What is a black credit card?

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There are a lot of premium credit cards on the market today, including options that come with pricey annual fees. However, rewards credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card from American Express tend to offer a ton of value in exchange for the financial commitment. Not only can you earn valuable rewards and a hefty welcome bonus, but you get to access perks like annual travel credits and airport lounge access — both of which can bring hundreds of dollars of value to the table.

But, are these credit cards exclusive enough? Some experts would say “no.” Despite the fact the top travel and rewards credit cards come with some pretty lucrative benefits, pretty much anyone can apply and get approved provided they meet income and credit requirements set by card issuers.

Enter the Black Credit Card — one of the most exclusive credit cards available today. There are several black cards available on the market, but the most popular is one from American Express. These cards offer superior perks and rewards with a level of exclusivity other cards just can’t offer. In fact, you often have to spend tens of thousands — or even hundreds of thousands — of dollars on plastic each year just to be considered.

What is a black card?

A black card is a type of extremely exclusive credit card that is almost solely reserved for the ultra-wealthy. Typically, the cards are available on an invitation-only basis.

How to get a black credit card

While it’s only natural to wish you could get your hands on an exclusive credit card no one else in your circle of friends has, card issuers tend to be tight-lipped when it comes to how to receive an exclusive invite. Unfortunately, getting an invite is typically the only way to get a black credit card of your own. With the exception of the Mastercard Black Card from Luxury Card, you can’t simply hop online and apply for a black card just because you want one.

However, there are some steps you can take to get an invitation for black card membership. For example, past media reports have suggested that you can get an invitation to apply for a black credit card from American Express once you spend at least $250,000 annually on another American Express credit card.

Other black credit cards, including options from Chase, may only be available to select banking clients who have a high dollar amount on deposit or invested with the bank. Once again, however, no one knows for sure the internal dollar figure required by card issuers for a formal invitation to black card status.

Best black credit cards

Funnily enough, black cards aren’t necessarily black in color. Not only that, but many go by different names, including the black credit card from American Express which is also called the Centurion Card from American Express.

If your spending is high enough and you want access to exclusive perks, keep an eye out for an invitation to these top black cards and all they have to offer.

Centurion Card from American Express

The Centurion Card from American Express is offered by invite only and has a steep entry price. Not only do you have to pay a $10,000 initiation fee to get your hands on this card, but a $5,000 annual fee applies as well. Cardholder benefits include airline status with Delta, broad airport lounge access that includes Priority Pass and American Express Centurion Lounges and an airline fee credit. You can also access an exclusive 24/7 concierge program and you’ll receive automatic elite status with various hotel and rental car programs.

In terms of rewards, reports note that you’ll only earn 1x Membership Rewards point for each dollar you spend, although some say you’ll earn 1.5x points per dollar for all purchases over $5,000. You may also earn a hefty signup bonus, although reports vary on just how many points you can receive and the spending requirement. Other than these benefits, you’ll mostly just receive bragging rights.

Mastercard Black Card

The Mastercard Black Card, which is offered through Luxury Card, is a black coated metal credit card that screams exclusivity. However, applying for this card isn’t overly difficult since it’s available online, and the $495 annual fee makes it a lot more affordable.

If you do opt to sign up for this black card, you’ll earn 1x points for each dollar you spend. However, your rewards are worth 2 percent when redeemed for airfare with any airline, and you get 1.5 percent back in value when you redeem your rewards for cash back.

Cardholder benefits you’ll receive include a 24/7 luxury travel concierge, access to a luxury magazine, an annual airline credit, a credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck, a Priority Pass Select membership, no foreign transaction fees and various travel protections and insurance.

J.P. Morgan Reserve Card

The J.P. Morgan Reserve Card (formerly known as the Chase Palladium Card) comes with a $595 annual fee. You have to be a private banking client of J.P. Morgan in order to qualify, and it’s generally believed that you need to have $10 million worth of assets managed by J.P. Morgan. This card is strictly by invitation only.

Either way, the J.P. Morgan Palladium Card reportedly comes with United Club access and a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership. You also receive 3x points on travel after your annual $300 credit, 3x points per $1 spent on dining, and 1x points on all other purchases, as well as a fee credit for Global Entry. Some reports also mention an annual haul of bonus rewards when you meet a minimum spending requirement each year.

The information about the Centurion Card from American Express and the J.P. Morgan Reserve Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Should you accept the invitation to get your own black credit card?

If you’re on the verge of considering a black credit card, we would actually advise against it. Unless your main goal is having a credit card few other people have, you’re probably a lot better off with a premium travel credit card that is less exclusive.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, you get 50,000 points worth $750 in travel when you spend $4,000 on your card within three months of account opening. You also earn 3x points on travel and dining and 1x points on other purchases along with exclusive benefits like airport lounge access, a $300 annual travel credit, a credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck and $60 in DoorDash credits this year and next. You also get a Lyft Pink membership and 10x rewards on Lyft purchases.

A $550 annual fee applies, but you can get considerably more value out of this card the first year and each subsequent year. The Chase Sapphire Reserve may not be invite-only, but it’s much better value for almost anyone.