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