Is the Amex Centurion Card Worth The $2,500 Annual Fee?

by on May 22, 2014 · 54 comments

in American Express, Avis, Card review, Cathay Pacific, Credit Cards, Delta, Global Entry, Hertz, Membership Rewards, Priority Pass, Starwood, US Airways

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With all the recent changes to the American Express Platinum Card, including the loss of American Admirals Club and US Airways Club access in March, and restrictions on Delta SkyClub access to the cardholder only (no guests) starting May 1, premium Amex cardholders might be looking for a new product. Some of you may even be considering Amex’s highly-touted first-tier Centurion card (aka the Black card), so I put together a rundown of its benefits and an analysis of whether this exclusive card is worth it’s sticker price. Note: I haven’t been invited to be a cardholder, so if any existing cardholders want to comment on their experiences that would be greatly appreciated.

Getting the Card

Known as the “Black Card”, the Centurion gets its distinctive color from the anodized titanium used to make it. Unlike most credit cards, for which anyone can apply, to get a Centurion card you must be invited. Like the Platinum card, the Centurion earns Membership Rewards points, and includes a bounty of exclusive, concierge-style perks like guaranteed tables at three-star restaurants, priority bookings at luxury hotels, invitations to private cultural events, personal shoppers at major retailers, and the bling factor of slinging a heavyweight metal card that few people have ever actually seen in person. In order to maintain Centurion membership, a cardholder is expected to make and pay off at least $250,000 worth of purchases a year.


According to some cardholders who have been invited to apply for a black card, being a responsible American Express Green Card member (that is, maintaining a high level of spend and paying your monthly bill on time and in full) can improve your chances of receiving an invitation, but the decision is ultimately at the discretion of American Express, and they provide little insight into the decision process and it appears to have tightened over the years.

Fees and Payments

With both personal and business versions, the Amex Centurion is a charge card with no interest rate (since you must pay off the balance in full each billing period), no pre-set spending limit, and no foreign transaction fees. It does not offer a signup bonus, but requires a one-time initiation fee of $5,000 and a $2,500 annual fee – the highest fees of any credit card on the market. To learn more about Centurion’s fees and payment policy, take a look at the Centurion cardmember agreement.


Points: Centurion is part of the Membership Rewards First Program, and cardholders earn one point per dollar spent. You can transfer points directly to Membership Rewards transfer partners just like you would with other Amex cards such as the Premier Rewards Gold or Platinum cards.

Security: The Centurion card has embedded SmartChip technology, which many other countries already consider a more secure alternative to magnetic swiping, though you still need to sign for your purchases. The card does not currently have PIN capability, which reduces its usefulness, especially in Europe where some retailers require a min.

A Centurion card with an imbedded SmartChip

The Centurion card comes with Chip and Signature technology.

24/7 Concierge: Run by concierge and events management company Circles, the concierge benefit for Centurion is rumored to be able to arrange just about any service, perk, restaurant table, airline seat, theatre seat, hotel bed or outrageous purchase in the world. While some Centurion cardholders swear by this benefit, the service has increasingly earned less-than-stellar critiques for being unclear, slow, vague or otherwise lacking.

$200 Qualifying Airline Rebate: Like the Platinum card, Centurion cardholders receive a $200 qualifying airline rebate per calendar year on their airline partner of choice. This credit is supposed to apply toward baggage fees, seat assignment fees, in-flight food and drink, flight change fees, lounge day passes, full lounge membership and award ticket fees. The problem is that many elite travelers already get most of those fees waived, so cardholders often have credit left over at the end of the year. However, many people (myself included) are regularly able to apply the credit toward the purchase of $50 and $100 airline vouchers, so you can actually spend it on tickets. Comments from TPG readers provide plenty of anecdotal evidence and successful examples.

Delta Platinum Medallion Status: To access this benefit, call Delta at 1-800-323-2323, inform them that you have the Centurion card, and follow their instructions to provide proof of your cardholder status. Delta Platinum Medallion Status ordinarily requires a Delta Amex spend of $25,000 annually or a spend of $7,500 on Delta airfare, as well as 75,000 Medallion qualification miles or 100 segments. The status provides unlimited complimentary upgrades on various fares and award tickets (though no longer on premium transcontinental routes like JFK-LAX), as well as companion upgrades, preferred seating, Elite Plus boarding and baggage status, and Medallion Choice Benefits, like bonus miles or Silver Medallion status nomination for someone else.

