2017 RANKING & REVIEWS
TOP RANKING BEST HIGH END CREDIT CARDS


2017 Guide: The Best Black Cards and How to Get a Black Card

With the introduction of the black credit card, financial institutions have completely revolutionized what a credit card represents. These high-end credit cards are not simply a line of credit. Instead, they come with priority access and elite services, making black cards some of the most prestigious credit cards to keep inside your wallet.

Simply put, the revolution lies within the credit card requirements. Although black card requirements may operate on similar themes—credit score, income, etc.—the stakes are much, much higher.

For example, the best black credit cards require a FICO score of 720 or higher, and many require an annual income of $200,000 or higher.

Best Black Credit Cards for High Spenders

Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Black Credit Cards for High Spenders

Thus, simply having a black credit card immediately represents high income, assets, and status. The list of black card requirements make these high-end credit cards symbolic of wealth, and black card benefits certainly support that.

The trade-off for these steep black card requirements is a drastically higher spending limit, enhanced travel perks, credit for flights and hotel stays, and for some, additional benefits like concierge service or luxury gifts.

For those in the dark about the black card credit card, and for those wondering how to get a black card, our review will serve as an expert guide, navigating through the elite financial world of black cards.

Not only will we provide information on what a black credit card is, but we will also provide a detailed list of the best black credit cards to consider in 2017.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Black Credit Cards

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the credit card names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that credit card):


Top 6 Best Black Cards| Brief Comparison & Ranking

Prestigious Credit Card Names

Annual Fees

Application

Centurion® Card from American Express

$2,500

Invitation only

Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

$450

Online

Citi Prestige® Card

$450

Online

MasterCard® Black Card

$495

Online

Platinum Card® from American Express

$450

Online

World Elite MasterCard®

N/A

Invitation only

Table: Top 6 Best High End Credit Cards | Above list is sorted alphabetically



What Is a Black Card?

It’s a common question, and for good reason. If you’re asking yourself what is a black card, you’re certainly not alone.

While these black cards are less accessible by nature due to steep fees and high income requirements, the applications themselves are often even more inaccessible.

For example, World Elite MasterCard® applications can only be found through personal invitation. The same is true for the Centurion® Card from American Express. Consider the following comparison when thinking about accessibility: the Centurion® Card from American Express is so exclusive that it has no website at all.

Instances like these make it difficult to answer questions like “What is a black card?” and “How can I get a black credit card?”

A black card credit card can be defined simply as a line of credit designed specifically for those with high assets, wealth, and annual income. The best black credit cards come with exorbitant annual fees and nearly no credit limits, yet feature enhanced luxury black card benefits for travel, rewards, hotel stays, and shopping.

In order to get a black card credit card, applicants will need to demonstrate high annual income (typically more than $200,000), high credit scores (720 or higher), and excellent debt-paying history.

For those who are happy to pay a little extra for luxury—and who have the money to do it—a black credit card is a natural choice amongst the best high-end credit cards to have.



AdvisoryHQ’s Selection Methodology

What methodology does AdvisoryHQ use in selecting and finalizing the credit cards, financial products, firms, services, and products that are ranked on its various top-rated lists?

Please click here “AdvisoryHQ’s Ranking Methodologies” for a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top-rated credit cards, financial accounts, firms, products, and services.


Detailed Review—Top Ranking Best Black Cards

Below, please find a detailed review of each credit card on our list of the most prestigious credit cards. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these high-end credit cards to score so high in our selection ranking.

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Centurion® Card from American Express Review


The Centurion® Card from American Express is perhaps the most elusive black credit card. In fact, before 1999, it was no more than a myth.

Doug Smith, director of American Express Europe, explained this, saying “there had been rumors going around that we had this ultra-exclusive black card for elite customers. It wasn’t true, but we decided to capitalize on the idea anyway.”

They certainly did. This black credit card is so exclusive that only exact data available is the cardmember agreement. Invitations are reserved for current American Express cardholders who meet certain sets of criteria.

Given that the initiation fee is a whopping $7,500 and the annual fee is $2,500, estimates put part of this criteria as spending between $250,000–$450,000 each year.

Black Credit Card Benefits

Since American Express is incredibly secretive about their black card benefits, information is difficult to find. Perhaps the greatest feature may simply be the extremely high levels of prestige and exclusivity that seem to follow this black credit card.

