American Express Centurion: Once you go black, you never go back

Neil Patel

Over the past few months I have been getting numerous emails about a picture of me holding up a black credit card. Usually the emails I have been getting ask one of the following questions:

  1. What is the black card you are holding up?
  2. How did you obtain that black credit card?
  3. How can I obtain one of those cards?
  4. What is the benefit of having a black card?
  5. Is it worth having that card?

What is the black card you are holding up?

American Express Centurion Card

To answer your questions, the black card is an American Express Centurion card. I first found out about the card in 2007 from two other Centurion cardholders: Brian Price and Greg Hartnett. After that day, I knew I wanted one but was not sure how to obtain one without having any credit (I don’t own a house or car, and all of my credit cards are company credit cards).

How did I obtain a Centurion card?

affiliate programs

To make a long story short of how I obtained the Centurion card, I am currently on the Board of Advisors of a handful of companies. One of them being Affiliate Programs (who is mainly known for owning a lot of the media properties in the online gambling and affiliate space). Because I am on the board of advisors for that company, one of the perks that they provided me was a Centurion card. The best part about getting the card through them, is that they paid for the upfront fees to obtain the card and they pay the monthly card bill.

How can you obtain a Centurion card?

American Express Centurion bill

Before you can apply to obtain a Centurion card, you first need an American Express credit card. It does not matter which card you have (blue, blue cash, blue sky, gold, platinum), you just need a decent limit.

Once you have a credit card, you need to spend a minimum of $250,000 within 1 year, which sounds hard, but if you have a business it is not too difficult because you put all your expenses on a credit card. Basically, if you spend a lot on entertainment or marketing, just charge it to your Amex card. If you have employees to pay each month, pay a payroll company through your credit card, which would in return pay your employees through checks.

The main problem that most individuals or companies run into with the $250,000 yearly spend is that they spend at least that amount but their credit limit with American Express is not $20,833.33 a month ($250,000 divided by 12 months). In this case what you do is write American Express a check at the beginning of month to cover all your credit card expenditures for the month. For example, if your credit card limit is $10,000 a month and you figure that you will spend $25,000 this month, write American Express a check for $15,000 ($25,000 – $10,000 = $15,000) before the month begins.

After you have spent $250,000 in a year, call up American Express and request a Centurion card. Most people claim that it is invite only, but the reality is they are not too hard to get if you spend $250,000 a year.

Once you are approved for the Centurion card, you then have to pay them fees.

  • Upfront fee – $5000
  • Yearly fee for the first card – $2500
  • Yearly fee for each additional card – $1500

A few years ago you were able to get these cards with lower fees all of these fees. The upfront fee may have not been there or the yearly fee for the first card was much lower. Nowadays if you are trying to get this card you will end up paying at least $7500 in fees during your first year of use.

What benefits do the Centurion card provide?

American Express Centurion Benefits Booklet

The benefits you receive for having a Centurion card vary based on the type of card you have. The two types of cards are personal and business and because I only have a business card, I am not 100% certain on the benefits of the personal card. As for the business version, here are the benefits:

  • Personalized services – American Express provides you with 2 concierges (personal and travel). The travel concierge deals with all travel related booking such as hotels, airfare and rental cars. The personal concierge deals with everything else such as shopping and fine dining. This is probably the most used because not only can you use the concierge service, but also you are allowed to give others access to use it as well (family and assistants).
  • Air travel – on certain airlines (Delta, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Northwest) you are upgraded to elite status. This means when you buy an economy ticket you are automatically upgraded to business or first class upon availability. Plus, up to 4 times a year you can take your companion (family member or friend) on a trip with you for free. So if you buy a round trip ticket from Los Angeles to New York, you can take someone with you and back for free. If you want to take someone with you on an international flight for free you have to buy a business or first class ticket.
  • Lodging – just like with air travel, you obtain elite status with certain hotels and resorts. With hotels like the Starwood Group (W, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Meridien, Element, and Aloft), Ritz-Carlton, Hilton, Amanresorts, Peninsula Hotels, Orient Express Hotels, Mandarin Oriental, and Centurion Villas, you are able to get free suite upgrades as well as a free breakfast. Depending on the location of the hotel you may also get a free spa treatment, free lunch, a gift upon arrival, and a free gift voucher to the shop inside the hotel. If that doesn’t meet all of your traveling needs, you also become an elite member at 550 worldwide hotels and resorts.
  • Cruises and Land Vacations – whether you are looking for a private yacht, you are in the mood for cruise, or trying to go on an exotic vacation, American Express has specials for you. If you want your own yacht, you will get a $500 credit towards your meals. If you want to go on a 6-day or longer cruise you will also get a $500 credit towards your fees. Furthermore, if you want to take a trip to an exotic location your travel concierge will set it up for you and provide you the best deals out there.
  • Additional travel benefits – if you travel on a regular basis there are a lot of little things you may need. For example if you want a limo to take you around, American Express can do that for you. Or, if you prefer renting cars you will have an elite status at Hertz and Avis so you can enjoy complimentary upgrades. If that wasn’t enough to take care of your needs, you can also have someone to assist you with communications in countries that do not speak English, get baggage insurance, car rental insurance, and up to 1.5 million dollars in travel insurance in case your plane, bus, or boat crashes.
  • Retail benefits – if you love shopping at certain stores like Saks or Gucci, you can have a personal shopper with you to help you find everything you need. If you hate shopping, American Express can close down certain shops so you can be the only shopper in the store and you will not have to deal with lines.
  • Entertainment benefits – from fancy dinning to enjoy special events, your concierge is there to get you into whatever you want. Instead of waiting to be seated at restaurants, American Express has deals with over 1000 restaurants where they have tables dedicated for cardholders. If you are trying to get tickets to the Super Bowl, all you have to do is call your concierge.
  • Financial solutions – many Centurion members are financially well off, which means they pay a lot of taxes, usually have a few businesses, and may run into legal issues every once in a while. American Express provides financial solutions to help you personally as well as with your business. For example if you are about to sell a company, they will help you through the process and make sure everything goes smoothly. And once you have all that excessive cash, they can help you setup things like Burial Insurance.
  • Branding- this benefit is the only one out of this list that is not in the Benefits Booklet, but I think it is one of the most valuable benefits of having the card. It helps create buzz around your name and makes more people to want to know you. If you are talented and smart you probably do not need this but the extra branding never hurts.

Is it really worth it?

I probably do 40 to 60 trips a year, which means I end up sleeping in hotels a good amount of the year. The room and flight upgrades make my traveling experience pleasant, especially when traveling international. If you don’t travel often, the only way you will be able to get your money’s worth is if you keep on using the concierge service, which is only useful for specific circumstances.

For example, the other day I requested my concierge to find me the cheapest price on a Sony digital camera and here is the response I got:

Dear Mr. Patel,

I hope all is well since my last email!

I am writing again in regards to your request for the Sony Cybershot T200 digital. I have tried to locate the cheapest possible options and it appears that the online options tend to be cheaper than the local stores near La Palma, CA. While the camera is available at local retailers like Ritz Camera, Best Buy, and so on, they are all selling it at the $399.99 retail price.

Please see below for further details:

Digital Camera Information:

Vendor: Amazon.com
Location: Online
Phone: Not available
Payment Methods Accepted: All major credit cards including American Express
Website: http://www.amazon.com

Item: Sony Cybershot DSC-T200
Details: This camera comes in Silver, Black, or Red. Please note the red option is sold through Amazon via Vans and there is only one left in stock. The website below is for the silver version and has further details about the product.
Website: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000V5PJPU/ref=noref?ie=UTF8&s=photo
Price: $339.99 for silver, $366.36 for black, and $389.98 for red (Shipping is not included in the price.)

Vendor: B&H Photo Video
Location: Online and 420 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Phone: 800-952-1815 or 212-444-6708
Payment Methods Accepted: All major credit cards including American Express
Website: http://www.bhphotovideo.com

Item: Sony Cybershot DSC-T200
Details: This camera comes in Black, Silver, or Red and includes the following: NP-BD1 rechargeable lithium-ion battery, BC-CSD battery charger, A/V and USB multi-connector cable, wrist strap, software CD-ROM (Picture Motion Browser 2.0 and USB driver), user guide, and 1-year USA limited warranty.
Website: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/519854-REG/Sony_DSCT200_B_Cybershot_DSC_T200_Digital_Camera.html
Price: $359.95 plus shipping (UPS ground shipping is free.)

I hope this information is helpful. If you require directions or transportation to the Best Buy store in Signal Hill, CA, please let me know. Should you have any further questions, comments, or concerns, or if there is anything else I can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to contact me here at the American Express Centurion Concierge.

Thank you very much and have a pleasant evening!

Sincerely,

XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX

The problem with asking your concierge for common items such as this Sony digital camera is that you can probably find what they found out in a few hours by just surfing the web. Plus, you will have that information instantaneously instead of waiting a day or two for your concierge to get back to you.

I’m not trying to make my concierge to sound useless because she really is helpful but if you want to maximize your experience you need to figure out what they are useful for. For example I have an important meeting in early January and was looking for a nice custom suit. The problem is, I live in middle class suburbia, I have no idea where I can find a nice suit in my size, and most the places I called were not able to deliver a custom suit within that time frame. So I emailed my concierge and this is what she came back to me with:

Dear Mr. Patel,

Good afternoon!

I hope your day is going well. As a follow up to your conversation with XXXXXX, it was my pleasure to assist you with your request. I am pleased to inform you that as an American Express Centurion member you are entitled to excellent shopping benefits. Ermenegildo Zegna and Gucci not only provide a great selection of fine suits but also offer made-to-measure services to Centurion members. Either vendor is sure to provide you with an excellent suit for your meeting. Please refer to the information below.

Name: Ermenegildo Zegna
Address: 301 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Telephone: (310) 247-8827
Contact: Jessica
Website: www.zegna.com
Details: Ermenegildo Zegna offers a “Su Misura” service to arrange a convenient made-to-measure fitting at your home or office. Also at the end of the season, Centurion members are offered a complimentary “check-up,” including professional dry cleaning, ironing of your Ermenegildo Zegna suits, a careful check of details, and all necessary adjustments.

Name: Gucci
Address: 347 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Telephone: (310) 278-3451
Contact: Aaron
Website: www.gucci.com
Details: Gucci offers outstanding amenities and shopping privileges to Centurion members. As a Centurion member, when you visit Gucci boutiques in New York City or Beverly Hills, you’ll enjoy exceptional benefits like the convenience of shopping from the comfort of your home, office, or hotel, invitations to private sales and trunk shows, priority alteration services, access to a personal shopper, and complimentary shipping. Gucci has a large selection of suits and also offers made-to-measure suits.

If you have any questions or if you would like me to schedule an appointment on your behalf, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you would like a complete list of shopping benefits for Centurion members, I would be more than happy to send you more information. I can be reached via email or by calling (XXX) XXX-XXXX, extension XXXX.

Thank you and have a wonderful day!

Sincerely,

XXXXX XXXXXXX

For this particular situation my concierge was very helpful because when I contacted anyone of those stores they were not have able to deliver my suit in the timeframe I needed, but American Express was able to pull it off.

Hopefully my insights help you determine if the Centurion card is right for you. For me it is well worth it because I don’t have to pay any of the fees or the monthly bill and I am definitely maximizing its’ use because I travel frequently. The real question is, do you think the Centurion card is worth the $7500 year 1 fee?

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Comments

  1. For those of us that travel a lot, yes it is.
    For someone that does not travel or use the services they would not benefit from the savings received form the upgrades.

    Being single, it will also get you noticed at any upscale bar you go to instantly!

    • Your right, it does work well at upscale bars or clubs. Not only with others individuals there, but also with female bar tenders. If you live in a lower/middle class area like me it does not help at the local bars.

  2. Neil, I’m curious what the back of your t-shirt says.

  3. The back of the shirt has a big logo of Pokeraffiliateprograms.com and text that reads “I gamble, No Problem!”

  4. Wow Neil, thanks so much for this! I’ve always wondered about the mysterious “black card”, and you’ve laid it out here all so well, and even managed to sound completely normal :) (My stereotypical impression of black-card holders is that they are stuck-up and conceited …)

  5. I doubt I’d ever have a need for one, but that’s pretty cool.

    Awesome photos, btw ;)

  6. Thanks for the link love – but who the hell is this Brian Price guy???

  7. Ahh.. congratulations on your Black Card. But have you ever seen a folding i.e. hinged Black Amex card heh heh. Also, there is now a Maroon card for the lesser spenders lol.

