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:
- American Express Explorer Card ($395 annual fee)
- ANZ Qantas Frequent Flyer Black ($425 annual fee, currently waived in the first year)
- ANZ Rewards Black ($375 annual fee)
- Citi Prestige ($700-$749 annual fee)
- Commonwealth Bank Diamond Awards ($349-$379 annual fee)
- Macquarie Black Card ($249-$299 annual fee)
- St. George Amplify Signature ($279 annual fee)
- Virgin Money Velocity High Flyer Card ($289 annual fee)
- Westpac Altitude Black ($395 annual fee)
Remember: those annual fees may seem steep, but the right black card will quickly pay for itself.
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