The new “Visa Black Card” was finally released.
It is coined as “not just another piece of plastic,” both literally and figuratively, because it’s made out of carbon graphite, not the soft cheap plastic we’ve all become accustom to.
Following in the footsteps of the infamous and rather elusive Black American Express card, the Visa Black Card is reserved only for the most elite consumers. Or for those that are willing to spend $495 each year to carry the credit card in their purse or wallet.
Visa Black Card: Reserved for the 1% (Ugh)
In fact, Visa reckons that only 1% of U.S. residents will be eligible for the new credit card to ensure the highest level of service for cardmembers. They don’t want too many cardholders taking away from the benefits of others. Hmm.
It’s a bit unfortunate really, given the fact that the “99%” recently revolted against the 1% in a veritable class war.
But let’s look beyond that to see what the Visa Black Card really offers. After all, that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?
Visa Black Offers 24-Hour Concierge Service
Aside from the so-called “limited membership,” Visa Black Card members can enjoy 24-hour concierge service via phone or e-mail.
In other words, a representative will be there to help you all day and night, seven days a week, for anything from a restaurant reservation to golf tee time information to assistance in tracking down hard-to-find items.
Think that Lamborghini you’ve wanted so badly in that rare color…
Last time I checked, the Internet could do that too, but I digress.
Visa Black Offers 1% Cash Back On All Purchases
On to more tangible benefits; the Visa Black Card comes with 1% cash back on purchases and points can be redeemed for travel on any airline with NO blackout dates or restrictions of any kind.
It only takes 25,000 points for an airline ticket worth up to $500.
You also get access to and unlimited visits to over 350 VIP airport lounges throughout the world, which beats most other credit card offers that limit the visits you can make annually.
The Visa Black Card is accepted in more than 170 countries throughout the globe, and comes with zero liability purchase protection. In other words, you don’t have to worry about bogus charges made with the card.
And if an item you buy is damaged or misplaced, they’ll reimburse you up to $500 per claim made within 90 days of purchase.
The card also offers all types of insurance from trip cancellation or trip interruption to rental car and baggage delay insurance, along with roadside assistance.
You also get so-called “Luxury Gifts” from some of the world’s top brands. It’s unclear what those may be and how often they’re given out, but hey, it sounds good!
The Hard Numbers on Visa Black
On to the interest rates and fees tied to this puppy, both of which aren’t all that attractive.
The Visa Black Card comes with a handy 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers, however, there is a balance transfer fee on this credit card, either $10 or 3% of each transfer, whichever is greater.
And the variable credit card APR for purchases is 14.99% ( If you’re looking for a no fee balance transfer, a few are still out there…)
The one somewhat lame aspect of this credit card is the fact that it charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. Many luxury cards waive such fees. In fact, even some credit cards with no annual fee waive this fee!
[Best credit cards to use while abroad.]
And you would expect the top 1% to travel the world frequently, would you not? I’d venture to guess they would find it preposterous to pay such fees!
The good news is that cardmembers get free Priority Pass access good at 500 airport lounges in 90 countries worldwide.
Oh yeah, and the price tag for the new Visa Black Card is a whopping $495 per year (and $195 per authorized user added to the account), so you better hope that 24-hour concierge is making you breakfast.
Heck, it is one of the world’s most expensive credit cards, so you’ll look pretty darn cool, maybe.
Update: The Visa Black Card has been re-branded as the Barclaycard MasterCard Luxury Card, perhaps because sales weren’t up to snuff.
Fortunately, it seems to have improved…