  8. Ah, Neal, you crack me up. Still haven’t pulled the trigger on mine…

  9. Congratulations (?) on getting a Black card Neal. Now you can REALLY say you’re one of the “big spenders”.

    • Thanks! I wish I really was a big spender, but I am cheap. I hate spending money on myself, but love spending money on others.

      • Feel free to spend money on me anytime Neil.

      • I would like to affirm this comment in regards to Neil saying “I wish I really was a big spender, but I am cheap. I hate spending money on myself” At a recent lunch with Neil I asked him if I could design some jewelry for him, he decilined. I would have him buying an entire treasure chest full of custom design jewelry otherwise, as his client and my friend of Affiliate Programs has done. I still won’t give up on putting a panerai or Zenith on his wrist :).

  10. All things in time…

  11. well well neil, it looks like your dream has come true. you’ve been salivatating over the black card for half a year. how does your $2,500 piece of titianiam (or is it graphite???) feel? can i touch it?

  12. The Centurion travel concierges typically *suck* and I no longer book my travel through them. I almost always fly at the last minute, and whenever I tried to book through them, they would claim that only a few flights were available when that same airline’s own website showed *every* flight as having open seats. Not to mention having to repeat ALL of my information back to me out loud over the phone.

    It’s a cool card to have as a status symbol, I’m not denying that, but in terms of actual practicality, it’s a lot faster and more reliable to visit your preferred airline’s website (with your information stored) than it is to go through the Centurion travel service.

    • Thanks for the heads up. I have never ordered a flight through my travel concierge, but I will keep that if I do.

      The major problem I had when going through the travel concierge is that tickets are expensive compared to buying it yourself. I myself am not that picky and rather save some money on short flights, compared to flying first class.

  13. When I saw the headline on Sphinn I read Neil gets black hat and I thought, what he doesn’t already have one?

    • Not sure what you are talking about… I am a white hat. :)

      • Hi Neil….just seeing if you’d be upto buying my son a club house ?! Kinda sorta kidding, but you mentioned your love og buying for others. My son is 9 and has always wanted a clubhouse. Not one to ask for handouts but I figured what the heck. And so I decided to see what you say !!

  14. neil patel i like how you respond to all your comments very respectable! i wish you luck on all your ventures!

  15. Greetings Neil, I saw John Chow (johnchow.com) featuring you and would like to drop by and say that you are an inspiration. I am all geared up and motivate to achieve internet super star status… Cheers…

  16. Very card and useful info right there u just gave us. Can I hold your card for 30 minutes hehehe?

  17. These are amazing perks – especially the flight upgrades and the concierge service. Anyone who spends a lot of time and money on business travel would really benefit from the card.

  18. Thanks for the info. I will check them out the next time I need a suit.

  19. Very informative! Though I guess the card will continue to be super-elite for most of us ordinary netizens…

  20. I like American Express… the only one that providing easy financing for small businesses. Good tips about Payroll using Amex and writing a check to cover the extra expenditures!

  21. the card is not actually titanium. it’s a magnet. a pu$$y magnet.

  22. Great post! Thanks for putting this information up! :D

  23. Heh that bring up a funny story.

    I worked at a gas station and a guy brought one of those in. I mentioned that I had never seen one of them before and he started talking about all the perks of it. How it was the top of the line credit card only available to the select few.

    I nodded along as he went on and finally I just said that I figured I had never seen one because we didn’t take American Express.

    His face froze. He started saying again how it was the top of the line business credit card with a huge limit, and that it was accepted everywhere.

    I restated that we didn’t take AE and pointed at the PIN pad which had the Master card and Visa logos on it but no blue AE logo.

    He swiped it a few times, and waved it over the fast pass RF ID reader getting negative beeps each time then looked up at me with a sick expression on his face. He didn’t have any cash and his SUV had sucked down $80.

    I told him that he perhaps could use his card as collateral while he drove to walmart to get some cash, but then told him I was joking because I couldn’t be sure the card was actually as good as he said it was, and that I actually needed to make a photocopy of some photo ID.

    He handed me his passport which I copied and stapled to the receipt after cashing out the ticket. He came back 10 or 15 minutes later and dropped 4 crisp $20 bills in my window’s slot said, through the grill, that he didn’t believe we didn’t take AE and drove off with a big hole in his ego.

    • Oh and I saw a post earlier up asking how it felt. Its actually a pretty neat card. About as thick as two or three normal cards stacked together. It has a surprising heft to someone who deals with the el cheapo disposable cards that get handed out to most plebes.

      • LOL, nice story. I wish I could have been there to see the expression on the guys face.

        As for the thickness of the card it is actually as thick as a normal credit card (maybe a bit thicker), but it feels thicker because it is heavy. If they made it too thick it would not work with most credit card machines.

    • Rich doesn’t mean smart! In my experience lots of merchants in foreign countries don’t take AMEX either.

  24. Thought you might want to contribute or browse the forum.

  25. so this card has some loopholes?.. now i won’t be asking for it :) was motivated to have after reading chow’s review…

    but anyway, great job.. and you really worth the perks.. :)

  26. now i just need to find a business where I can churn a lot of money.

    for example, using adwords to direct traffic to a website with ads could provide that. even if i didn’t make any money, but spent 25k to make 25k, it might still be worth it. maybe not for the centurian card, but maybe for a starwood card, which would give me free vacations!

  27. great advice on over paying… I am looking to do the same thing this month to garner a few extra miles to get a free trip on my AA card.

  28. Why would anyone want a Centurion card? Aside from the fact that it’s black and looks really cool? Those are great benefits, especially for someone who does a lot of traveling. You’re treated like a VIP and can get access to exclusive information and services. Very nice.

  29. Even when you make six figures a month, people who aren’t from money still don’t like to frivolously throw it away. At least that is how I am and most that I know once they get past that stage in the 20′s where you have that need to impress others. Neil, you’re smart getting the card the way you did. If it’s useful, more power to you. It was worth it just for the links and the stories people told of it on many sites.

  30. Hey Neil, I just read about your site yesterday through John Chow, and I gotta say you both inspired me. I’m starting a personal blog and try and brand myself well.

    This time I’m only commenting here to let you know that I recently read that it is not recommended to post pictures with details blurred. That is, because there are very advanced graphic plugins for GFX programs that could unblur the details.

    The most recommended thing to do is to just put some shape (rectangle or whatever you like) filled in black.

    Good luck and keep up this great blog.

    • Thanks for the heads up. Due to this my designer blurred the images a few times using different programs so that they can’t be reversed (or at least I hope).

      • I think you should be right. There are some shock blur jobs out there, like that case where the FBI unblurred that guys face to find the true identity of a paedophile.

        Whats possibly dumber is the amount of people you can find on the internet that post unblurred images of the credit cards or personal documents.

  31. Great info on the Centurion card. I have been fortunate enough to hold one of these cards for a few years. I knew that the yearly fee had increased, but was surprised to see the “upfront fee”! Regarding the differences between business and personal concierge cards, from your description, it doesn’t seem there is a difference other than the personal card not having the “BUSINESS” print on the front of the card.

    Wish you much luck and success,

    Alex aka “CEO Alex”

  32. Hey Neil, Nice to see you have a Black Amex, I’ve seen a couple of them from where I work, and they are Heavy. But that fee is astronomical, but the benefits help, wish I could get Metal status with a couple of airlines.

    Now your tips, I do say one thing, I thought/Believed that the Charge cards from Amex, i.e. green, gold and plat, didn’t have limits. I know that the credit cards form Amex did, i.e. clear, blue, and optima. So couldn’t people just use those or get a business card (i.e. sign up for a business one) since those would have higher limits set anyways? At least that’s usually the case with visa/mc.

    I just got a MC World Elite card, so that’s the highest I’ll get, until Visa comes out with the Signature Select. But hey, at least they are free!

    • To be honest, I am not 100% sure. A Charge card with no limit make senses if it is tied to your bank account, but if it is not then their probably would be limit a limit. The reasoning being is that you don’t want someone making 300k a year spending 10 million on a charge card because they probably will never be able to pay off the bill.

      • That’s true, it’s very different between Charge Cards and Credit Cards so it’s entirely up to Amex I suppose. Btw, great stuff you have here, I see a lot of the information useful not just if you are in consulting but in just your job and life too.

      • Your comment sounds sensible, Neil, but my (very ordinary, non-black, un-elite) Diners card has no limit and is not tied to any account. I don’t know how the finance industry rates these risks. I’ve always paid it off in full each month, up to $30k AUD, but ti wouldn’t be too hard for someone so inclined to rip them off.

        • I have not had a Diners card, but if you probably try to buy an item for $1,000,000 you would probably get declined. So although they may say there is no spending limit, I still think there is.

    • Just reading the posts. Good info.
      Interesting Visa card competing.

      https://www.blackcard.com/app/japply/lp/domains/blackcard.jsp?location=home

  33. Great laundry list of benefits for putting all of your spending on one card. It seems like that would make an excellent long term goal, to get a black AMEX. Definitely something to shoot for.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  34. Thank you Mr. Patel for the AMEX Centurion card background. My daughter works at an upscale store in Arizona, and one of her customers has a Centurion card.

  35. I’m going on my 9th month with my AMEX business platinum card spending consistently over what I need to (approx 23k a month). I do not however spend that much with my personal card (hardly anything). I’d much rather keep my business finances and personal finances seperate, but I’d like a black card for both. If I get the business black card, can I also get the personal card?

    • You can get a business and personal black card, but they are not tied together. So on each card, you will have to spend at least 23k a month.

      • This isn’t quite true, if you qualify as having spent 250k in a 12 month period, you qualify for either the personal centurion or business centurion. Also there is no minimum monthly spend; However, if you sign up for one of cards, you qualify at that point in time. If in the future you wish to switch, you would essentially be re-applying, carrying the 250k requirement again.

  36. Out of curiosity, Neil, what percentage of the time are you upgraded on flights and hotel rooms with your black card? I’m just trying to figure out how valuable it would be for me…

  37. Another perk with concierge is booking a private jet. Yes although this is pricey, if one is spending 20 grand a month, booking a private jet travel is chump change. Last i checked they offered a wide range of “deals” included flight time. Planes ready to fly in 1 hour. And the trip planning… all those alluring commercials… well Amex truly does put you in those picture perfect scenic locations.

    Is it worth it? One word comes to mind… “priceless”

  38. I am well on my way to getting one of these cards in a few months. I’m not sure I see spending the 5000 + 2500 though for the perks. It’s really for people who travel a lot or spend money like crazy I guess. I know I read on another site that a guy bought a Bentley on his black amex. There are rumors that Amex will actually guarantee certain products you buy for 3 years if you use this card to purchase them? Honestly though, most people don’t know wtf this card even is. I suppose someone might ask you about the card if you handed it over because it’s heavy, but then you kind of have to sound like that guy at the gas station (described above) when you try to explain what it is. There’s really no nice way of saying, “I spend a shitload of money and if you spent a shitload of money you’d know what this card is.” – especially the guy working the Starbuck’s counter.

    Anyway, it is a neat little card. I would also be getting the business card if I got one because, like Mr. Patel, my personal finances are nothing like my corporate finances and spending 5000.00 just to have a credit card on my personal finances would cost me food for a year. haha. Don’t get me wrong – I spend money. I own my house and drive a BMW M3 – but those are things that help me make money (in a way). I would never spend 5000 of my personal money to get a credit card – no matter how cool it might make me look.

    Anyway – that’s my two cents.

    • The 3 year guarantee is interesting. I have not heard about it before, but I will have to ask my concierge about it.

      As for your car and house, wise move. I am the same way in which I would buy a car if it made me more money indirectly.

      • A couple comments on the card. All the gold and above cards double the warranty on anything you buy. So, that is true.

        One idea for people who need to keep business and personal expenses separate is to get a suplemental card. It will have a slightly different number so you can keep the expenses straight but it will also all go back to the main account to keep all the benefits and the points.