US Airways Platinum Status: Though Amex is ending its relationship with US Airways in terms of lounge status due to the airline’s upcoming merger with American Airlines, Amex has told Centurion cardholders that the automatic US Airways Platinum status that they have received as a cardmember benefit since 2007 will be extended through February 28, 2015. However, Amex has not specified what will happen after that, and I suspect 2014 will be the last year that cardholders receive this benefit. Platinum status normally requires flying 75,000 miles or 90 segments, and includes the following benefits: First class upgrades, checked bag fee waivers and priority baggage handling, bonus miles, preferred seating, Preferred Access (with priority check-in, security line access, and boarding), guaranteed seating, Star Alliance Gold status, priority standby, MoveUp and Mileage Upgrade fee waivers, award processing and quick ticketing fee waivers, and US Airways Club membership discount.

Cathay Pacific's First Class Lounge in Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific’s First Class Lounge in Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific’s The Marco Polo Club Diamond Status: This top-tier status on Cathay Pacific usually requires 120,000 Club miles or 80 Club sectors. Perks include First class check-in, priority waitlisting, guaranteed seats (including business class), and access to all Cathay Pacific lounges (see Airport Lounge Access below). Additional benefits include room upgrades at Fairmont, Hyatt, Langham, Peninsula, Ritz-Carlton and more. Centurion cardholders receive a letter informing them of membership, and again when/if they’ve been renewed; automatic renewal has not been a blanket benefit in the past.  Note:According to FlyerTalkers, this benefit will be discontinued on November 30, 2014.

Delta SkyClub Lounge at LAX

Delta SkyClub Lounge at LAX.

Airport Lounge AccessWith a valid ticket for same-day travel, Centurion cardholders receive complimentary access to Cathay Pacific lounges (including First Class and Dragonair), Delta Sky Club lounges, Airspace lounges (found in JFK, CLE and BWI airports), and Centurion lounges, which are presently found at Las Vegas (LAS) and Dallas (DFW) airports, with new lounges planned for San Francisco (SFO) and New York City’s LaGuardia (LGA). Additional benefits at all of these lounges include the ability to bring up to two guests and any children under 21.

The Centurion card also confers Priority Pass Select access to over 600 airport lounges in 100 countries. However, note that this particular benefit requires cardholders to call their Centurion customer service line, request enrollment, and wait for physical receipt of a Priority Pass card; this card must be presented in order to gain access to member lounges. Guests are allowed in for a $27 fee.

Centurion members still must present a Priority Pass card in order to gain lounge access

Centurion members must present a Priority Pass card in order to gain lounge access.

Complimentary access to all of these airport lounges represents a potential savings of up to $500 annually for each separate program, taking some of the edge off  Centurion’s initiation and annual fees. 

Global Entry Refund: Global Entry qualifies you for TSA PreCheck and allows you to skip lengthy customs and immigration lines when you return from traveling abroad. When you charge the $100 Global Entry application fee to your Centurion card, you get a $100 statement credit, making  your Global Entry membership free.


Reimbursement for Global Entry membership is a perk of the Centurion card.

Avis President’s Club Membership and Hertz Platinum: The Centurion card confers automatic Avis President’s Club and Hertz Platinum elite status. President’s Club benefits include two-class upgrades on intermediate or higher car class rentals,  guaranteed availability and dedicated customer service. Hertz Platinum includes guaranteed vehicle availability worldwide, guaranteed vehicle upgrades, personalized concierge service on every rental, private car service back to your departure terminal, a four-hour grace period on returns, and a 25% points bonus among other benefits.

Cruises:  When you book a cruise on Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn Cruise Line, and Silversea Cruises using the Centurion card, you receive a shipboard credit of $500 per stateroom or a 2-Category Stateroom Upgrade (depending on the cruise line and stateroom category booked). Exclusive amenities vary by cruise line, but include complimentary dinners, bottles of Champagne, special packages and ship tours.

