The American Express Centurion Black Card is a premium, ultra-exclusive payment card ideal for the biggest spenders and most frequent travelers – if you can get your hands on it, of course. The card is only offered by invitation and not by request.
- Exclusive concierge
- Membership Rewards® points redeemable for air travel
- No interest charged on overseas purchases
- Unique card designs by fashion brand Prada
- invite only
- Eligibility criteria not made public
- Substantial initiation fees
- Additional annual fee required for authorized user cards
- invite only
- Exclusive perks including 24/7 Centurion concierge service
- Earn Membership Rewards® points to redeem with 17 travel partners and other spend categories
- Amex app to view your transactions and pay your bills
Commonly known as Amex Black, this card rewards those with the most luxurious lifestyle.
Although American Express does not share the terms and conditions of the card online, anecdotal information offers clues to the stipulations associated with this card in the UK.
Online publications from Centurion Black cardholders suggest that the initiation fee for UK cardholders is £3,000 and the annual fee is £2,200.
Since this card is actually a “charge card” as opposed to a “credit card”, there is no prior spending limit or Annual Representative Rate (APR).
However, you will need to clear the card balance each month you spend on it, otherwise you will face high fees. The use of this card abroad is free.
American Express is more open about the rewards associated with this card. It comes with a unique offering designed to accommodate a tiny portion of the market, making side-by-side comparisons with other cards impossible. But when the rewards are used – which means considerable spending on the card – they can outweigh the initiation and annual fees.
With this card, you will be able to earn Membership Rewards® points on your purchases which can be transferred to one of 17 travel partners. American Express also offers transfer bonuses so you can get the most out of your points.
Points can be redeemed for a wide variety of gift cards in travel, retail and restaurant categories. You can also use your points for purchases from many lenders, including Amazon. However, there are no bonus rewards to be earned in common spend categories.
It is essential to note here that you can opt for a personal or professional version of the Centurion Black card. The business version offers a generous 50% discount on airline tickets purchased with Membership Rewards® points.
But although this card offers an attractive rewards program, earning points is not its main feature. This card includes a range of benefits such as invitations to high profile events and curated experiences at a range of fine hotels and resorts.
American Express concierge services may be of particular interest. Centurion Black cardholders can request anything from finding an exhausted Christmas present to managing an evacuation in the midst of a volcanic eruption.
When you fly, you get free Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status, which includes priority waitlisting, enhanced mileage earning, priority check-in and boarding, and courtesy upgrades.
Other travel benefits include access to the Global Lounge Collection – the only credit card airport lounge access program with exclusive lounge locations worldwide, including the exclusive Centurion Lounge.
The Centurion Black card is a payment card and not a credit card. This means it does not fall under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which provides protection on goods and services costing over £100 and up to £30,000.
However, American Express offers its own refund and purchase protection system. Cardholders will receive up to £2,500 for repair or replacement if an eligible item purchased with the card is stolen or damaged within 90 days of purchase (maximum cover over 12 months is £20,000) .
And if a UK retailer refuses to take back an eligible item purchased with your card, American Express offers refunds of up to £300 within the first 90 days of purchase (maximum 12-month cover is £1,000).
Additionally, all American Express cards come with chargeback rights that allow you to dispute transactions. If you want to know more about the Chargeback system, the company advises customers to contact it directly.
Will I be eligible?
American Express offers this card by invitation only. Chances are, to qualify, you’ll need to already own an American Express card, have a great credit score, and be considered a top earner and spender.
However, the specific eligibility criteria for this card, including required spending habits and level of wealth, are mostly shrouded in mystery.
What more do I need to know?
It is essential that you clear your entire balance each month by the due date to avoid damaging your credit score.
Is the card suitable for me?
Although American Express may offer you this card, it may not be in your best interest to accept it, especially if you are not interested in the rewards. Plus, if you’re not a big spender, this card will be far from worth the initiation and annual fee.
What are the alternatives ?
Some of the benefits of the Centurion Black card are also available on the Business Platinum card and Personal Platinum card from American Express, for a fraction of the annual fee.
For example, the Business Platinum card includes exclusive access to the airport lounge and a points discount on airline tickets, although this is limited to 35%, compared to 50% on the Centurion Black card.
On personal and business Platinum cards, you can earn more Membership Rewards® points per pound, although the Centurion Black card likely allows for a higher monthly spend.