When people talk about a black credit card, they usually mean one very expensive, high prestige, hyper-exclusive card with black coloring: the Centurion® Card from American Express. In the past you needed an unsolicited invite to get THE black card, but consumers can now request invitations through the Centurion® Card from American Express website. And while Amex doesn’t disclose the requirements, online reports say you have to spend at least $250,000 a year on an Amex card to merit consideration. The Centurion® Card from American Express also requires a $10,000 initiation fee and a $5000 annual fee. And its main perks, aside from the prestige, appear to be hotel benefits, Centurion Lounges, Delta Platinum status and a do-anything, round-the-clock personal concierge.
But if you’re looking for a black card that you can actually apply for, there are some alternatives. They won’t carry the same social weight, but their fees aren’t as astronomical, either.
Here are some notable black credit cards:
Mastercard® Black Card: The annual fee is $495. You get 1 point per $1 on all purchases. You can redeem points for airfare at a value of 2 cents per point, and for cash back at 1.5 cents per point. You’ll also get a $100 annual travel credit, 24/7 concierge to assist you with travel needs, and a $100 credit to cover the cost of applying for Global Entry. You need good credit or better.
RBC Bank Visa Signature Black Credit Card: $0 annual fee. You get 1 point / $1 spent, redeemable through RBC Rewards. You need excellent credit to get approved.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: This black-in-color credit card has a $450 annual fee. It gives you 75,000 points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, plus a free night every year on your account anniversary. You also get 6 points / $1 spent at Marriott hotels and up to $300 in statement credits each year for eligible purchases at participating Marriott properties.
Centurion® Card from American Express: This invite-only card is apparently reserved for Amex cardholders who spend at least $250,000 a year. The annual fee is $5000 and there’s a $10,000 initiation fee as well. Access to Centurion Lounges, hotel benefits, Delta Platinum status, personal concierge and 1 point per $1 in Membership Rewards.
A black credit will always have a certain amount of mystique because of the secrecy and exclusivity of the Centurion® Card from American Express. But you can’t just apply for the real thing, and most of us don’t spend enough to qualify, anyway. Plus, it doesn’t really matter what color your credit card is, as long as it offers good terms. So you’re probably better off with a regular rewards card like Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Some credit card companies, including Wells Fargo and Discover, also let you customize your card’s appearance. So you can turn lots of credit cards into black cards if you want.