Luxury Hotel Perks and Upgrades: Centurion cardholders receive priority booking, check-in and amenities at luxury hotel chains. For instance, at most Amanresorts, Centurion members receive a candlelit dinner for two prepared by the property’s executive chef. Orient-Express properties offer a complimentary dinner (alcohol not included) for two for a three-night-minimum stay. At Mandarin Oriental, cardholders receive one free night per year at any of the chain’s global properties (with a minimum stay of two consecutive nights). Additional Centurion hotel-partner chains include Raffles, Peninsula, Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis.

Starwood Gold Status: Once you have a Centurion card, call Starwood at 1-888-625-4990 and tell them you want SPG Gold Status. After you fax in proof that you are a cardholder, they’ll upgrade your Starwood account to Gold status. Starwood Gold (normally attained after 25 nights or 10 stays) gets you a 50% bonus on Starpoints (so you earn 3 points per $1 spent at Starwood properties), room upgrades, 4 pm late checkout and overall better customer service. Centurion cardholders in some countries also get Hilton Diamond fast track (you just need to stay 2 stays or 4 nights) and IHG Rewards Platinum status.

Starwood Gold Status: also included with Centurion

Starwood Gold Status: also included with Centurion.

Fine Hotels & Resorts Program: The Fine Hotels and Resorts program for Centurion cardholders includes Centurion Travel Service, Centurion’s dedicated travel agency.  Agents are well-versed in the travel benefits of the card down to the fine print, and booking travel with them will ensure that you receive expert advice on your chosen destination as well as all possible travel perks of your membership, such as availability-based room upgrades, free night offers, complimentary breakfast, early check-in and guaranteed 4 pm check-out, resort credits for expenses like restaurants or spa treatments, and sometimes even free WiFi. Centurion members can book up to three rooms per cardholder, per stay at each property. Room rates are typically about the same as those being offered on a hotel’s website, but these perks can add up to thousands of dollars of extra value per stay. Though you normally have to book a room directly through a hotel or loyalty program’s website in order to earn points and elite credit from your stay, booking via Centurion Travel Service will in some cases allow earned points, elite credit and elite status benefits as well as value-added FHR perks like on-property credits.

Benefits of Centurion Travel Service

Centurion Travel Service can raise your hotel game to the next level.

Companion Ticket Benefit: Like the Platinum card, the Centurion card comes with a benefit that entitles cardholders to bring along a single companion on premium international itineraries. The catch is that you must purchase a refundable full-fare ticket, so this benefit does not always offer savings. There is no limit to the number of Companion Tickets available through the program, and there are no blackout dates—if you can buy a ticket on an eligible flight and there is space, you can get a Companion Ticket. In order to score a Companion Ticket, you must book through Amex’s Platinum Travel Service by calling 1-800-443-7672 or 1-800-525-3355. You cannot earn a companion ticket by booking anywhere else–and remember they can only quote you refundable ticket prices if you are going for the Companion Ticket.

Car Rental Perks and Upgrades: Centurion cardholders receive fast-track service and model upgrades at leading auto rental outlets like Hertz and Avis. Cardmembers receive preferred pricing on performance vehicles like Ferraris and Lamborghinis, or luxury cars like Mercedes, Lexus and BMW, as well as the high-end electric Tesla.

Purchase Protection: Amex’s purchase protection program offers coverage for up to 90 days after the date of purchase (though reportedly protection is actually extended beyond that) in case your merchandise is lost, stolen or damaged, and includes purchases made all over the world for you or someone else up to the cost charged to your card with a limit of $10,000 per purchase and $50,000 per card per year. Amex also has return protection where, if you change your mind and want to return an item, they’ll refund the charge even if the merchant won’t take it back, up to $300 per purchase and $1,000 annually. Amex also offers extended warranties for up to 1 year on purchases where the manufacturer’s warranty is 5 years or less. Using your Amex Platinum card could end up saving you a lot of money if your purchases don’t work out as well as you’d like, or if they are lost, stolen or damaged.

Travel Accident Insurance: Travel accident coverage for death or dismemberment up to $1.5 million – which is likely by far the highest of any card that offers this benefit. Insurance applies when traveling on a plane, train, helicopter, ship or bus when the entire fare has been charged to your card. Covered persons include the cardmember, each additional cardmember, and each of these cardmembers’ spouses or domestic partners and dependent children under 23 years of age.


