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Published July 25, 2023

What are black and metal credit cards?

‘Black cards’ and metal credit cards are types of exclusive cards in Australia. They are prestigious options with premium benefits.

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Credit cards may be a last resort for some, but for those with plenty of money, they have become closely associated with luxury. Enter ‘black cards’ and ‘metal credit cards’ — terms synonymous with Australia’s most exclusive credit cards. 

What is a ‘black card’?

A ‘black card’ is a colloquialism that refers to an exclusive credit or charge card with premium perks.

Technically, Australia’s only genuine ‘black card’ is the invite-only American Express Centurian Card, which was launched in 1999. Since then, the term has come to refer to any exclusive card designed for high-income and high-net-worth individuals.

These exclusive cards are sometimes called ‘metal credit cards’ since they are periodically made of metal instead of plastic. 

What are metal credit cards?

‘Metal credit cards’ are also colloquially understood to be exclusive cards. They are sometimes considered a type of ‘black card’.

Technically, the term only truly refers to cards containing small amounts of precious metals, such as stainless steel, platinum, brass, palladium, and even gold and titanium. This is unusual, as most credit cards are made of plastic. But, like ‘black cards’, ‘metal credit cards’ are typically thought of as ultra-premium, exclusive cards.

» MORE: How to apply for a credit card (and get approved)

What sets exclusive cards apart

Black and metal credit cards are synonymous with the ultra-rich — and for a good reason. These exclusive cards can be used to pay for anything stretching into the millions and come with the prestige of using a flashy-looking card that’s synonymous with the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

So, what sets them apart from other types of credit cards?

  • Exclusive credit cards are hard to get. They are intended for high-net-worth individuals who spend a lot of money. Some are invite-only, while others require applicants to have remarkable salaries or bank account balances.
  • They come with premium perks and rewards. Exclusive cards offer high rewards rates and are jam-packed with premium perks, like flight credits, travel insurance, access to special events, and more.
  • They’re often charge cards. Unlike your everyday credit card with its monthly minimum repayment schedule, black and metal cards are often charge cards, meaning there is no preset spending limit. So once you are approved, there is no credit limit to restrain spending, but as the cardholder, you must repay the balance in full by the due date on the statement. Failing to do so could lead to late fees and the suspension of the card.
  • Or they are credit cards with high fees. Black and metal cards that function as credit cards typically have exorbitant fees and interest rates relative to their plastic peers. So, paying off the entire amount owed within your provider’s interest-free period is always a good idea.

Metal credit cards in Australia 

Plenty of premium and exclusive credit cards are available in Australia, but only a handful of genuine ‘metal credit cards’ exist in the market. A few examples include:

American Express Centurion

Establishment fee: $5,000 – $10,000

Annual fee: $5,000

The Centurion Card is the first and still widely considered the most prestigious high-end credit card on the market. The black card is made from anodised titanium and is available by invitation only. So, there’s literally no point in applying for one. 

To add to its mystique, Amex has never fully disclosed the exact eligibility requirements. The common rumour is that you must spend at least $500,000 a year on an Amex Platinum Card first to be in contention. The establishment and annual fees are similarly only the source of gossip, as Amex hasn’t disclosed those either.  

Examples of premium benefits:

  • No spending limit. 
  • Complimentary entrance to many of the best premium airport lounges. 
  • Travel perks, including companion airline tickets on certain flights, limousine services and queue-skipping privileges. 
  • Access to top-tier hotel rewards programs such as Shangri-La Circle Diamond and Hilton Honors Diamond. 
  • A wide range of upmarket airline rewards, including Emirates Skywards Gold. 
  • Invites to exclusive luxury brand sales and advance ticket sales.  

American Express Platinum

Annual fee: $1,450 

American Express also offers the American Express Platinum Card, a charge card made of stainless steel. Unlike the Centurion, you are free to apply online. Just remember that you’ll need a very high income and an excellent credit history, meaning no previous payment defaults. 

