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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
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Advertising Disclosure

LendingTree is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products. We are compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order).
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American Express Disclosure
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

American Express Disclosure

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

What Is a Black Card?

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You’re at a swanky restaurant when a dining companion produces a shiny black card and gives it to the server. Fellow diners “ooh” and “ahh” over this seemingly ordinary black credit card that’s now getting ample attention. What’s the big deal? It’s just a piece of plastic — or is it?

Clouded in secrecy, black cards are often talked about, even used in television and movies, but rarely seen in daily use. Black cards are rare due to their high spending requirements, and steep fees, that make them out of reach for a majority of the population.

So how does one obtain these shiny status symbols and are they really worth all the hype? Read on to decide for yourself if a black card is worth it.

What is a black credit card?

A black card is one of the most exclusive credit cards that you can get. They’re visually impressive, since they’re typically made of metal, or they have a special coating that makes them stand out.

While the card itself may be a head-turner, the path to getting a card may make your jaw drop. Two of the three cards below are issued by invitation only. To receive an invitation you’ll need a relationship with the bank, plus an especially large savings account and lavish spending habits. These are not credit cards that are marketed to the average consumer.

Perhaps to add to the secrecy surrounding these tiny pieces of metal, exact details about the cards and their benefits aren’t readily available.

  Black card annual fee

The annual fee for a black card varies, with some far surpassing the fees for high-end cards targeted at everyday consumers. Here’s how some black card annual fees compare.

  • Centurion® Card from American Express: $5,000 annual fee
  • J.P. Morgan Reserve Card: $550 ($75 for each additional user) annual fee
  • Mastercard® Black Card™: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account) annual fee

In addition to an annual fee, the Centurion® Card from American Express has a one-time initiation fee of $10,000, so you’ll have to pay a total of $15,000 to open this card.

  Black card spending requirements

There’s little publicly available information on how much you have to spend to receive an invite for the J.P. Morgan Reserve Card. Reports suggest that you need at least $10 million in assets under management with Chase to qualify for an invitation.

For the Centurion® Card from American Express, anecdotal evidence says you need to charge six-figures on your other American Express cards annually. Upwards of $350,000 is frequently reported as the minimum amount.

  Black card credit limit

Since black cards require such high levels of spending they must have extremely high credit limits, right? Like many details with black cards, there’s not a clear cut answer.

  • The Centurion® Card from American Express is a charge card with no set credit limit. Amex does have a Pay Over Time option, which allows you to make monthly payments on certain purchases.
  • The credit limit for the J.P. Morgan Reserve Card is not disclosed publicly. It’s uncertain how much you can charge on it and what the payment terms are.
  • The Mastercard® Black Card™ functions like a typical credit card. Cardholder credit lines vary based on creditworthiness. For balances not paid before the end of the grace period, a 21.24%, 25.43% or 28.24% APR applies.

Black card benefits

With such high annual fees one would expect amazing perks and it appears that these cards deliver, especially if you often travel internationally. In addition to getting a flashy card, which might net you extra perks just by using it, black card benefits may include:

  • Reward points to redeem toward cash back, travel or statement credits
  • Concierge services that will do almost anything from booking a table at an exclusive restaurant to ordering and shipping gifts. The service is complimentary but your card is charged for the costs incurred.
  • Hotel statement credits at high-end hotels
  • Airline fee credits which offset a portion of the annual fee
  • Lounge access around the world at a wide selection of airports
  • Hotel benefits which may include complimentary breakfasts, early check-in, late check-out and credits for dining or spa services
  • Travel and purchase protections that provide reimbursement in events like missed flights, lost baggage or rental car accidents

This is not an exclusive list and each black card has benefits specific to the card.

Best black cards

Centurion® Card from American Express

As one of the most expensive cards to own, the Centurion® Card from American Express comes with a bounty of travel and hotel benefits that help make the $10,000 initiation fee and $5,000 annual fee worth it. For the best chance of getting an exclusive invitation, you should have at least one other American Express card on which you’re spending well over six figures per year. Being on a first-name basis with an Amex banker may also help.

The rewards rate is surprisingly low compared to lower-tier cards. You only earn 1 point per $1 spent on eligible purchases including dining, theater tickets, flights and hotels. These points can be redeemed for gift cards, travel bookings and to pay for eligible charges on your Centurion® Card from American Express.

The luxury dining, entertainment, travel and hotel perks are where this card shines. Cardholders have access to the Global Lounge Collection at more than 1,400 airports worldwide. They also enjoy exclusive benefits at luxury hotels and have access to a 24/7 dedicated concierge. Frequent travelers will get the most out of this card since most benefits center around travel.

