With high credit limits, super-premium features and the best rewards rates, black credit cards are the high flyers of the plastic world.
Credit cards have become useful for a lot more than simply making purchases. Extras such as complimentary travel insurance, concierge services, airport lounge access and rewards programs provide you with opportunities to get more value out of paying with plastic.
Designed to offer even more premium features and services than platinum options, black credit cards are at the top rung of the status ladder for credit cards. From high-earning rewards programs and exceptional complimentary insurance policies, to dedicated concierge services, travel extras and more, these exclusive cards open all kinds of doors when it comes to work, play and everything in between.
Here, you can find out about the details that set black credit cards apart, whether or not you should apply for one, and how to get the most out of this type of card when you use it.
Platinum, Gold and Black Credit Card Offer
The American Express Explorer™ Credit Card offers new card members top-tier benefits, combining rewards points benefits, frequent flyer perks and premium features to improve your lifestyle.
- 100,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $1,500 within the first 2 months of Card Membership.
- Enjoy $400 Travel Credit and two complimentary airline lounge passes every year.
- Earn up to 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
- Transfer your points to your choice of 8 Airline Rewards Partner Programs including Virgin Australia, Etihad Airways, Emirates and Air New Zealand.
- Smartphone Screen Insurance for up to $500 for screen repairs to your smartphone with 10% excess per claim. Up to 2 claims per 12-month period.
Compare Black Credit Cards
Rates last updated October 28th, 2016.
- ANZ Rewards Black Credit Card
Removed annual fee waiver and minimum spend requirements on bonus points offer.
June 15th, 2016
- ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
Removed annual fee waiver and minimum spend requirement for bonus points offer.
June 15th, 2016
- American Express Explorer Credit Card
10,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points + 0% on balance transfers for 12 mos. Offer ends 30 Nov 2016
August 26th, 2016
The Best* Black Credit Cards Comparison
Compare the features and earn rates of the black credit cards below.
|ANZ Frequent Flyer Black||A frequent flyer card that lets you get 75,000 bonus points after your first eligible purchase.|
|A black card with up to 75,000 bonus points and an earn rate of up to 3 points per dollar spent.|
|You could get up to 70,000 bonus points.|
This guide on Black Credit Cards will explain
What are black credit cards?
Black credit cards are super-premium options offered by a number of major credit card companies in Australia, including ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Citibank and Westpac. The “black” name actually refers to the level of the account, differentiating these products from platinum, gold or standard options. It’s similar to the way frequent flyer and other rewards programs have different status levels.
In the case of credit cards, black is generally the best you can get. Sometimes “black” level credit cards may have another name to differentiate them from other cards – such as the Commonwealth Bank’s Diamond Awards Card or then Citi Presitge Card – but even when that’s the case, these cards carry the same prestige as other black options.
Unique features and benefits of black credit cards
Black credit cards offer an extensive range of premium features, which are often customised to suit the credit card company or even the individual cardholder. Some of the most exciting black credit card features include:
- Higher credit limits (sometimes up to $100,000)
- Higher points per dollar for reward programs
- Fewer limitations around reward program redemptions (i.e. high or no rewards caps)
- Greater financial coverage for insurance and/or lower excess payment requirements
- Complimentary status upgrades for loyalty programs such as Starwood Preferred Guests (hotels)
- A complimentary night’s stay at a premium hotel every year
- Access to hundreds of airport lounges around the world (through complimentary membership to a program such as PriorityPass)
- Complimentary airport transfers
- Flight upgrades
- Dedicated travel booking services
- A personal concierge service
- A personal shopper
- Invitations to exclusive events or promotions
These features give you some idea of the level of status that comes with having a black credit card, but the specific details do vary between black products. So when you’re looking for a black credit card, it’s a good idea to go through all the features listed or even ask the credit card company for more information if you’re interested in a particular type of benefit.Back to top
What are the costs of black credit cards?
Just as with frequent flyer programs, the high status of a black credit card is designed to be exclusive to big earners (and spenders). This exclusivity is reflected in the upfront and potential costs associated with these cards.
Black credit cards have the highest annual fees of any options, with costs currently ranging from around $300 to $700. They also have standard interest rates that are on the higher end of the scale, typically between about 18% p.a. and 22% p.a. (variable). The theory is that all the features and benefits that come with a black credit card justify these costs – but really it all depends on how you use the card.
Who should get a black credit card?
So now that you know more about what black credit cards offer and cost, it’s clear that these cards really are designed for people who earn and tends to turn over a high amount of spending on each month on their credit card. This is reinforced by the application requirements for black credit cards, which include minimum incomes of around $75,000 or more. You will also need to have a good or excellent credit rating if you want one of these cards.
Meeting these official requirements, though, doesn’t necessarily mean you should get a black credit card. If you rarely use credit, for example, you won’t be able to make the most of the benefits and the annual fee won’t be worth it.
On the other hand, a black credit card can be a valuable and convenient card for certain individuals and situations. For example, a person who would frequently fly and can take advantage of features such as travel insurance and airport lounge access. Figuring out whether or not this type of card is right for you can be hard, so we’ve come up with some questions to consider when you are thinking of applying for a black credit card.
Ask yourself these questions when applying for a black credit card
- Do you use credit a lot? If you regularly use a credit card, then the higher credit limit of a black card could help reduce the risk of maxing out your account. It will also help you get the most out of features such as rewards.
- Do you regularly pay off your credit card? The typically high interest rates of these cards could make them expensive if you’re used to carrying a balance. If you regularly pay off your card and avoid interest charges, then you will get more value out of a black card without adding too much to your credit costs.