Examples of premium benefits:

  • Generous sign-on bonuses. At the time of publishing, the card is offering up to 150,000 bonus Membership Rewards points (conditions apply). 
  • The ability to transfer points to participating partner programs, such as Qantas Frequent Flyer and Velocity Frequent Flyer rewards. 
  • Hotel Elite Status. 
  • Complimentary access to 1,400+ airport lounges in more than 140 countries. 
  • $450 travel credit usable for domestic or international travel with participating airlines and hotels. 
  • $400 global dining credit. 
  • Complimentary Accor Plus membership.
  • Savings on First and Business Class airfares.
  • Complimentary travel insurance. 
  • Amazon Prime subscription credit.

Qantas Premier Titanium

Annual fee: $1,200

The Qantas Premier Titanium is designed for frequent Qantas flyers wanting to maximise frequent-traveller perks. It’s made of titanium and earns uncapped Qantas Points on all eligible purchases at home and abroad. 

Examples of premium benefits:

  • Generous sign-on bonuses. At the time of publishing, the card is offering up to 150,000 Bonus Qantas Points (conditions apply).
  • The ability to earn up to 20% bonus Status Credits when booking Qantas flights. 
  • $400 Qantas Luxury Holidays voucher. 
  • Two complimentary Qantas First Lounge Invitations and two additional Lounge Invitations per year.
  • Six months of interest-free purchases. 
  • Complimentary travel insurance. 
  • Qantas Wine Premium Membership. 
  • Dedicated Concierge. 
  • The ability to book Qantas flights with a 10% discount. 


Annual fee: Nearly $300 (the card charges a $24.99 monthly fee) 

Revolut, a money transfer and exchange company, offers the Revolut Metal card made from reinforced steel. Strictly speaking, the card is not a credit card but a debit card, so you can only make purchases if you have the money in a linked bank account.

The Revolut Metal card offers unlimited free currency exchanges at the interbank exchange rate and similar airport lounge perks to other metal cards.

Other exclusive credit cards in Australia 

Australia’s big banks do not offer metal cards per se, but they have more exclusive cards for those who can afford them.

Some examples include: 

  • ANZ’s Frequent Flyer Black credit card ($425 annual fee) 
  • Commonwealth Bank’s Ultimate Awards card ($35 monthly fee, waivable by meeting spending thresholds in your statement period)
  • Citi Prestige credit card ($700 annual fee)
  • Qantas American Express Ultimate credit card ($450 annual fee). 

Customised card options

Most people will not qualify for a metal credit card for a range of reasons. There is, however, an alternative if you still want the feel of metal in your wallet or when you make payments. 

You can order a customised metal version of your existing card through Australian company Carbon Co Skins, which will convert a current plastic card into a metal card for $150, after which your old card becomes obsolete, and you use the new metal version.

Is it worth getting an exclusive card?

Assuming you’ve met the eligibility requirements, you should consider whether getting an exclusive card is a good idea.

Given you can afford one in the first place, it probably means you’ll be able to pay the amount owing within the interest-free timeframe, freeing you to take full advantage of the benefits on offer. So, if they exceed the fees and charges, you should come out ahead. If, for whatever reason, you start struggling to pay the bills, however, you’ll need to consider if you need one and whether you may be better off without it. 

Exclusive cards are heavily geared towards travellers who often spend money with airlines and stay at hotels. If you don’t fall into the frequent traveller category, an exclusive travel card might not be worthwhile in the long term. 

Metal cards are more durable than your standard plastic credit card, though most people do just fine with their plastic cards until their use-by date expires and they’re issued a replacement to activate. Sure, they look flashy too, but you should want more than that to justify the annual fees. 

Ultimately, whether an exclusive credit card is worth it will depend on how well you can maximise its benefits. 

Frequently asked questions about black and metal credit cards

What banks give you a metal card in Australia?

American Express, Qantas and Revolt offer metal cards in Australia. While plenty of exclusive high-end credit cards are available on the Australian market, there’s a relatively small number of metal card providers.

How can I get a black or metal card in Australia?

Each provider will have their requirements, but you generally need to earn an extraordinary annual salary or maintain a healthy and hearty bank balance to be eligible for an exclusive card.


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