Luckily, The Points Guy, travel expert and an actual cardholder, has provided information about one of the most prestigious credit cards. Black card benefits include:

  • Delta Platinum status: For black credit card members who fly frequently, having Delta Platinum can be a huge benefit. Points are doubled, making for more free flights and better seating.

To date, these are the only confirmed benefits of the Centurion® Card from American Express. Rumored benefits include luxury car rental services, upgraded hotel loyalty programs, and exclusive offerings in food, travel, and entertainment.

Without a doubt, extreme exclusivity and premiere status are two components that make this one of the best black credit cards.

Black Diamond Credit Card

Given its similarity to the Centurion® Card from American Express, the Dubai First Royale MasterCard® is worth mentioning here. European consumers wondering how to get a black card will inevitably stumble upon what is commonly referred to as “the black diamond credit card.”

This black credit card is actually embedded with diamonds, so one can only suppose requirements and benefits are extraordinarily high.

This elite, invitation-only black diamond credit card has little information available, aside from unlimited spending and a personal relationship manager. In fact, without membership, specific black credit card details are completely blocked.

In terms of secrecy and exclusivity, the Dubai First Royale MasterCard is the perfect match to the Centurion® Card from American Express.



Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Review


With an online application process and a wide range of available information, the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ is one of the most accessible high-end credit cards.

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Photo courtesy of: JP Morgan Chase

Of course, the $450 annual fee and required credit score may be prohibitive, but for those who can spend the extra money, Chase’s black credit card comes with a host of valuable benefits. For those who spend most of their money on travel, this is one of the best black credit cards to consider.

Black Credit Card Benefits

Obtaining a black credit card is a serious financial investment, and the best black cards will make that investment worthwhile. For the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ card, the following black card benefits apply:

  • 100,000 bonus points for new members: To receive these points, black credit card holders must spend $4,000 within the first three months. It’s a steep requirement, but when redeeming for travel credit, this equates to a $1,500 credit toward hotels, flights, cruises, and car rentals.
  • Impressive rewards system: The best high-end credit cards offer premier rewards systems, and this card certainly follows through. Purchases made on travel and dining expenses earn 3 points for each dollar spent. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar, and points never expire.
  • $300 annual travel credit: This black credit card issues an automatic $300 credit each year, meant as a reimbursement for travel purchases.

For frequent travelers, this is certainly one of the best black credit cards. Nearly all benefits are geared toward travel, including elite access to more than 900 airport lounges and no restrictions or blackout dates for airfare.

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Citi Prestige® Card Review


With premium benefits and enhanced services, the Citi Prestige® Card is one of the best high-end credit cards to consider. It offers tons of opportunities to make the most out of your purchases, particularly where travel is concerned.

Black Credit Card Benefits

The best way to see the benefits of this black credit card is to focus spending on travel. If it seems like the best black credit cards are also the best travel cards, you’re right.

There’s a good reason for this, as those with luxury incomes tend to have greater mobility. Frequent travel and high income go hand-in-hand, particularly for the Citi Prestige® card.

Benefits of this black credit card include:

  • 50,000 bonus points for new cardholders: To get this benefit, $5,000 must be spent within 3 months. Points can be redeemed for airline tickets or gift cards.
  • $250 air travel credit: Anyone who uses their black credit card for travel expenses will enjoy an annual $250 credit. This applies to flights, baggage fees, upgrades, and more, making it one of the best black cards to use while traveling.
  • Luxury programs: It goes without saying that the best high-end credit cards offer enhanced services and programs. A few of these luxuries that come with the Citi Prestige® card include: complimentary fourth night free at participating hotels, VIP airline lounge access, expedited entry into the U.S. through Global Entry, exclusive discounts on vacations, and access to Citi Concierge.

Although the $450 annual fee is certainly much higher than traditional credit card offers, it stands to reason that the vast array of benefits outweighs the cost. Those looking for the best black cards should certainly take note of the Citi Prestige® Card.



MasterCard® Black Card Review


Known as the “Luxury Card,” the MasterCard® Black Card has a well-established reputation for setting standards in luxury, perks, and rewards. Issued through Barclays, the benefits and features of this black credit card are available worldwide.

Featuring a patented stainless steel and carbon design, the attractive design is only one small part of what makes this one of the best black cards on the market.

