Black credit cards have a reputation for being as exclusive as they are coveted. But what is a black card? Black cards are the most exclusive credit cards on the market, and these rare, top credit cards are often in the pockets of some of the wealthiest people around the world. Some of these credit cards are so exclusive that you won’t find any official information about them online, or even by talking to representatives of the credit card companies or their issuing partners.
See the best black cards available today for a black credit card comparison, and find out if you meet the black card requirements that will make you eligible for some of the most prestigious credit card rewards and perks.
The Most Exclusive Black Cards Today
You might have never heard of some of these elite credit cards because of their extreme exclusivity. In most cases, these black cards are available by invitation only. Here are some of the most coveted and most exclusive credit cards on the market.
1. The Dubai First Royale MasterCard
Created to meet the needs of a royal lifestyle, the Dubai First Royale MasterCard offers its invitees exclusive luxuries like no-limit spending, a dedicated relationship manager, and an exclusive offering of “Royale Lifestyle Management.” Only the elite who are extended an invitation to this black card are truly in the know, as no qualification details are available to outsiders. A special detail on this black card is a diamond-embedded crest design.
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2. The Visa Infinite Eurasian Diamond Card
Featuring a diamond and gold ornament on the actual card, the Visa Infinite Eurasian Diamond Card is a sign of wealth and elegance through and through. This Visa black card cannot be bought, according to the Eurasian Diamond Club site. The black card Visa requirement for this exclusive credit card is a personal recommendation from either the management board of the Eurasian Bank in Kazakhstan or from two current Eurasian Diamond cardholders. Elite cardholders enjoy spending as much as they want with this no-limit credit card.
3. The American Express Centurion Card
One of the most highly regarded of the elite black cards, the American Express Centurion Card requires a $7,500 initiation fee plus an annual membership fee of $2,500. According to an American Express representative, American Express Platinum Cardholders might be invited to the Centurion Card Membership, but the representative was unable to confirm the black card limit for spending, or any other members-only details for this American Express black card.
4. The Merrill Lynch Octave Black Card
If you hold enough assets — reportedly $10 million minimum — as one of Merrill Lynch’s highest-net-worth clients, you might be invited to the super-exclusive Merrill Lynch Octave Black Card. With its annual fee of $950, cardholders begin getting a return on what might be their most expensive credit card investment once they gain plus-level status by spending at least $50,000 per year. The higher level status provides $350 in travel fees, including upgrade fees and flight cancellation fees. Cardholders enjoy spending with no limits.
5. The Luxury Card: MasterCard Gold Card
Even more exclusive than the MasterCard Black Card is the Luxury Card MasterCard Gold Card. This exclusive black card from MasterCard also features a patented design made of carbon, but is considerably more valuable because it’s detailed in 24-karat gold plating. Requirements to qualify for this luxury credit card remain elusive, but double points for airfare redemption is one known perk. Clients can take advantage of luxury perks and rewards including concierge service and gifts. For $995 per year, clients also enjoy being privy to MasterCard Priceless, getting everything from courtside seats at big games or access to lessons from a top expert in a specific field.
6. The Coutts World Silk Card
Available exclusively to Coutts clients, the Coutts World Silk Card features a high monthly spending limit that’s determined based on the company’s credit assessment of you, and custom-tailored services. The Coutts concierge service takes care of everything from flights, entertainment event tickets, accommodation, car hire, and custom requests — including performances from famous singers for birthday parties and even a chess match with a grand master. Clients also enjoy luxury gifts from Coutts.
7. The American Express Platinum Card
Another invitation-only credit card, the American Express Platinum Card requires a fee of $550 as of March 30, 2017. Members enjoy exclusive, specially curated experiences, Hilton HHonors Gold status, plus exclusive services including a concierge, dining program, and preferred seating at concerts, games and other special events. The American Express black card limit for spending doesn’t restrain members with a pre-set amount. Member benefits also include up to $200 in Uber ride credits per year in the U.S., including Uber VIP status.
8. The Luxury Card: MasterCard Black Card
The exclusive black card from MasterCard is made from stainless steel and carbon and has a patented design. The annual fee is $495; for that high fee, Luxury Card MasterCard Black Card members enjoy special perks like a luxe concierge service and gifts from renowned luxury brands. Perhaps most appealing is cardholders’ eligibility for MasterCard Priceless, a service offering curated, invitation-only experiences the company described as once-in-a-lifetime.
