After working on your business for years, you finally hit the level of revenue you always dreamed of. There’s still work to be done, but your financial goals have been met.
One day, you get a letter in the mail from American Express saying you’ve been invited to apply for their Centurion® Card from American Express.
You know that this is the highest honor they bestow upon their customers, and you’re excited to find out more.
Card Summary Table
- Card Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
- Card Provider
- Card Type(s):
- Card Focus:
- Annual Fee
- $2,500 per year plus a one-time joining fee of $7,500 (for U.S. users)
- Annual fee and one-time joining fee may differ by country
- Must meet American Express' eligibility criteria in order to be invited
- Rewards Center
- Foreign Transaction FeesNone
- Typical UsersBusiness Owners, Frequent Travelers, International Travelers
- Customer Service Number
- Login Link
- PartnersThere are a number of airlines, hotels, and shopping venues that American Express has partnered with so members can redeem points. Members can also typically transfer points via participating hotels and airline mileage programs.
- Interest Rates ?
- N/A, this is a charge card
- Pay over time is available upon request
- Late fees ?
- Late payment of up to $38
- Balance Transfers
- Cash Forwarding
The Ideal Cardholder
Signing Up for the Centurion® Card from American Express
It can be fairly difficult to get your hands on the Centurion® Card from American Express (also referred to as the AMEX Black Card).
American Express keeps this one a tight-lipped secret due to the fact the requirements for qualifying are quite high.
Only when you have received an invitation can you apply for the card, and there are 2 “versions:” the aforementioned personal card and the Business Centurion® Card from American Express.
Anecdotally, both require that you spend and pay off somewhere in the neighborhood of $350,000-$500,000 on your other American Express accounts every year.
Each card has an annual fee of $2,500, and you’ll also pay an initiation fee of $7,500. Your ability to keep the card will be evaluated by American Express each year since it allows a number of exclusive benefits.
The card earns 1x points per dollar, but has no bonus earnings categories.
To put this card into perspective, it has very similar benefits to The Platinum Card® from American Express and the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, so these are highly recommended alternatives.
Airline and Airport Perks of the Card
Most interesting to the majority of people are the airport and air travel perks that the card offers, such as complimentary upgrades and priority wait-listing.
You get automatic Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status for being a member, which is the third of 4 tiers. This provides you with complimentary upgrades, priority waitlisting, priority boarding, and more.
Card holders also gain some exclusive airport perks that you won’t find with any other cards.
One unique benefit is a personal airport guide when you travel in first or business class on international flights. When you arrive, they’ll be there to greet you and help you through customs.
American Express will also arrange ground transportation for you if you need it, which makes your airport experience nice and smooth.
For those who like to be connected, you’ll have complimentary Gogo In-flight WiFi and Boingo WiFi at more than a million hotspots worldwide. This beats The Platinum Card® from American Express, which only offers Boingo.
As if the other airport benefits weren’t enough, the card also provides access to (Terms and Conditions Apply):
- Centurion Lounges – locations in Dallas/Worth, Las Vegas, Miami, New York LaGuardia, Seattle, San Francisco, and Houston.
- Priority Pass Select – unlimited lounge access for you and guests to hundreds of airport lounges around the world.
- Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck – includes a credit for an application every 5 years to Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
- $200 airline fee credit – choose an eligible airline and get up to $200 per year in statement credits for fees such as in-flight purchases and checked bags.
The Hotel Benefits of Being Invited
For those who love to travel, the card offers elite status at some of the finest hotels and resorts worldwide, such as:
- Starwood Preferred Guest Gold (which now matches to Marriott elite status)
- Hilton Honors Diamond
- IHG Priority Club Rewards Platinum Elite
Also available are access to the Centurion Hotel Program and AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts.
The Centurion Hotel Program offers its very own set of benefits, which include daily breakfast for 2, room upgrade at the time of booking, guaranteed 4 pm checkout, and in-room WiFi (at most properties).
Fine Hotels & Resorts also provides similar benefits to the Centurion Hotel Program, although these hotels are available to those with other Amex cards as well, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Car Rental and Auto Advantages of Being an Exclusive Member
With the card, you can also get travel benefits in the car rental and auto industry. The card provides elite status in 2 rental car programs:
- Avis President’s Club – receive a guaranteed vehicle at corporate locations, even without having a reservation. Also receive complimentary double upgrades and the lowest applicable rates on domestic reservations.
