The Black Cards - A Tale of Two Charge Cards
The Visa Black Card is a tremendously-marketed charge card with an annual fee of almost $500, and many different amenities that attempt to justify paying $42 per month just for the privilege of buying things on credit. Designed primarily for the image-conscious frequent traveler, the Visa Black is tailor-made to corral the gaze of most bystanders – unless those bystanders have an AMEX Centurion.
The true, unofficially-named Black Card is actually the black-clad Visa's predecessor; available only to the rich or the rich and famous. Made by American Express, this super-card requires not that you merely make $250,000 per annum; but that you charge at least that much even to be available for an invitation! But once you get it; watch out: the card has been known to buy fully-decked out Bentley Coupes and other monstrous purchases that other credit cards wouldn’t even dream of.
The fact is, Visa Black credit card’s marketing team got the brilliant idea to capitalize on the mystique and sheer unavailability of the AMEX Centurion by offering this card to the general public. Scintillating commercials with the beautiful model Donna Feldman, virtually shimmering in all black ensembles (black wetsuits, black bathing suits, sleek black dress, etc), with the tantalizing images of a day job that consists of only play with black helicopters and black boats and black motorcycles, have most certainly done their part in affirming the exclusivity of the credit card.
Visa Black Terms and Expectations
Specifically, the Visa Black Card offers a personal concierge service that can aid the erstwhile card-holder with any number of fairly pedestrian requests; unlike the AMEX Centurion, which specializes in unusual requests for the very rich. Think of it as an assistant in a strange city, doing things for you that you could do by yourself, but nonetheless making it more convenient by taking it off your hands for you.
The Visa Black gives rewards points for each and every purchase, by the dollar. This has the potential to make the annual fee essentially disappear for the spender; although, since many cards give rewards points, it’s still money not going into your pocket that otherwise could be. This is, however, a luxury card and you should expect to pay for it if you desire the status.
A few other things the Black Card gives are airport lounge access with the Priority Pass (over 600 airports in 90 countries), travel insurance, extended warranty on purchases, etc.
Exclusivity Comes at a Price
You probably won’t be getting the Visa Black Card invitation in the mail if your credit score isn’t fairly great; but some people have reported receiving an application even though their scores are merely good. Receiving an application, however, is far from approval. Nonetheless, the credit line established will be dependent on this score. Relegated to just 1% of the population, over 3 million Americans may one day be flashing the Black Card; thereby relegating its claims of exclusivity to the advertising dustbin.