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Photo courtesy of: Luxury Card

Black Credit Card Benefits

The best high-end credit cards offer premier luxury, and the MasterCard® Black Card does not disappoint. While the benefits are numerous, a few highlighted benefits of this black credit card include:

  • Airline credits: As one of the best black cards to consider, this card offers two different types of airline credits. Cardholders get an automatic $100 credit annually for airline purchases, including a $100 credit for a Global Entry application.
  • Enhanced points system: The MasterCard® Black Card offers 1 point for each dollar spent on this black credit card. The real value comes through redemption, as points are doubled when redeemed for airfare. Surprisingly, cash value for points is 1.5%, making this one of the best high end credit cards for earning cash back.
  • Deluxe benefits: There are multiple reasons why this black credit card is also known as the luxury card and consistently recognized as one of the best black cards to have. Cardholders enjoy added benefits, like concierge service, a members-only magazine subscription, VIP airport lounge access, and even gifts from iconic brand names.

Perhaps the most unique benefit of this black credit card is that cardholders have access to an invitation-only service called MasterCard Priceless®.

Full details are only given once membership is awarded, but these “once-in-a-lifetime experiences” cover exclusive events, opportunities, and even elite PGA Tour access.

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Platinum Card® from American Express Review


If an invitation for the Centurion® Card hasn’t arrived yet, the Platinum Card® from American Express is the second-best option. Although the annual fee of $450 may seem exorbitant, the included benefits and services make this one of the best high-end credit cards to consider applying for.

Black Credit Card Benefits

Though it may not be black in color, the benefits and features of the Platinum Card® from American Express are equal to those offered by the best black credit cards. Some of these black card benefits include:

  • 40,000 points for new cardholders: Upon opening one of these high-end credit cards, cardholders are awarded with 40,000 points when making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Enhanced point system: Compared to the best black cards, the point system offered by American Express is one of the best ways to save on airline travel. A whopping 5 points for every dollar is earned for flights booked on the card, making this one of the best black credit cards for airline travel.
  • Airline credits: The Platinum Card® from American Express offers two key airline credits for black credit card members: $200 in annual expense credit, and 20% off Delta commercial flights.

While information and advertisement is readily available, experts report that getting the Platinum Card® from American Express may be just as difficult as the Centurion®. As with any of the best high-end credit cards, high income and existing membership is key.



World Elite MasterCard® Review


 As another invitation-only black credit card on our list, the World Elite MasterCard® embodies the ideal of exclusive, premier lines of credit.

Rather than a credit card, it is instead described as “a personalized service that can help you experience life’s most memorable moments.”

best-black-credit-cards-min

Photo courtesy of: MasterCard

Black Credit Card Benefits

As one of the best high-end credit cards, the World Elite MasterCard® has a truly impressive range of benefits. Listing all of them is close to impossible, but here are a few key benefits:

  • MasterCard Priceless®: As with the MasterCard® Black Card, the World Elite MasterCard® offers premier access to dining, travel, and vacation packages.
  • Luxury hotel & resort access: Black credit card members enjoy enhanced luxury hotel and resort stays, including complimentary room upgrades, check-in and check-out options, meals, and exclusive amenities.
  • Tours & vacations: Cardholders can enjoy access to a wide variety of tours and vacation packages available only to them, including private jet flights. Also included is the World Elite cruise program, offering exclusive benefits for boutique cruise ships, yachts, and river vessels.

For global travelers and vacationers, this is certainly one of the best high end credit cards. With chauffeurs, concierge services, and travel advisors readily available, it may not be surprising that this is one of the best black cards.

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Conclusion—Top 6 Best Black Credit Cards

Black card requirements and benefits have completely changed the notion of what a line of credit should be. While the best high end credit cards may not be accessible for everyone, that’s simply a natural feature of black cards.

Part of creating the most prestigious credit cards means offering luxury benefits and features, all of which pose a much higher cost than traditional benefits, like low interest rates and free online banking.

Still, even in the unique world that a black credit card occupies, there will be advantages and disadvantages to each option. Finding the best black credit cards often involves careful analysis and research to ensure that your money is well spent and rewarded.

When dealing with such high monetary amounts, finding the best black cards makes perfect sense. Whether your spending values point toward vacations, airfare, point systems, or pure exclusivity, our guide to the best black credit cards can help pinpoint which black credit card is best for you.



AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer:

Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.

Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.