What is the most prestigious credit card?

If you’re looking for prominence and distinction in a credit card, look no further.

The American Express Centurion, also known as the Black Card, has served the highest tier of American Express cardholders since 1999. Named after the Manhattan credit card brand’s iconic centurion head logo, this card is traditionally made of titanium and issued by invitation-only to the wealthiest American Express Platinum cardholders.

This card is so exclusive that none of this information is actually published on the company’s website. But rumour has it you have to spend US$250,000 a year on your Platinum Amex card before you’ll be eligible to receive an elusive Black Card invitation. Several years ago it was also reported that Centurion cardholders had average annual household incomes of approximately $1.3 million and net worths of about $16 million – figures which have probably increased by now. You get the idea.

Features of the Amex Centurion credit card

If you’re aiming for one of these prestigious credit cards, here’s what you need to know about it:

  • Invitation-only. Despite the mystery shrouding the Black Card, one thing is for sure – you can only get one of these by invitation from American Express. You’d usually also have to already hold an American Express Platinum card with a proven high annual expenditure.
  • Establishment fee. This varies depending on the country of issue, but in America your one-time initiation fee is currently US$7,500. It is also rumoured to be the same in Australia.
  • Annual fee. Similarly, this fee will vary depending on your country of issue. It is currently reported to be US$2,500 in America and AUD$5,000 in Australia.
  • Titanium card. Crafted out of anodised titanium, the Black Card is laser-etched to display your card information. A plastic version of the card is also issued in some countries, for ease of walking through metal detectors and such.
  • Charge card. The Black Card is technically a charge card, not a credit card. This means that you are not charged an interest rate on purchases and are required to repay your full balance by the due date on each statement. If you don’t, you could be charged a late fee or have the card suspended.
  • No spending limit. Since it’s a charge card, there is no stated credit limit on the Black Card, although American Express commonly practises allocating a “spend ceiling” on your card based on past spending and repayment patterns.
  • Travel benefits. The Black Card gives you access to premium airport lounges and clubs worldwide, complimentary companion airline tickets on select airlines, flight upgrades and travel insurance covers.
  • Hotel benefits. This card also offers hotel upgrades and free additional nights at participating hotel chains globally.
  • Rental cars and other driving perks. Limousines, luxury sports cars and Formula One rides are all accessible rentals to the Black Card holder.
  • Shopping benefits. The Amex Centurion entitles you to your own personal shopper, exclusive luxury brand sales, advance tickets to exclusive events, and VIP access to practically anything money can buy.
  • 24/7 concierge. Possibly the most celebrated perk of the card, you’ll also have 24/7 personal concierge services for almost anything you want, including getting you a table at the most chic booked-out restaurants, arranging your last-minute travel itinerary, or buying your kid the perfect pet – whatever you need done.

Prestigious credit cards in Australia

While the Centurion may be out of reach to you at this point, there are other exclusive credit cards in Australia that offer a range of perks and features similar to the prestigious cards above. The table below outlines some key perks and features of prestigious black and platinum credit cards on the Australian market.

Rates last updated May 25th, 2018
Name Product Bonus Points Rewards Program Rewards Points per $ spent Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
American Express Platinum Card
80,000 bonus points
Membership Rewards Premium Ascent


1
$1,200 p.a.
Receive an annual $300 Platinum Travel Credit, 80,000 bonus Membership Rewards points and access to more than 1,100 VIP lounges worldwide.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
75,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($425 p.a. thereafter)
Get 75,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the spend requirement, a $0 first year annual fee & 2 yearly complimentary Qantas Club invitations.
ANZ Rewards Black Credit Card
75,000 bonus points
ANZ Rewards Program


2
18.79% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($375 p.a. thereafter)
Receive 75,000 bonus points when you meet the spend requirement. Plus, complimentary lounge passes and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
Citi Prestige Card
150,000 bonus points
Citi Rewards Program


3
20.99% p.a.
$700 p.a.
Reward yourself luxuriously with 150,000 bonus Points, free hotel stays, exclusive events and unlimited airport lounge access with Priority Pass.