These aren’t all of the benefits associated with the Centurion card – Amex releases very little information about this exclusive card to non-cardholders, so if you have more concrete information, please feel free to share and we’ll add it to the post - but the fact remains that its benefits as a whole can hold a ton of value for some cardholders. Namely, this card is most useful to big spenders who are traveling regularly and taking full advantage of benefits like the Delta, Cathay and US Airways elite status (that is, if you don’t already fly private), the Fine Hotels & Resorts, and even the Companion Ticket if you’re required to buy refundable full-fares for some reason. However, you’d be hard pressed to make up for the $7,500 in fees the first year and the $2,500 annual fee thereafter and cards like the Premier Rewards Gold with the 3x points on airfare and 2x on gas and groceries and 15,000 bonus after $30,000 spent within a year are more lucrative for actually accruing points.

The main benefit of the card seems to be the status symbol of having the card. Unless that status is compelling to you personally, or you find it beneficial to your business, to impress at this exclusive level you’re probably better off with the Platinum Card. As detailed in this recent post, you’ll see that it offers many of the same perks for the relative pittance of a $450 annual fee.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Jumus

    I think you say it all when you say “fly private”. I don’t believe anyone who has this card and spends a quarter of a million dollars a year on just this card is flying commercial with the prices of private jets coming down drastically over the past few years, it wouldn’t really make sense.

  • Holly Johnson

    No!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just no.

  • Stone

    It’s things like this that show how lame and primitive the human race actually is.

  • Drew

    I’m going to be loyal and keep my Platinum… I’m going to gamble that AMEX has something up their sleeves to make up for all it’s deficiencies over the past few years.

  • Barry

    My boss has the “Black Card” and he, by all means, flies standard coach. He’s from a rich family and I’m sure that helps, but getting aggregate spending up on that card over 4-6 people with families is a snap.

  • Phil

    Jumus – I spend that much on a Centurion, and I fly commercial. Even paid first class is cheaper than private, unless you are flying with a whole entourage (which I don’t, and couldn’t afford to do). Most Centurion holders are small biz owners, not ultra-wealthy.

    As far as it’s value, it’s a tough call. If you are flying Delta, the upgrade rate is likely not high enough to make it worthwhile alone. If you are staying at a bunch of FHR properties and getting a lot of upgrades, it could easily pay for itself.

    Keep in mind the card also has a $5K initiation fee in addition to the $2500 annual fee. I don’t think it is worth it for anyone to pay $7500 to have this card, but it “may” be worthwhile to keep it at $2500 if you already have it and use the benefits.

  • blkbetty

    I’m in year 2 of having a Centurion card. The initiation fee is $7500 w/$2500 annual fee. So $10k year one. Airlines – Delta Platinum Medallion is the only airline status you get now. No US Airway or Cathay Pacific. Hotels – Starwood Gold, Hilton Gold (fast track to Diamond), InterContinental Elite & Relais & Chateaux Club 5c VIP per property. Companion ticket – no more. Buy a Business class ticket, free upgrade to First.

    Some things you missed. Using Membership Rewards points for travel, you get 20% back. Spend 10k points, get 2k back in your account. Using Membership Rewards for shopping, EVERYTHING is discounted 20% (with the exception of gift cards – most are discounted, but some aren’t).

    There’s a ton more, but who wants to give it all away.

  • Jerry C

    Phil … How long have you been a Centurion card member? And based on your situation, what do you think helped you get the invite since no one knows the exact requirements. Trying to see if I should be expecting an invite this year = )

  • hess

    I just called and asked if I could have it and the agent said you bet. That was all it took.

  • Deborah McKee

    Not worth it. I am a Personal Assistant and former travel agent of 15 years and my last 2 Principals have had Centurion cards. The perks are dwindling and the Amex Centurion travel desk agents are mind numbingly slow and not travel savy. A simple hotel room booking takes 15 minutes and I’d say 50% of the time I have to ask them to take an extra step like getting a seat assignment or calling a hotel for a specific request instead of relying on inventory in the GDS (Travel Software). There are a few good agents, but not enough. This is supposed to be your top spenders… 1% of the 1% and these are the agents I have to deal with? The concierge services are a joke. They have never been able to secure a restaurant reservation when I couldn’t.

