Black credit cards

Black credit cards are the most prestigious currently available. They have high credit limits and have a range of benefits as standard such as a higher earn rate on rewards and 24/7 concierge services.

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 7th April 2021

Comparing black credit cards

Westpac Altitude Black Credit Card (Altitude)

On Westpac's website

Apply by 7 September 2021

Westpac Altitude Black Credit Card (Altitude)

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.49% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$250.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive 150,000 Altitude bonus points when you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval. Exclusions apply
  • Earn up to 6 Altitude points per $1 spent (terms and conditions apply).
  • Complimentary Insurances: Overseas Travel, Extended Warranty, Purchase Security and Transit Accidents (terms and conditions apply)

Pros

  • 150,000 bonus Altitude Points when you spend $4,000 in 90 days.
  • Enjoy complimentary lounge passes.
  • Comes with complimentary overseas travel and purchase insurances.

Cons

  • The high annual fee of $250.
American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit Card

On American Express' website

American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.74% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$450.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive 55,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply, are approved, and meet the minimum spend criteria of $3,000 in the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. Available to new Card Members only.
  • Earn 1.25 Qantas Points for every $1 spent on card purchases, except spend at government bodies in Australia where you will earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.
  • $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year (conditions apply).

Pros

  • 55,000 bonus Qantas Points.
  • 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations each year.
  • Complimentary Qantas Wine Premium membership.

Cons

  • The annual fee of $450.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card

On NAB's website

NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card

Balance transfer

6 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

19.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$295.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn up to 110,000 bonus Qantas Points. Receive 90,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days from account approval date and 20,000 bonus points when you keep your card open for over 12 months. Terms and conditions apply.
  • Enjoy 0% on balance transfers for 6 months with 2% Balance Transfer Fee.
  • Reduced annual fee of $295 p.a. instead of $395 p.a. (saving you $100).

Pros

  • Complimentary Qantas Frequent Flyer membership fee valued at $99.50.
  • Six complimentary insurances when you make an eligible purchase.
  • Earn 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent on everyday purchases up to $5,000 per statement period then 0.05 pts per $1 spent thereafter (capped at $20,000).

Cons

  • Annual fee of $395 p.a. is quite high.
American Express Explorer Credit Card

On American Express' website

Apply by 3 May 2021

American Express Explorer Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.74% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$395.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive 90,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points and get $300 back when you apply online by 3 May 2021, are approved and spend $3,000 on your new Card within the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. New Card Members only.
  • Receive a $400 Travel Credit each year towards any flights, hotels and car hire when you book online with this card.
  • Earn 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on purchases except government bodies in Australia where you will earn 1 point per $1 spent (uncapped).

Pros

  • The 90,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points and $300 back when approved and reach spend requirement within the first 3 months.
  • $400 travel credit every year.
  • Get 2 complimentary airport lounge passes per year.

Cons

  • The $395 p.a. annual fee.
St.George Amplify Signature Credit Card (Amplify)

On St.George's website

Apply by 28 September 2021

St.George Amplify Signature Credit Card (Amplify)

Balance transfer

15 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

19.74% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$279.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn up to 200,000 Bonus Amplify Rewards Points over 2 years when you spend $12,000 on eligible purchases each year. Plus, receive a birthday points bonus of 10% of the points earned in the last 12 months.
  • 0% p.a. for 15 months on balance transfers with 1% balance transfer fee on amounts transferred.
  • Includes complimentary overseas travel insurance for up to 6 months

Pros

  • The 200,000 bonus Amplify Rewards Points.
  • 0% p.a. for 15 months on balance transfers.
  • Includes complimentary overseas travel insurance for up to 6 months

Cons

  • There is a 1% balance transfer fee.
  • The ongoing annual fee is high at $279 p.a.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature Credit Card (Amplify)

On Bank of Melbourne's website

Apply by 28 September 2021

Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature Credit Card (Amplify)

Balance transfer

15 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

19.74% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$279.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn up to 200,000 bonus Amplify Rewards Points over 2 years when you spend $12,000 on eligible purchases each year. Plus, receive a birthday points bonus of 10% of the points earned in the last 12 months.
  • 0% p.a. for 15 months on balance transfers with 1% balance transfer fee on amounts transferred.
  • Includes complimentary overseas travel insurance for up to 6 months

Pros

  • The 200,000 bonus Amplify Rewards Points.
  • 0% p.a. for 15 months on balance transfers.
  • Includes complimentary overseas travel insurance for up to 6 months

Cons

  • There is a 1% balance transfer fee.
  • The ongoing annual fee is high at $279 p.a.
BankSA Amplify Signature Credit Card (Amplify)

On BankSA's website

Apply by 28 September 2021

BankSA Amplify Signature Credit Card (Amplify)

Balance transfer

15 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

19.74% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$279.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn up to 200,000 Bonus Amplify Rewards Points over 2 years when you spend $12,000 on eligible purchases each year. Plus, receive a birthday points bonus of 10% of the points earned in the last 12 months.
  • 0% p.a. for 15 months on balance transfers with 1% balance transfer fee on amounts transferred.
  • Includes complimentary overseas travel insurance for up to 6 months.

