In recent years, there has been some confusion about the prestigious black cards that are on the credit card market, inundated as we are by commercials depicting scenes of wealth and beautiful, black-clad women and toys usually reserved for the rich. To clarify; there are really only two such charge-cards worth mentioning; one of them is truly a Black Card, whereas the other is a card that happens – not by accident, as we shall see – to be black.
The American Express Centurion Black Card is definitely a card out of the reach of the average consumer, and was often spoke about in hushed tones a decade ago. There are no commercials about this credit card; and for good reason: it simply isn’t available for “purchase.” First of all, you have to spend – easily spend, in fact - $250,000 per year (actually, you have to charge that much on the card, which suggests that you likely spend considerably more than even that annually).
Next, you have to be financially comfortable enough to fork over the $10,000 initiation fee, as well as $2,500 every year you hold the card. While it should be obvious that the benefits of having the Centurion Black Card are deemed worthwhile to the wealthy, most of them are things you and I (presumably) are used to taking care of ourselves, or simply doing without, unlike the rich and famous. Private boarding on airplanes, baggage handling, round-the-clock personal concierge service, and private shopping after-hours don’t usually warrant any conception on my part; seeing as how I fly coach or business, get my own luggage, Google stuff, and shop on sale days when the store’s packed.
The other black card is the highly-visible and thoroughly-marketed Visa Black Card, which is but a shell of its predecessor; which is not to say that the card isn’t worth it to the right patron! It all depends on why you would hanker for the Visa Black; is it for the type of status that your bank account doesn’t actually reflect? Or, are you comfortably middle-class and convinced you’re on your way to the Promised Land? Are you within a stone’s throw of a Mercedes, instead of a Maybach?
If so, then there are certainly better cards out there for you, in a practical sense. With a $495 annual fee – this comes out to just $41 monthly – and a host of similar, though lower-quality benefits as the American Express Centurion, the young professional, businesswoman, entrepreneur or frequent traveler could benefit from being able to slide the prestigious Visa Black out of his or her wallet or purse.
Visa launched their brilliant marketing campaign to capitalize on the mystique of the Centurion Black Card; and, despite the many benefits of the Visa Black, make no mistake that it is a black card, not the Black Card.