Black credit cards are the plastic that's packed with perks

Black credit cards are the plastic that's packed with perks

Platinum credit cards? They're old school – and black is the new cool.

Earn more frequent flyer points on every dollar spent, and in many cases without an artificial limit on how many points you can earn each month.

Enjoy free entry into airport lounges around the world, and free room upgrades at major hotel chains.

And beyond the usual Platinum inclusions of travel insurance and a telephone concierge service, some Black cards provide complimentary limousine airport transfers and even your own personal shopper at Harrods plus free car parking.

Sounds like this is your type of card? Here's the best of the black.

Maximise your frequent flyer points

Whip out a Black-level AMEX card from American Express Australia, ANZ, Commonwealth Bank or Westpac to earn up to 1.5 frequent flyer points for every dollar you spend.

For example, the American Express Explorer card will hoover up 1.5 frequent flyer points with Virgin Australia, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines or Thai Airways for every dollar you spend on most purchases – and without an artificial bank-imposed cap.

The same is true of the ANZ Qantas Frequent Flyer Black AMEX with Qantas and also the ANZ Rewards Black AMEX with Virgin Australia Velocity – the latter earning you 50% more Velocity Points than on the equivalent ANZ Rewards Platinum AMEX.

Some cards amp up the earning rate once you're overseas: for example, the Citi Prestige Visa Infinite card delivers up to 2.5 frequent flyer points per Aussie dollar spent.

Airport lounge access

While many Platinum-grade cards offer two airport lounge visits each year, many Black cards swap that out for unlimited visits to lounges across the globe.

Citi Prestige bundles free Priority Pass 'Prestige' lounge membership – normally retailing for US$409 (A$535) – which gets you through the door at over 900 lounges worldwide, including the new Plaza Premium Lounge at Brisbane.

ANZ’s Rewards Black and Frequent Flyer Black cards invite you into 60+ lounges across the globe via the independent Véloce Lounge network, with the frequent flyer card adding two free Qantas Club visits and savings of up to $475 in your first year of paid Qantas Club membership.

What's more, both ANZ Black cards also come with two free visits each year to the American Express Lounge at Sydney Airport; and when combined with all of your other lounge options, gives you coverage across domestic and international airports in Australia and many others across the globe.

More black credit card travel perks

While all these cards offer varying degrees of travel insurance, some go above and beyond in travel perks – such as the $395/year AMEX Explorer Card, which includes $400 in travel credit each year.

You can spend that credit on flights with your preferred airline or hotel stays at the property of your choice, among other things. If you already spend $400 or more on travel each year, this card pays for itself from the get-go.

CBA Diamond and Westpac Black also include a fast-track to Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status after spending just one night in a Starwood hotel in the Asia Pacific region and paying the bill with either bank’s MasterCard.

Helping to justify its higher $700 annual fee (or $749 with Qantas Points), Citi Prestige instead throws in a free hotel night, two airport limousine transfers and a Harrods Black Tier Card for VIP treatment at the iconic London chain, including free car parking and personal shopping.

Australia's best black credit cards

Ready to go black? Here's our list of Australia's top black cards:

Remember: those annual fees may seem steep, but the right black card will quickly pay for itself.

Also read: Five reasons to grab an ANZ Black credit card

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

7 comments

  • grov

    grov

    26 Sep, 2016 01:40 pm

    I'm always puzzled when you quote the CBA black fees Chris, as I only pay $119 pa. I'm not complaining though...
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    26 Sep, 2016 01:47 pm

    We quote the fees as publicly disclosed by each bank and as apply to new customers. Some existing customers may be paying different fees or may have negotiated or accepted a switch from one product to another at a lower annual fee, but individual circumstances like that aren't for us to cover. :)

    No member give thanks

  • Matt J

    MattJelonek

    26 Sep, 2016 02:02 pm

    But VISA's still only offer 0.5 points per dollar? 
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    26 Sep, 2016 02:28 pm

    The cards above are the top cards from each bank, and as always, earning rates vary from bank to bank based on product and card type. ANZ's Qantas FF Black Visa earns 0.75/$1, for example, while the Westpac Altitude Black MasterCard gets 0.625/$1 in Australia and 1.5/$1 overseas. Citi Prestige (Visa), Macquarie Black (Visa) and Virgin Money High Flyer (Visa) all have the ability to earn at least one frequent flyer point per dollar spent (some have caps/tiers).
    No member give thanks

  • Jono

    Jono

    26 Sep, 2016 03:06 pm

    Given they're the only major bank not in this game yet, I still think the best option for NAB would be to create black card equivalents to their current platinum offering.

    Same everything but with an annual lounge membership to either VA or QF, depending on the card.
    No member give thanks

  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    26 Sep, 2016 08:44 pm

    Another big perk with Citi Prestige is the 4th night free benefit with hotels.com. Unlike many other so called free nights where you need to pay full retail rates for other nights, the Citi 4th night is applicable even on the cheapest "secret price" with hotels.com, excluding tax. I have saved thousands of dollars in hotel fee using this benefit. 
    No member give thanks

  • Steve987

    Steve987

    3 Oct, 2016 08:53 am

    Be aware that ANZ does not keep its website up to date with lounge listing. Was caught out in Bali a few months back.
    No member give thanks

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19 Jul, 2019 10:59 pm

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