- Hertz Platinum – Car upgrades at the time of rental, plus courtesy pickup and delivery of vehicle to select private plane terminals.
Just by being a cardmember, you will also be part of the Centurion Auto Program, which gives you automatic access to premium vehicle purchasing, luxury rentals, and a variety of driving experiences, such as track and off-road!
Rentals are covered by the card’s primary rental car insurance, and premium roadside assistance is available in case you need towing up to 10 miles, jump starting, or changing a flat.
Other Luxury Benefits of the Centurion® Card from American Express
Sports fans can enjoy some cool benefits like access to exclusive sales and events including the Kentucky Derby, the Wimbledon Club Experience, and the Grand Prix de Monaco.
There are also a number of shopping and dining perks, too. A personal Centurion concierge service is available for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they can shop for you or book reservations.
If you enjoy fine dining, you’ll really love the Centurion Dining Program. A table is held for card members every day at 1,000 of the world’s top restaurants.
A Centurion Wine and Wine Buying benefit is also available for members. This provides insider access to private tastings and tours in Napa. Plus, you’ll have wine buying offers on Centurion.com.
Cruisers will enjoy discounts and perks as well. Use one of AMEX’s cruise partners, and you can receive $100-$500 in credit per stateroom, plus additional amenities.
For those interested in fitness, you will also receive benefits at SoulCycle including complimentary classes, fast track to SuperSoul status, free passes for friends who want to try it out and some retail perks.
Business Card and Owner Benefits
As a business owner, you can benefit even more from being a member of the exclusive Business Centurion® Card from American Express club.
Your card membership allows you access to the AMEX Open Forum, an online community for business owners that includes networking events.
You’ll also be able to enroll in FX International Payments, which allows you to waive transaction fees on eligible foreign currency payments.
Insurance Benefits With the Card
If the items you buy are important to you, then you’ll want to keep them protected. The Centurion® Card from American Express will help you do that with its purchase, return, and extended warranty protections.
You’ll also have a range of travel benefits including baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, and the rental car insurances mentioned above.
Card Drawbacks and Alternatives
Of course, the biggest problem with getting the card is you cannot apply for it without being invited. Unless you are spending in the $100,000+ range each year, you likely won’t be getting the invite.
Even if you do, the card definitely has a hard to swallow annual fee compared to most other travel rewards credit cards. At $2,500 annually plus a $7,500 initiation fee, you should be sure you’ll use the benefits!
Luckily, American Express provides some great alternative cards more within most people’s price ranges.
For those looking for Delta status, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express offer many similar elite status perks.
However, for the card that is closer in style to the Centurion® Card from American Express, you can check out The Platinum Card® from American Express or the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, which both provide a similar range of benefits.
Conclusion: Should You Get the Card?
If you have the option to get the card, it could very well be worth the large $2,500 annual fee and $7,500 initiation fee if you travel frequently and your time is highly valuable to you.
The wide range of luxury benefits such as lounge access, personal airport guide, personal concierge service, and elite status could add up in value when used frequently.
There are many, many more benefits that aren’t listed above as well. Because there is little posted about this card online due to its exclusivity, its hard to know the entirety of what’s available unless you are a member.
Great Card If
- You’ve been invited
- You have met the AMEX spending, income, and net worth criteria
- You plan to spend at least six-figures each year on the card
- You are a frequent traveler who likes to travel in style
Don't Get If
- You haven’t been invited
- You have been invited, but you cannot or do not plan to spend the required amount on the card each year
- You don’t think the annual fee will be worth it in terms of benefits that the card offers
U.P. Pro Tips
If you’re one of the few who have been invited to be a Centurion® Card from American Express member, then using the card frequently is definitely the way to make the card worth your while.
While there are other AMEX cards out there that will offer more in terms of earning points, this one does give you 1x point for every dollar the you spend.
These points can be worth over $0.02 each, and redeeming them will just be another chance to use your luxury travel perks!
How To Use the Centurion® Card from American Express: The Upgraded Way
Best Way To Maximize Points
Similar to The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN cards, the Centurion® Card from American Express will really shine when it comes to non-spending perks, especially along the lines of travel, luxury, and lifestyle.
However, if you want to earn a lot of American Express Membership Rewards points, here are a few tips:
Tip #1: Be sure to use the card for all purchases. You get 1x point for every dollar spent.
