For many years, people whispered about an American Express Black Card that was offered to the most affluent and powerful people throughout the world. Some say that the urban legend inspired American Express to create the Black Card in 1999. Others insist that it already secretly existed and that the company merely publicized its reality.
Actually, American Express doesn't call it the Black Card. It is named after the company's logo the Centurion®. American Express does not provide direct information regarding the benefits and features of the card. The details discussed in this article were obtained from press releases, American Express Centurion cardholders and third-party interviews.
Obtaining the American Express Centurion® Card
Usually credit card companies bombard potential customers with opportunities to apply for one of their cards. The American Express Centurion® Card is different. Part of the exclusive cachet of owning a Centurion® is that these cardholders must wait for an invitation.
Invitees must have an American Express Platinum card for at least one year. They are required to spend a minimum of $250,000 during that year and pay their monthly balance in a timely manner. Monthly charges should include frequent high-end travel, a fondness for luxurious entertainment, purchases at the finest shops and an affinity for attending notable leisure activities. Additionally, their personal finances must be impeccable and their assets sufficient to repay vast amounts of money.
As an added bonus for the $2,500 annual fee, the newest American Express Black Cards are rumored to be made of titanium.
What Kind of People Carry the Centurion® Card?
The Black Card is reserved for the wealthiest and most privileged customers. Members of this mysterious group pursue unique access to extraordinary experiences. They travel often and stay at luxurious resorts. They are offered tickets to sold-out shows, games, and concerts. Arriving at events in chauffeured limousines, they receive advance seating in the finest sections. Owners of an American Express Black Card can obtain nearly anything that they desire by calling their personally assigned concierge.
Benefits of the American Express Centurion® Card
As of this writing, some of the advantages of this fashionable status symbol include:
- Chartered jets available
- Complimentary upgrades at Continental, Delta, and US Airways
- Dedicated check-in
- Extra mileage earnings
- Priority boarding
- Direct line to a private concierge
- Complimentary international traveler cell phones for which they are only charged the cost of calls
- Invitations to participate in celebrity cruises
- Special deals on luxury cruises
- Free upgrades at many of the world's finest accommodations
- Free one-night stays at select Mandarin Oriental Hotels
- Protection plan for canceled events or events missed due to an emergency
- Roadside assistance worldwide
- Quarterly magazine created to reflect the interests of this small group
- Membership Rewards:
- Points are offered for particular purchases and redeemable for amazing awards
- Cardholders benefit from shopping in stores such as:
- Bergdorf Goodman
- Neiman Marcus
- Saks Fifth Avenue
- Private Clubs
- Access to first class airline lounges
- Personal shoppers
- Invitations to exclusive events
- After-hours access to select stores
- Extended warranty coverage on items purchased with the Centurion® card.
Is The Centurion® Card Worth The Price?
Holders of the American Express Platinum card pay a significantly lower annual fee; however, they have access to many of the same benefits. Is it the best credit card? Those privileged to receive an invitation must decide if the $2,500 annual fee is worth the prestige of carrying an American Express Centurion® Card. If you don't receive an invitation, or if you would prefer a lower annual fee, you might want to consider the Visa Black Card. It offers special personal services, cash back and point rewards - for a $450 annual fee.