Archive | February, 2009

The Virgin Atlantic Black Card

It seems Virgin Atlantic now has a Black Card, we are all going to have Black Card overload pretty soon.
Virgin Atlantic Black Card


The Virgin Atlantic Black Card is the fastest card to earn Flying Club miles, end of story. You’ll fly faster with:

* 2 Flying Club miles for every £1 spent on card purchases
* 4 Flying Club miles for every £1 spent direct with Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Holidays
* 6,000 bonus Flying Club miles upon first spend within first 90 daysFootnote 1
* 10% off Virgin Holidays packagesFootnote 2
* 0% on balance transfers for 6 months from the date your account is opened. 2% handling fee applies
* 18.9% (variable) on card purchases, that’s a typical rate of 37.1% APR (variable) including the £115 annual fee, see the Summary box for full details

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According to Urban Dictionary’s BRP 10/3/2005

The Black Card is (according to the Urban Dictionary):

A highly regarded, exclusive American Express Card issued by “invitation only” to current AmEx holders with high incomes and A+ credit. This card entitles its holders to VIP access, upgraded flights, event tickets, and special treatment at department stores and such. A $2500 fee is payed by each of its card holders annually. Also known as a “Centurion” card.
“I’m sorry Sir, tickets are sold out”
::man pulls out black card::
“I’m sorry Sir, how does front row and backstage access sound?”

I’m under 21 with a Black Card” -Bow Wow

Did we think anything otherwise?

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Visa Black Card: Initiation Gift – Cross Tech3, 3-in-1 writing tool

One of our readers has recently submitted these photos on a gift they received with their new Visa Black Card. We are assuming that this is just the initation gift, and that users that spend more over time will get more “luxurious gifts” as part of the $495/year membership.

Here is the letter that was included:

Dear Black Card Member:

Congratulations on becoming a Visa Black Card member. Black Card and Cross have teamed together to bring you a welcoming gift of the unique Cross Tech3, a 3-in-1 writing tool that allows you to switch from black ink to red ink to pencil with a simple twist.

Like Black Card, Cross stands for the highest levels of quality and service: each of our writing instruments is backed by a lifetime mechanical guarantee and reflects the commitment to superior craftsmanship first made by Richard Cross in 1846. I trust you will enjoy the benefits of your new Visa Black Card as well as the pleasure of writing with your new Cross pen.


Chad Mellen

President, Cross Accessory Division

visa black card cross pen gift

visa black card cross pen letter

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FYI: AMEX does not own the “Black Card” trademark, Visa does.

Umm, Oooops!

Originally rumor and urban myth, the American Express CENTURION CARD came to be in 1999 (see the original AMEX press release). “There had been rumors going around that we had this ultra-exclusive black card for elite customers,” says Doug Smith, director of American Express Europe. “It wasn’t true, but we decided to capitalize on the idea anyway. So far we’ve had a customer buy a Bentley and another charter a jet.”

So, although the urban myth and legend referred to the card as the “Black Card” American Express decided to call it the “Centurion Card” named after their private bank, and trademark that instead; The challenge for AMEX is now, however, that they left themselves open by not also trademarking the term Black Card, despite the fact that the American Express Centurion Card is ubiquitously known in popular culture as the “Black Card” or Black AMEX, and less so the “Centurion Card”.

Visa readily tells those applying for the card that the “Black Card is not for everyone”, apparently, they mean American Express as well. You can check out patents filed for “Black Card”  and “Centurion Card” on the United States Patent Office Site.


It doesn’t matter legally, that the cards don’t really compare in terms of exclusivity or benefits because Black Card, LLC, Barclays and Visa currently do own the trademark “Black Card”. Maybe we will see a new Black Card for Dummies Guide targeted at the Visa’s Black Card instead?

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AmEx Offers $300 for Risky Cardholders to Leave

American Express announced late February that they are offering $300 payments to a limited number of cardholders who agree to close their accounts; The new direct mail program, offers prepaid American Express gift cards valued at $300 for those that enroll and pay off their account in two months. AMEX said that the program is targeted at reducing the risk of future defaults. Gail Hillebrand from the Consumers Union says that the deal is positive in that it is allowing consumers a choice, and told NPR that “We’re seeing all kinds of cutbacks and harsher terms”, and that the deals are “designed to respond to the fact that the credit card industry pushed out too much debt to American consumers and too much credit availability, and now they’re trying to pull it back all at once”.

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Colbert Jokes about Race and the Visa Black Card

Steve Colbert on his show The Colbert Report makes fun of racial issues and the Visa Black Card: “Visa: it’s everywhere you want to be, unless that place is a Jimmy Buffett concert. (01:55)” Colbert also correlates Visa’s vague 1% requirements and statement that the card is “not for everyone” as an implication of Visa behaving in a racist manner (he’s joking of course!).

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