Tip #2: Using your card with Uber will earn you 2x points for all rides!
Tip #3: Get 2x points for travel booked through the Amex Travel Portal.
Tip #4: Utilize the Auto Purchase program to earn tons of extra points for vehicles you purchase!
Tip #5: While the card has no standard bonus categories, you can always find some good deals with the Amex Offers program. Check them out from your account at AmericanExpress.com.
Best Way To Redeem Points
Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for any number of items or services, including travel, gift cards, events and entertainment, or even donations to charity.
If you’ve earned a significant number of points through your Centurion® Card from American Express, here are a couple options for you:
Option #1: Your highest value reward option is to transfer points to airline travel partners. Most come with a 1:1 ratio. A typical international business or first class flight costs between 50,000 to 150,000 points one-way.
Points redeemed in this way can usually provide a value of at least $0.02 per point.
Option #2: You can use your points to book travel through the American Express Travel Portal. Points are typically worth $0.01 each for flights, but you also get a 30% point redemption feature with the card.
For example, if you use 100,000 points to get $1,000 in flights, you will get 30,000 points back as a rebate, netting only 70,000 points in total. This equates to a little over $0.014 per point.
Option #3: Use your points to pay for Uber rides directly through the app. When you select your payment info, you will have the option to pay with points.
AMEX airline frequent flyer transfer partners include:
Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France / KLM Flying Blue, All Nippon Airways (ANA), Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Asia Miles, British Airways Executive Club, Club Premiere Aero Mexico, MilleMiglia Club Alitalia, Hawaiian Airlines, Emirates Skywards, Iberia Plus, Singapore KrisFlyer, Delta SkyMiles, JetBlue TrueBlue, Virgin America Elevate, Etihad Guest
AMEX hotel transfer partners include:
Is the Centurion® Card from American Express really worth the annual fee? You’ve read about all the features of the card in the above review, so now it’s time to put some numbers to them.
This card does have a steep annual fee of $2,500, as well as a one-time joining fee of $7,500. You will want to carefully weigh out the rewards in order to determine if the benefits offered will really be worth $10,000 in the first year.
If you are interested in crunching some numbers, read on.
Putting an Actual Value on the Centurion
Unlike many of the other AMEX cards, the actual “math” may work out a bit differently on the card, as most of the rewards are obtained in non-spending categories.
Let’s take a glance at how you can earn value, both by spending money to earn points and using the card’s many benefits.
First, you’ll earn 1x points for all purchases with the card, so it’s easy enough to determine how much you need to spend in order to “earn” back your $2,500 annual fee.
However, for the first year you also have the $7,500 one-time joining fee to contend with.
We’ll assume the average card member spends between $350,000 and $500,000 per year on this card.
If you factor in that points can be worth $0.02 each, that level of spending would equate to between $7,000 and $10,000 in cash value for points.
|Spending with the Card||Value per Point||Total Rewards|
*The value of points based on the amount of potential spending by a holder of the Centurion® Card from American Express
Before you even consider non-spending bonus rewards, you will make up the cost of the card at the higher spending range!
Valuing the Benefits of the Card
Now, let’s add up what some of the other non-spending rewards would cost you out-of-pocket when using the Centurion® Card from American Express.
There are too many benefits to consider valuing all of them, but the following list is a good variety of the available benefits and an approximate value of the benefit in dollars.
For details on how some of these benefit values were estimated, check out The Platinum Card® from American Express review.
|Benefit||Approximate Annual Value|
|Starwood Preferred Gold Membership||$545|
|Hilton Honors Diamond Status||$2,320|
|Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion Status||$3,650|
|Gogo In-Flight Wi-Fi Access||$720|
|Boingo Wi-Fi Access||$468|
|Centurion Airport Lounge||$50/day|
|Priority Pass Select||$399|
|Global Entry/TSA PreCheck||$100/$85|
|Airline Fee Credit||$200|
|Cruise Stateroom Credit||$100-$500 per room|
|Total Value (Low End)||$16,852|
|Total Value (High End)||$20,552|
Just the minimum non-spending benefits listed here come to nearly $10,000 per year…and that doesn’t include everything!
When including the points benefits, you can add an additional $7,000-$10,000 to the total value!