        As for Rewards, you do have them and can cash them in for cash, bennies, or merchandise.

    • If you are going for most excellent contents like I do, only pay a visit this site everyday for the reason that it offers quality contents, thanks

  39. Do you think the black card is worth it considering the benefits of the Plum Card?

    • The buzz and press make the black card worth it. But if you don’t want that, then the plum has similar benefits for a better deal.

      • Neil,
        I just found your site when searching for information on the balck card. I have read about it before but it was nice to read your post it was very informative. As for owning the card I have a plat amex and it is great. Like you have stated even with the platinum card i get a few stares. I had a guy once at tac time(your favorite store) tell me that he never saw one and that it was cool. I do not personally need a black card but would only want one for the wow factor. That is why i got my plat card. As a kid my aunt had a lot of credit cards and i always knew that a AMEX card was just a little better than the rest especially gold or plat ones. SO that is why i got mine. SOme of the benefits sound the same. I get a concierge, travel people, and get free flights. I am not sure of the difference on the concierge part. I think that i just call and there are different people that are in place at a call center for conceirges for me whereas you might get a person assigned to you. I also can only get free companion tickets 4 times a yr in the US and 1 time a year for overseas flights. Well I am happy for your accomplishment and it is great to see. Shows people that success no matter how you measure it whether with a black card or other things can come your way. YOu just never know. I will be trying to plot a way to spend 250k sometime in my lifetime so i can get one. Oh and one quick question: since you are obviously spending a lot don’t you get points for your purchases? I saw on my rewards in a new section for plat members called First Select that you could lease a lambo for a million points!!! if you are spending like you state then youshould be able to rack that up quick, especially if you buy through the site and get double, triple, and quadruple points. not to mention all of the other stuff that you can buy with your points. I on the other hand dont spend that much so the lambo is out of the question but I did get my iPhone from there with points. Makes it worth the 450 fee to me.

        • You do get points. I am not sure exactly how the point system works, but the more you spend in general the more points you get.

          Never knew you could lease a Lambo with 1 million points. I’ll have to look into that. :)

          • if you log onto the american express website and log into your account you are able to use your points for lots of shopping and benefits through a link in the “explore rewards and benefits” than membership rewards. You can also have your concierge purchase tickets with the points or cash them in to pay your bill. Speaking of websites, the Centurion card has their own private website with American Express.

        • Vicky Merchant :

          I used to work at AMEX in Canada. The conceirge is indeed a call centre. But they have dedicated Accounts to handle.
          It was a HUSH HUSH thing. These conceirge staff were designated as “Account Managers”, and were given Blackberry’s so that they could attend to the call even when they were not at their desks.
          Was Kinda cool.

        • Use your card to pay your rent online through http://www.payrentchex.com, my residents love this feature!

  40. Hi Neil, could you tell me what happens if you somehow manage to get the black card, but then don`t keep up with the annual 250k you have to spend? Do they actually cancel your card? Don’t tell me they just say thanks but goodbye and keep the 7500 upfront fee…………

    • I’m not sure if they cancel it. Most of the people I know that have the card, end up spending more once they get it.

      My guess is that if you don’t hit the 250k spend after you have the card, they do not take it away. They may give you a warning or something, but I am pretty sure Amex just does not take it away due to the fee.

    • There is no 250k minimum annual spend requirement, this is simply pre-requisite to qualify for the card.

  41. hey neil my dad has de platinum card and the centurion and is the best card ever when we travel we upgrade in the planes and hotels… 3 months ago we went to the bmw and buy 3 cars with black and the selsperson was surprised the centurion card rocks… i have gone to first line conserts just giving a call to the consierce. las month i went with my girlfriend to rome for a week im just 15 so you can imagine i had personal guide 24 houres and security all provided from ammex my girlfriend was very happy, sorry for my inglish im from mexico i love centurion i love ammex

  42. do u get double or tripple points on the membership rewards program?

  43. Neil, Happy to say I received my Personal Black yesterday. I am closing on a small duplex, $250k, this Friday. Seller is financing 50% and I am ponying up the balance of $125k cash. How can I utilize my card to do this? Purchase Tr Ck’s? Any ideas would be appreciated.

    • I don’t think you can use your card for this. For most big purchases like real estate credit cards are usually not accepted.

    • If the merchant can run the card you can do it but typically AMEX will not allow you to purchase real estate with a credit card; Outside of real estate which is specifically restricted you have the option of pre-wiring cash to your bank account and verifying funds with AMEX before running the charge.

  44. I’ve written an article on “How to Get a Centurion Card”. I’ve used (and cited) this post as a source. Thanks for the great info. Please have a look at the piece and send feedback.

  45. Even with the black card, you still look like a terrorist.

    • LOL, and I can assure you it doesn’t help at the airports. Having a metal card that is some what sharp isn’t the wisest thing to have for a terrorist lookalike.

  46. A business card is not nearly as prestigigous as a personal card – heck, anyone can get a business card if the business gives it to you. Why gawk at that? Now if he had a personal card, that might be a bit more impressive… or if Niel wore contacts (lolz)

  47. Any Ideas on how you could put payroll on a black card? I don’t know how the money would be debited and then payed to our employees. Thanks for your help

    • I am not 100% sure. Others have told me it is possible, but I have never done it.

      • George Cancelmo :

        Payroll on CC. Any good established business will accept money in all ways. Better to be paid and loose small % in merchant transactions then have delinquent and even non paying accounts.
        Just think of the administrative costs associated with banking practaces!

        I am gooing to look into this tomorrow!

        Neil, thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiance

  48. Jonathan Radande :

    Neil,

    That’s a sweet card. I’ll get one of those, one day.

    On another note, I think it’s cool how you reply to every comment. I’ve subscribed to your feed on my google reader.

    Jonathan

  49. jones sovel :

    Do they ever take the card back if you don’t hit the $250,000 minimum the following year?

  50. I’ve been trying to find a payroll company who accepts Am X payments for the whole payroll, but am having no luck. Do you know of any?

  51. THe card from CIti your friend referenced is the Citi chairman card – NOT platinum amex. It’s $500 per year.

  52. Hi I have had a amex platinum since 83 and want this card however I don’t spend near the minimum amount that requires. I do have a amex accolades card (black) through bank of america which is invitation only. have any other ideas

    • Get the Citi Chairman Card. I know it isn’t the black, but it is pretty good.

      • Neil : Thanks for your suggestion. The Citi Chairman has the same benefits as my Black Accolades card by Bank of America. Have any ideas to get the Centurion. I called the customer service and the just bounce me around. I may call NYC.??? Let me know

  53. I have always wanted one of these cards. You forgot to mention that they are made out of Titanium!!

    It also nice to know that there is no limit!

    You can use it every where including http://www.jetabroad.com.au

  54. Neil,

    What payroll company accepts american express card payments for processing payroll?

    Thanks!

  55. I think there are a few that accept American Express for payroll because my friend used to get paid that way when he worked for this Real-Estate guy. Of course, I don’t have proof of that.

    I think it should be mentioned that the limit thing on these cards isn’t like – “GO SPEND ALL THE MONEY IN WORLD BECAUSE THERE’S NO LIMIT!”… Doesn’t quite work that way. There is a limit. Amex takes the last 6 months of your statements, averages what you spend and what you pay, and then sets your limit based on those numbers. I’m not sure if this is new or not, but I’m quite sure that’s how they do it because that’s what the lady at Amex told me when they turned off my new card :-)

    No such thing as no limit. Unless you’re talking about Masta P.

    • You are totally right. Even though there isn’t a set limit, it doesn’t mean you can spend a billion dollars tomorrow. They base how much you can spend each month by your past expenditures as well as the cost of the ticket item. For example you maybe able to spend 10 million on the card in a month, but you probably have to get approval to buy a 1 million dollar car.

      • Another comment. If you are planning a large purchase (a $30 million airplane for example), you can call them up and get it pre-approved. They will do a credit check and evaluation and approve or not. They may ask for some or all up front, but you will get the points and get the bennies.

    • Agreed, I have been a platinum card member since 1991. I own a business and have heavy spending patterns. I spend roughly 350k in the past 12 months. Not a lot by some standards. I don’t generally have problems with approvals, even if it out of my spending pattern. In saying this, as I have matured, I have continued to increase simplicity and fluidity of my financial affairs as a whole. Receivables, payables, and yes american express are kept in check. As online banking has taken hold, I have developed a habbit of making payments weekly to american express to cover personal and professional expenses. This is not because american express has asked me to do so, they never have – but because it easy and it feels good – just like looking at a small payables and receivables report does. So my point is this, If you got the money and are spending the money, there shouldn’t be an issue with amex in my experience. I have been asked twice by amex since I have been a member to verify liquid assets prior to approving any further charges – no big deal if your solid. Furthermore, amex makes in so easy to make FREQUENT online payments. If your worried about limits with Amex – not a problem, just make more frequent payments. If I was running my payroll via amex – and I would really like to figure out how to do that for the points – I would make sure those funds were moved out of my operating account and credited to my amex account every friday just like payroll – regardless of amex allowing me to carry this charge for 45 days or not. I know there are those that will argue that I am missing interest earned and things like this but at my age and size of my business – its not worth it. The feeling of being “flush” is pretty good… Just my two-cents worth.

      • I personally like keeping my money in the bank as long as possible. Every penny earned in interest is worth it for me. But the one thing is, for most businesses it doesn’t matter because they don’t earn interest on their business bank account.

    • Not true. There is no set limit. There is a threshold that is established and when you go outside that threshold, it triggers a review of you and your ability to pay. If the review shows you have the means, you get approved and proceed. To tet it turned off, means that they looked at what you were buying and the best bet was that you would go broke before repaying the card in that month.

      • So on their end they kind of have a fluctuating limit for each member?

        • Kinda sorta. There is a set of information that they have about you and your credit that is updated on a regular but unspecified schedule. This is considered with a proprietary algorythm (using factors that are not disclosed) to determine if it is in the best interest of the company to allow the charge. IE, will the cardmember be able to pay the freight. If the charge violates the threshold, it is alerted to humans in some cases to allow them to do a sniff test. In some cases, it is simply rejected if it violates the set conditions too badly. For example, if you normally charge $100K a month and you are hitting $200k but that has happened in the past without a problem, you might get a human look. If you are hitting a charge for a million, you would likely be rejected out of hand.

  56. I travel extensively and got about the same perks with a Visa Signature for US business trips, except for upgrades. I also have MC World cards for Personal US and intenational business

    Even though my US HSBC – issued MC does not charge foreign currency exchange fees, and I have pretty good credit and net asets, I have as yet been unscuccessful in getting AMEX to issue me a Jersey Channel Isles card to be billed/paid in Euros.

    It probably may be that I have only liquid assets less than 100k in Euros, and have not developed a revenue stream in Eurp currency as that is collected at my UK accounts. I like to avoid currency exchange and can do so with ease in Canada and the UK, where I travel most frequently, with country specifc MC World Elite cards. Or wait until/if eventually the UK adopts the Euro !

    One of my companies with which I am associated and not a principal is urging me to charge to AMEX, so I will get a Platinum again – it has been 6 years since I had a personal Amex card, and a year since I closed out on a prior business AMEX account. Hopefully AMEX will then reconsider and give me a card to pay and use with the Euro.

    • Thanks for letting me know about the VIsa Signature. I’ll have to look into it because American Express isn’t accepted everywhere.

      • Neil, You know you can call the merchant number for amex and notify them of any vendor where you want to use your card and we will have someone from our Merchant Team contact the vendor..

        tejal

        • I didn’t know that. I don’t really use any of the perks. The card gets old after a while. :(

          • They do it for all the business cards for two reasons 1. we want you to use our card and 2. we want all the vendors to accept Amex.
            yeah I can see how the perks get old after awhile, when I first recieved my BPlat- I loved all the travelling benefits, the personal conceirge, and I used the heck out of my benefits from airport lounges, to the upgrade on the rental cars to late 4pm check outs at certain hotels…..but I don’t travel as much now since my business doesn’t require it… however I travel sometimes for Amex and I use it then.
            =)

  57. SO I WORK FOR THE MARRIOTT AND THERE ARE TIME WHEN GUEST COME IN WITH THE AMEX BLACK CARD, ALL OF THEM ARE VERY NICE THEY JUST HAVE A LOT’S OF REQUEST AND I TRY MY BEST TO MAKE THEM HAPPEN! YOU SHOULD MAKE MARRIOTT A PLACE TO STAY IT IS VERY NICE AND WE HAVE REWARDS JUST LIKE ELITE WRITE BACK AND MAKE ME A USER FOR YOUR ACCOUNT LOL

  58. After research, the First National Bank of Omaha is the issuer of my Visa signature card – chosen for the no annual fee and the ability to design your own card – so my card is Black !!! with a cute Panda!!!