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Compare other prestigious credit cards

Rates last updated May 25th, 2018
Name Product Bonus Points Rewards Program Rewards Points per $ spent Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
HSBC Rewards Plus


1
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a 0% p.a. for 22 months balance transfer, $0 annual fee for the first year and an annual fee refund each year when you spend $6,000.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
60,000 bonus points
Velocity Frequent Flyer


0.66
20.74% p.a.
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 60,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months and enjoy a discounted annual fee of $64 for the first year.
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Platinum card benefits including complimentary insurance, plus first year annual fee waiver and 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
60,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1
19.99% p.a.
$199 p.a.
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months of card approval, plus enjoy complimentary travel insurance.
Bendigo Bank Platinum Rewards Mastercard
Bendigo Rewards


1.5
19.99% p.a.
$89 p.a.
Earn 1.5 Bendigo Rewards points per $1 spent. Receive complimentary insurance covers, plus, access to Mastercard Priceless Cities.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
Citi Rewards Program


1
20.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Earn reward Points per $1 spent, take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 26 month balance transfer offer, plus complimentary international travel insurance.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Velocity Frequent Flyer


0.66
20.74% p.a.
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of 0% p.a. on balance transfers for up to 18 months. $64 in the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter), plus, bonus Velocity Points.
St.George Amplify Platinum
50,000 bonus points
Amplify Rewards / Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.5
19.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Receive 50,000 bonus Amplify or Qantas Points when you spend $2,000 within 90 days and earn 0.5 Qantas Points or 1 Amplify Point per $1 spent.
NAB Low Fee Platinum Card
19.74% p.a.
$90 p.a.
Offers 7 complimentary insurance covers, a 0% p.a. for 24 month balance transfer and access to a 24/7 concierge service for a $90 p.a. annual fee.
Citi Platinum Credit Card - 100k Bonus Points
100,000 bonus points
Citi Rewards Program


1
20.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 100,000 reward Points, enjoy a long-term balance transfer offer, a discounted first year annual fee and complimentary travel insurance.
St.George Amplify Signature - Qantas
90,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.75
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
Receive 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days and receive two complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
55,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1.5
20.74% p.a.
$450 p.a.
Receive 55,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year and 2 yearly complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum
65,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.75
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($295 p.a. thereafter)
Receive 65,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, a $0 annual fee for the first year.
ANZ Low Rate Platinum
11.49% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months with no BT fee, combined with platinum card privileges and complimentary insurances.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
Velocity Frequent Flyer


0.66
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 20.74% p.a.)
$129 p.a.
Buy now and pay later with 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 14 months. Plus, 0% p.a. on balance transfers for up to 6 months.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Platinum Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
$89 p.a.
Offers premium features such as mobile phone and tablet insurance and purchase protections, plus, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
Westpac 55 Day Platinum Credit Card
19.84% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($90 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a 20 month balance transfer offer, up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, a platinum concierge service and a $0 first year annual fee.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
Membership Rewards


1
20.74% p.a.
$195 p.a.
Receive a yearly $200 Travel Credit and complimentary domestic and international travel insurance, plus 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
50,000 bonus points
Velocity Frequent Flyer


1.5
20.74% p.a.
$375 p.a.
Receive 50,000 bonus Velocity Points, a complimentary Virgin Australia return Economy domestic flight each anniversary year, plus, 2 lounge passes.
Bendigo Bank Qantas Platinum Mastercard
Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.6
19.99% p.a.
$149 p.a.
Earn 0.6 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases, get 180 days of comprehensive travel insurance and extended warranty on purchases.

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Rates last updated May 25th, 2018
Name Product Bonus Points Rewards Program Rewards Points per $ spent Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
Qantas American Express Premium Card
30,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1.25
20.74% p.a.
$249 p.a.
Enjoy 30,000 bonus Qantas Points, 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year and the protection of complimentary insurance covers.
American Express Gold Business Card
10,000 bonus points
Membership Rewards Ascent


1
$169 p.a.
Take advantage of 10,000 bonus points, no pre-set spending limit, data that feeds to MYOB and up to 51 days interest-free on purchases.