Mastercard® Black Card™

| Disclosures
Mastercard® Black Card™
Mastercard® Black Card™
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Luxury Card's secure site
N/A
21.24%, 25.43% or 28.24%
$495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)
2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Ideal for those seeking a premium travel card that doubles as an everyday workhorse, paired with elevated service beyond the ordinary. Leave behind the hassle of juggling various cards and monthly statements, while finding peace of mind with protection benefits that exceeds standard credit cards.
  • Flat-rate redemption value of 1.5% for cash back or 2% value for airfare redemption with no airline or seat restrictions and no blackout dates. Earn one point for every dollar spent. Straightforward redemption without needing a high-maintenance reward strategy. No foreign transaction fees, no earning caps, no rotating categories, and no need to chase down transfer partners to escape very low point values.
  • Annual Airline Credit—up to $100 in statement credits toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more. Just pay for airline purchases with your Mastercard Black Card and we will automatically apply the credit to your account. That’s it. No need to activate or designate an airline. The credit amount is available in full at the start of the calendar year.
  • Up to a $100 application fee credit for the cost of TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry. Also, enjoy automatic enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select with access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide with no guest or lounge limits. Includes credits at select airport restaurants for cardholder and one guest.
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®—Make requests the way you want by phone, email, SMS and chat in the app. Connect directly with a real agent and receive 24/7 assistance for tasks big and small. Requests do not require a purchase, incure no charge for making them, and do not involve department transfers.
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits—average value of $500 per stay (e.g., resort credits, room upgrades, free wifi, breakfast for two and more) at over 3,000 properties. Receive protection benefits like trip cancellation and interruption, auto rental car collision waiver, travel accident and baggage delay. Cell phone protection for eligible claims of up to $1,000 each year. Plus additional World Elite Mastercard® benefits.
  • Black PVD-Coated Metal Card: Weighing in at an industry-leading 22g. Designed for frequent shoppers, big ticket purchases and everything in between.
  • Annual Fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User). Terms and conditions apply
720 850
Excellent

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Weighing in at 22 grams and made of black-PVD-coated metal, the Mastercard® Black Card™ is a fancy-looking card that comes with airport lounge access, credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and an annual airline credit. A 24/7 concierge service can help with anything from booking travel plans to tracking down hard to find items.

Like the other black cards, the Mastercard® Black Card™ falls short in its earning rate considering its annual fee and the lack of transfer partners. You earn 2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. 1.5% value for cash back redemptions. Earn one point for every one dollar spent.

The good thing, for those who want to apply for a black card, is that you can do so without an invitation. Having both a great income and credit score likely boosts your approval odds.

J.P. Morgan Reserve Card

The J.P. Morgan Reserve Card (formerly the Chase Palladium Card) is an exclusive card offered to high-net worth Chase banking customers. The card itself is made of palladium, a rare chemical element that adds allure for wealthy individuals.

You will earn 3X points on travel worldwide immediately after earning your $300 annual travel credit. Plus, 3X points per $1 spent at restaurants and 1 point per $1 on other purchases. Points can be redeemed through the Ultimate Reward website for travel or cash back. Although it’s a status symbol, many of its perks are similar to those of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Other benefits of the J.P. Morgan Reserve Card include Priority Pass lounge access, primary rental car insurance, flexible travel credit and 0% foreign transaction fee.

How do you qualify for a black card?

Given that two of the three most prominent black cards require invitations to apply, it’s likely that credit score has a lesser role in determining approval compared to a regular credit card.

Since American Express is both a credit card issuer and payment processor, if you’re a current customer of theirs, they have plenty of your data at hand. That data plus whatever internal criteria they have will determine if, and when, they send you an invitation. If you think you meet the known qualifications for the Centurion® Card from American Express, you can request consideration for an invitation at the Centurion website.

To get the J.P. Morgan Reserve Card you need to have millions of dollars in accounts with Chase, which also means Chase can check over your banking history before sending out a card invite.

With the Mastercard® Black Card™, an excellent credit score and high income are probably necessary for approval. You can get your free credit score and, if needed, work to improve your credit score before applying for this card.

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What credit score is needed for a black card?


An excellent credit score can go a long way in getting a credit card. However, with an elite card that requires high spending and offers luxury perks, you’ll also need a high enough income to support such spending.

A solid net worth and a long-term banking relationship with the card issuer will likely do more for you than a perfect credit score.

Alternatives to a black card

While they may not have the allure of a black card, you can find plenty of luxury travel cards teeming with perks and benefits that are available to the average consumer. The following cards offer plush travel benefits, plus stronger rewards programs, and you don’t need an invitation to apply:

The Platinum Card® from American Express

| Disclosures
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on American Express's secure site
Rates & Fees
| Terms Apply
N/A
See Pay Over Time APR
$695
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card®. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®. Learn more.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
660 720 850
Good/Excellent

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a good starting point if you’re looking for an American Express card. You’ll get a welcome offer of earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. And elevated earnings on all spending. In addition to the high rewards rate, you’ll get annual travel credits, complimentary hotel elite status (enrollment required) and global airport lounge access including Centurion lounge access.

*To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

| Disclosures
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Chase's secure site
N/A
22.49% – 29.49% Variable
$550
Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase TravelSM.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase TravelSM. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority PassTM Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
  • Member FDIC
720 850
Excellent

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

While the annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is steep at $550, you’ll recoup much of that thanks to elevated points on flights, hotels and car rentals. It also includes a $300 annual travel credit that can wipe out some of the annual fee as long as you travel, since it applies to most travel purchases.

Travel will be more enjoyable with complimentary airport lounge access, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck or NEXUS fee credit, no foreign transaction fee and an annual travel credit. Plus you’ll receive a variety of purchase protections and insurance coverage.

Interested in a 0% intro APR for up to 21 months?
Check out our list of the best 0% APR credit cards today.

Is a black card worth it?

A black card may be worth having if you have a business that requires high levels of spending, or if you have a large amount of assets. If either of these is true, and you want the benefits that come with a black card, you can seriously consider applying when you’re invited.

However, for the average consumer whose annual spending is under $100,000, a cash back credit card or rewards credit card is a better option. With some, you earn cash back on every purchase (with no annual fee), while others give you access to airline and hotel perks and points toward future travel.

The information related to the Centurion® Card from American Express and J.P. Morgan Reserve Card and has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

*To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

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