  • John

    Useless. Caters to arrogance. Amex Platinum used to mean something (and I suppose Black Card more) but they are both way down on the rung now, and don’t seem to be doing anything useful to pull themselves back up. My 10 year Platinum membership will not be renewed in June and can’t imagine for the life of my why anyone would pay for the Black Card

  • RM

    Got the invitation a few years back and paid the annual fee for five years without initiation fee, before I decided it was a waste of money and cancelled.

    It was nice at the beginning: Special treatment almost every where I went, specialy if it was arranged by the concierge!,,,, Clients saying “wow”, you are in your twenties and have that card?? ,,,,, Walking into clubs and getting VIP treatment!…. cashiers taking a second look and asking what is this thing??? ,,,,,,, But it did not last long…

    Then, They decided to offer the card to just anyone who spent $175K annually (which is not too difficult for more corporate cards, and paid the initial $5K fee. (it used to be a max 10,000 members worldwide by invite only, but they got greedy and wanted to make $$$). As more and more people paid the initiation fee, the card lost its exclusivity.

    The Concierge was nice before the days of internet reservation sites. But I realized every time I called for travel arrangement, I had to tell them what flight, hotel etc. So why call when you can book everything online. They do cater to every need but as long as you are willing to pay ridiculous high retail prices for what you are looking for. They don’t shop around and pick/suggest the first solution they see.

    The free companion first class ticket was a joke. They would offer you a free companion ticket in first class from LAX to HKG for around $10K total, when you can book the same thing online for $4K per person…

    Few years back I tried using the card to make VIP table reservations at a Vegas night club and I was told: “So what you have the black card!?? I had 50 guys walking in with the same card tonight!”

    I realized its time to save $2500 and go back to Platinum card which for a fraction of the cost offered similar perks….

  • ADpage

    The question is: does anyone know what the requirements are in the US to get one now? I have really high spend but there must be something more because I haven’t been offered one yet. Any ideas?

  • marc

    My wife and I both have the centurion card. Unfortunately I now pay $5,000 per year for both when in the past is was $4,000 for both. We usually travel commercially on a monthly basis and the card has been well worth the fees. We get excellent treatment wherever we go. Amex has been fantastic at protecting us whenever there has been a discrepancy. They even refunded us several thousand dollars when a chandelier we purchased in Prague did not include what we were promised. They also send us free gift cards on occasion, although this last year has been much less frequent. We’ve had the card for several years. I believe we were one of the earlier invitations and I plan on always keeping the card. It was really fantastic when Hyatt diamond and Starwood platinum were included many years ago.

  • marc

    I forgot to mention that the information about Cathay Marco Polo is incorrect. It has never been part of the Centurion program, other than transferring membership awards points to Cathay.

  • EMR

    I have had he card since 2002 before the initiation fee was introduced. Annual fee was 1000. They have since increased to 2500 for primary and also 2500 for additional which used to be less. I love the card and do get great value. Traveling a lot using FHR, the delta platinum benefit which did give you system wide upgrades ( which I believe is gone for Platinum next year), US Airways, Virgin gold and priority pass, it more than pays for itself many times over. We also just got a new benefit which is Hertz Platinum which actually has someone take the car to you at the terminal opposed to riding the shuttle to the lot. There are many other benefits as well that I find great. US airways we get until Feb 2015 and then it is done. It is true our benefits have been decreasing while Platinum have increased. We used to be the only ones allowed in Centurion lounges in Vegas etc for free and now that is also a Platinum benefit. However i travel frequently to Buenos Aires and Mexico City and the AMEX lounges there do have separate rooms for only Centurion members that do have better perks and less crowded.
    I spoke with an Amex centurion customer service rep just yesterday and mentioned that our benefits were diminishing, he said to stay tuned as many new features were going to be rolled out this fall.
    A friend of mine who works at AMEX says they are finalizing diamond status with Delta. Now that the other carriers have aligned with other banks such as Chase and Citi etc, Amex is pushing Delta to provide Diamond for Centurion. This makes sense to me. Finally Cathay was never a benefit for US members, only Asian. We had Continental, Delta, US Air and Virgin at one point. The bottom line is if you travel a lot and use the benefits it is well wroth it even now. Hopefully they will add the new features soon and it will be back to where it used to be in terms of excellence.