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Rates last updated May 25th, 2018
Name Product Bonus Points Rewards Program Rewards Points per $ spent Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
American Express Explorer Credit Card
50,000 bonus points
Membership Rewards Gateway


2
20.74% p.a.
$395 p.a.
Receive 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, a yearly $400 Travel Credit and 2 entries per year to the American Express Lounge.
St.George Amplify Signature - Qantas
90,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


0.75
19.49% p.a.
$279 p.a.
Receive 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days and receive two complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
75,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($425 p.a. thereafter)
Get 75,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the spend requirement, unlimited Véloce airport lounge access and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
55,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1.5
20.74% p.a.
$450 p.a.
Receive 55,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year and 2 yearly complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations.
Citi Prestige Card
150,000 bonus points
Citi Rewards Program


3
20.99% p.a.
$700 p.a.
Reward yourself luxuriously with 150,000 bonus Points, free hotel stays, exclusive events and unlimited airport lounge access with Priority Pass.
ANZ Rewards Black Credit Card
75,000 bonus points
ANZ Rewards Program


2
18.79% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($375 p.a. thereafter)
Receive 75,000 bonus points when you meet the spend requirement. Plus, complimentary lounge passes and a $0 annual fee for the first year.

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businessCCtieThe Centurion has inspired a range of other prestigious and exclusive credit cards with similar features. From gold plating to pure gold, rare metals to solitaire diamonds, these cards have each sought to outdo the other with extravagance and lustre. Based on exclusivity, perks and status, the top five prestigious credit cards in the world by our estimation are:

  1. American Express Centurion. This Amex card is widely-acknowledged as the first, and most prestigious, invitation-only black card in the world.
  2. JPMorgan Chase Palladium. Made of metal, palladium and 24K gold, this card is also issued by invitation alone to JPMorgan’s private banking wealth management and investment banking clients with investments of at least US$30million.
  3. Dubai First Royale Mastercard. Trimmed with gold and embedded with a .235-carat solitaire diamond, this card is only offered to royalty and ultra-millionaires in the UAE.
  4. Coutts World Silk Card. This tastefully unembellished card is only available to UK private bank Coutts clients only.
  5. Sberbank Visa Infinite Gold Card. This card is made of gold and is adorned with .17 carats worth of diamonds – and that’s before you get to any of the privileges and perks that come with it. With a reported upfront cost of US$100,000 (approximately AUD$132,600), Kazakhstan’s Sberbank has only issued it to 100 of its top clients.

The most exclusive credit cards in the world

Credit cards can represent much more than just a payment option or line of credit. In fact, your credit card can also be a visible symbol of status and distinction. Remember, though, that there can be a hefty price tag for this type of prestige, usually in the form of high annual fees.

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Annual fee

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HSBC Platinum Credit Card
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Interest rate

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NAB Low Fee Card
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Interest rate

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    EranOctober 21, 2015

    Hi! I have a black card with Westpac.

    I was wondering if they also do a metal/steel version of the card ?

    Their plastic black are very bad quality

    • Staff
      AllyOctober 22, 2015Staff

      Hi Eran,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      For a list of Black credit cards, kindly refer to this page.

      Cheers,
      Ally

  2. Default Gravatar
    TomMarch 19, 2015

    Is it possible to get the visa black, or any other metal credit card in Australia besides the centurion?

    • Staff
      JonathanMarch 20, 2015Staff

      Hi Tom, thanks for your inquiry!

      For a list of Black credit cards please see this page.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

    • Default Gravatar
      March 20, 2015

      Thanks Jonathan,

      I have the Citi bank – visa infinite card but was wondering if there are any metal credit cards, besides the centurion available in Australia.

    • Staff
      JonathanMarch 20, 2015Staff

      Hi Tom, thanks for your response.

      Please see this page for other metal credit cards.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

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