Card Math Conclusion
By our calculations, the monetary value of the benefits on the Centurion® Card from American Express is anywhere from $16,000 to $20,000. Of course, how you actually end up using them is where the value comes in.
Utilize them as much as you can in a year to get as much value from being a member as possible!
While the price of membership may seem high, the rewards and the benefits – along with the exclusivity – are more than worth it. In fact, it’s something you just can’t put a price on.
The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know
Becoming a card member can be a big decision, but if you do decide to take the next step, it can put you into the realm of a truly elite status. That’s because this card is the symbol of someone who’s made it to the top.
For starters, unless you’ve been invited to join and you are accepted, American Express keeps many of this card’s advantages a tightly guarded secret.
Overall, though, while you’ll earn 1x point for each dollar you spend, the real perks come from the non-spending benefits.
Other Unique Benefits
Whether you’re across the state or on the other side of the globe, the hotel elite status that you can enjoy as a card member are hard to beat. These include:
- Hilton Honors Diamond – Cardholders get space-available room upgrades, 48-hour room guarantees, free premium internet, and a 50% bonus on all Hilton Honors base points.
- Starwood Preferred Guest Gold – With this benefit, you can get room upgrades at check-in, as well as guaranteed 4 p.m. check-out.
- IHG Priority Club Rewards Platinum Elite – Complimentary room upgrades, priority check-in, and a 50% bonus on base points come with this perk.
Cardmembers are also automatically included in the Centurion Hotel Program. This benefit lets you stay at properties across 5 luxury brands and enjoy perks that include daily breakfast for 2, noon check-in, and other special amenities.
Travel in Style and Relax
Whether you travel for business or personal reasons, how you get there can make a difference. As an owner of the card, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the advantages of being an elite traveler, such as:
- Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion – As an automatic member of Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion, you get complimentary upgrades, priority waitlisting, and a bonus of 4 miles per dollar spent.
- Centurion International Arrival Services – You’ll also be greeted by a personal guide who will expedite you through customs and immigration when you travel internationally in first or business class.
- Centurion Airport Lounge Access – Get access to the Centurion Lounges, with locations at select airports around the country. You also get the Priority Pass Select, which gives you and a guest access to hundreds of airport lounges around the world.
- 30% airline bonus – Plus, you’ll receive 30% of your membership rewards back as a statement credit when you redeem points for the cost of (or any portion of) a flight.
- $200 airline fee credit and international airline program – Choose an eligible airline and get up to $200 per year in statement credits; plus, you’ll also save on a ticket for a companion when you buy qualifying international tickets.
As a cardmember, you’ll also be covered for lost, damaged, or stolen baggage via the baggage insurance. This is good for a combined maximum of $3,000 for carry-on and checked bags.
The perks don’t stop with air travel. If you’re ready to relax and take to the water, booking 5+ nights on select cruise lines could earn you $100-$500 in credit per stateroom, plus additional amenities.
Exclusive Car Rental and Insurance Benefits
When you’re on the ground, you’ll also travel in style with additional benefits. These include:
- Avis President’s Club – As a part of the Avis President’s Club, card holders will have a guaranteed car at corporate locations, even without a reservation. This also includes complimentary double upgrades and the lowest applicable rates on domestic reservations.
- Hertz Platinum – Get vehicle upgrades, along with courtesy pickup and delivery of your rental car to select private plane terminals. You’ll also get complimentary ski racks and child seats.
- Primary car insurance – Card holders get peace of mind with coverage if your rental car is lost or stolen, provided that it’s paid for with your card and you’ve declined the collision damage waiver.
- Premium roadside assistance – Need a tow or a jump start? No problem with the premium roadside assistance that’s also included for cardholders.
Want even more exciting benefits on 4 wheels? The Centurion Auto Program provides cardmembers access to premium vehicle purchasing, luxury rentals, and even a wide variety of different driving experiences, like track and off-road adventures.
Enjoying Your Lifestyle – Enjoying Your Life
Regardless of your preferred mode of fun, it’s likely you can find a way to do it in style. Like to wine and dine? Attend sports or theater events? How about shopping? It’s all included!
For the wine lover in you, this card can be your ticket to paradise, like:
- Centurion Wine – Enjoy inside access to tastings and private tours in Napa, as well as preferred purchasing and collecting opportunities.
- Wine purchasing – Get wine purchase offers on Centurion.com, as well as complimentary storage through select vendors.
