How To Get the Amex Centurion Card (Black Card) [2021]

Centurion LGA Lounge Entrance

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We’ve all heard of the ultra-exclusive “black card” before. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Amex’s black card is reserved for the ultra-wealthy and big-spending hotshots.

Officially known as the Centurion® Card from American Express, it’s used often by big-name celebrities and business owners.

You’ve probably also heard that this card is ridiculously expensive to have — but if you just so happen to be a massive spender and crave exclusivity and customer service that stops at almost nothing, then it might work for you.

But even then, how do you even get the Centurion card? It turns out that if you meet a few requirements (albeit hugely ambitious requirements), you can actually put your name in the hat to get invited to the Centurion card club.

In this guide, we’ll show you just how you can do that. Before that, though let’s talk about the ins and outs of this magnificently expensive card.

Benefits of the Centurion Card

Centurion® Card from American Express
Centurion® Card from American Express. Image Credit: American Express

Centurion Concierge

One of the most famous benefits that the Centurion card offers is the Centurion concierge, which is essentially a personal concierge you can leverage for numerous tasks.

With the Centurion concierge, you’ll have a dedicated point of contact assigned to you that is available 24/7, and the tasks that your concierge can assist with aren’t limited to travel-related queries. From impossible dinner reservations and help to find sold-out Christmas gifts to emergency travel plans and front-row seats at the hottest live events, your Centurion concierge is available to help with your requests.

Bottom Line: Essentially, the biggest value that Centurion card members consistently attest to is access to a personal Centurion concierge that will help plan and arrange for virtually any travel and lifestyle request you might have. These concierges will help save time and optimize your experiences. 

Airline Elite Status

When you hold the Centurion card, one of the biggest benefits you will enjoy is complimentary Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status, which alone is worth around $3,000 per year!

With Platinum status, you will get unlimited complimentary upgrades, a series of waived fees (including baggage charges and same-day fees), the higher-earning categories when booking paid flights, and access to Choice Benefits (including regional upgrades, extra SkyMiles, and more).

Hotel Elite Status

One of the most impressive benefits of the Centurion card is the list of hotel chains that you get complimentary elite status with:

Additionally, there are a couple of extra elite benefit programs that you have access to:

Centurion Hotel ProgramAmex Fine Hotels & Resorts
Eligible PropertiesAman, Belmond, Mandarin Oriental, Oetker Collection, Peninsula Hotels, Rosewood, St. Regis, and Waldorf Astoria1,000+ hotels and resorts worldwide
Room UpgradeAt the time of booking, when availableUpon check-in, when available
Breakfast BenefitDaily breakfast for 2 people
Late CheckoutGuaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout
Early Check-InNoon, when available
In-Room Wi-Fi (at Most Properties)Complimentary
Property AmenityA minimum of $100 in value
Additional Property Amenity$100 or $200 in food and beverage or spa credit (paid stays of 2 nights or more only)

Car Rental Benefits

The very first car rental benefit we’ll talk about is access to primary car rental insurance if your car is lost or stolen when you decline the collision damage waiver.

You’ll also get 24/7 premium roadside assistance with up to 4 complimentary services per year.

One other (very) handy benefit you get is access to the Centurion Auto Program, which most people know as offering deals and discounts when buying premium cars, as well as preferred pricing luxury rentals, and driving experiences like on-track events and off-road excursions.

