Exuding an aura of mystery, the Black Card by Visa and the Centurion Card by American Express are two types of high-end credit/reward cards designed for a higher echelon of spenders. Both programs offer exclusive VIP-oriented rewards not ordinarily available to "plain vanilla" reward cardholders, in exchange for relatively steep annual fees. The Visa Black Card allows anyone to apply online, while the Centurion Card does not.
Visa Black: Program Highlights
The Visa Black Card is a stainless steel credit card that offers members exclusive benefits. For an annual fee of $495, members get access to a rewards program that includes 24-hour concierge services, unlimited access to airport lounges worldwide, a subscription to Luxury Magazine and VIP treatment at over 3,000 properties throughout the world. As of 2015, the annual percentage rate is 14.99 percent, and new cardholders get 25,000 bonus points for spending $1,500 in the first 90 days.
Visa Black: How to Apply
You can apply for the Visa Black Card by phone or online. You will be asked to supply personal, employment and financial information, including your occupation and annual income. You must also provide security information. You can add a second user and request a balance transfer on the application. You must agree to the terms and conditions to complete the process. If you are approved, your card is sent by next-day FedEx delivery.
American Express Centurion Card: Membership Details
The Centurion Card from American Express is an anodized titanium card issued by one of two banks: American Express Centurion Bank or American Express Bank. The Centurion Card has an initiation fee of $7,500 and an annual membership fee of $2,500. The company is secretive about the benefits of its exclusive card, but consumer credit resource Credit Card Insider contends that membership comes with automatic premium status at leading airlines, hotels and car rental agencies, standing reservations at fine dining establishments, and no preset spending limit.
American Express Centurion Card: Invitation Only
According to Credit Card Insider, you don't apply for the American Express Centurion Card. The company invites you to apply if you meet certain criteria, such as being a current American Express cardholder for at least a year and charging $250,000 on that card annually. While the company is hush-hush about specific requirements, as of 2014, existing cardholders purportedly have an average of $16.3 million in assets and earn an average $1.3 million annually. The Centurion Card does not bear an interest rate because the balance must be paid in full each month.