Pros

  • The 200,000 bonus Amplify Rewards Points.
  • 0% p.a. for 15 months on balance transfers.
  • Includes complimentary overseas travel insurance for up to 6 months

Cons

  • There is a 1% balance transfer fee.
  • The ongoing annual fee is high at $279 p.a.

Overview

Black credit cards are top-of-the-range credit cards for personal and business use. Being able to bring one out of your wallet lets you make a statement about your financial status as well as enjoy higher earning rates for rewards points and better complimentary perks.

Black has higher status than a standard, gold or platinum card

There was a time when a gold card was aspirational, only to be kicked of its perch by the platinum card. But a black card is now the ultimate personal card.

Top card issuers use black cards to woo well-heeled customers

If you have a comfortable income and a high credit rating, you should be able to shop around to choose the most suitable black credit card from those issued by the Big Four banks plus American Express, Bankwest, Citi, HSBC and Macquarie. Some issuers may not use the word ‘Black’ in the card’s name, preferring terms like Premium, Diamond, Prestige, Premier, and more recently, Signature, but the card’s distinctive black livery is always an indication of its status and likely benefits.

Black card eligibility requirements

In order to apply for a black credit card you’re likely to need a regular income of $75,000 or more, plus a credit rating which is good or excellent. Get a free credit score check to find out if you qualify.

Black cards don’t come cheap

You’ll need to be prepared to pay a much higher than average annual fee for a black credit card. The current median fee lies in the range $300 to $400 p.a., although HSBC issues a black card with a much lower fee, while the fee for the Citi Prestige card is much higher.

You get what you pay for – and more

Although the annual fee for a black card is high, astute cardholders will be able to derive benefits whose value is far in excess of the fee charged. You don’t need to be a particularly big spender to recover the value of the annual fee in rewards points alone, provided you channel most of your spending through your card rather than using cash or other methods. And regular travellers will know the value of complimentary benefits like travel insurance and other insurance policies plus airport lounge passes, which in total can be worth around $1,500 p.a.

Standard black card benefits

Benefits vary significantly between cards. But you can expect to get the following advantages with nearly every black card:

  • Access to higher credit limits
  • Higher earning rate per dollar for rewards points
  • No points cap, or a generous cap
  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • Complimentary shopper’s insurance (extended warranty, purchase protection, price guarantee scheme)
  • Personal concierge service

High end black card benefits

Black credit cards with annual fees at the top of the range will usually come with some of the following additional perks:

  • Airport lounge full membership, or two single-visit passes annually
  • Free domestic return flight annually
  • Free airport transfers
  • Annual travel credit voucher
  • Better insurance cover
  • Luxury hotel group membership, free nights, room upgrades
  • Access to prestige shopping, golf, and other experiences
  • Other invitation-only events
  • Priority service for account queries, travel, concierge

It’s important to choose your black card carefully to make sure it comes with features you’ll use, rather than paying for benefits that are worthless because they don’t match your lifestyle.

Black credit card interest rates

Don’t expect a low interest rate to accompany your black credit card. The interest charged on overdue purchase balances is likely to be at least 20% p.a., with the cash advance rate being even higher.

In fact, it doesn’t make sense to choose a black credit card if you don’t plan to use it for every possible item of expenditure, and then pay off the balance in full at the end of each month. So the interest rate is only going to be an issue if you hit a temporary liquidity problem, or miss the payment due date by accident.

It’s simple: card issuers don’t market their black cards to people looking for low interest rates.

Derive more benefit with bonus points or a balance transfer

If you’re going to switch to a black credit card, you may as well derive every possible ounce of advantage from the changeover. Switching to a new bank or issuer for your black card could allow you to gain in two ways. You could:

  • Score a swag of sign-up loyalty points – possibly as many as 100,000 points if the offers are there
  • Bring your old card balance across to the new card and pay no interest on the balance for an extended period, perhaps as long as 20 months

In practice you’re more likely to be offered bonus points than a balance transfer with a black card, but it’s also worth watching out for introductory low or zero interest rates on purchases, or reduced first-year annual fees, both of which are offered from time to time.

Learn about black credit cards

What is a black credit card and do the benefits make it worth paying the annual fee?

  • Pros & cons

  • Tips

  • FAQs

Black credit cards are loaded with benefits

Banks love black credit card customers. They pay high annual fees and their big-spending lifestyle generates lots of lucrative merchant fees for the card issuer. So black credit cards come with lots of benefits to entice them to sign up and then retain their loyalty in subsequent years.

The points earning rate is usually high

Card issuers usually have a range of cards earning rewards or frequent flyer points at varying rates. Black credit cards sit at the top of the range and will typically have the highest points earning rate.

Points will be uncapped, or have a generous cap

Holders of black credit cards are typically big spenders, but that doesn't mean that they want to miss out on any value they're entitled to. So they don't appreciate annual or monthly caps which limit their points earning. Card issuers respond by having no cap on points, or a very generous cap designed to limit points only on truly colossal purchases (such as buying a new car with a credit card).