  • EMR

    I also forgot to mention we do get Hilton Gold, Starwood Gold, Relais and Chateu club 5c and Priority Club Platinum. Hyatt is gone! SPG used to be Platinum as well as dropped. That said it is still great to not have to qualify fr elite status. If they go to Diamond it will be fantastic. Didn’t Brian post things about buying status on US airways and status matches and mileage runs? Well it is nice to not have to worry about that.

  • Jumus

    Interesting you say that about the Centurion lounge, I personally agree that if its only for Centurion members then keep it that way, I have a Platinum card and understand why they would not want to let them in but they are now letting in basically anyone. My friend went in the Vegas one the other day and showed his Gold card, THEY LET HIM IN. I mean seriously what’s next, if someone shows the fake paper green Amex card they put in new wallets before you buy them will they accept that!

  • solaman1

    It seems that they are trying to reduce the number of members with higher fees and the initiation fee. The only suggestion I have (as a cardholder) is to call and ask. I am certain the spend must be over $250k now, so keep that in mind.

    Having said all of that, I have a friend who always spends over $250k and has spent over $1MM in a year on his platinum call and has an excellent credit score and he has called every year and not been able to get it.

  • Fastsrt8

    I have been a Canadian centurion member for 2 years, we previously had no airline status then delta gold was introduced last year along with hilton diamond (previously there wasn’t a hilton status), Marco Polo diamond was introduced two yrs ago but has been taken away early this year, which was a shame and affected many people as both Toronto and Vancouver are major Cathay hubs. Reading about the changes in the us program it seems they may be thinking of aligning the benefits globally?

  • Jonny

    Good to hear that they still send out invites. Last I heard, it was nearly impossible to get one with even 1mm of spending per year.

  • Dan

    I have had a Business Centurion for about 6 years. I am a small business owner and not particularly wealthy – I was able to play the system at the time. Amex used to offer a Small Business credit line, and “spending” – including cash withdrawals on that account would count toward the $250K. As soon as I hit that spend, I called and they upgraded my Biz Platinum to Centurion, I paid the fees, and I haven’t spent nearly that much since. They do not care once you are in the program and if you use the card responsibly.

    While I do miss some of the elite status that has gone away, I have always been a Delta flyer in a primarily Delta market, but it is a smaller airport, so I almost always get upgrades. US Airways was useful, but that airline is so mediocre that I only fly them when I absolutely have to. The Hilton Diamond is nice, and the Avis Presidents Club is fantastic (I have been given a BMW on my past two rentals). I don’t travel enough to get status on my own, so these perks are very valuable (to me). I have also used the statuses to match to other airlines over the years.

    I do use the Centurion travel agent, who is hit and miss – one year she got us a great rate and upgrade at a Ritz Carlton, the next she put us in a rat hole hotel in York, England. There is a lot I like to do myself – I only use her when I need something special.

    Customer service is outstanding – there are not many service representatives and I seem to get the same ones when I call in.

    As a Biz Cent member, I don’t get the gift cards or the other extra perks that I have read about with Personal cards (one year they apparently sent out digital cameras one year).

    It is worth it? I worked hard to get the card, and I am unwilling to give it up. The airline status (even if it is just Delta) is worth a lot to me, since that is my primary airline. I am still waiting to see what the “enhanced perks” are going to be – every time I call in, they say “just hold on, good things are coming”. If I give it up, I’ll never get it back, so I am in.

  • Phil

    I had my Centurion since 2003. Back then it was very easy, spend $250k, call and ask for an invite.

    Today, it’s much tougher.

  • scw2111

    You’re mistaken. It’s easy to spend $250k on a credit card especially for business owners. My UPS & FEDEX bills alone which I drop onto AMEX (now switching to Chase Ink because AMEX is starting to suck) is ~$25k/month. And if travelling alone I typically fly coach.

  • scw2111

    AMEX service and benefits is getting worse. After being offered Chase Ink / Sapphire preferred I called up AMEX asking them what to do with my ~$400k/year spend with them (I wanted free platinum). They said no which makes no sense – $400k @ 2.5% merchant discount rate = $10k. I have since transferred about 60% of my charges onto the Ink card… AMEX is becoming a poorly run organization that just doesn’t care.