9. The World Elite MasterCard
Ideal for a world traveler, the World Elite MasterCard provides exclusive, VIP travel privileges for its cardholders. From VIP status at thousands of hotels and access to luxury resorts, to complimentary upgrades on hotel rooms and car hires, this black card offers clients a host of special benefits and even an on-call, personal travel adviser. Concierge services are available 24/7, to help clients get a hold of elusive items or coveted dinner reservations, among other tasks. You must call the company for an application or be invited to apply.
10. Citi Ultima MasterCard
Available only to select customers, the Citi Ultima MasterCard gives cardholders special status. Customers get help from concierge, whenever they need it, no matter where in the world they might be at the time. The black card credit limit goes up to about $25,000 (RUB 1,500,000), and the annual fee is approximately $250 (RUB 15,000). Cardholders also enjoy Priority Pass membership, which offers access to airport lounges in more than 100 countries.
The Most Exclusive Black Cards of the Past
The following cards were once considered the cream of the black-card crop, but have since been ousted by the newest black cards.
1. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Once considered an exclusive, black-card option, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has become one of the most popular travel rewards credit cards. As one of the most desirable Chase cards, the former Chase black card continues to offer a strong rewards program for members. Other notable differences from black card offerings include a comparatively low $95 annual fee, enhanced travel rewards redemption points, rental insurance, travel protection insurance, emergency travel assistance and extended warranty protection for up to one year.
2. The Visa Signature Card
Perhaps once the most exclusive of Visa cards, the Visa Signature Card is now more widely available. This black Visa card features access to everyday benefits as well as special sporting events and concert tickets, fine food and wine events, and even private jet privileges. Customers also enjoy round-the-clock concierge services for free. Several different Visa Signature credit cards are now on offer from partners like USAA, Bank of America and Nordstrom.
3. The Black Brazilian MasterCard From the Santander Group
The Santander Group in Brazil offers the Santander Unlimited Card, which is only issued to members of its private bank with a certain undisclosed amount of funds in their accounts. Perks of the Unlimited credit card include a flexible spending limit to suit a client’s unique spending and payment style, Priority Pass membership to allow access to VIP airport lounges around the world, and travel insurance up to $1 million. The dedicated concierge service offers help with everything from booking restaurant reservations, tickets to shows, and even having a driver pick up children at school.
4. The Black Chairman Card from Citigroup
The Citigroup Chairman MasterCard is exclusively for elite cardholders who get access to the usual perks such as trip delay protection, lost baggage protection and other various travel accommodations. Customers even get ticket protection for up to $500 per ticket for missed events such as concerts and sports games.
5. The Merrill Accolades American Express
The Merrill Accolades American Express, also known as the Black Bull Card from Merrill Lynch or the Bank of America Accolades Card, is no longer available to new cardholders. The card provided special offers on first and business class international airfares, luxury hotel bookings, and cruises, according to The Points Guy, a travel advice site. Customers also enjoyed Priority Pass membership for making travel more convenient. Private client members of Bank of America Merrill Lynch with more than $200,000 in assets in their private wealth management unit were eligible to have the $295 annual fee waived, according to The Points Guy.
6. The NatWest Reward Black MasterCard
The NatWest Reward Black MasterCard was previously considered an exclusive black card, but is now more widely available. To qualify for the Reward Black card, you must meet at least one of the following conditions: Have an annual income of at least £100,000 (about $125,000) and put it in your NatWest Reward Black account; have a NatWest mortgage of at least £300,000 (about $374,000); or have at least £100,000 of NatWest savings and investments. By meeting one of these requirements, clients are eligible to have the annual fee of £84 (about $105) waived; however, a £28 (about $35) monthly fee still applies.
How to Qualify for a Black Card
Owning a black card is a symbol of status, but it can also be helpful — provided you actually use the perks of these best luxury credit cards. Because most of the requirements of those invited to become cardholders remains unknown to those who haven’t been invited, it’s hard for outsiders to know exactly who can or how to qualify for an invitation to apply for these black cards; there’s no single, definitive answer as to how to get a black card. The short answer to knowing if you qualify for a black card is that you’ll know you do when you’ve been invited to apply for one of these most elite credit cards.
Members of the GOBankingRates Staff contributed to the reporting for this article.
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