Visa is introducing a new credit card catered to consumers who spend $50,000 or more a year. The Visa Black Card looks similar to the American Express Centurion Card, which was created about a decade ago after that company wanted to capitalize on rumors of a super-exclusive black card. The Visa approach is more on par with the American Express Platinum Card, however.
The first thing you notice, beyond the carbon graphite blackness, is the $495 annual fee. This is well below the $2,500 fee for the Centurion Card, but close to the AmEx Platinum’s $450. If you qualify for the Visa Black Card, this fee will pay for a 24-hour, 7-day concierge service to help with restaurant recommendations and reservations, golf reservations, travel assistance, and specialty research and shopping. In other words, you can call the concierge and accomplish just about anything.
Here’s an example of the card’s concierge service mentioned on AdSavvy:
[A professional NFL football player] was on vacation with his family when a massive storm essentially shutdown the resort and island they were on, no commercial flights at all. He called his concierge and has a charter flight arranged, which allowed him to avoid the mayhem resulting from the storm crushing [the] island. Sure, he paid handsomely for the charter, but he watched the aftermath of the storm on his television at home instead of living through it.
Throughout the year, you will receive “luxury gifts” from Visa for no additional cost.
According to the card’s application, only 1% of U.S. residents will qualify. I’ve seen reports, however, that people who are not necessarily big spenders are applying for and qualifying for the card. Some who are accepted have average credit scores and low income. This is not what you would expect from a card that claims to be super-exclusive, but it’s bound to make certain people feel good about themselves.
The Visa Black Card offers 1% cash back or points redeemable for travel on all purchases. While you’re traveling, you can access airport VIP lounges affiliated with Priority Pass. Right now, Visa is also offering a 0% balance transfer offer, which includes a 3% fee. This fee is restricted with a minimum of $5, and while the current offers is in place, a maximum of $50.
For big spenders, the $495 annual fee is easily paid for by cash back and concierge services. As someone who has enough trouble making my Netflix subscription worthwhile, this card probably isn’t for me.
Updated March 19, 2011 and originally published January 9, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @flexo on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.