Beyond the slew of regular credit cards that are within reach of the masses, gold cards, platinum cards or even rare titanium cards exist for those who qualify. But there’s also another, even more exclusive, class of credit cards: Black cards. These ultra-high-status cards — which are generally by invitation only — often have no credit limit, as well as a host of other features that cater to the dining, travel and entertainment proclivities of the rich and famous.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 10 most exclusive black cards out there.
- Dubai First Royale Mastercard
- Dubai First Amazing World Card
- HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard
- American Express Centurion Card
- Luxury Card: Mastercard Black Card
- World Elite Mastercard
- Citi Ultima Mastercard
- Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- Citi Prestige Card
- Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card
Members of the 1% — or perhaps the 0.1% — may get an invitation for a black card, as some of these high-status cards are only available to consumers that the issuing bank deems worthy. Another possibility for receiving a coveted invitation is by having an account at a bank that is well aware of your income level, assets and outstanding credit.
Requirements for these cards are often kept under wraps, so it can be hard to determine the income, asset or spending levels that are needed to qualify. It’s likely, however, that a corollary to the saying, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it,” is in play here. But by building your wealth and using your existing credit responsibly, a black card could be in your future.
Hailed as symbols of status and wealth, these are the most difficult black cards to get. But if you qualify, there’s no harm in aiming for the best of the best. Here are the top 10 most exclusive black cards:
The Dubai First Royale MasterCard — a diamond-embedded card available by invitation only — has no spending limit. Plus, each cardholder has a dedicated relationship manager. The annual fee for the Royale Card is AED 7,000 or about $1,905 USD, and the monthly interest rate is 2.59%-3.59%, or an annual percentage rate of 31.08%-43.08% APR.
The Dubai First Amazing World Card is designed for those who frequent Dubai parks and resorts and charge liberally. For each dollar charged, cardholders earn three Amazing Points when shopping inside the parks, two Amazing Points anywhere overseas and one Amazing Point within UAE. The annual fee for the Amazing World Card is AED 1,500 or about $408 USD, and the monthly interest rate is 2.59%-3.59% or 31.08%-43.08% APR.
The HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard — featuring an APR of 17.24% or 21.24% — offers 3x points on travel, 2x on dining and one point per dollar on everything else. You’ll also receive 50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months you have the card. To qualify, you must have a U.S. HSBC Premier checking account — and be willing to part with the $395 annual fee. Benefits such as ID theft protection, identity fraud expense reimbursement, and tap-and-go contactless payment are included. You can also use the card to protect your cellular wireless phone — HSBC will reimburse up to $800 per claim resulting from theft or damage.
Also See: Best HSBC Promotions
The American Express Centurion Card features an initiation fee of $7,500, an annual fee of $2,500 and no preset spending limit. American Express may, however, decline a transaction based on its assessment of your creditworthiness or in the instance of what it believes to be a fraudulent transaction. The American Express black card APR equals the prime rate plus 21.99%. No application exists for the Amex black card available online, and the company is tight-lipped about the requirements for an invitation.
The Black Mastercard from Luxury Card is within reach if you are willing to pay the $495 annual fee. In exchange, you get 1.5% cash back and access to a Luxury Card concierge who will make travel reservations and assist with personal requests. Travelers receive a $100 airline credit and VIP lounge access. Cardholders of this elite travel credit card also receive access to Mastercard Priceless, which offers exclusive experiences at events, such as the PGA tour.
World Elite Mastercard also grants access to Mastercard Priceless, which offers experiences ranging from prime seats at a Chicago Cubs game to a helicopter ride to Italy to visit the kitchen of a Michelin-starred chef. Concierge services are available 24/7 to help clients access exclusive items or coveted dinner reservations, among other tasks. You must call the company for an application or be invited to apply.
The Citi Ultima Mastercard offers automatic travel insurance, Priority Pass membership and concierge service. Cardholders get a credit line between RUB 350,000 and RUB 1,500,000 or about $5,600 to $23,800 USD. The annual fee is RUB 15,000 or about $238 USD, and the interest rate is 21.00%-29.00% APR. To apply, you must have an invitation or go to a Citibank branch with your passport and a 2-NDFL form — a personal income tax form showing income of at least RUB 200,000 — or $3,178 USD — per month for the past three months.