    Not exactly business credable, but still makes a smile sometimes when I pass it to a clerk.

    Also it has award points, like if you have 80,000 you get $1000 cash back, and other typical awards such as travel, luxury goods etc.

  59. my friend has one IT IS HEAVY! he also said is had a gps in it LOL!!!

  60. Having had a Centurion Card since 2000 I can attest to the above and beyond attitude the concierge people have. Although things are a bit slower now days from when I first recieved my package (it was a $1,000 fee up front then), but I figure it is due to more cards being issued over the years.

  61. Neil,

    I know you are loving your card, I’m waiting for my invitation…one of these days… I work for Amex! Its the best and the only CC to have.

  62. For anyone who is not eligible for the Centurion black card, I’d be willing to make a deal to list you as an additional cardholder.

    Basically I’m eligible for the Centurion Card and the deal is that you pay the setup and ongoing annual fees for both of us. And you promise to pay your bill on time. My email is mediasolutionschennai@gmail.com.

    No freaks or timewasters please!

    • Not a bad offer. It looks like you are based in Canada… I wonder if that changes anything.

      • No it doesn’t change anything- as I am based in both countries. The spending was on my US-based cards.

      • BC Personal Holder :

        This idea looks very sketchy. Neil, you have a nice site which I started reading when I found it looking into the Visa Black card program I read about tonight to see what it really was compared to the AMEX Centurion Black Card.

        When I saw this comment I felt it might be worth a comment.

        This guy’s offer (which I must say might be actually illegal in both countries) is really bad for everyone including the guy making the offer.

        Why?

        First: for him it looks great because anyone signing up pays his annual freight and maybe a couple of people make a profit for him. But his downside is that he might not collect the charges these people incur and, unless he’s a kneecap breaker, he has no real way to collect. Also he may be breaking banking and credit card laws by allowing charges by unknown third parties to go through as if he is the real purchaser.

        Let’s look at the purchaser of this purported service: his downsides are, among other things, what if he sends his payment to this guy and this guy doesn’t pay? What if the real deal is that his credit also goes on the line in the transaction — he was the personal beneficiary of anything he bought. So let’s say he goes large and pays $150,000 to this guy one month and the guy doesn’t pay and AMEX comes looking for him — he’s screwed big-time and that’s assuming it’s not even bigger if bank fraud is involved.

        I got my card some years ago because I actually buy enough stuff personally to make AMEX want me to have the card and I have the credit that is supposed to also go with the purchases in making the decision to want me to have their card.

        From what I was able to glean out of looking at the new “black card” Visa programs, the cards are not going to do what anyone really making the bread and spending it legitimately will want and the people who are supposed to be impressed are going to quick enough sniff out the difference.

        A personal AMEX Centurion Card is fun to have because everyone who takes it into their hand who has spent most of their working time processing charges notices immediately the weight of the card and a lot of them comment or show expressions or glances that tell me they think it’s cool.

        How to handle the comments they make? Just say “I spend a lot and AMEX likes me to know I know they know.”

        No real black card holder is having a big brain fart because someone doesn’t take the card. Any real black cardholder knows not everyone takes AMEX, regardless of the color, and most real black cardholders have a few dollars and another card or two, just in case, in their pocket.

        Also these AMEX cards are not ideal for foreign ATM machines for getting some local currency and bank cards are, so the writer getting off on some jerk’s overstating his card’s power is really not understanding the real AMEX Centurion cardholder.

        I didn’t pay this new initiation fee so I don’t really know how I would have felt doing so and whether I would have thought it worth the bucks back when I got mine (it was after 2000 but before when you reported the titanium was issued in 2006 — mine was always titanium but I think it was in 2003). Been an AMEX member since 1971.

        Bottom line, the real benefit of this card is exactly what it really does — it makes traveling a lot on airlines while staying at high-end hotels around the world a whole lot easier and better generally at a price that gives you a break in upgrades and other little stuff that more than adds up to the annual fee.

        Getting the card to impress checkout people at Starbuck’s is really a waste of time and why some of these blogs look silly talking about trying to get one by not really being the customer who can afford to use it and really get the benefit from it.

        And, you know what, most people who get the “pop” from the card are the same people who get it anyway. I walk into restaurants around the world, really the very best, and, if there is a table, I get it and I don’t need to show a card of any kind. I use the concierge to make life easier and can’t really say the so-called saved tables have ever come into play.

        Still I am sure sometimes the card helps at a hotel when changing rooms because my wife doesn’t like the first one. The staff sort of understands that she might be picky and it helps me get through the grimaces until she usually picks a better suite and we pay more — then they get it — we have the card to serve us while going through the process of getting what we want and the card tells them that our being a pain in the ass is ok because we can and will pay for what we get — tipping after such events is also helpful, and appreciated.

  63. Neil -

    I have achieved the $250K mark!! My major decision is Business vs Personal Centurion. The benefits are MUCH different. Also, you can have up to 99 additional cardholders – that is NUTS. You were lucky to have someone “gift” you the card. Spending $250K in a rolling year is extremely hard. Also, the setup costs of $7500 are $$$$. Great site. Let me know your thoughts. Steve

  64. This card is just an expensive status symbol, and there may be some value in that. But financially, it’s a lot wiser to have one or several regular cards that offer 5% cash back. With this card, you are essentially hit with a charge of $7500 for the courtesy of charging 250K. With a cash back card, you will get 12,500 cash back – not to mention a generous float period with a regular card.

    The travel benefits are OK. But anyone who actually travels alot already has those benefits. They don’t need this card for that.

    I guess if it’s someone clueless about comparison shopping – and someone who doesn’t have an assistant do this work for them – the concierge could be useful.

    • If you know of any 5% cash back cards, please let me know. :)

      • Unlikely that you will find that. The company only charges most retailers between 2% & 4% fees. Some online retailers pay more. Visa and MC tend to be the lower end of the fees, so getting that much back is very unlikely. Amex does offer the Blue cash card that gives up to 5% back on groceries and gas if you spend over $6,500 in a year. It also gives 1.5% on everything else.

  65. Hello Neil:
    So a lot of information but all just vocabulary.
    Let’s do some numbers. $7500 upfront for AmExBC
    Then you spend let’s say $300K/year
    2% cash back a year equals $6K
    Then some “licks and kisses” when you travel, dine, entertain.
    It looks like it is worth it as you’re getting back all the upfront money.
    If I am not correct tell your story.
    Thank you.

  66. Hello, I have the centurion black card…here a couple answers to some questions I have found and how I use my card.

    Do you have to spend that much every year. No, once you have it …it is yours as long as you pay your yearly fee

    I chose Business card over Personal because with the rewards program I get 5% back on all my fedex packages which as a business adds up to a lot (also Jet blue, i think delta etc)

    Do I use my black card for everything…no not anymore. I use it for travel upgrades and all the benefits. I spend on my AMX Plum card which gives me 2 percent back on my spend as long as I pay it 10 days after statement closes.

    It sets off airport security alarms so put it in your carry on.

    It was fun at first for people to say … wow I have never seen one of these before (in my area they have no idea what it is). I just smile and see yeah its kind of rare and leave it at that. It gets old after awhile.

    You can tell right away if someone knows what it is. I am a woman and went into a store in a tshirt, baseball hat and shorts (after a softball game) and they asked me if people believe the card is mine….kind of funny.

    and thats my story.

    ps. they no longer have companion tickets for amx members

  67. Jason Morrison :

    I would like to get more information about the payroll via the Amex card. Can you recommend a payroll company that can do this? Also, since running payroll would fall outside my normal pattern, I can just pay in advance right…?

    FYI: I have the Amex Platinum charge card (not Optima Plat).

    I just received it 3 weeks ago and I’m trying to use it responsibly so it doesn’t trigger a “financial review.” As I understand, they can freeze the card and even close it.

    • I am not too sure on the payroll service. You may want to Google it and try and find a company that is willing to accept a credit card. Most payroll services just take the money directly out of your bank account.

  68. A lot of companies handle things like this. What town/city/country are you in. It will normally be a local company. You need to talk to them.

    Optima Platinum, Delta Platinum, and a couple others say Platinum, but they are not. They are credit cards and do have a credit limit.

    As for your financial review, sorry, that happens almost every time you use the card at an automated level. There is a sophisticated algorythm on when to bring a human analyst in and that is when you make unusually large charges or if you are starting to pay later and later.

    The key is that if you are living within your means and paying your charge off each month with no problems you should not have a problem.

    If you are going to buy something (like a private jet or some huge purchase) you would want to call the customer service / underwriting group and let them know in advance. If you do that, you will be fine once they determine you have the means to repay. I know of one person who bought a $12 million jet on their card.

    Just take care of your worth and your finances and the card will take care of you.

  69. Neil,
    Awesome info. I just got my black card today! I just recently read that they do not do the companion tickets anymore for flights is that true? Also you seemed so excited when you first got you card over 10 months ago now you seem bummed out…what happened?? Does anyone have an updated list of the perks for the business black card? I want to see if anything has changed. Thanks,
    Brendan

    • Yes and no. As of the first of the year the domestic companion ticket is discontinued since there were problems with redeeming it (blocked dates, blocked flights, etc). However at this time, the international companion ticket is still being honored. Everything is subject to change, but I have heard of no rumours of it’s cancellation. And that is the one the provides the most bang anyway.

      • Thanks for the updated information.

      • Jeff,
        Thanks for all the info! One more quick question. If I use the Black card to purchase a flight on US Airways do they automatically bump me up to first class or how does that work? Thanks,

        Brendan

        • US Airways gives you their Platinum Preferred customer package when you carry the Centurion. That includes free upgrades on every flight, 100% bonus miles, extra upgrade chances, priority upgrades, no blackout dates, and move to the head of the line for upgrades and tickets. Also, you are guaranteed a coach seat even on sold out flights. It also provides this services on the tar alliance airlines.

    • Congrats! I am not sure on the companion flights, but I think they still do them.

      After a while the card just gets old… I am one of those people that loves something for a month or two and then I get over it.

  70. Neil,
    Great blog! I recently became the account manager of the President of my companie’s card. He wants me to find out what the perks are and upgrades available. He travels a lot… mostly to the DC area and the UK. What would his perks be? Also, I did not know you receive concierge service… Can you tell me a little more about that? :)

    • OK, this is not exhaustive as there are some other minor things but…. For the consumer card there are the following:
      Retail:
      A bunch of stores including Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus offer special discounts and special perks. For example, Nieman allows you to have special hours and a private shopper. There is a Membership Rewards first that allows you to buy from top retailers that are only available for the Black & Platinum.
      Double MR points with dozens of companies.

      Travel:
      American, Delta, Continental, and Virgin Atlantic clubs.
      Top level travel status (Gold Medalion) for those airlines plus US Air.
      Automatic elite status at Hertz and Avis
      International companion ticket (this is staying at this time, the domestic companion is no longer available)
      Deep discount on international satellite phones, blackberries, and wireless cards.
      Elite hotel status at Hilton, Starwood, Priority Club, Ritz Carlton, Mandarin Oriental, Orient Express, Peninsula, and International Hotel chains.
      Extra privledges on cruises (gifts, upgrades, and discounts).
      $1,500,000 travel accident insurance
      Baggage loss insurance (high value)
      Personal Travel service.
      Global Assist hotline for medical assist, cash access, passport, and other.

      Access:
      Staples Center Elite lounge
      Special seats at Madison Square Garden and Staples Center
      Special prices and priority access to private jets and private yacht rental.
      Special tables rented at 800 top restaurants only for Platinum and Black cardmembers.

