat you differently the moment you whip it out of your wallet, which might be one of the reasons you want one. So, if you want to be treated like a star, it might be time to consider getting a black credit card.Back to top
Frequently asked questions about black credit cards
If you want something about black credit cards explained in more detail, here you can find answers to frequently asked questions. If there is a specific question you would like answered, you can also get in touch with us directly using the comment box below.