What Is The Amex Centurion Black Card?
Look at your wallet. Open it up and let the moths fly out, then count how many credit cards you have. One? Maybe two or three? Chances are, you have a card to cover your gas and groceries, and then maybe one that gets you cash back on your Amazon Prime purchases. Do any of those have annual fees? Maybe $99 a year? Just enough to be annoying when that time of the year hits, right?
Now imagine for a moment that each year, you see a line on your credit card for "Annual Fee," and that amount is $5,000. How would the cost of that high annual fee make you feel? If you're a normal person? Sick to your stomach. If you're a millionaire? Probably still sick. But that's the reality of those that are the proud owners of the American Express Centurion® Card, one of the most exclusive credit cards in the world.
How Do You Get The Amex Centurion Black Card?
As an average person, you can get the American Express Black Card in two ways:
1. You can apply on the Centurion Card website, which you can find here.
2. You can spend. A lot.
Outside of the application link above, the Centurion Card is invite only, giving it extremely high status on the "exclusive cards" list. That means you reading this right now will probably never own one, and will likely never see one. American Express has to specifically reach out to you to see if you'd like to apply. So how do you get on their radar? Well, no one is quite sure of the official requirement. The Points Guy estimates that to get invited for the personal card, you need to spend around $350,000 per year on your current American Express card. For the business card, the number is closer to $450,000-$500,000 a year.
Only then will American Express take notice of your baller status and reach out. And when they do reach out? You have the privilege of accepting the card and spending $10,000 on the initiation fee alone in the first year. Add another $5,000 in that annual fee I mentioned earlier and you have to spend $15,000 total to even get in the door for this card.
Let's say though that you spend $350,000 a year on yachts and caviar and now you have qualified for, and accepted, the card. What next?
The Amex Centurion Black Card Unboxing
Well American Express has gone all-out-luxury for their all-out-luxury credit card. The box the card comes in looks like your new favorite Christmas present. When you open the box, you'll see a sub-box that the actual metal card comes in, accompanied by a wallet that screams "you are one of the few who is deemed worthy to even hold this card."
The wallet that comes "free" with your card is the Tom Ford Grained Leather Classic Cardholder, and runs about $370 retail. Love this touch of class from American Express.
However, the Amex Centurion Card comes with an even cooler accessory in 2023: a bracelet. Hear me out.
American Express and Prada Partnership
Thanks to a newly formed partnership between American Express's Centurion division and Prada, the two have collaborated to form a "smart bracelet." Let's say you're a stylish person at the Monaco Grand Prix with no time to grab your wallet before you head out the door, or you don't want to carry a purse. Slip on your black Prada bracelet and head out the door.
The bracelet actually contains the same RFID chip in it that your Centurion Card does, meaning card members can scan your bracelet to pay for anything you want!
In addition to the bracelet, the newly redesigned Centurion Card also comes with an art book, walking you through the evolution of the product through the years. Finally, the whole thing comes in a newly designed box that honestly I'm a sucker for. For the full breakdown, here's Simon Katz's personal unboxing of his Centurion Card:
American Express Centurion Card Benefits
The other part of the packaging is an exquisite rich-person coupon book, highlighting all of the exclusive perks you get for being a Amex Black Card cardholder. Oh yes. For that $5,000 per calendar year and $15,000 up front, you get some serious perks and statement credits:
1x American Express Membership Rewards Points per dollar spent, with no bonus categories. You do get 1.5x bonus points on all eligible purchases over $5,000, up to 1 million extra points per year
A Centurion-specific personal concierge service that is frequently rated the best concierge service in the credit card game. This serves as a personal assistant to take care of getting you into sold out events, getting reservations at that super exclusive restaurant or even booking your travel. The concierge for The Points Guy even got him out of Bali when a nearby volcano erupted and the island exit routes were clogged
Hotel chain status for free premium features like internet, room upgrades and points bonuses. You'll receive status at: Marriott Bonvoy, IHG Platinum Elite, Hilton Honors Diamond and Relais & Chateaux 5C
Access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program that includes upgraded incidentals and amenities
Platinum Delta Medallion Status, the top tier elite status that usually means Delta First Class upgrades
Priority Pass access to airport lounges
Free access to the exclusive Centurion Lounges at airports and the new lounge in Manhattan
The Private Suite at LAX membership
An annual Clear membership to zip through airports
A statement credit for TSA Global Entry
Annual statement credit for Saks Fifth Avenue
The Centurion International Arrival Services
And many more...
I have highlighted the top bonuses, but the list is frankly ridiculous, and that's just for the personal version (I haven't even touched on the additional benefits of the business version!). Amex really tries to make it worth your while to have this card, and they are catering to the top 1% of 1% here. The Platinum Delta Medallion Status and the Centurion Airport Lounge access are the gifts that keep on giving in this list to me.
As an Atlanta resident, it's in my contract that I have to fly Delta absolutely everywhere, and the Platinum Medallion status provides priority upgrades for domestic flights, as well as the ability to select certain flight vouchers for business/first-class flights both domestic and internationally. Also, the City of Atlanta just approved a lease within Hartsfield Jackson International Airport to build a new Centurion lounge, so I'm eager to try that out.
Is The American Express Centurion Black Card Worth It?
For the average person? Jesus Christ, no. Look, the only reason you're getting this card is for the 'Gram. It's a status symbol made for Instagram. It would look in its natural habitat sitting on the hood of a matte black Lamborghini, posted to the "Rich Kids of London" Instagram account. You can find a lot of the same, or similar, perks through cards that are much cheaper and less exclusive than the Centurion Card, like American Express's own Platinum Card®. The lack of bonus categories also makes it not as compelling if you're looking for rewards. You could also qualify for a lot of these programs purely depending on how much you travel. The programs this card offers don't really make that much sense to someone who sits around the house or goes out for the occasional meal.
However, if you are truly wealthy enough to afford this card, then rewards likely won't matter to you. You own this card because you CAN, and because your time is more valuable than having to mess around with all of the different programs that this card automatically grants you. You likely don't have time to manage your elite hotel programs around the world. You probably won't remember to get those front-row concert tickets, or you won't have time to book that flight. This card rolls that into one package and gives you want the rich and powerful truly desire: convenience.