The invite-only Amex Centurion 'black' card has a $5,000 annual fee and several luxury perks, but you can get many of its benefits with the Amex Platinum
The Amex Centurion "black" card makes other premium credit cards look downright affordable. It has an initiation fee of $7,500 and an annual fee of $5,000. It's also invite-only; you can't apply without permission from Amex. The card offers some incredible benefits, like complimentary elite status across four hotel chains and with Delta, airport arrival services, and access to a concierge. While some of these perks are exclusive to the Amex black card, you can enjoy many of them with the publicly available Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express. The Amex Platinum, with a $550 annual fee, doesn't offer the same level of fancy benefits, but it's a great option for earning travel rewards and enjoying some luxury perks, including statement credits with Uber and Saks. See Business Insider's list of the best rewards credit cards you can get »
Also known as the Centurion card, the American Express "black" card is so prestigious that you have to be invited to use it. You can't just apply for it and expect to get approved; you have to receive a private invitation from American Express. While the requirements for getting an invite for the black card aren't officially published, rumor has it that you have to be a high earner who has spent and paid off between $350,000 and $500,000 across all of your American Express accounts in a calendar year. And once you're approved for the card, there's a $7,500 initiation fee, and a $5,000 annual fee. It makes premium credit cards like the Platinum Card ($550 annual fee) and the Amex Business Platinum Card ($595) look downright affordable. Benefits of the Amex black card Aside from its appeal as a status symbol, the Amex black card offers the following perks: Hotel elite status With a black card, you can lock in hotel elite status at four major hotel chains: Marriott, Hilton, Intercontinental Hotels Group, and Relais & Châteaux. Hotel elite status gets you sweet benefits like room upgrades, late checkouts, resort and spa credits, and free breakfast. The Platinum Card and Amex Business Platinum Card offer status with Hilton and Marriott, but not with IHG and Relais & Châteaux. Read more: Credit cards that get you hotel elite status just by having them in your wallet Delta elite status According to The Points Guy, the black card also offers cardholders Platinum Medallion elite status with Delta. You can't get this benefit with any other credit card, and it offers you perks like complimentary upgrades and bonus miles. Airport lounge access There's nothing better than knowing you have access to a comfortable airport lounge while you're traveling, especially if you have a long layover. The Amex black card gets you free access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world, including Amex Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs when you're flying Delta, and Priority Pass airport lounges. You can sit back and relax on the comfortable chairs while indulging in some good food and drinks. The airport lounge access you get as a Centurion cardholder is virtually identical to the lounge access you get with the Platinum Card and Amex Business Platinum Card. Equinox membership The Centurion card added several new perks in late 2019, along with the announcement that Amex would be raising the annual fee. One of the most valuable new benefits is Equinox Destination Access Membership, which lets Centurion cardholders use any of the 100-plus Equinox gym locations in the US, UK, and Canada. This membership costs $300 per month plus a $500 initiation fee, so it's quite valuable if you're a fan of the high-end fitness club chain. Unsurprisingly, there's no comparable benefit on the Platinum Card and Amex Business Platinum Card cards. Up to $1,000 per year in Saks Fifth Avenue credits The Platinum Card offers up to $100 in credits for Saks Fifth Avenue per year, so it's only fitting that the Centurion has an even better version of this perk. Starting in 2020, Centurion cardholders will get up to $1,000 in credits for Saks purchases — divided into four credits of up to $250 per quarter of the year. To get the credit, cardholders just have to make an eligible Saks purchase with their Centurion card, and they'll be reimbursed up to the quarterly and annual limit in the form of a statement credit. As a bonus, Saks stores will open their doors to Centurion cardholders outside of normal business hours — a pretty extravagant perk for those who want to make a power move or impress their non-Centurion-holding friends. CLEAR membership CLEAR is an expedited security membership (an alternative to TSA PreCheck), and you can use it at more than 30 airports and more than 20 sports and concert venues in the US. The recently revamped American Express® Green Card offers a statement credit for up to $100 toward CLEAR membership, which costs $179, but with the Amex Centurion card you can get a statement credit for the full cost of membership when you use your card to buy it. Plus, you can get statement credits to cover adding up to three family members. 24/7 concierge service An Amex black card gets you your own personal concierge whenever you'd like one. You can count on the round-the-clock concierge service to help you make travel plans or reservations at exclusive restaurants. This service can also get you tickets to just about any event and/or purchase gifts on your behalf. Once again, the Platinum Card and Amex Business Platinum Card also offer concierge services. However, Centurion cardmembers are definitely the top priority for Amex concierge, and they get the best access to restaurant reservations and more. International arrival service If you travel abroad often, you'll love the black card's international arrival service. As long as you fly business or first class via American Express Travel, you'll be assigned to your own personal guide who will make the immigration and customs process a breeze. This isn't a benefit you can replicate with any other Amex card. Another exclusive airport perk: Centurion cardholders get complimentary membership to The Private Suite at LAX, a private VIP terminal. But there's a big catch: You have to pay each time you use it — and it costs up to $3,000. No spending limit There are no preset spending limits with the black card, so you can easily buy big-ticket items that you may not necessarily be able to pay for with other credit cards. Keep in mind, however, that you must pay off your balances in full every month. (The same applies with the Platinum Card and Amex Business Platinum Card.) Other lifestyle perks Beyond offering elite status with more travel partners, international arrival service, and the top tier of Amex concierge service, the black card stands out from the Amex Platinum and Business Platinum with its selection of wine-related benefits, such as consultations with a wine specialist and wine-buying offers. Black cardholders also get several shopping perks, including special offers and VIP benefits with Net-a-Porter.
The Amex Platinum is more attainable, and offers many of the same perks If you don't get an invite for the American Express black card, don't fret. As you can see, many of the benefits it offers are available on the Amex Platinum, which has a $550 fee. You'll get no preset spending limits, hotel elite status, complimentary access to airport lounges, and concierge services. Read more: Amex Platinum card review If you're a business user, the Amex Business Platinum Card is worth a look. It offers most of these benefits as well, and has a $595 annual fee. Read more: Amex Business Platinum card review Platinum Card® from American Express
Related Content Module: More Credit Card Coverage Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What makes 'Parasite' so shocking is the twist that happens in a 10-minute sequence
More like this (3)
Table of Contents: Masthead StickySummary List Placement The best American Express cards in 2021: Category American...Table of Contents: Masthead StickySummary List Placement The best American Express cards in 2021: Category American Express card Best Amex card for lounge access, elite status, and more travel perks: Platinum Card® from American Express Best Amex card for dining rewards: American Express® Gold Card Best cash-back Amex card: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Best for bonus points on travel: American Express®...
Amex EveryDay credit card review: The best way to earn Amex points if you don't want to pay an annual fee
Summary List Placement Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American ExpressTable of Contents: Masthead Sticky Review: Is...Summary List Placement Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American ExpressTable of Contents: Masthead Sticky Review: Is the Amex EveryDay the best card for you? The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express is American Express's entry-level card for earning valuable Membership Rewards points. American Express has several different cards that earn Membership Rewards points, including the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from...
Amex Centurion lounges offer complimentary food, drink, and a comfortable place to relax before a flight — here's how you can get in
If you have the Platinum Card® from American Express, the Business Platinum® Card from American...If you have the Platinum Card® from American Express, the Business Platinum® Card from American Express, or the Centurion card, you can access Amex Centurion lounges. You can also access Centurion lounges when you're flying Delta with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card. There are currently nine Centurion lounges at US airports, along...