Mega sign-up bonuses

Black card sign-up points bonuses (or the more likely first-purchase bonus, linked to a spending target) are often spectacular. If you are in the market for a black card you may be able to choose from a range of cards offering a bonus of 75,000-100,000 points, or even more – enough to redeem for a long-haul flight.

High annual fee

There's no denying that black credit card annual fees are high. They can work out to be very expensive if you're not going to give the card a good workout every year, earning back the cost of the annual fee in the value of rewards points or other benefits.

High interest rate

A black credit card's interest rates on purchases and cash advances will be at the top end of the scale, likely to be at least 20% p.a. Instead, look for a low-cost, low-interest card if you expect to need cash advances or carry a balance from month to month.

Eligibility requirements

Qualifying for a black credit card is not easy. You'll have to jump through quite a few hoops. Your regular income will usually need to be at least $75,000, and your credit score will need to be at least 'Good', if not 'Very good' or 'Excellent'.

Don't consider a black card if you expect to pay interest

It's simply not worth applying for a black credit card if you expect to carry a balance on your account beyond the payment due date on a regular basis. Missing the occasional full repayment won't make much of a dent in the value of the card to you, but since black card interest rates are at the top of the scale, paying frequent interest charges will seriously erode the additional benefits and could negate them entirely.

Do your research – black cards are not all the same

Applying for a black card is a serious decision, and paying the annual fee is a big commitment. So make sure you get the right card first time by carefully checking that the specific benefits offered align with your lifestyle. While most people can make use of travel insurance, free flights and hotel privileges or discounts, not everyone will be interested in golf benefits or invitations to exclusive events. And don't assume that all black cards come with airport lounge access – most do, but not all. Aim to choose a card that will see you extracting maximum value for minimum cost.

Improve and maintain your credit score

Getting a free credit score check should be your first step before applying for a black card. You're going to need a score that is in the range 'Good' to 'Excellent'. We can help you with tips on how to improve your credit score.

Track your benefits and use them every year

Some black card benefits will expire if they are not used within 12 months of your card approval anniversary each year. They cannot be rolled over into the following year. You may also need to make a specific application for some of the benefits. For example, if your black card comes with two single-entry airport lounge passes each year, you may have to apply for the passes well in advance of the date you intend to use them, and if you don't use them in a particular year you will not be able to roll them over so that you have four lounge passes to use in the following year.

What exactly is a black credit card?

Although it also describes the colour of the card, the word ‘black’ actually refers to the card’s status when compared with other cards. A black card is higher up the ladder than gold and platinum, comes with more complimentary benefits, often has a higher and less restricted loyalty points earning rate, and inevitably costs more in terms of the annual fee.

Who should consider applying for a black credit card?

Black credit cards are intended for higher income earners, relatively big spenders who make most of their purchases using a credit card. They are probably regular travellers for either business or leisure. The extra rewards points they can earn, and additional complimentary benefits they can make use of, allow them to recoup far more than the value of the high annual fee.

Are black credit cards better than gold or platinum cards?

Black cards are better in the sense that they have a higher status and more benefits than gold or platinum cards from the same issuer. They also have higher annual fees.

Who are the issuers of black credit cards?

The Big Four banks plus American Express, Bankwest, Citi, HSBC and Macquarie. The word ‘black’ may not always appear in the card’s name. Some black card issuers use terms like Premium, Diamond, Prestige, Premier and Signature.

How much does it cost to have a black credit card?

Currently most black cards have an annual fee in the $300 to $400 range. The Citi Prestige card has a much higher fee ($700, or $749 if you choose to earn Qantas points) but its complimentary benefits are stellar.

What sort of benefits can I expect with a black credit card?

Black credit cards are almost always rewards cards, with a higher points earning rate per dollar spent. There will be no monthly points cap to limit earning; if there is a cap, it is likely to be a generous one. Complimentary benefits usually include travel insurance, shopper’s insurance and a concierge service, as a minimum. Some black cards offer airport lounge access passes, free flights or travel vouchers, luxury hotel group membership, prestige events and more.

Are the extra benefits worth the higher fee?

Cardholders who are relatively big spenders and regular travellers, who channel the majority of their spending through a single black card and pay off their card balance every month, should have no problem recouping the value of the fee several times over every year.

Are there any black credit cards with low interest rates?

No. Black credit cards are not aimed at cardholders who are concerned about interest rates because they expect to have an unpaid purchase balance for long periods. Interest rates on black cards usually exceed 20% p.a.

Can I get sign-up bonus points with a black credit card?

Definitely. Most black credit cards offer at least 75,000 sign up bonus points, and the number can be as high as 100,000 or even 150,000. The offers go up and down, and a card’s bonus points offer may occasionally disappear altogether for a short period. But at any one time there are usually several black cards offering bonus points.

Most credit cards with bonus points require cardholders to reach a set spending target within the first two or three months of holding the card.

What are the eligibility requirements for a black credit card?

Most card issuers are looking for a minimum income of $75,000 and a good or excellent credit rating, which you can check here.