      Other:
      Personal Concierge (Platinum gives service, Black gives one dedicated person who stays with you)
      By invitation only events. This includes back stage with stars / special star parties, etc.
      Special gift bags similar to Hollywood events several times a yesr
      High value coverage (up to $5,000 per ticket) on tickets that are lost or that cannot be used due to accident or illness.

      It also has ALL of the other benefits of the gold and Platinum cards.

      Hope this helps.

  71. Does the Centurion business card say “Business” on it?

  72. Thessaly Nobility :

    If the card is a personal centurion card it will not say Business. All our centurion cards say BUSINESS because we are a company and have a business account.

  73. Why does it matter if it says business on it? Real easy decision here, guys. If you travel a lot for business then it’s worth it. If you don’t, it’s not worth it unless you’re really desperate for attention.

  74. If you have a business, you should have a business card. When I used it in Las Vegas at a club this weekend (which helps get create bottle service at a VIP table by the way). I was asked about my business by the owner and the waiter…never a give up a chance for business..never know who you may meet.

    ps. madonna concert rocked!

  75. Yea, there’s nothing wrong with having the business card. no one cares if the card is personal or business. It’s just the fact that you have a black card. That’s all you need to get an extra “personal” touch to everything. hahah

  76. golfingguyrufus :

    So, I called US air and they said they are NOT affiliated with AMEX Centurion any longer? can you tell me which airlines they still work with ?

  77. Neil,
    Got invited to the American Express “announcement dinner” in Toronto Canada that the Centurion card (black card) was coming to Canada for the first time. At the very private dinner held at the Art Gallery of Ontario, approx. 150 high profile guests were well treated to a lovely evening, didnt know how I was on the invitation list except my ticket exchange business spends alot of money with american express as we spend about $1.5 million a year on purchasing season tickets, and concert tickets for re-sale.
    No one at the dinner was told if an invitation was forthcoming to them on being offered the black card, just told by the Canadian office of American Express that the card was coming to Canada.
    I didnt think about it again, until I got the announcement in the mail that I was going to get a invitation in the next couple of weeks.. My heart jumped a couple of beats as I wondered what the deal was on the “black card”. Then I did my research and realized that since my travel is very limited within Canada and we use “points” to book our staff travel,, and hotel usage is very small, and the hotels end up being the Travel Lodge type of lodging, not the Four Seasons that it would appear that I would be spending $7,500 out of the gate for a status symbol that I have “made it”. Now we have not been told the price for the card in Canada yet, just the invitation is coming.. But trying hard to justify in my head the annual fee, plus the one time fee.
    We used our platinum american express cards to purchase large amounts of flights for staff to attend business functions across Canada. One is corporate card with $125,000 month limit, and one is personal that has a $145,000 month limit. The points from our purchases allowed our company last year to book approx. 32 flights from Toronto to various cities in Canada and just pay a reasonable handling fee of approx $75 per flight for airport charges and tax on the tickets.
    So my question to you Neil,, if you had to pay the $7,500 first year fee, and then the $2,500 per year after that with your own company or personal funds, would you pay for it..

    • I would not because I don’t feel the benefit of having the card is worth that money. I do love the card, but I am just cheap…

    • Great- JUST GREAT. Right after I go through 100 hula hoops to spend $400K on my US Amex so that I’m eligible for the Centurion, Amex announces that they are coming up with Centurion in Canada (where I live most of the time)! They could have announced this last year! Argh!

    • Follow up to my previous posting. Got the invitation to get the “black card” and while the invitation was very “regal” , and again impressive, however no prices for costs of the card were included.
      When I called and asked that question directly, I was told $5,000 first time fee, and $2,500 annual fee.
      No promises of monthly gift cards as its still very new to Canada.
      I waited for two weeks and then I called again and offered them the following deal.
      I would take the card if the $5,000 was waived for ONE year, and pay the $2,500 annual membership, and if in one year I felt the value was there I would then pay the $5,000.
      NO was the polite answer the program is not available to be discounted in anyway, other than the 2nd card for another person would be No fee. I was told that the perks that would come with the card would be proven over the year, but the cost was $7,500..
      I politely declined at this time as I cannot see the benefits being offered that would have that kind of value for my spending habits.
      But will continue to think about it, as I have until Jan. 15th accept.

      • Hi Eric,

        Thanks for the info—but what most of us here really want to know is the exact list of benefits of the Canadian Centurion card. Can you post it here?

        Thanks!

        • Here is the items in the special invitation that are listed

          1. Takes personal service to new heights, strives to provide you with access like you’ve never experienced before and unparalleled privileges in abundance.
          Those are their words..
          2. As a Centurion member, you’ll find that just one phone calll will summon the connections and expertise of service professionals, Seek, and Centurion Service will do their utmost to find.
          3. Centurion Concierge can help source and secure whatever it is you seek.
          4. As a Centurion member you have access to professional assistance every minute of the day, every day of the year. Our team of consultants are available to assist you with any request.
          5. Centurion travel from Amex Canada Inc.,
          6. Centurion website, vist the exclusive Centurion Website to stay up to date. It gives you access to the very latest Centurion privileges, service and unique offers, whenever you need them.
          7. Centurion Travel can exert its influence on your behalf – securing your arrangements whenever possible even when a property is otherwise fully booked.
          8 Complimentary access to airport lounges around the world, including complimentary Air Canada Maple Leaf Club Worldwide, which opens the doors to more than 235 lounges around the world including all Star Alliance member airline business lounges.
          Also Centurion membership also entitles you to access American Airlines Admirals Clubs, Continental Airlines Presidents Club, Delta Crown Room Club, Northwest Airles, Servisair Executive, Plaza Premium, and also give you complimentary access to Priority Pass Lounges opening doors to over 450 airport lounges worldwide.
          9. Hotel Privileges, complimentary room upgrade at check-in, complimentary continental breakfast and additioanl special amenities at over 600 of the worlds most glorious properties in exquisite locations. Including Raffles Hotels and Resorts, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Mandarin Oriental to name just a few. Also gives room upgrade at reservation to more than 440 boutique hotels around the world.
          Centurion members receive complimentary Elite Statu memberships such as Fairmont Presidents Club Platinum , Starwood Preferred Gold, Hilton HHonours, Relais and Chateaux and Club 5C, and InterContintal Hotels Group.
          10. As a centurion member you can take advantage of the International Airline Program, that offers you complimentary companion tickets, complimentary upgrades, special class fares, or discounted fares on some of the worlds finest airlines to destinations around the world. Airlines include Air Canada, Air France, and Continental to name a few. Private Jet Services can be arranged.
          11. Cruise Privileges, Access premium benefits such as onboard privileges and shipboard credits on some of the worlds best cruise liners such as Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and more.
          12. Complimentary Avis President Club and Hertz #1 Club Gold Membership, and Elite Rent a Car benfefits.
          13. Centurion Concierge can help secure tickets to shows you want, the Centurion network has been known to help create once in a lifetime opportunities for some of the worlds biggest fans to actually meet some of the worlds biggest bands.
          13. Centurion Dining, There tables reserved every day for Cardmembers for many of the finest restaurants across the country.
          14. Shop VIP, your enjoy special shopping privileges at some of the finest retails spots around the world and right here in Canada. These benefits may include personal shopping services, extended shopping hours, complimentary alterations, gift wrapping, and much more, partners include Harry Rosen, Saks Fifth Avenue and many more.
          15. As a Centurion member you’ll be invited to our most exclusive events, from evenings with celebrated figures, luxury retails, or sporting events.
          16. A special rewards offering, for redeeming your points from the most lavish to the most everyday rewards. Redeem your points for an exceptional selection of travel and lifestyle rewards.
          17. You earn 1.25 membership points for every dollar you charge to your Card. Your automatically enrolled in this top Tier of the membership rewards program, gives you access to our entire catalogue of rewards including an array of prmium brands and experiences.
          18. Travel Insurance Benefits,
          19. Retail Protection, that extended warranties, and coverage for damaged and stolen purchases.
          20. Emergency Assistance, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week,

          The above is exactly what is in the booklet.. Note, nothing is free, the experinces, the tickets, everything is coming with additional fees.

          Hope this helps.
          Eric

          • WOW, thanks for taking the time to share!

          • Confused here… This looks exactly the same as the US Centurion benefits- but without the airline club memberships (elite status at Delta, Continental, USAirways, etc).

            At almost the same price as the US Centurion, the Canadian Centurion is a total dud in comparison! In fact it look like the Platinum with a few minor trimmings–nothing to pay $5000+$2500 for… What a disappointment!

            • Actually, its exactly the same cost, but we dont get the special seating available for Madison Square Gardens or Staple Centre, we dont get monthly gift cards,,, maybe, but the person at American Express wouldnt confirm or acknowledge because nothing has been fully organized yet, as its so new. WE do get the free extra card if we request it..
              Because i dont travel first class or stay at the high end hotels, it would appear that the Centurion Card wouldnt give me alot of benefits even with the fact I spend approx. $100,000 to $150,000 per month on my present American Express platinum cards.
              While it would be a “hoot” to have the black card, it would be at a cost of $7,500 the first year with limited advantages, unless we knew for sure
              advanced seating opportunities for “hot shows”, as presently the American Express Front of the Line, gives you crappy seats not the Front row or anything close.
              If you were given first crack at really good seats, or back stage pass for bands, or gift cards for shopping on a monthly basis. But right now I cannot see the advantage of spending the dough for maybe something.
              So unless American Express Canada steps up and makes it more worth while, i will step aside. My guess is American Express did the first roll out, and if the response isnt good then maybe a further offer will come with more guarantees of “freebies” that will make the decision a more sound business decision instead of a decision that is based on having a black card in the wallet.
              By the way,,,, Happy 2009 to everyone.

  78. Neil, I noticed your $100k bill above. Do you charge that much a month? And Affiliated covers it? Must be nice :)

    What if you are not satisfied with the Black card, do they offer a full refund?

  79. The Centurion American express just come to Canada, The fee will be $75000 for the first year, and then $2500 per year.

  80. sorry , I mean $7500 for the first year…

  81. Have you guys seen the Visa Black Card trying to compete with the Centurion card? It’s really a joke, check out hands on photos these guys posted: http://www.the-blackcard.com

    They also have some competitive cards, in case you want to go after that Sotheby’s MasterCard Neil, 2 Million in assets required ;)

  82. For the multiple card wasnt too bad in Canada, the $2500 annual fee already include one supplementary centurion card, and 4 additional supplementary card, you can get whatever the card you want for no charge(but not the centurion card)

  83. Hi Neil – You mention the magazines that the USA and the UK Cards produce and I was wondering how do I get my world-wide personal training service (we send trainers with celebs and high net worth individuals around the world with our clients) into their magazines. Do you know who the publishers are? Thanks in advance. Ed from http://www.get-fit-at-home.com

  84. Neil- I have a blue card active, but hardly every used for 5 years. If got a platinum for 3mos and racked up 250k+, can I get a black without waiting the 1yr? Cheers!

  85. I just called my rep at the centurion call in centre, and first you cannot apply for the card, american express will contact you after a one year of high spending and immediate payment each month, MAYBE your get a call,, it may take up to 18 months and more.

  86. I just recently got a black card. Can anyone tell me some of the best events that Amex has that I could attend? I know that when it comes to travel you get many perks but I am looking for whatelse I can really get from having the card. Thanks!

  87. Hi Neil, are there similar cards available in the uk? That offer similar benefits. Thanks :).

  88. Hi Neil,

    I came across your blog because I was looking up what this “black card” is since I never heard of it.

    In my opinion, things like “free food” and “free spa”…if someone is already spending $250,000 a year, aren’t these “free upgrades” ridiculously irrelevant? I mean if someone can spend that much money does it really matter if they get upgraded on a plane, I assume they would already be first class? Something like shutting down a Gucci so you can shop is different because I’m pretty sure even wealthy/well-off people wouldn’t know how in the world to make that happen. But things regarding hotels, airline tickets, food, spas, cruises, etc…isn’t it silly that those things are free when they account for such miniscule amounts of money? Or is that just me?

  89. This blogger is a mole-marketing guy…………

    I just know it……

  90. Nice! I’m an accountant and we have paid payroll on credit card before. The payroll company will just expense it as bank fee. Great post! — Learned alot about the black card. LOL

  91. My friend had a black card and paid the $7500 to get it for the first year. He had a horrible time with the concierge and the customer service associated with the card and he complained and got all of his money back.