- How many of the features will you actually use? It’s great to have access to the wide range of features that black credit cards offer, but the value comes from actually using them. If you consider what features you want and how often you will use them, you can also work out whether or not the card is worth it for you.
- How many credit cards do you have? Most Australians have more than one credit card in their wallet. With a black credit card, you’ll get more value the more you can use it, so having multiple cards could make it more expensive and less valuable. If you want to upgrade from your existing card to a black credit card, you could consider getting one with a balance transfer offer. This would allow you to consolidate your credit card debts and cancel your other cards.
- Is there a black credit card you actually want? It’s important to find a credit card that ticks as many boxes as possible for your circumstances, and that may or may not be a black option. Comparing a range of cards before applying will help make sure you choose the right one for your circumstances either way.
These are the considerations you’re going to need to compare black credit cards
Black credit cards may have high flying features and rewards, but they are still in essence the same as any other rewards card with a high credit limit. Comparing them is still incredibly important for finding the right card for you. To simplify the comparison process, we’ve identified the major factors you’ll need to consider to compare black credit cards:
This part of the comparison process probably has the most elements to consider – and also offers a lot of the additional value. Some black credit cards have their own rewards program (such as the ANZ Rewards Black), others are linked to frequent flyer programs from Qantas or Velocity. Most options currently let you choose between a credit card rewards program or a frequent flyer program.
The Westpac Altitude Black, for example, can earn either Westpac Altitude points or Qantas Frequent Flyer points depending on what you prefer. Take some time to look at the different reward program options, and particularly the number of points you’ll earn per $1, so you can tell which one will give you the best bang for your buck.
Compare complimentary extras based on what’s practical and valuable to you. For example, someone who frequently pays for entry to airport lounges might want a black card that has complimentary PriorityPass membership, while someone else might place a higher value on a card that offers a complimentary night’s stay in a hotel.
Some black cards will offer both of these benefits (and so much more), but knowing exactly what extras are worth the most to you will help you choose your ideal card. You may even want to list out the extras you’re interested in based on their importance, then see which black card has the best terms for them.
Quality of extras and customer service
Once you have narrowed down the number of black credit cards you are interested in to a couple of options, consider the value of the extra features on offer. The quality of customer service offered, for example, could be very different depending on the credit card company and the way it’s set up. Likewise, the coverage available with complimentary insurance could be more or less limited depending on the partnering insurance company.
Browse online forums and discussion boards for information on particular cards, or even post your own question. You could be surprised by what you find out this way, and it has the potential to save you a lot of money down the track.
Minimum credit limits
Black credit cards come with high minimum credit limits that could be between $15,000 and $30,000. For the right person, this could be great, and most black cards are designed for big spending anyway. But it’s still good to check the minimum limit and consider how much access to credit you will need so that you can get a card with a limit that lets you use the card as much as you need without spending beyond your means.
When looking at several black credit cards, make sure you check the annual fees and standard interest rates so that you can estimate how much it will cost you for each card.
Interest rates and interest-free days
Even a difference of 1% p.a. could save you a lot of money if you carry a balance, so it’s always important to check the standard interest rates when comparing black credit cards. Interest-free days, on the other hand, offer greater convenience and value if you regularly pay your balance off in full. You could get a lot more flexibility if a card offers up to 55 days interest-free compared to one that offers up to 45, for instance.
This category is often the first thing we see when we’re looking at getting a new credit card. Promotional interest rates for balance transfers or purchases, as well as bonus reward points, are incredibly popular and also have the potential to add lots of value to a card in the short term. These features are temporary, though, so make sure you keep that in mind when comparing black credit cards. Ideally, you should get a card that will continue to offer you value long after the honeymoon period ends.
As black credit cards have so many different features, it’s important to make sure you look at all of these categories when choosing which one will be right for you. There are only a few black cards on the market, so it should be easy to narrow your choices down.
Remember, even though black credit cards are definitely at the pinnacle of premium options, the most important thing is always finding the right card for your circumstances so that it really works for you (and not the other way around). If you don’t think a black card is for you, start comparing other cards down the ladder to find an option that suits your needs.
Is owning a Black Credit Card an all round crowd-pleaser?
There’s a small selection of black credit cards available in the Australian market for those looking for the ultimate level of prestige and the features that come with it. These cards may seem like the perfect balance of rewards and features, but remember most of them come with hefty fees.
Since most people don’t know the difference when it comes to black credit cards, you can get the same level of awe by flashing any other premium credit card. In terms of features, be sure you’ll be able to use what is offered. If you have no intention of taking advantage of the concierge service and other benefits that cards like the American Express Centurion Card offer, then there really isn’t any point in paying a few thousand a year just to show it off.
Regardless of which black credit card you opt for, the fact is that people could treat you differently the moment you whip it out of your wallet, which might be one of the reasons why you want one. So, if you want to be treated like a star, it might be time to consider getting a black credit card.Back to top
Frequently asked questions about black credit cards explained
What sort of rewards points will I earn with a black card?
This depends on the type of black card. For example, the Westpac Altitude Black gives you the choice of earning Westpac Altitude points or Qantas Points. Similarly, the Citibank Prestige will give you a choice of either Citibank’s own rewards program or the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.
Note that most credit card reward programs have options for transferring points to a range of frequent flyer programs. Meanwhile, opting to earn Qantas Points could attract an additional fee. For instance, the Citi Prestige applies an an additional fee of $49 p.a. if you opt to earn Qantas Points.
What income is needed for a black card?
Where can I find a list of what benefits Centurion cardholders receive in Australia?
Unfortunately, because this is an invite-only program, details about exactly what discounts and offers these cardholders receive are hard to come by. We do know that, on invitation, you’ll receive a booklet outlining all of the benefits offered through this card, in addition to details of the account fees.