Carrying the “Black Card,” formally known as the Centurion® Card from American Express, gives you special status. It’s rare and broadcasts that you’re part of a small group of individuals who have exclusive access to the invitation-only elite card. Its inaccessibility makes it sought after by credit card hackers and American Express loyalists who won’t settle for the Platinum card.
Now, Amex has loosened its grip on the Black Card ever so slightly.
If you’re not familiar with the Centurion Card, you’re not alone. There’s an air of mystery surrounding the card’s perks, but what sets the card apart from others is the personal concierge service it offers cardholders. You may get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a cardholder in Reddit posts or occasional articles. Delivering ice for your drinks, dropped off by helicopter to a remote island resort, is just one example of the lengths a Black Card concierge will go to.
According to American Express, “We go above and beyond to help you from planning a vacation to dealing with an emergency.” However, that’s just the beginning of what you can ask for. According to a former concierge, if it’s legal, the team will stop at nothing to fulfill your request.
How the Centurion Card by American Express works
Before you get too excited about joining the exclusive club of Amex Black cardholders, keep in mind that much of the information available about the card is anecdotal. We reached out to American Express, and the company representative’s response was, “Centurion offers the highest level of benefits and services to its Members. However, we do not discuss benefit, service or selection details publicly.”
The card isn’t available to everyone. In fact, even individuals with an excellent credit score and a long, positive track record with American Express may not be selected to apply. One thing’s for certain: You’ll need to be an existing American Express cardholder to qualify. The rest relies on the financial institution’s secret criteria.
Black Card holders tend to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the card per year. High spending isn’t an official requirement to receive an invitation, but if you plan on getting on the Centurion team’s radar, six-figure annual spending is the best way.
There are two types of Centurion cards: the personal Black Card and business version. It may be easier to qualify for the business card. As with other corporate cards by American Express, a Black business card will reflect on your personal credit report and not the company’s.
The Centurion Card annual fee is the highest of all credit cards on the market. You’ll need to pay a one-time initiation fee of $10,000 on top of a $5,000 annual fee just for the privilege of having a Black Card. Plus, adding other cardholders costs an extra $2,500 each per year.
In comparison, the Platinum Card’s annual fee is $695 per year for many of the same services. The main difference could be the higher level of personal concierge services; it takes a large staff to hunt down hard-to-find products, tickets, and reservations.
You’ll earn the same level of rewards other American Express cardholders earn. The Black Card doesn’t accrue Membership Rewards Points any faster than other Amex cards.
Centurion cardholders are typically assigned a personal concierge, available 24/7. You’ll have a direct line to the person, who can serve as a personal assistant to handle nearly anything you need. However, there’s a whole team behind the scenes dedicated to handling Centurion cardholder requests. As you can imagine, some requests can be time-consuming, such as locating the latest game console days before Christmas.
How to get an invite for the American Express Centurion Card
If you’d like to speed up the process of getting an invitation, there is a way to send American Express a proverbial poke. A Centurion Membership interest page has recently appeared with little fanfare. The page explains that it’s for existing American Express cardholders interested in being considered for the card. There’s no guarantee you’ll receive an invitation, but you’ve at least let American Express know you’d like one.
To request consideration for an invite, you’ll need to enter:
Is the Black Card worth it?
If you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on credit, the card can be a good option. However, it comes with a high price tag of $15,000 the first year, followed by $5,000 per year thereafter.
If you’re looking for a premium card with excellent travel-related perks, the Black Card isn’t too different from the Gold Card or Platinum Card by American Express. In addition, you won’t earn any more Membership Rewards points than what you’d get with the other cards.
Unless you rely heavily on the stellar concierge service for the Black Card, it may not be worth it. Keep in mind that American Express is extremely selective of who it offers a Centurion card to. You may not even receive an invitation after you have informed Amex that you’re interested.
Who is the American Express Black Card for?
The Amex Black Card is for higher-net-worth individuals who spend significantly. The typical Centurion cardholder spends hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) per year. They regularly use the concierge services, which provide a dedicated concierge to fulfill requests, and don’t mind the steep annual fee of $5,000.
Where can I apply for a Black Card?
The Centurion Card by American Express has historically been an invitation-only card. It still is, but you can express your interest in receiving an invitation by visiting the Centurion Membership interest page. You’ll need to enter your name, existing American Express card number, and four-digit PIN shown on the front of your card.