Black Credit Cards

Black credit cards are the most prestigious currently available. They have high credit limits and have a range of benefits as standard such as a higher earn rate on rewards and 24/7 concierge services.

Black credit cards are top-of-the-range personal credit cards. Being able to bring one out of your wallet lets you make a statement about your financial status as well as enjoy higher earning rates for rewards points and better complimentary perks.

Black has higher status than a standard, gold or platinum card

There was a time when a gold card was aspirational, only to be kicked of its perch by the platinum card. But a black card is now the ultimate personal card.

Top card issuers use black cards to woo well-heeled customers

If you have a comfortable income and a high credit rating, you should be able to shop around to choose the most suitable black credit card from those issued by the Big Four banks plus American Express, Bankwest, Citi, HSBC and Macquarie. Some issuers may not use the word ‘Black’ in the card’s name, preferring terms like Premium, Diamond, Prestige, Premier, and more recently, Signature, but the card’s distinctive black livery is always an indication of its status and likely benefits.

Black cards don’t come cheap

You’ll need to be prepared to pay a much higher than average annual fee for a black credit card. The current median fee lies in the range $300 to $400 p.a., although HSBC issues a black card with a much lower fee, while the fee for the Citi Prestige card is much higher.

You get what you pay for – and more

Although the annual fee for a black card is high, astute cardholders will be able to derive benefits whose value is far in excess of the fee charged. You don’t need to be a particularly big spender to recover the value of the annual fee in rewards points alone, provided you channel most of your spending through your card rather than using cash or other methods. And regular travellers will know the value of complimentary benefits like travel and other insurance plus airport lounge passes, which in total can be worth around $1,500 p.a.

Standard black card benefits

Benefits vary significantly between cards. But you can expect to get the following advantages with nearly every black card:

  • Access to higher credit limits
  • Higher earning rate per dollar for rewards points
  • No points cap, or a generous cap
  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • Complimentary shopper’s insurance (extended warranty, purchase protection, price guarantee scheme)
  • Personal concierge service

High end black card benefits

Black credit cards with annual fees at the top of the range will usually come with some of the following additional perks:

  • Airport lounge full membership, or two single-visit passes annually
  • Free domestic return flight annually
  • Free airport transfers
  • Annual travel credit voucher
  • Better insurance cover
  • Luxury hotel group membership, free nights, room upgrades
  • Access to prestige shopping, golf, and other experiences
  • Other invitation-only events
  • Priority service for account queries, travel, concierge

It’s important to choose your black card carefully to make sure it comes with features you’ll use, rather than paying for benefits that are worthless because they don’t match your lifestyle.

Black credit card interest rates

Don’t expect a low interest rate to accompany your black credit card. The interest charged on overdue purchase balances is likely to be at least 20% p.a., with the cash advance rate being even higher.

In fact, it doesn’t make sense to choose a black credit card if you don’t plan to use it for every possible item of expenditure, and then pay off the balance in full at the end of each month. So the interest rate is only going to be an issue if you hit a temporary liquidity problem, or miss the payment due date by accident.

It’s simple: card issuers don’t market their black cards to people looking for low interest rates.

Derive more benefit with bonus points or a balance transfer

If you’re going to switch to a black credit card, you may as well derive every possible ounce of advantage from the changeover. Switching to a new bank or issuer for your black card could allow you to gain in two ways. You could:

  • Score a swag of sign-up loyalty points – possibly as many as 100,000 points if the offers are there
  • Bring your old card balance across to the new card and pay no interest on the balance for an extended period, perhaps as long as 20 months

In practice you’re more likely to be offered bonus points than a balance transfer with a black card, but it’s also worth watching out for introductory low or zero interest rates on purchases, or reduced first-year annual fees, both of which are offered from time to time.

Black card eligibility requirements

In order to apply for a black credit card you’re likely to need a regular income of $75,000 or more, plus a credit rating which is good or excellent.

Who should apply for a black credit card?

If you can answer ‘Yes’ to most of these questions, it could be well worth your while to apply for one of the black cards listed on this page:

  • Do you have a regular income of at least $75,000 p.a.?
  • Do you have a good or excellent credit rating?
  • Do you put most of your expenditure through a credit card (thus earning lots of points)?
  • Do you pay off your card account balance in full every month (thus avoiding high interest rates)?
  • Do you avoid cash advances (which have even higher interest rates)?
  • Are you a regular traveller/frequent flyer (to derive maximum benefit from rewards points, travel insurance, free flights, airport lounge passes, hotel perks and concierge service)?

