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TPG credit card reader question: What are some Amex Centurion alternatives?

Aug. 24, 2020
7 min read
TPG credit card reader question: What are some Amex Centurion alternatives?
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Editor’s note: This article is part of a new column to answer your credit card questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Any time card details change, it's a good time to reevaluate if it's still worth keeping — especially when those changes include an increased annual fee. When looking at whether or not a card is worth it, it's important to check to see what alternative credit cards could potentially give you a better value.

[pullquote source="RUSS "]I have been a Centurion Cardholders for a long time. Amex is doubling the fees and all the benefits seem to be geared toward NYC residents. I live on the West Coast and there are almost no benefits that work for me. Is the Centurion still worth the new fees for non-New Yorkers? Should I downgrade to the Amex Platinum or do something else entirely?[/pullquote]

Back in October 2019, Amex announced a host of changes to its invite-only Centurion Card. Added benefits include Saks Fifth Avenue credits, a complimentary Equinox membership, expanded Airport Meet & Greet services, a Clear membership annual statement credit, complimentary annual membership to The Private Suite at LAX, extended 27/4 personal Centurion concierge services and more. A few current benefits are being eliminated as well — the airline fee credit, Boingo Preferred Plan and GoGo Preferred Plan.

Unfortunately, these changes came with a doubled annual fee. Yes, you read that right. Cardholders were now being charged double the current annual fee each year, bringing the annual cost up to $5,000. The initiation fee (currently $7,500) is also increasing to $10,000, but that won't affect existing cardholders.

The information for the Amex Centurion Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Major new changes to the Amex Centurion card’s benefits and fees

Russ makes a valid point — a lot of the additional perks are only going to truly benefit those who live in or frequently visit larger cities such as New York or Los Angeles, and $5,000 is a hefty price to pay for a card with a slew of benefits you can't -- or won't -- use.

If you are someone who will use both the existing and new perks, the doubled annual fee is still worth it. The Points Guy himself -- Brian Kelly -- plans on keeping the card in his wallet, actually saying he's as happy as ever with the cards new benefits, despite the increased annual fee.

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However, if Russ knows that these new benefits aren't going to provide value for him as a cardholders, it might be time to look at alternatives.

Related reading: Amex Centurion card review — Is it worth it?

Alternatives to the Centurion Card

Here are a couple of premium credit cards that might be a better fit for Russ if he decides not to renew his Centurion Card. These are publicly available cards, so they don't require a special invite to apply.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

The most obvious alternative is the Amex Platinum. With this card, you're getting plenty of membership perks (many of which are mirrored in the Centurion Card), though of course not at the same level as the Centurion Card.

The card grants you access to Priority Pass, Centurion and Delta SkyClub (when flying Delta) lounges. You'll also get complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, up to $200 airline fee credit in statement credits per calendar year, up to $100 per year at Saks, up to $200 in Uber credits and more. Amex has also added limited-time, coronavirus-based benefits to give more value to cardholders.

And with the Amex Platinum, you have the ability to earn bonus points on spending, which is not a feature of the Centurion Card. To start, you'll earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. And you'll also earn 5x on airfare booked directly with airlines and airfare (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, starting on Jan. 1, 2021) prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com.

Related reading: Amex Platinum card review

While you're still shelling out a hefty $695 per year for this card (see rates and fees), that's only a fraction of the cost of the Centurion Card. And you're still getting a solid suite of benefits that can help upgrade your travel experience.

If you're a small business owner, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers a similar level of benefits (with a few specifically geared towards business travelers) as the personal version, is another good option to look into.

Related reading: Amex Business Platinum review

Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

The other premium credit card that could be a good alternative is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It also comes with a more easily justifiable $550 annual fee and offers solid benefits for travelers.

You'll earn 10x on Lyft and 3x on all other travel and dining purchases. As far as perks, you're getting Priority Pass lounge access, a $300 annual travel credit, complimentary DashPass and Lyft Pink memberships and a great set of travel protections.

While the card doesn't offer quite the same level of benefits as the Amex Platinum, this card does make it easier to rack up points across purchases with broader bonus categories.

Related: Which card should I use? A guide to navigating COVID card bonuses and benefits

Bottom line

The Centurion Card certainly isn't for everyone. If Russ isn't going to be able to take advantage of the benefits offered by the card, it makes sense to start looking at other options. The Amex Platinum offers a compelling alternative for anyone who wants luxury perks without the $5,000 annual price tag, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great choice for anyone hoping to dive deeper into earning points.

Featured image by John Gribben/The Points Guy

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.

Featured image by (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023