Visa Black Card Review: Is It Worth It?

Apr 24, 2014

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Visa Black Card

The Visa Black Card has undergone some recent positive changes like doing away with foreign transaction fees and doubling the value of the points when redeeming for airfare, so I wanted to take a closer look to see if it’s a card that I should be adding to my wallet.
Made of a PVD-coated stainless steel and carbon hybrid, this card has some heft to it while offering a sleek design. The Visa Black Card is focused on providing service to a limited group of members versus being a mass marketed card. With perks like an Exclusive 24-Hour Concierge Service, a members only magazine and luxury gifts from the World’s Top Brands, members are treated with excellent customer service. View a complete list of the card’s benefits below.

Annual Fee: $495 ($195 for additional cardholders)

Sign-up Bonus Value
The card currently comes with a bonus of 25,000 points after you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days and earns you one point for every $1 you spend on purchases. Cardholders can redeem those points for airfare at a rate of 2 cents apiece. Value of the sign-up bonus: $500

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There is also a 0% introductory  for balance transfers for the first fifteen billing cycles. After that, your APR for balance transfers will be 14.99% and vary with the market based on the prime rate, as well as the cardholder’s payment history.

Lounge Access
Complimentary access and unlimited visits to over 350 airport lounges worldwide through The Lounge Club (basically the lower tier Priority Pass membership). There is a smattering of mostly independent international lounges (though Alaska Airlines Board Rooms and Air France/KLM lounges are included at many airports). For a full list, visit the Lounge Club website or Download a PDF file with details of participating lounges or Download the Lounge Club iPhoneiPadAndroid or BlackBerry app to find lounges.

Notable Lounges: LAX (Virgin America Loft, Korean Airlines, Alaska Airlines), ATL (The Club at ATL)

Earning Points
One point for every $1 you spend. Your total purchases include purchases made by you and your authorized user(s) and returns and refunds will be deducted from that total. No bonus categories.

Visa Black Card Rewards

Redeeming Points
There are no transfer partners currently (which I’d like to see change), but cardmembers can redeem Visa Black Card points for 1% value on cash back, gift cards, and merchandise, provided in the form of a statement credit. You can also use points towards airfare at double that value, so each point is worth 2 cents a piece for airline tickets through and there is no minimum point requirement. 15,000 points can be redeemed for a 1% statement credit toward a purchase of $150 or more or you could use 15,000 points to purchase an airline ticket for $300. So the card’s 25,000-point bonus is the equivalent of $500 worth of airfare. I would steer clear of using points for statement credits since the return is much lower.

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Once your points post to your account you can start redeeming immediately (provided your account is open and in good standing) by selecting “Redeem your rewards” at the top of the Rewards history page and following the online instructions.

You can redeem 21,400 points to cover a roundtrip flight to Vegas.
You can redeem 21,400 points to cover a roundtrip flight to Vegas.

I looked up some sample fares from New York to Las Vegas in the middle of July and it would cost 21,400 points for a roundtrip nonstop flight. The full fare for the same flight would be $428 round trip so you’d be getting 2 cents in value per point.

Consumer Protections and Other Benefits

Zero liability. Provides complete protection against unauthorized purchases made with your Visa Black Card.

Purchase security. Black Card will replace, repair or reimburse up to a maximum of $500 per claim for eligible items within the first 90 days from the date of purchase.

Trip Cancellation/Interruption coverage of up to $1,500.

Travel Accident Insurance. Coverage of up to $250,000 worldwide for things like trip cancellation, trip interruption, lost and delayed baggage, etc.

Baggage delay. Black Card will reimburse you for expenses up to $100 per day for three days for the purchase of essential items in the event of baggage delay.

Auto Rental Coverage and Roadside Dispatch. The Visa Black Card offers 24/7 roadside assistance in the US and Canada and auto rental coverage for theft and collision during most rentals.

24-Hour Concierge Service. This perk can be used to handle personal, business and travel needs, in the event that you don’t already have a flotilla of personal assistants.

VIP treatment at over 3,000 hotels, resorts and villas across the globe. Properties include under the Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt, Mandarin Oriental, Villas of Distinction and Small Luxury Hotels of the World chains. Cardmembers can receive spa treatments, room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, early check-in, late check-out and more.

Luxury gifts. Given throughout the course of your membership, these unnamed gifts are described as being from “the World’s Top Brands.”

Black Card Mag. The private magazine of cardholders, this is a luxury guide that covers the latest in travel, fashion, transportation, technology, interior design and art.

My Thoughts

Although the Visa Black Card comes with an annual fee of $495, its current sign-up bonus of 25,000 points offsets that if you redeem them for airfare at 2 cents apiece – giving the bonus a value of $500.

For its part, the Visa Black Card does offer a few benefits that competitors lack including more widespread acceptance worldwide thanks to its being a Visa, and that 12-month 0% APR, which could be helpful to some consumers. 24-Hour Concierge Service is always a great perk to have especially when trying to make reservations abroad.

Kate received her 25,000 point sign up bonus and will be redeeming them for airfare soon.
Kate received her 25,000 point sign up bonus and will be redeeming them for airfare soon to get double the value.

TPG Director of Operations Kate was approved for this card back in March and just recently received her 25,000 point bonus which she plans on redeeming for airfare to get the full $500 value. She’s still in the process of reviewing the other various benefits of the card and we’re looking forward to putting the 24-Hour Concierge to work to help us secure some hard to get restaurant reservations on upcoming trips.

The Visa Black Card's welcome gift.
The Visa Black Card’s welcome gift.

Just this week Kate received her first gift from Black Card which was a unique Cross Tech3, 3-in-1 writing tool which even had her name engraved on the top which retails for $63. This was a nice touch and who doesn’t love getting a surprise gift in the mail? We’re curious to see what other gifts she receives and how frequently Black Card sends them out.

While I haven’t applied just yet, I am definitely intrigued and will keep my eye on the Visa Black Card to see if they increase the bonus in the near future.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.