- Wine collecting – Enjoy a complimentary consultation with a wine collecting specialist, as well as a complimentary annual appraisal of up to 100 unique wines.
- Tours – AMEX Centurion members will also enjoy 3 exclusive Napa Experience packages that may be customized, including private tour options.
- Tours of Tuscany – Also enjoy 3 exclusive Tuscany tours, including the historic village of Montalcino.
Plus, as a cardmember, you’re also automatically in the Centurion Dining Program – where a table is set for members every day at 1,000 of the world’s top restaurants. Which one is waiting for you?
The card can also be your ticket to exclusive shows and events:
- You’ll have access to events like the Kentucky Derby, the Wimbledon Club Experience, and the Grand Prix de Monaco.
- Get invitation-only access to music, sports, and fashion events that offer VIP experiences.
Shop With Confidence and Protect Your Purchases
Cardmembers can also enjoy offers from some of the world’s most exclusive brands, along with the opportunity to meet one-of-a-kind designers and turn your purchases into an experience.
You’ll have access to the Centurion Shopping Program, as well as InCircle Rewards. Plus, you can protect your purchases with:
- Purchase protection – Protect your important purchases for up to 90 days when you buy an eligible item with your card if its is lost, stolen, or damaged.
- Return protection – If you try to return an item to its original place of purchase and the retailer refuses, you may be able to get a refund from AMEX of up to $1,000.
- Extended warranty – You may also extend the original manufacturer’s warranty for up to 3 additional years when you purchase an eligible item with your AMEX Black Card.
If you need or want some extra assistance, you can enjoy the benefits of having a personal shopper. NET-A-PORTER Shopping Services are also a part of your cardmember experience, along with free express and premium shipping.
And, if you just aren’t sure where to go or what to do, you can always refer to The List. The List is the Centurion cardmember’s exclusively curated list of where to go and what to do in some of the world’s top cities.
Business Owner Benefits
As a business owner, you’re likely looking for opportunities to grow and expand your company, and having the card can help you to do just that.
Business owners will have access to:
- AMEX OPEN Forum – Access to the AMEX OPEN Forum means that you’re included in an online community for business owners that includes networking opportunities.
- FX International Payments – Cardmembers are also eligible to enroll in FX International Payments. This means you can enjoy waived transaction fees on eligible foreign currency payments.
Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Man in Suit Adjusting Watch: CHAjAMP/Shutterstock
Man on Phone With Credit Card: d8nn/Shutterstock
Trending Upward Graph: yavuzunlu/Shutterstock
Woman Relaxing in Pool: Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock
If you've been invited to become a cardmember, the one-time fee along with the annual membership fee for the card can be a bit steep.
However, if you are a frequent traveler who likes to go first class, then this card could be well worth it.
This isn't necessarily due to bonus points that you can accumulate, but rather from the non-spending advantages you attain simply from being a card member. These include (Terms and Conditions Apply for all benefits):
- Hotel elite status
- Centurion Hotel Program
- Airline status/upgrades
- Lounge access
- Cruise benefits
Plus, you'll be covered whether your travel is in the air or on the ground, thanks to:
- Baggage insurance
- Primary car insurance
- Premium roadside assistance
There are other top-notch advantages, too, such as:
- Centurion Auto Program
- Dining and wine perks
- Access to invitation-only events
- Centurion Shopping Program
- Purchase & return protection
Business owners will also have access to opportunities that can grow their company via AMEX Open Forum. Plus, with FX International Payments, you can enjoy waived transaction fees on eligible foreign currency payments.
This card's annual fee is $2,500. There is also a one-time joining fee of $7,500 for U.S. residents. Fees may differ by country.
Cardmembers must first receive an invitation from American Express in order to apply, and must meet certain criteria to remain eligible for card membership.
Points on the card will never expire or go away, unless you cancel this card and all of your other American Express rewards cards.
As long as you keep at least one of your AMEX rewards cards open, you will keep all of your points, too.
According to an older FlyerTalk post, there were over 26,000 cardholders back in 2007. This number has likely increased by 2016.
The card is available by invite only, so if you have the right financial profile for American Express to invite you, you will be able to get the card.
Anecdotally, those with annual spending over the $350,000 range are more likely to be eligible for an invite.
If you're not eligible for an invite, you can use The Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers many similar benefits.