Centurion Cards from American Express offer white-glove services to select individuals. You’ll require a personal AmEx invitation to apply for the Black Card. If approved, a $10,000 one-time initiation fee will be added on top of the $5,000 annual fee. Conditions apply.
AmEx has a longstanding policy of not sharing details regarding Centurion card membership. This is similar to the “Fight Club” first rule. But, we are able to tell you what we know.
The Black Card is designed for those who prefer services and rewards over points. It will reward holders with one point of Membership Rewards per $1 on purchases made, but there are no bonus categories. We are not aware of any bonus offers, and this card comes in personal as well as business versions. Conditions apply.
You’re also signing up for prestige. Imagine the appreciation when you pick up your friend’s overpriced drinks and food, and then slam this black metal chunk on the table. It’s likely that you can already hear “aahhs” and “oohhs”. ”
Are the annual and initiation fees worth it? You probably won’t be able to get the Black Card if you ask.
Five things to know about Black Card
1. Enjoy a complimentary elite status
American Express Centurion card members receive elite status for several loyalty partner programs including:
The elite statuses are a great way to earn points, upgrade airline seats or rent cars. If you use them efficiently, this could add up to thousands in benefits each year.
The Platinum Card (r) by American Express is the most comparable card for similar benefits. The same level of status is earned with Marriott. You will earn lower levels with Hertz, Hilton and Sixt. Centurion card offers higher-level statuses that can be more valuable.
2. Airport lounge access
Members of the Black Card have access to American Express Global Lounge Collection consisting more than 1,400 lounges in 140 countries. This includes:
The cardholder can bring up to 2 companions or immediate family members (spouse, domestic partner or children under the age of 18). For entry, you must show your Centurion card and photo ID. Priority Pass lounges require separate registration and your Priority Pass card.
This may sound exclusive but it is the same as anyone with The Platinum Card (r) by American Express who pays an annual fee of $695. Conditions apply.
3. Earning potential is inadequate
Each dollar spent on the Black Card is worth one point of Membership Rewards. The card does not offer any bonus categories or welcome bonuses. This is a dismal earning rate, especially when you consider the costs associated with this card. The Black Card is not designed to earn rewards. Most cardholders use it for its ancillary benefits.
Comparatively, the Platinum Card (r) by American Express gives 5 points for every dollar spent booking flights or hotels through American Express Travel. It offers 1 point per dollar on other purchases. You can earn a bonus of 80,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first six months on Card purchases. Conditions apply.
The American Express Gold Card, which is even lower in the AmEx hierarchy, earns 3 points for every dollar spent at U.S. grocery stores and restaurants. It also offers 4 points on direct flights with the airlines. You can also earn 60,000 points with Membership Rewards (r) after spending $4,000 in the first six months with your Card. Conditions apply.
The Black Card, like the Platinum Card (r) of American Express unlocks an array of AmEx partners to whom you can transfer points for additional value.
List of AmEx Transfer Partners
Aer Lingus (1:1 ratio).
AeroMexico (1:1.6 ratio).
Air Canada. (1:1 ratio).
Air France/KLM (ratio 1:1)
ANA (1:1 Ratio).
Asia Miles (1:1 ratio).
Avianca (1:1 ratio).
British Airways (1 to 1 ratio).
Cathay Pacific (1 to 1 ratio)
Delta Air Lines (1:1 ratio).
Emirates (1 to 1 ratio).
Etihad Airways (1:1 ratio).
Hawaiian Airlines (1:1 ratio).
Iberia Plus (1:1 ratio).
JetBlue Airways (2,5:2 ratio).
Qantas (1:1 ratio).
Singapore Airlines (1 to 1 ratio).
Virgin Atlantic Airways (1 to 1 ratio).
Choice Hotels (1 to 1 ratio).
Hilton Hotels & Resorts (ratio 1:1).
Marriott Hotels & Resorts (ratio 1:1).
4. You can also hire a concierge to help you with your needs.
Members of the Black Card have 24/7 access to American Express Concierge. They can assist you with last-minute tickets or reservations, help send gifts or flowers around holidays or provide assistance in an emergency.
Call the number located on your card to access concierge services. This service is completely free and all products purchased on your behalf by the concierge (tickets or flowers) will be charged to your card. Your card will be charged.
Centurion card members have access to the AmEx concierge service, but they can ask for the same concierge every time. This allows them to enjoy a personalized experience.
5. Extended warranty and Purchase Protection
The Centurion card, like many American Express cards comes with a purchase protection that covers purchases damaged, lost or stolen in the U.S. up to 90-days after the purchase. Conditions apply. Purchase protection amounts and limits vary by card. The Card’s marketing materials state that you can be reimbursed up to the full amount of the charges made on your card (with no limits mentioned). Conditions apply.
The purchase protection is the most comprehensive coverage that AmEx offers.
Centurion Cards also come with an extended warranty. The Centurion Card extends the manufacturer’s warranty by a time period equivalent to that of the warranty. Conditions apply.
Nerdwallet has independently collected all information regarding The Centurion card from American Express.
This page contains information on the rates and fees for The Platinum Card (r) by American Express.