  • scw2111

    Interesting, thanks for sharing.

  • scw2111

    And the US dollar used to go REALLY far in Asia. If you had dollars everyone wanted it. Now people could care less and/or refuse to accept it. Way of the world my friend – everyone wants the latest and greatest :)

  • cbkcc1

    i believe it is full fare business only (able to cancel). that is why it is always higher.

  • Guest

    For what it’s worth, I was in Vegas in March and I was able to access the Centurion Lounge at the LAS airport with my Gold card.

    However, they did tell me that they were running a promo at the time which is why I got in for free. Otherwise the cost to access the Centurion lounge for Gold cardholders is $50.00

  • superduper

    fake post. sour grapes, buddy….

  • TheBizGuy

    ive spent over 1.2 million YTD on my Amex Gold business card and about 200K on my Amex Plum business card and yet to get anything. I doubt I will. I’ve only been an amex holder for a year but i’ve paid my bills off in full every month and was never LATE on a payment, ever.

    I’d like a black card but wahtever.

  • TheBizGuy

    Seriously ?

  • TheBizGuy

    I’ve spent over 1.3 mil YTD and never got anything.. Although i’ve never ever called up and asked, do you call the executive office or ?

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  • Jack

    There were anecdotal reports earlier this year that American Express refined their Centurion invite formula, and now takes into account the “quality” of spending. If true, then Amex now extends invitations to people who spend heavily on luxury goods and/or services with (typically) their current Amex Platinum, in addition to meeting the minimum spend.

    Spending big $$$ alone probably isn’t enough for the non-celebrity type to garner an invite. A couple of years ago, it was also rumored that the minimum spend for invite was closer to $500k, rather than $250k per year. But, like most comments in this thread, all of this is speculation and rumors from “inside sources”, and could be incorrect. Regardless, it’s evident Amex has been working to thin the herd of current cardholders, and restore some exclusivity to the brand. Limiting invites is likely part of the process.

  • Rajiv Vyas

    Deborah: So what would you recommend for concierge service and also a card that is better than Amex for travel? There is no way I get an invitation to the Black card in the near future but just wondering.

  • Cameron

    I needed to call amex and make sure I was enrolled for direct marketing.

  • TheBizGuy

    And what will that do ? should I call executive office or customer support # on back of card

  • Gonad the Barbarian

    You took the time to read this article and comment on it. It’s people like you who remind me why “not having to deal with a-holes” is often the most important perk of all.

  • JJ

    I have had the card for 2 years and it is no better than platinum, don’t waste your $$

  • Jinglejeff

    I’ve had the centurion card for about 15 years, we greatest benefit is the incredible concierge service you get for just about any request, although I am an average successful businessman, I have gotten to know one of my travel concierges,. He told me okay client that spent $20 million and had his entourage show up at the American Express office to watch the reservations get done! I asked him about getting a ticket for the Oscars he told me $2 million(of course I didn’t get them but somebody did) it really is a great privilege to be able to have this card just for that alone. They have cut the holders from 15 to 20 per card to only three that helped a lot. I will also tell you you get back way more than you actually pay for the card, every year.

  • Joss


    I have the black card now for a period of about 5-6 years and I will be going back to the platinum… It is not worth the price… You get exactly the same service as the platinum card and the benefits that come with it…. suppose you don’t use the card a lot because in europe the amex is not widely accepted and than all of a sudden you pay for some tickets business they will just block the card without you telling so you end up looking stupid the next time you use it… the credit limit is only as high as your average over the last year, so sudden extreme expenses result in blocking your card. Try to contact the financial department when this happens,,, ONLY business hours!!! so far for your private account manager even he can’t unblock your card when you discover it in the weekend or in my case on a friday late at hertz,,, needing another card to get my rental card. This happened to me already twice in the last 5 years.

    It is only prestige and don’t believe all the extra’s like all the diamond and elite statusses…I speak from experience… The travel agency from AMEX is even worse than quickly doing it yourself online, sometimes better prices online and they even dare to charge quite a lot at AMEX for these reservations as if a few thousand dollars a year wouldn’t cover their expenses.