  92. Actually that’s right Neil, in the US there is a $5000 initiation (recently introduced) and $2500 first year membership that is charged on your first statement. Therefore those ready for the card better truly be ready to drop $7500 in the first 30 days after receiving the card!

  93. Well Neil, I will say this… I must say, you’ve given me a status symbol to shoot for :) The card does look pretty sweet, and aside from the concierge service (most of the time), it looks like it has some serious benefits. I’ve had a lot of luck with AMEX as well so I really can only imagine what their service must be like for those with this card.

  94. Have you seen the Visa Black Card? I was just reading up on it and it sounds like a lot of the benefits are similar to the American Express card. I was curious if you’d compared the two.

  95. Geoff Leigh :

    I have most of the benefits – i.e. ‘unlimited purchase’ although still with a credit limit, concierge, points, preferred rates with my Visa Signature – and when I studied the Visa Black it is just the same as Visa Signature. My card issuer – First National of Omaha – does not even charge me an Annual fee – there is some qualification to be granted a Visa Signature, such as excellent credit score.

    The only advanatages that I miss from Amex Platinumn and Amex Black is the entry to the airline clubs internationally without having to join all the major airline club roomes to make sure I am covered, and that was worth th $2000 fee. But I now have the Priority Pass at $399 annualy that covers me for all US Air, United, Delta, NWA and Club America and over 600 lounges worldwide. The only lounges that I would have liked to add are AA, but I have been flying a lot of United and US Airways recently, so it works for me.

    http://www.prioritypass.com/

  96. I would like to get more information on the Branding Benefits that you mentioned, I got an invitation, and I am trying to figure out if I should accept it.

    what are the Travel benfits if i travel preimarilty International.

    • You should, it can do wonders for you if you use it right.

      I am not sure on the international travel benefits; I would call Amex.

      • can you elaberate on the Branding Benefits, i got the card and there is nothing mentioned in the benefits ook, and customer service rep i called, didn’t know about it, and i own a shoe design/import/wholesaling company, and i can really use that benefit

        • You are reading too much and too little into the branding benefit. This site is a perfect example of branding. The concept is that because you are successful enough to earn a black card, you are someone of significance in the market. To give a specific example, consider the difference between pulling out your Capital One card with the picture of “Spagetti Jimmy” or your Centurion Black card when you are having that big dinner with the great new client you are trying to land. What image will they get? What image are you trying to give? That is the branding concept.

  97. Hi Neal,

    Got my invitation for the Centurion this morning (or so I thought) and was trolling the Web to see what I could find out. Liked the attitude of your blog. Let me know if/when you get bored out in SoCal and are ready for a break–come down to South Texas and visit! We’ll toast in the sun on South Padre Island, drink rumrunners, and eat awesomely good TexMex food. For heaven’s sake PLEASE don’t publish this comment I rather like being a private person LOL.

  98. Why would you want to broadcast to the world that you own an elite credit card that required you to spend $250k a year in order to merrit an invitation to own such a card? I think people who flash such a card would become targets for thugs and criminals. It would be the same for an individual to pull a $10k roll of cash out of his pocket and being stabbed for it along with everything else on his person ie, watch, wedding band etc. To me, I would rather keep a low profile, especially when traveling. I have a $250k wrist watch my wife bought me for our 25th anniversary and I leave it at home while traveling or going places I am not familar with. Just with my cars, I have a Suburban I drive mostly, but I also have an Aston Martin. I personaly do not like people who want to be recognized for there success and require a credit card to speak on there behalf. If you really have money and I mean real money, why in Gods name would you want to tell everybody? People who have real money,(the kind where people dont pay attention to whats happening to our economy right now)try not to stand out in a crowd and be noticed.

    • i agree. i have the privilege of having an amex black card. however, i only use it for traveling, concierge and entertaining clients. other than that, i shy away from using the card (i.e. groceries or starbucks) b/c i don’t like the attention. besides, other credit cards give better perks on everyday charges.

    • Some people just love bragging I guess. Especially if they came from a background with little to no money.

    • Tcrow, it’s not my intention to insult you but I really can’t believe you’re as successful as you say you are and yet you confuse the words “there” and “their”…

  99. Have owned the Black Amex here in England for 8 years now.
    Just this month the card has been upgraded from plastic to titanium and the fee annual jumped from 650 pounds to 1800 pounds !
    Have still to read through the accompanying paperwork to see what all the extra benefits are.
    Amusing that despite all its publicity, so many people still look at it and wonder just what it is…

  100. I wanted to upgrade my AMEX Platinum to a Centurion card and I called AMEX. They told me I HAD to spend 250k in a 12 month period and then I had to apply for the card. The initiation fee is $5,000.00 and the yearly fee is $2,500.00. The representative would not go into details about the benefits but elaborated how exclusive they were. From what I can determine from the above posts is that the Concierge/Travel consultants are not very good; that is the same with Platinum. The real benefits are the elite status airline/hotel programs.

  101. I wonder if Amex is going to give a break on their centurion cards because of the economy – like waive the $5000 fee to start?

    Also, I doubt the Visa Black Card will be the same as the Centurion card. The Centurion is legendary and anything else that comes along only seems like a copy-cat.

  102. Rodney Fatts :

    What is the spending limit per day on the black card?
    And how much cash can you pull from the atm with it?

  103. interested in getting a black c card – i have one and may be able to help you get one – pm me jose@debarros.com.

  104. Hemil Khandwala :

    i am a fellow centurion card holder and while i was googling benefits of black card holders i ran past your site. honestly i’m not sure if you feel the same but other than traveling there really is not any true benefit over platinum members. i’ve used concierge quite a few times but never to any availe, we hold the same spg status (gold), and use the same traveling and concierge companies (circle for the most part). so to all people thinking about getting one think twice and to all current holders we should all write emails to amex telling them increase centurion perks.

  105. jose de barros :

    Im letting mine go after 10 years of membership. Do not believe the hype – most members will say the same if honest – the lifestyle team is the same as for platinum members, last minute reservations do not always work, upgrades are not automatic, they increased the cost of membership this year in the U.k. by 3X – yes 3X the previous amount. I am comfortable but would not do business with anyone who increased rates by such a multiple. The only justification given was that the card is now titanium not plastic – oh and I got a huge black box that I threw away. Still if I want to be flash the card will stay in my wallet! Spend your 1800 GBP on a good meal or holiday instead…. better still after 3 years go out and buy an IWC and flash that instead.

  106. jose de barros :

    just read my blog – realise I may come across as ‘bling bling’ – quite the opposite in reality. If you do business the card can be a benefit BUT not a great one. I have been moderately ‘successful’ but all the REALLY successful people I know seriously HNW do not have the card and regard it as a ‘joke’. Consider this would you do business with someone or invest with them, if they needed a small black metal card to demonstrate their worth or prop up their self esteem? My seriously HNW friends have standard coloured cards and drive non flash cars daily- although most have wonderful collections of houses, cars and very healthy bank accounts in the background. If you genuinely ‘have it’ you do not need to scream about ‘it’ – ‘it’ speaks for itself. Man in the street may be impressed with my Rolex but my friends KNOW what my Vacheron Constantin means.

  107. I have had my Black Card for about a year. I admit Concierge service is a bit lacking. I tried out different ones till I found one I liked and stuck with her (you can get one assigned to you).

    I have gotten upgrades to first class at least 80% of the time. I like the ability to use the airline clubs. It works great to get you into more upscale clubs..smaller towns people never heard of it which is fine with me (they just say it is heavy).

    Downside..it sets of the metal detectors in airports so make sure you put it in carry on and not on your body when going thru security.

    I personally spend most of my money with the american express plum card which gives you 2% cash back on your spend if you pay within 10 days of the closing of the billing cycle.

    Julie

  108. Meanwhile back in reality… corporate mind control is alive and well. Let me get this straight – you paid 7.5k for a card that requires you pay it off every month, that requires you to continue to pay each year, that requires you to pay 1.5k per ea. extra card, that requires you to spend 250k per year after you gave them 7.5k for a monochromatic metal card ?! But oh the perks !- 1) attract Ho’s that can out scheme you any day of the week – 2) tell hot educated women that you are deeply insecure – 3) guarantee being kidnapped in a foreign country because you flashed your card – 4) enjoy having your time wasted by what only a hillbilly would consider real concierge service ( for only 1k you can sign up for outstanding concierge service by dedicated vendors ) – 5) let service know that it not only ok but fun to spit in your food before they bring it out – 6) make everyone who knows you have the card think it’s ok to charge you more or quote you more or expect a much bigger tip for standard service – 7) make you a preferred target for all criminals and con games in your own country… and on and on.
    The only point is that Amex is praying on your insecurity. Any one of real wealth has assistants doing everything for them and accountants that would never approve this ridiculous expense as a from of payment. If your a Paris Hilton type then yes it fits your fake life(style). Corporate brainwashing is complete – that’s why people pay for shirts and hats that advertise other companies products. If I’m spending 250k per year using a magnetic strip the company issuing that thin mylar film better kiss my a** and pay me at least 2.5k a year for my business.

    • That’s a fantastic opinionated response Pat. I can completely understand what you mean. People get the black card for the obvious flaunting reasons, but ideally, the real perks is the level of convenience you receive.

  109. Can you shop via internet with AMEX Centurion?

  110. Hi Neil,

    Do you still have the black amex? What do you mean by the Visa black card ruining the Amex Centurion? I think people still know the difference, though not all. If you don’t have the card anymore, I would be happy to add you as an additional on my account, just to get to know you a bit and maybe you could mentor me :) – email me at icurme@gmail.com

    I am in my thirties and haven’t achieved the success you have, though I have read through a lot of your blogs and have learned some of the same mistakes. I am still trying to find my niche.

    Thanks for giving back to the community!

  111. Hi Neil, I have one and honestly I pay the $2500 because of the 3 day upgrade with Continental as I fly out of Newark NJ. I spend roughly $300,000 per month on business needs and the problem with other banks is that no one can give me that kind of limit without hounding me. I have been a member since 1997 when it was $1000 per year but out of 10 flights on Continental, I got upgraded 75% of the time so I really cannot complain. I do agree that if you do not travel often or need the credit line, $2500 is steep. I like the 30 days because I am double dipping. If I pay my vendors within 30 days, I usually get a 2-5% prompt pay discount from them and also get 1 point for every dollar with Amex. If you play this game right, it can really work for you. I actually found the plum a better card because i get 2% back if I pay withing the 1st 10 days of the billing cycle. I will still give Amex Centurion $250k a year minimum so that i can get the upgrades on Continental, Delta and Hertz but I do agree that most people stereo type about this card as I once haggled about why a bag cost $100 and the looked at me and said (You have the back card and you are worried about $100). Just because I have the money does not mean I am going to throw it out easily. I grew up poor so I just cannot forget how to be froogle. Just my 2cents

  112. Hi Neil,

    Sorry to hear you’re no long a proponent of the Centurion program. I was scratching my head trying to justify for the insane amount of annual fee (especially the initial year). I know the age old comment of “If you have to ask how much, you can’t afford it”. But that is also followed by the other wiser, and more applicable comment of “Sinking $7,500 a year on just service fee, you have more money than brains” :P

    Anyhow, I decided not to go for it since you hit the nail right on the head with regards to The Centurion benefits really isn’t that much higher than the Platinum program, and even that had been eroded to the point of not being worth the fee (PLUM is the new BLACK!)

    I have a question for you if you don’t mind… WAY back up at the top of the thread, you mentioned something about paying your payroll with your Amex. What company have you come across that actually accept credit card payment for payroll? I was curious and checked, but can’t seem to find even find one.

    Cheers,

    Michael

  113. have you seen this? it’s a fake commercial making fun of the card. It’s pretty funny…well…kinda funny. I still want one.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twhLW_6L9FY

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  115. “I probably do 40 to 60 trips a year, which means I end up sleeping in hotels a good amount of the year. The room and flight upgrades make my traveling experience pleasant, especially when traveling international.”

