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What is a Black Card and How Do You Get One in Canada?

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Last updated on September 14, 2022
Black Card

Looking for a new credit card? Want to know that all of your purchases will always go through, no matter the cost? Fancy a card with an air of mystery and bling? Chances are you want a Black Card.

Black Cards are uber-exclusive status symbol credit or charge cards that come with exclusive perks. Think think 24/7 concierge, no purchase is too big type perks.

Although there’s usually some disagreement on which specific cards fall under the Black Card umbrella, it’s known that these cards are expensive and relatively tough to get.

One of the most famous is the American Express Centurion Black Card. It is by invitation-only and rumoured to require an interview before your final approval.

Like we said, these cards are exclusive. However, some cards are easier than others to apply for. You may just need a moderately high income and respectable credit score.

All about the Centurion Black Card

Unfortunately, if you’ve got your eye on the Centurion Black Card, you’ll need to buckle up for a wild ride. While no one knows the exact qualifications for an invitation, it’s rumoured that you’ll need to spend over $500,000/year on an American Express Platinum Card.

Centurion Black Card perks

While it’s extremely difficult to land a Centurion Black Card, the charge card nevertheless comes with an impressive list of perks. While exact benefits vary from account to account since rewards are generally based on your consumer profile, you can expect:

  • Extensive concierge services
  • Flight upgrades
  • Complementary flight companion tickets
  • Hotel upgrades
  • Invitation-only events
  • Luxury car rentals, and more.

Even better, the Centurion Black Card doesn’t actually have a credit limit,though you may have to call ahead before authorising multi-million dollar charges. The card itself is also a status symbol and comes with major bragging rights.

Excited? If you’d like to get your hands on a Centurion Black Card, you’re not alone.

However, since it’s so difficult to qualify for an invitation, you may be better off by applying for cards that have similar benefits but are slightly less exclusive.

In some cases, the Centurion Black Card alternatives may even provide you with better valuation—or pave your way towards the highly coveted card.

Best Black Card alternatives for Canadians

The cards below are much easier to get your hands on than the American Express Centurion Black Card. You can can apply to them directly rather than waiting for an invitation.

However, they still have substantial requirements. If you’d like to view and compare additional credit cards, check out our credit card comparison tool.

HSBC World Elite Mastercard

HSBC World Elite Mastercard

Annual fee: $149

Additional card fee (per card): $50/year

Required income: $80,000 personal/$150,000 household incom/$400,000 in liquid assets managed by a Canadian financial institution

If you’re always travelling and are looking for a great deal that doesn’t require a huge upfront fee, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard might be your best bet. The card offers up to 3% of travel expenses back in rewards that you’ll only be able to put back into travel.

Since you won’t get a companion pass, this card is for someone who travels alone or plans trips in advance. Ultimately though, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard is still a great option for budget-conscious travellers that love a good deal.

Perks

  • $100 annual travel voucher to improve your existing travel experience
  • Access to 1,300 airport lounges worldwide
  • Discounts on certain hotels booked through Expedia or Agoda
  • No currency conversion fees
  • 31-day emergency travel insurance coverage for yourself and your spouse, up to $1,000,000 per person
  • Baggage damage or loss insurance, up to $750 per person (and $500 per item); baggage delay insurance to cover necessities, up to $200
  • Trip cancellation insurance, up to $2,000 per person and $5,000 per trip
  • Earn 6 points per dollar spent on travel, 3 points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases (3% and 1.5% reward, respectively)

Read Hardbacon’s review of the HSBC World Elite Mastercard

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card

Annual fee: $139

Additional card fee (per card): first card free, subsequent cards $50/year

Required income: $60,000 personal/$100,000 household income/$250,000 in liquid assets

Of course, you can start with a powerful card with other perks. Big fan of the movies? The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card gives you with travel-related perks such as hotel discounts and lounge access.

You also earn Scene+ points which give you more flexibility with your spending. Not travelling for a while? Redeem your points at a Cineplex theatre or a partnered restaurant.

While regular Scene+ points expire, any points earned with the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card remain active for two years after you close the account.

As a cardholder, you’ll also have access to the Visa Infinite Concierge service, allowing you to secure difficult reservations and delegate any unpleasant tasks—or pretend that you’re uber rich.

Perks

  • 24/7 access to Visa Infinite Concierge
  • No currency conversion fees
  • Discounts at Visa Infinite partnered hotels, plus complimentary upgrades if available
  • Discounts on Avis car rentals (5 to 25% off), plus complimentary upgrades when available
  • 6 visits per year to premium travel lounges
  • Use Scene+ points to cover travel costs
  • Emergency travel medical insurance, up to $2,000,000 per person
  • Trip cancellation insurance, up to $1,500 per person and $10,000 per trip; trip interruption insurance, up to $2,500 per person and $10,000 per trip
  • Flight delay insurance, up to $500 per person
  • Baggage delay insurance, up to $1,000
  • Travel burglary insurance, up to $1,000
  • 90-day theft or loss insurance, plus extended warranty (double the original warranty, up to one year) on almost all retail purchases, up to $60,000 per account (lifetime)
  • Scene+ points earned through the card expire 24 months after you close the card
  • Earn 2 Scene+ points per dollar spent on all grocery, dining, entertainment, and transit purchases, earn 1 Scene+ point per dollar on all other purchases

Read more about the Scotibank Passport Visa Infinite Card

BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card

Annual fee: $120

Additional card fee (per card): $50

Required income: $60,000 personal/$100,000 household income/$15,000 spent on credit cards (total) in the past year

If you tend to spend more locally but still enjoy the occasional trip, you might want to look into the BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card. You’ll earn 5x the points on food, gas, and transit-related purchases, it’s easy to rack up lots of rewards.

Plus, you’ll have access to the Visa Infinite Concierge for those difficult tasks and will save big on Visa Infinite-partnered hotels. Vacation just got a lot cheaper; day-to-day purchases just got a lot more rewarding.

Perks

  • 24/7 access to Visa Infinite Concierge
  • Discounts at Visa Infinite partnered hotels, plus complimentary upgrades if available
  • $50 annual lifestyle credit, valid towards whatever purchase you want (so long as it is greater than $50)
  • Up to $1,000 in Mobile Device Insurance in case your phone is stolen or damaged
  • Extended warranty (double the original warranty, up to 1 extra year) and security insurance (in case of theft, up to 90 days) for retail purchases
  • Travel insurance benefits, including emergency medical travel insurance
  • Earn 5 BMO Rewards points per dollar spent on takeout, food delivery, eating out, groceries, gas, and transit purchases, Earn 1 BMO Rewards point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Earn extra 10% rewards on all purchases if you add a second authorised user to your account

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