  • askmrlee

    The fee to enter for any American Express card holder is $50 but free for Amex Platinum charge card and Centurion. Amex Platinum credit cards such as the Delta Platinum or Optima Platinum are subject to the fee.

  • Mike

    I have received an offer for an Amex Black card a couple weeks ago. My current financial status has been a bit rough due to changing jobs recently and waiting for paydays to even out. That being said, like all other offers I tore it in half and threw it away (but not before reading a bit of the info that came with it). The annual fee for the card was written in at $500. There was nothing which stated that it would increase to $2500 at any point. With the loss of some of these services they might have reduced the annual fee on the card. The more I investigate the card the more I kick myself in the back side for not submitting the offer. Lesson learned now that my finances are back on track…

  • Alphonso Morris

    Just read this on the AMEX website.

    Initiation Fee $7,500
    Annual Membership Fee $2,500

  • Ted

    It was not Amex.

  • Rusty Longwood

    The cost of a private jet with the range, quietness and speed close to your typical airliner is going to be 8 figures minimum, not to mention operating costs. 250k will buy you maybe 25-50 flight hours on a net jets program. I’m sure a lot of Centurion card holders fly private sometimes, but the kind who would only fly private is a tier beyond that cutoff.

  • Andrew T

    I got the centurion card in 2006 on a whim because i thought it was cool and all the perks would be fun. I also got a 2nd one for the wife. After a couple years it seemed like an extravagant waste of money and a little more showey than i wanted to represent. I felt like a punk representing himself as a rapper. Pretty Phony. Needless to say I let the card go and from time to time consider getting it again because it is cool but the bang for the buck was never and will never be there for me…IMHO…not worth it. I don’t need attention that bad.

  • Alton

    I spent well over 300k annually on my platinum, and was not invited to Centurion. Then a dear friend of mine who spends over 100k monthly was offered a Centurion, and initially declined! When I told him I wanted one, he called back and accepted, on the condition they give me one too! And they did! The billing goes to him, but I have the actual metal Centirion card. I use it at Starbucks or other places and enjoy the reaction I get from the vendors. Having the card is fun, but the actual benefits are no greater than my platinum. Save for the looks pretty shop girls give you when you pay for things with the Black Centurion. For that alone; priceless!

  • eddy b

    Two things I wanted to add. I’ve had the card since 2005. I was aware of the $250k minimum spending. As soon as I reached it on my platinum I called and requested it. I did not get invited, you can just call and apply.

    Yes it’s a stupid amount of money in fees, but it pays for itself and a lot more depending on what you spend. Mine is a personal card, but I use it for my business purchases. I spend about $2 million a year with amex, fuel alone is $1m. Every dollar you spend is one point, with the platinum and below it’s also one point. But when you pay your bill with points a centurion holder’s points are each worth $.01, while the others are $.005. So my $2m a year is a $20k cash back, which would only be $10k if i had the platinum

    This is the only way I could justify it.

  • Robert Buterbaugh

    As a concierge, I have noticed a few items about the Centurion Card.
    1. if you don’t travel much it is not useful. Most of the benefits are targeted to people who travel often.
    2. my upper tier clients have found that most of the services American Express offers are vastly over-priced. The car service, the private plane service, the buying services all charge more through AMEX than if you have a personal assistant or local concierge arrange the same services. The restaurant program includes restaurants that have been closed for years. The travel agency is inept and AAA provides better roadside assistance. ( But AAA can be slow also. )
    3. I have some successful clients who are quite comfortable with an AMEX Green Card and they still seem to be able to get first-class service.

  • xcxx

    you need to be a platinum card holder

  • Bob Smith

    I would recommend JetBlaQ. I found them on google one day. They are an elite private membership club, that offer luxury concierge, bespoke travel and lifestyle management services 24/7, 365 days a year. JetBlaQ also has real account executives that are assigned to your account for the whole term of your membership. You speak to the same person every time. The other great thing about JetBlaQ, is that they call you to let you know when specific events, concerts, travel destinations that they know that you’re interested in.

    I’ve been with JetBlaQ for the past year and to date I am very happy with their services. Especially being able to speak to the same person all the time and I love how they have the ability to upgrade my flights from coach to business class without spending additional fees.

  • FAM

    if you have multiple AMEX do they add up the total of all spending to 250K or it has to be on one card only?

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