Black credit cards
If you're in the dark about the best type of card, black credit cards are often at the top of the pack. Find out how these premium cards work and the benefits on offer.
Black credit cards are one of the most exclusive types of card, designed for the biggest earners and spenders, with features ranging from generous rewards programs and insurance policies to dedicated concierge services and travel credits. They’re often invite-only.
What is a black credit card?
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.
However, there are some standard credit cards that are also labelled as “black” cards by the provider. These cards may offer more benefits than other similar cards, but without the exclusivity of the elite black cards.
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
- 24/7 concierge service
- Access to special events and experiences
Compare black credit cards
Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The APR shown represents the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.
How much does a black credit card cost?
As you’d expect, the perks offered by the best black credit cards can often come with a premium price tag. Depending on the card, you may be faced with an annual fee in the thousands of pounds, though many black cards have annual fees around £300 or less.
Who should get a black credit card?
Most 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.
How to compare black credit cards
There are three main factors to consider 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 to see if you’re likely to benefit.
- 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 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.
What are the alternatives to black credit cards?
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card
- 20,000 Membership Rewards point welcome bonus
- 2 complimentary airport lounge visits per year
- No annual fee in year 1
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with an annual fee of £140 (£0 in first year), your representative APR is 56.6% APR (variable).
Not everyone will qualify for the most exclusive black credit cards, which is part of the appeal. This type of card comes with a high annual fee, robust luxury features and is often available by invitation only.
However, there are some black cards that offer better rewards and benefits, without the associated cost. You also don’t have to get a black card to enjoy high-class travel benefits. If you don’t meet the criteria or are looking for a more affordable option, compare travel credit cards and see if you can find the alternative that’s right for you.
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