    If you travel this much, you should get all the perks you list above FOR FREE (i.e. through the hotel/airline elite programs). It’s absolutely ridiculous to pay $7500 in fees. The only reason any frequent flyer would get this card is to show off

  116. You are right Howie, they have a black card with no prestige :)

  117. A simple guy :

    Dear Mr Patel,

    It is sad to read your comments for the Centurion card in the UK does not give the same level of benefits… not even half of it…
    Shame….

  118. I notice you spoke about paying payroll companies with your AmEx. Do you know any payroll companies that allow this? if so shoot me an email.

  119. Hiya Neil!

    I’m making sure your Google Analytics show a nice spike in traffic to this post after your SEO post identifying this as your most trafficked page ;-)

    You definitely are getting your point across. I like the way you think.

  120. Neil,

    Great information! My aunt is the only black card holder that I know personally and I can’t wait to get my own hopefully not to long after college graduation! I’m presenting a speech on finances and credit cards and I will be sure to share the perks and rules of the black card with my crowd!

  121. I’m Canadian and have had the Amex Centurion for 5 months. Travel about once a month. Apart from occasional airport lounge access that I would not have had otherwise, the card has not provided me with anything remotely worth the inititation and annual fee. Whats worse is that my amex platinum gave me 1.5 miles for every dollar spent and my centurion gives me 1. I think its time for me to get rid of this card.

  122. bruce willis :

    i went to the restroom at a fancy restaurant, released my load onto my centurion card….then when the bill came i ploped down my card and the waitress picked it up and got a handful…she came back with a smile and said she wiped down my card….i should have asked here to wipe down my c*ck as well…but she was just thrilled to touch my card regardless of my groin dna being all over it….some hoes will do anything for a guy with money….just look at my ex wife….she is cleaning the ashes off ashton’s card as well

  123. Neil the Citi Platinum American Express card seems like a better deal and easier to get. Thanks dude. I was reading the entire article thinking wow this wouldn’t be worth it for me now since both my businesses are managed from my home.

  124. bruce willis :

    neil you look pretty geeked out in the picture…the only thing that gives you any hope with the ladies is the card in your hand…whats up with that….a simple haircut and a professional photographer could solve these issues….if you dont get it together, you will be working with those 2 oxtail holding fools on the metro pcs cell phone commercials….bruce

  125. I have a Platinum Amex, and know several people, north of ten, who have the centurion. We have compared benefits and Platinum concierge is just as good as centurion. Basically, it’s a status symbol, the perks are comparable to Platinum. I have personal shoppers in several states at HIGH END boutiques and Stores, have had Amex concierge find me crazy things that I could not otherwise have found, etc…. So the bottom line is when trying to obtain the Black Card, “do you want those fees?”… if so, Rock on!!! :-)

  126. Withheld for Security Reasons :

    First of all, anyone who pays a yearly service fee for a credit card is just plain stupid and $7500.00 to have one of these cards your f’ing retarded.

    Pay your credit card off in full every month and you can make requests to AMEX or any other credit card company for higher limits. I spend on average $200K a year on my AMEX, yet never in the past 10 years made an interest payment or yearly fee for having the card. Also with the card I have an SPG Awards card, I get enough SPG points every year that I can stay at a luxury resort in Bali for more than 3 weeks all inclusive. When you are a Platinum Memeber of SPG and have an SPG AMEX and use it to purchase your hotel stays when traveling, I typically earn 2 free days for every month of spending.

    Save your money and just have a basic charge card. You might be surprised there might be a millionaire living right next door to you, he just doesn’t show it off.

  127. sell textbooks :

    wow, I have always wondered about the black card. The first time I saw it i was bar tending and thought it was fake because it was heavier and i thought was made of metal. I can’t wait for the day when i can enjoy the benefits of a Black card!

  128. I’d have to agree with ‘Withheld for Security Reasons’.

    Save your money, they are mainly promoting an image for people to feel rich when they are not.

    The truly wealthy don’t need to show it off.

  129. Hey Neil ,

    i called AX and they told me that rules on getting a BLACK card has changed… Is there anyway you can ask you rep at AX on what they are now ? Thank you

  130. Joe @ Making Money Ideas :

    It’s nice to peer into the reality of the “other half ” Ha Ha. Sounds pretty cool. I’ve flown quite a bit but can’t imagine flying 40 to 60 times a year and can see why the extra perks probably mean a lot and leave a person more prepared for the engagement they have agreed to attend. People have expectations and I think a big part of meeting them is just plain taking care of yourself. We are all different when we are getting run down and that’s not what we want to put out their.

    Thanks.

    Joe.

  131. WTF, who would pay minimum $7500 to think theyre impressive, I’d think they were idiots for spending money when they can get most of the perks(typically not used) with other cards. The person to look up to is the person that has financial sense, this card is NOT that. And for that matter, am I missing something?…”If you want to take someone with you on an international flight for free you have to buy a business or first class ticket. ” uhhhhhh…THEN ITS NOT FREE!!!

  132. Hmm…not sure I agree with the concept of a privilege card just like I don’t agree with business class and economy class. There should be a good, standard level of service for everyone regardless of their financial position.

  133. I heard that some Black cards come with a line of credit attached. Is that true? Also, I live in Las Vegas and I see people get cash advances from casinos with their credit cards, is that possible with a Black card? If so, how much will they allow?

  134. I believe there is no limit on it as well. It is made of metal and is quite well.

  135. Nice blog Neil, I truly admire your admission of being CHEAP and being proud of being one. I consider myself CHEAP and a proud one too. I don’t wear jewelry, I wear a $40 watch, I drive a regular car, I like plain white shirts with jeans and I live in a regular neighborhood. There’s nothing wrong about spending reasonably even if you can afford a lot more than normal. I own a few companies and charge about $500,000 annually on my own card. I only buy expensive things for my wife, not for me. It’s actually more FUN showing you have less knowing you have a lot more THAN showing you have more knowing you have a lot less. I’m getting old so I enjoy reading when I can’t sleep. More power to you.

  136. FYI, eBay/PayPal has increased the merchant fee by 2% for Amex transactions starting in November 2010. Heretofore, the PayPal merchant fees were the same for all credit cards at 2.2%-2.9%, (even though Amex themselves charged more, and most bank merchant accounts did likewise.) Speculation is that up to 25% of eBay sellers will stop offering Amex when the new rates go into effect — black card or otherwise. This is why many small retailers (as the gas station mentioned above) do not offer Amex at all.

  137. Although I am too young for this card. I sure think that it is cool. At the same time, a little out of reach at the moment. :P Funny title by the way, it got me hooked!

  138. Hi…. I have both Amex personal and Amex Business Platinum, I have spent over $270,000.00 in a consecutive 12 months and they have have not given me an invitation. I have excellent credit and own 6 companies. All of my friends who spend far less then me have them..Any advice on what I can do to get one ? Can a fellow centurion card holder recommend someone ?

  139. *CLASSIC* only a Guju would have “someone else” pay the upfront/annual fees and then tell “everyone else” how to pay out of their own pocket lol — I heart you Indian-guys lol

  140. I received the “Centurion” card for my 21st birthday, and from then to now at age 23. I can tell you. In those two years I’ve only used it six times. I really haven’t bothered with the rewards and was unaware of the “concierge” feature. But believe me. Even after having one living in Brooklyn, New York as a black female, it’s strange the way people second look you once they receive the card as payment. Sad thing is a lot of places that I like to shop don’t accept the card. I think a lot of people though who receive the card go way over there head with purchases and ego trips. But then again, wasn’t I the one in Old Navy clothes and beat up converses shopping in Gucci. Oh brother lol. People should only purchase what they can afford, meaning pay off as well in cash.

  141. I live in Texas, and had not thought to use my card at all… Great advice, I believe I will use it constantly on a new business. Does anyone have any ideas on a lucrative growing business in Texas.. All ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  142. Thanks for all of the useful information on how to qualify for the card even if you are lacking in major assets. It’s good to know how your connections with companies can end up being such a great asset in times like this. And the benefits associated with the Centurion card definitely make it worth pursuing.

  143. Once approve for the Amex Centurion Card, Is it mandatory to spend a minimum of 250k yearly? Or does it only apply just to be approve for the card?

    Side note: Great source and info your providing!!! Thanks!!

  144. Hey Neil i hope you are doing great and enjoying the world traveling which is my favourite thing to do. I was wondering if you know how to pay for a house in europe worth 2 000 000 euros ? i mean whats the easiest, safest, cheapest way to do it.

    Greeting from Mexico. Congratulation for your website i like it

  145. Prestige who needs that, not Visa! They have a black card with no prestige

  146. Black card is new way of american express. I have learned more about from http://t.co/6KOftiV so i recommend for everyone!

  147. Work Routine :

    The personal concierge deals with everything else such as shopping and fine dining. This is probably the most used because not only can you use the concierge service, but also you are allowed to give others access to use it as well (family and assistants).
    ————-
    satti

  148. credit card sooz :

    I think that sometime people miss a fundamental point of these high-annual-fee cards (whether it’s the Centurions $2500 or Visa Black’s $495). It’s really simple: if you complain about the annual fee, then clearly the card’s probably not for you! The kind of people who have it drop $500 for a dinner whenever they feel like it, or $2500 for a pair of shoes they wear once. A $50,000 monthly income probably doesn’t even think about the $200 monthly cost of American Express’ Centurion card.

    Just my two cents. Because that’s about all I’ve got.
    Great and informative post!

  149. Go Daddy Promo Code :

    I think the black card is more about prestige than anything else. But I’m not big into racking up debt so I’ll pass all together.

    • You have to first apply for the card and if you don’t have the financials you won’t be approved. So I don’t think whoever has this card has to worry about debt, they have plenty of money.

  150. I’d have to agree with ‘Withheld for Security Reasons’.

    Save your money, they are mainly promoting an image for people to feel rich when they are not.

    The truly wealthy don’t need to show it off.

  151. I have the business platinum American express.
    Doesn’t that give you almost all the benefits. You have on the black card?
    And it only cost $400 a year!

  152. Just curious… what payroll companies can I pay with a credit card?

  153. The Fincherator :

    Wow that really makes me think twice of getting a black card. If they come discounts or special promotions at our local home depot store, this would be perfect for my upcoming home tiling project.

  154. Awesome post Neil. The Centurion card is an awesome card and definitely pays for itself when you travel. I am a centurion card holder myself, the personal card not the business card. Aside from all the cool benefits, the reactions I get are pretty funny too.

  155. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend money for your business, although until today I had never heard of this card. Perhaps one day in the future I will be able to aspire to having one……….. ah well, it´s nice to dream.

  156. I was always interested in Centurion, however I applied for the Platinum paying £300/year and have had it for last two years or so. I can tell you that I get almost all benefits mentioned here for Centurion on my Platinum including very helpful concierge service and hotel memberships as well as upgrades, entertainment etc. I think the only missing services on my card are free travel for friends/relatives and personal shoppers. I’d love to have that black card in my wallet but do not see any significant difference with platinum.

  157. “After that day, I knew I wanted one but was not sure how to obtain one without having any credit (I don’t own a house or car, and all of my credit cards are company credit cards).” How would you be able to get business credit cards without signing as a guarantor? Whether it is a start up company or a seasoned business with impressive financials, all big banks offering business credit cards require a guarantor. So if you didn’t have any personal credit how would you be able to obtain all of your business credit cards?

    • Answer = if you’re business has a gross sales of above $4Million in a calendar year – Amex will move you from their “small business” card – which requires a personal guarantee from an officer / owner to their “corporate payment solution card” . There is no guarantee and you can give them to whoever you want. I have 8 employees all with corporate amex cards w/ $25k limits – no guarantee.

  158. This might sound stupid, but I’ve been wondering about this black card as I hear rappers and actors have them (I thought they only had these), but thanks for explaining. My question was, say someone is thinking about buying an expensive car say a Ferrari, do they just walk up and hand the card? Or how does that work? Do they get 0% finance? Thanks again for this good expla

  159. Yeah that’s true Neil, are you satisfied?

  160. One day hopefully I can get to the point where I can get a Black card. Don’t you have to be invited in order to become a member?

  161. Application Fee: 5,000

    Annual Fee: 2,500

    Major retail benefit: You can have a personal shopper with you to help you find everything you need at Saks, Gucci,etc. If you hate shopping, American Express can close down certain shops so you can be the only shopper in the store and you will not have to deal with lines.

