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The Magical “Black Card” — The Lifestyle Credit Card With Its Own Price Tag

By Eric Adamowsky | Small Business

Once an individual reaches a certain financial status, they often surround themselves with where the prestige is much higher than the function. Of course a Camry would get them from point A to point B, but a Rolls-Royce Phantom is much more enjoyable. A Seiko will tell the time and date, but a Patek Philipe is considered a collectable work of art. For the consumer that is used to the luxury lifestyle, a “Platinum” credit card doesn’t turn any heads; they need one that really stands out. Below is a dialogue discussing the very top of the line credit cards and charge cards that are reserved for a different level of spender. 

I live a luxurious life, buy nice things, take exotic trips and want a credit card that will reflect my lifestyle while providing benefits. What do you suggest?

There lies a realm of credit cards beyond the usual offers from Citibank or Capital One that are reserved for individuals in the upper echelons of income, assets, and most importantly spending habits. These are the premier credit cards that are sure to get you noticed: Centurion Card (American Express), Palladium Card (JPMorgan Chase), Black Card (VISA).

What differentiates these cards from each other?

Known officially as the Centurion Card, this credit card stands a few steps above any others in terms of its status and ability to impress people. Adored by rappers, athletes and corporate titans, the Centurion Card is used to purchase cars, homes, even planes. You need to get an invite for this card based on being a big-spending Platinum card holder.

The Palladium Card is a newer kid on the high-end card block that was released in 2009. It’s trying to be a direct challenge to the Centurion Card, and is actively adding new benefits in order to foster some competition. Unlike the Centurion card, the Palladium is a charge and credit card, so consumers can carry a balance with it.

Despite its name, the VISA Black Card does not carry the same requirements or wow factor possessed by the two powerhouses, but still offers a host of benefits.

What are some of the specific requirements and benefits of each?

Centurion Card:

  • An average of $16.3 million in assets, according to Wall Street Journal data
  • Reported $2,500 annual fee and $7,500 initial fee
  • No spending limit
  • Luxury gifts
  • Access to hotel, concierge and private jet rewards that are not available for other cardholders

Palladium Card:

  • Users must hold at least $2 million in assets with J.P. Morgan Investment Services
  • An expanded concierge which offers clients assistance beyond the normal travel planning
  • A low $595 annual fee
  • A quality rewards program with 35,000 bonus rewards for spending $100,000 or more in a year (which isn’t hard for most cardholders)
  • An extra hour of flight time on a Marquis Jet contract. An hour can range from $6,000 to $12,000.

Black Card:

  • Unlimited airport lounge visits with many participating airlines
  • $495 annual fee
  • Luxury gifts from quality brands
  • 24-hour concierge services

What are you waiting for?

These cards do offer purchasing power and a certain image that simply cannot be matched by the typical platinum rewards card. And some of the rewards can be great – for example a first-class companion upgrade on a flight can be worth thousands. The high annual fees are simply trivial for the target user, and they do feature tangible rewards that fit well with the lifestyles of the rich and maybe famous.

The Centurion and Palladium cards are physically different from the regular plastic ones as well, as the Centurion is made out of anodized titanium and the Palladium actually contains a small amount of its namesake precious metal. And not all of the cardholders embrace only luxury products, with six percent of Centurion holders reporting they own a Hyundai vehicle (see infographic below). This doesn’t mean they aren’t prone to extravagance. Business owner Victor Shvetsy reportedly bought a $52 million plane on his Centurion card, and a European cardholder used the concierge service to locate and transport Kevin Costner’s horse from “Dances with Wolves.”

If you can qualify or get invited for the Palladium or Centurion card or even the Black Card, then by all means dive in. They present to the world a certain level of success that simply cannot be matched with ordinary “plastic.”

The Magical Black Card — The Lifestyle Credit Card With Its Own Price Tag image CCI Centurion InfographicThe Magical Black Card — The Lifestyle Credit Card With Its Own Price Tag

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