Check Out: Best Travel Credit Cards
Frequent fliers of American Airlines can get the ultimate in credit card perks with this prestigious card. Features include a complimentary membership to the Admirals Club, priority check-in and boarding, a free checked bag for up to nine people in your party and more. The annual fee for the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is $450, and the interest rate is 17.99%-25.99% APR.
Designed for travelers, the Citi Prestige card, featuring a 17.99%-25.99% APR, offers five times the points on air travel and restaurants, triple points on hotels and cruise lines, and one point per dollar on everything else. You can transfer your points to airline rewards programs or use them to pay for travel charges on your card, which may make the $495 annual fee worth it.
Few brands conjure up visions of grandeur and opulence like Ritz-Carlton, so carrying a black card that bears the name of this luxury hotel chain is impressive. Cardholders receive six times the points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels — including Ritz-Carlton properties — triple points on dining, car rental and airline purchases and double points on everything else. Points are redeemable for hotel stays or you can transfer them to airline partners. No online application exists, however, and people looking for a card are redirected to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card page.
Here’s how the top 10 elite black cards stack up against each other:
Top 10 Most Exclusive Black Cards You Didn’t Know About
|Card Name||Annual Fee in USD||Interest Rate||Rewards and Perks||How To Apply|
|Dubai First Royale Mastercard||$1,905 (AED 7,000)||31.08%-43.08% APR||Relationship manager||By invitation only|
|Dubai First Amazing World Card||$408 (AED 1,500)||31.08%-43.08% APR||Amazing Points||Website|
|HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard||$395||17.24%-21.24% APR||ID theft and fraud protection, cellphone loss or damage reimbursement||Website|
|American Express Centurion Card||$2,500 (plus $7,500 Initiation Fee the first year)||Prime + 21.99% APR||Access to Amex Centurion Lounges, concierge services||By invitation only|
|Luxury Card: Mastercard Black Card||$495||Undisclosed||1.5% cash back, access to exclusive experiences||Website|
|World Elite Mastercard||Undisclosed||Undisclosed||Private jet and car services, lifestyle managers||By phone or invitation|
|Citi Ultima Mastercard||$238 (RUB 15,000)||21.oo%-29.00% APR||Priority Pass membership, travel insurance, concierge service||By invitation or in person|
|Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard||$450||17.99%-25.99% APR||Admirals Club membership, free checked bag, priority check-in and boarding||Website|
|Citi Prestige Card||$495||17.99%-25.99% APR||5x points on air travel and restaurants; 3x on hotels and cruises||Website|
|Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card||Undisclosed||Undisclosed||6x points at Marriott properties; 3x on dining, car rentals and airlines; 2x on everything else||By invitation only|
If none of the above cards suit your fancy, there are a few more you might consider. Although some of them are not the most elite, they’re still pretty impressive.
Coutts is a private bank in the U.K. that issues its own annual-fee free charge card to its clients only. Your credit line and interest rate may vary depending on your creditworthiness, and you may be required to pay your balance in full each month. Coutts offers cash rewards of 5%-10% at participating retailers, which change every few months.
The Visa Signature Card offers travel benefits like complimentary concierge service, chauffeured car service and travel and emergency assistance services. Specific benefits, fees, interest rates and requirements vary depending on the issuing bank.
The Citi Chairman American Express Card offers exclusive experiences, a travel rewards program and a concierge team to help you plan it all. No online application exists, so information regarding interest rates or annual fee is not readily available.
Eurasian Diamond Card Visa Infinite
Featuring a diamond-and-gold ornament, the Eurasian Diamond Card Visa Infinite was a sign of wealth and elegance through and through. This Visa black card could not be bought, according to the Eurasian Diamond Club site. Although no longer available, you had to have a personal recommendation from either the Eurasian Bank’s Management Board or from two existing Eurasian Diamond cardholders to get this Visa black card. Elite cardholders enjoyed spending as much as they wanted with this no-limit black Visa card.
Keep reading about the most extravagant and exclusive perks you can get from credit cards.
Karen Doyle is a personal finance writer and former financial advisor. She does not have a black card — yet.
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