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What’s so special about a black card?

The black card in the world of credit cards is like a mythical creature. Often whispered about and light on details, these premium credit cards are typically invite only.

In fact, the most famous black card, the American Express Centurion Card, was originally just a myth until American Express decided to capitalise on the idea that it had some secret credit card available only for elite customers.

But what is a black card beyond its colour and status symbol, and is it something you would want?

All style, no substance?

Some people find a certain level of satisfaction at being able to place a black premium credit card down to cover the bill, but other than the status symbol of such a product is there much else to it?

Black cards or premium credit cards usually come with stringent eligibility criteria and a hefty price tag. Typically you would need to be a high net worth individual and plan to spend a large chunk of money on your card each year.

Even if you manage to obtain an invitation for a black card, you are then required to pay a large annual fee and maybe even some initial set-up costs. So what do you get in return?

Typically cards like this offer travel insurance, access to airport lounges and concierge services. With different types of cards you can earn different types of rewards points, often including airmiles, but it does seem that the luxurious perks attached to the card are the main draw. After all, the argument goes, if you are a high flyer and can pay afford to pay to make your life more convenient, then why don’t you?

Sign me up

Finding the best black card deals isn’t as easy as searching on your favourite comparison site (hello MyWalletHero!). In fact, it’s hard to find some black cards on the card providers’ own websites. So how do you get hold of a black card?

Typically you will be invited to apply for this type of card if you are already a cardholder with a provider and have proved to be a good customer. Then it depends on the provider’s own criteria as to whether you qualify to apply. Some may specify a minimum annual salary of £70,000 or even higher. For others, you may be required to have investments equating to a particular amount.

Basically, what it comes down to is that the notorious black card is out of reach for the average borrower. Designed for those who move in different circles, a black card is not something that you will see every day.

So does that mean you are missing out? If you ask me… not really. There are lots of high street credit cards that may offer you some perks without the large spend commitment and annual fee. It may not be the same level of perks, but I myself am quite happy with a 0.5% cashback offer or Tesco Clubcard points.

Funnily enough, I don’t have a spare £5,000 lying around to buy my ticket into the black credit card club, and even if I did I’m not sure I would want to. Just because it seems like something you should aspire to, doesn’t always mean it’s worth it.

You don't need a black card to get rewarded for your spending. Ready to find the card right for you? MyWalletHero has a list of our favourite rewards cards to get you started.

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