My monthly spend: 
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Features: 
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Points earned
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Credit Card
Apply by 31 mar 19
15 reviews
120,000 bonus Qantas Points and $150 back when you spend $7,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
Earn 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent on eligible purchases up to $7,500 per statement period.
Get complimentary Overseas Travel and Medical Insurance (eligibility criteria apply) provided by QBE Insurance.
More info
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Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.5 pts
per $1 spent
120,000
points
120,000 points and $100 back when you spend $7,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
Free international travel and medical insurance.
Eligibility criteria, T&Cs, fees and charges apply.
More info
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ANZ Rewards
ANZ Rewards
1 pt
per $1 spent
120,000
points
Citi Prestige Card
Apply by 31 mar 19
Earn up to 400,000 points. (Conditions Apply)
3 pts per $1 spent on all eligible International Spend.
One of the most prestigious credit cards for high income earners.
More info
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Citi Rewards
Citi Rewards
1 pt
per $1 spent
400,000
points
American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card Bundle (Altitude)
Apply by 02 apr 19
Earn up to 120,000 bonus Altitude Points when you apply for the two-card bundle issued by Westpac and Amex until 2nd April 2019. (Conditions Apply)
Earn up to 5 Altitude points per $1 spent on eligible overseas purchases. (Amex)
Westpac Mastercard issued and serviced by Westpac. AMEX Westpac Altitude Card issued & serviced by American Express.
More info
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Altitude Rewards
Altitude Rewards
3 pts
per $1 spent
120,000
points
after spend criteria
American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card Bundle (Qantas)
Apply by 02 apr 19
Earn up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply for the two-card bundle issued by Westpac and Amex until 2nd April 2019. (Conditions Apply)
Earn up to 2 Qantas points per $1 spent on eligible overseas purchases. (Amex)
Westpac Mastercard issued and serviced by Westpac. AMEX Westpac Altitude Card issued & serviced by American Express.
More info
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Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1.25 pts
per $1 spent
120,000
points
after spend criteria
Westpac Altitude Black Credit Card
Apply by 02 apr 19
42 reviews
80,000 bonus Qantas or Altitude points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval. Exclusions apply. Qantas rewards fee applies.
2 complimentary passes per year to use at over 700 VIP Priority Pass airport lounges worldwide.
24/7 Altitude Black Card Priority Service line.
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Altitude RewardsQantas Frequent Flyer
Altitude Rewards or Qantas Frequent Flyer
1.25 pts
per $1 spent
80,000
points
after spend criteria

Q&A's about Black Credit Cards from customers

Q: Are black credit cards better than gold or platinum cards?

Black cards are better in the sense that they have a higher status and more benefits than gold or platinum cards from the same issuer. They also have higher annual fees.

Q: What exactly is a black credit card?

Although it also describes the colour of the card, the word ‘black’ actually refers to the card’s status when compared with other cards. A black card is higher up the ladder than gold and platinum, comes with more complimentary benefits, often has a higher and less restricted loyalty points earning rate, and inevitably costs more in terms of the annual fee.

Q: Who should consider applying for a black credit card?

Black credit cards are intended for higher income earners, relatively big spenders who make most of their purchases using a credit card. They are probably regular travellers for either business or leisure. The extra rewards points they can earn, and additional complimentary benefits they can make use of, allow them to recoup far more than the value of the high annual fee.

Q: Who are the issuers of black credit cards?

The Big Four banks plus American Express, Bankwest, Citi, HSBC and Macquarie. The word ‘black’ may not always appear in the card’s name. Some black card issuers use terms like Premium, Diamond, Prestige, Premier and Signature.

Q: How much does it cost to have a black credit card?

Currently most black cards have an annual fee in the $300 to $400 range. The Citi Prestige card has a much higher fee ($700, or $749 if you choose to earn Qantas points) but its complimentary benefits are stellar.

Q: What sort of benefits can I expect with a black credit card?

Black credit cards are almost always rewards cards, with a higher points earning rate per dollar spent. There will be no monthly points cap to limit earning; if there is a cap, it is likely to be a generous one. Complimentary benefits usually include travel insurance, shopper’s insurance and a concierge service, as a minimum. Some black cards offer airport lounge access, free flights or travel vouchers, luxury hotel group membership, prestige events and more.

Q: Are the extra benefits worth the higher fee?

Cardholders who are relatively big spenders and regular travellers, who channel the majority of their spending through a single black card and pay off their card balance every month, should have no problem recouping the value of the fee several times over every year.

Q: Are there any black credit cards with low interest rates?

No. Black credit cards are not aimed at cardholders who are concerned about interest rates because they expect to have an unpaid purchase balance for long periods. Interest rates on black cards usually exceed 20% p.a.

Q: Can I get sign-up bonus points with a black credit card?

Definitely. Most black credit cards offer at least 75,000 sign-up bonus points, and the number can be as high as 100,000 or even 150,000. The offers go up and down, and a card’s bonus points offer may occasionally disappear altogether for a short period. But at any one time there are usually several black cards offering bonus points.

Most sign-up bonus point offers require cardholders to reach a set spending target within the first two or three months of holding the card.

Q: What are the eligibility requirements for a black credit card?

Most card issuers are looking for a minimum income of $75,000 and a good or excellent credit rating.

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