    Calling Amex Centurian to arrange for them to close down “KMart” while a personal shopper assists you: PRICELESS !!

  162. I was always curious as to what the benefits and requirements were for this card. I’ve seen a handful of them over the years and I’ve noticed that card carriers typically are pretty happy people. One day…

  163. Hey Niel, I read this a while ago – and it has been my goal to get a black card for a long time since I used to have to use my old bosses for a while, and I never bought anything anywhere without someone commenting on it. It was awesome. But it wasn’t mine lol. So anyways, I got the platinum for my business. They started me with the lowest limit possible $25k / month. Which I maxed every month and paid on time. I got the card in March of 2011 mind you. Then in August after lots of complaining that I couldn’t even buy a private flight for 25k they raised my limit to $50k in August. I didn’t max every time, but it was well in the 30s and 40s and paid every month on time. I don’t know if my rep is playing dumb or not, but I calculated what I spent and paid off from March 2011 – December 28, 2011 and it was $228,590…. by now it’s well over 250, but when I asked my rep how to get one – she said “oh I don’t know, I’ve only heard invitation only” then she told me to “let her know if I found anything out” …. what can I do? If they raise our limit to what I’ve asked for I’ll start spending $150k/month on the card (cause we’ll move payroll etc., there for the points and benefits) but my goal is really the card. It’s awesome looking, feels cool cause it’s so heavy, and for a business you couldn’t ask for a better conversation piece when you buy a client dinner or a cup of coffee. Any help you can provide would be GREAT!!

  164. Niel, If I have a business gold rewards card and a personal platinum card (both amex) and I spend over 250k on both cards combined, would I be qualified for the Centurion card?

  165. Airline platinums get upgraded before Amex Centurions, among the truly wealthy the black card is seen as a ‘got rich fast, will get un-rich fast’ artifact (although I will say management has put them into the hands of many stars when Amex made it easy to do so) and $7,500 in fees to float your own money 30 days 12 times a year is hilarious.

  166. THAT FEES is truly insane, too much for the service.

  167. Meghan Dailey :

    Hi Neil,

    I’m a design student studying advertising. Our recent assignment is to design a campaign for the Black Card. Unfortunately, information for research is limited. Would it be possible to take a few screen shots of cards website so we can continue our research.

    Thank you
    Meghan

  168. Neil Do you know a Mahesh Patel or Mit Patel? They’re good friends of mine.

    thanks

  169. Do you still have that card under this Economic condition?

  170. Check out this website if you want your own real custom titanium Amex Centurion with your name on it.

    yourcenturion . com

  171. Question:
    I have 1 Personal platinum AMEX and 2 Gold Business AMEX.
    I do not exceed 250k a year on each one separately, but together I do spend over 250 K.
    Will I qualify for a Centurion?

  172. Wow, this is cool, once you go black, you never go back. :-) Having this is more convenient indeed!

  173. What a silly waste of money. It is more of a douche symbol than any type of status symbol. A regular Gold or Platinum card will give you most of the benefits of value.

    If you do travel a lot, you already have some type of elite status which gives you upgrades, lounge access, and a concierge. Also, you’re probably platinum status at the Hotels which already give you all the great benefits and free stays. I don’t see why any real frequent flier would want to have this card.

    • There is no way to get it unless you meet the criteria.

      First of all, the most important is the credit score. I mean a very high credit score. More then 880. In order to have this score you must: Have never been protested, never in your life! Have a great amount of money on your account (stock, liquid, etc). Be a property owner (more than your primary house). Is helpful if you own preferred share from some companies, better if quoted and better if you are the one who run them. Is useful to have an account in a private banking (anyone. This because when amex will call your bank, your private banker will be the one who know your status better and help them to understand we you are eligible for one card). If you have this, it mean that you already have some credit card with high plafond, so mean that bank trust you (and know how to get back money in any case from your stock, share, properties.

      Than if you have that score now you need to have an amex card. Any card. And start to use it. Any card but is better the platinum due to the fact that start already from an high limit (10.000 EURO). Remember, they said that Amex card have no limit. This does not mean that you can spend what you want. The limit start from a minimum (it depend of the card you have) and then grow month by month using it and paying the payroll in time and in full.

      Start to use the card to buy stuff. Luxury stuff, electronic expensive devices, flight and hotel bars and clubs.. this kind of things. Use your travel agent and your personal concierge (of the platinum) to do everything you need. If you use it to pay your employee salary than amex will not recognize you as a big spender. Everybody that run a company must pay the salary. But not everybody that have a company spend big amount of money for lifestyle. You do not need to demonstrate that you have the money (you did in the step one when they check your status, bank, credit score etc). You need to demonstrate that you spend money. A lot of money in lifestyle thing and the frequency.

      The amount you need to spend? Nobody know. I do not really think that there is a minimum amount. For sure you need to spend a lot. Than year by year it depend. For example in the 2011 there was no invitation issued. In Europe for example in 2012 they issued only card to cover those who left (died or relocate in another country). In 2008 and 2009 they issued some card to people that was spending even “only” 80K Euro or 100K Euro. It depend of the year, it depend who you are, it depend how much you own. It depend how many invitation they will issue that year.

      They make invitation only 2 times per year (December and at the end of May). Before that call them. Talk to your platinum services and tell them that you are willing the get the upgrade. They will put a check in some box in your profile on the computer (i am sure that they do something like that even if i do not know what the amex costumer system look like). And if you will be contacted it means that you meet the criteria, there i room for you in that year in your country and that you will have the card.

      At the end, you must be rich. without money no centurion. That’s the true. Up to day. Tomorrow who know? It look like that Amex is diluting the product (I really do not understand why). Will see.
      At the end? Is just a fantastic status symbol. Notting more. No incredible services (notting more that the platinum concierge can do, no special things, no notting unusual). Some high status in airline, hotels. That’s it.

      In vegas they can not reserve a table in the club to you if you call them at 11.00. Only if you give them some time, call them in advance (if i am in vegas i do not know until the last minute what i wil do!!!) Why? because nobody at the club answer at the phone! But if you get in front of the club with it, you find out a table for you and the server will treat you great!
      If you ask for a massagist at home, this evening? No, they do not provide this services, they can book a massage in a SPA with who they have an agreement. That’s it. The rest are fantastic legend, most of them. Maybe they did something great, but is not the normality.

      At the and as I said you just have a great status symbol. Until they do not dilute it.
      Best to all.

  174. Im gona get one soon , and never had any amex card before

  175. Wow this is an expensive card to hold. :D

  176. Hey There. I discovered your weblog using msn. This is a really neatly written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to learn extra of your helpful info. Thank you for the post. I will definitely return.

  177. “The best part about getting the card through them, is that they paid for the upfront fees to obtain the card and they pay the monthly card bill.”

    Does that mean there paying for all the charges on it, even personal ones? Or are you just talking about the annual fee? Just wondering lol.

  178. Great article. The “Black Card” is truly a status symbol that business people love to have. If it is used for business all fee are write-off anyway. Thanks for the information.

  179. Very nice! Wonderful product to aspire for, a true status symbol. We’re envious :)

  180. I had a Platinum Card for a while but got rid of it–mainly because I didn’t think it was worth the annual fee (around $500) considering the mediocre service (AmEx ain’t what it used to be), and the fact that my bank provided me with a premier card with no annual fee and much, much lower interest rates…

  181. I have had the Centurion card for 5 years now. I had the Platinum card for years before that, and I think that although a lot has been discussed so far, I may be able to add some value.

    The main reason most people get this card, whether they admit it or not, is status. They want to feel like they’re in the “high rollers” club. I know this was my own psychology back when I got it, and it probably still is. But I know several *real* high rollers who love their Platinum card, and I’ve asked them why they don’t upgrade. It’s because they don’t need the card. Some spend so much $$ that they can get every upgrade just from their points alone, and still not know what to do with all their points. Others want to stay below the radar.

    But this card really offers no status whatsoever if you consider the following. It costs a whopping $7500 for a card member to join for the first year, and $2500/yr thereafter. But for only $1500/yr that business owner can add as many others to the policy. If you ask me, $1500 is laughable, and absolutely eliminates any status associated with this card. My friend who made about a million dollars a year trading and spent over $250k/yr, and got the card is the real deal. The guy who gets a W2 making six figures and the added perk of this card is just lucky.

    Since I think I’ve reasonably justified the argument that this card is meaningless in street cred, let’s discuss perks. For over $2k more than the platinum card, this card only offers one useful perk (mentioned many times): upgrades on flights within the continental US, on limited carriers (typically Delta is Amex’s main partner). Though I think that Delta is getting better, they are not great. And on international flights, I see no benefit. I do very much enjoy working with the Amex travel dept. and they are excellent. However, I tend too do a better job myself, finding the itinerary on Orbitz and then just calling them to book it for me, and adding all sorts of travel medical insurance, etc. And you don’t need the Centurion product to purchase those policies.

    In fact, there are several neat perks that this card offers that you can purchase separately from Amex if you want. For example, the “Card Registry” is a great product, where if you lose your wallet, you call one number, and they take care of everything, including ID and passport.

    Extended warranty and extended returns protections are also nice perks. But the Platinum and even Gold products offer this, and I believe with similar limits. But I have a funny feeling that with the Centurion card members, Amex will execute these services with lesser hassle.

    Finally, you get to the concierge services. Note that the Platinum card has a similar service at $450/yr. Now, concierge services are being offered everywhere. I even have such a service included with my OnStar plan. It’s become commonplace. I’ve tried Amex’s many times, and have found that I can do a better job with a simple Google search most of the time. But if you use this service, you’ll probably get lucky a few times a year where they’ll come through for you.

    And if you’re a points person, then you will see that there are many Amex cards with points, cash back, etc. that offer a better return than the Centurion card. I have several other Amex cards, including hotel cards, and like to spread out the points, since those programs also offer great perks.

    Finally, I must say that in the department of customer service, Amex is #1. Since I’ve almost always had Platinum/Centurion, I don’t know how it is for other card members, but both of these are tops. For me, just having access to knowledgeable and intelligent customer service reps is worth $450/yr, and with that mindset, all the other perks are just a bonus to the Platinum card. If you’re a traveler and can get the Centurion, then do so. If you’re not a traveler but want a small ego/status boost, then it’s a good card.

    Also, I have reviewed several other card products, like the Chase Sapphire card, Visa Black Card, etc. These all just aspire to be on par with the Platinum Card, and in my opinion, still fall short. I’ll end with a few quick perks of the Centurion card that I like the most:

    * SPG Gold status — Great properties, and amazing upgrades
    * Delta Platinum — Fairly common to get upgraded
    Access to the SkyLounge
    * Extended Warranty up to 3 years
    * No fee for for international purchases
    * Roadside assistance is simple and hassle-free if you’re
    driving a car that isn’t yours and you have a problem
    * SonyCierge is need, and I was happy to be introduced
    to the amazing people at Sony, and love their toys.

    These aside, Platinum card members should look carefully at the differences and realize that it’s not a big jump. The Platinum product is easily attainable, and the Rewards program is the same.

  182. Once you go black, we don’t want you back, you rapist curry eating prick

  183. Lend me £10,000 please?

  184. Some of the comments here are unreal. Totally unnecessary.

  185. This idea looks very sketchy. Neil, you have a nice site which I started reading when I found it looking into the Visa Black card program I read about tonight to see what it really was compared to the AMEX Centurion Black Card.

  186. Neil,

    You mentioned putting payroll on your AMEX to increase your monthly spend. How can you put payroll through a charge card?

  187. Hey Neil, After One Has Spent The $250,000 Dollars After Having “The Black Card” For One Year, Does One Have To Continue Spending A Minimum Of $250,000 Dollars Year After Year? Example: If I Spend Lets Say $300,000 Dollars The First Year When I Get My Black Card….Then On The Next Year I Only Spend About $50,000 Dollars…And The Following Year I Spend $50,000 Dollars….Will I Have My Card Taken Away From Me…Or Does It Not Matter As Long As I Spend The Minimum $250,000 Dollars The First Year? Thanks You Neil!

  188. Got It. Thank You For Responding!

  189. Thanks for reading!

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  191. I’m going to get one of these American Express Centurion Black Cards!

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