And lastly, with this card, you’ll get Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle and Avis President’s Club elite status.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle affords you the following special benefits:

  • Up to 20% off standard cars
  • A guaranteed 1-car class upgrade, up to a maximum of a full-size car
  • A free 4-hour grace period when you return the vehicle before an extra day is charged
  • No fees on one-way domestic rentals within the country
  • Guaranteed car availability, as well as free child seats and ski racks (subject to availability)

On the other hand, Avis President’s Club is an invitation-only elite status that gets you the following benefits:

  • Guaranteed single upgrade for 3-day rentals between Thursday 12 p.m. to Monday 12 p.m. for a mid-sized car
  • Double upgrade on weekends, subject to availability (excluding vans, luxury and prestige cars, as well as select series and rentals over 14 days)
  • Free additional driver
  • Highest priority on the waitlist
  • Guaranteed car availability for rentals booked at least 48 hours in advance (car groups A to E only)

Cruise Credits

Another handy benefit of the Centurion card is the if you book your cruises via Amex Travel and have a booking of 5 nights or more, you will receive $100 to $500 in credits per stateroom, as well as 1 extra Membership Rewards point per $1 spent on these bookings.

Here are the eligible cruise partners:

Travel and Lifestyle Perks

American Express Saks Fifth Avenue
Centurion cardmembers can get up to $250 each quarter in statement credits for Saks Fifth Avenue. Image Credit: American Express

The Centurion card is known for its benefits. And although the benefits above are fantastic, we aren’t finished yet! Here are some of the other terrific perks you will enjoy, noting that some of these benefits require enrollment:

This isn’t a full list by any means — but you get the point. There are a lot of perks that come with this card.

Bonus Categories

The Centurion card comes with relatively lackluster bonus categories — people who hold this card aren’t exactly looking to optimize for rewards. Since the benefits are the main driver, the Centurion card follows this earning structure:

  • Earn 1x Amex Membership Rewards points per $1 spent
  • Earn an extra 0.5x Amex Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on purchases of more than $5,000 (up to 1 million extra points per year)

Hot Tip: Learn about the best ways to earn and redeem Membership Rewards points for maximum value in our helpful guides!

Initiation and Annual Fees

Currently, there are 3 types of fees associated with the Centurion card. And as you can imagine, they are hefty:

  • An initiation fee of $10,000
  • An annual fee of $5,000 for the primary cardholder
  • An annual fee of $5,000 for each additional cardholder (maximum of 2 additional cardholders)

Is the Centurion Card Worth It?

So after all is said and done, the big question is: Is the Centurion card worth it?

For the vast majority of us, the answer is no. Most of the allure of this card comes from the “wow” factor of holding this status symbol.

But unless you’re going to be frequently using your concierge or intend on using lavish memberships like at PS LAX and Equinox, you’re probably better off just sticking to a card that gets you 80% of the way there, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Amex Business Platinum card.

Hot Tip: See our detailed comparison of the Amex Platinum card vs. Centurion card to see which travel rewards card you should be considering.

How To Get the Centurion Card

Although there isn’t a published, sure-fire way to get invited to the Centurion card club, there are certain “soft” requirements you can meet to maximize your chances of getting approved. Here are the basic tips you can follow:

Be an Existing Amex Cardholder in Good Standing

One of the most intuitive requirements to get the Centurion card is to be an existing Amex cardholder in good standing. What does this mean?

Well, if you’ve been blacklisted by Amex due to delinquencies and bankruptcies, you should probably kiss your Centurion card dreams goodbye.

In general, the absolute minimum history you must have with Amex is 1 year, so even if you’re a big spender on Chase or Capital One credit cards, you’ll need to “get your foot in the door” with a card like Amex Platinum card or Amex Business Platinum card.

Make at Least $250,000 in Purchases on Your Amex Cards

Although Amex doesn’t publish a spending threshold to get invited, a solid rule of thumb is that you need to make at least $250,000 in annual purchases across all of your Amex cards.

So for example, if you spend $150,000 on your Amex Platinum card and $200,000 on your American Express® Gold Card per year, your aggregate spending across these 2 cards would be around $350,000.

Practically speaking, spending $250,000 per year doesn’t guarantee admission — in fact, the range is rumored to be $250,000 to $500,000 in annual purchases. And the spending requirements will also vary depending on the card product you’re looking for.

For example, the Centurion card is rumored to require around $250,000 to $350,000 in annual spending, while the Business Centurion® Card from American Express is said to require around $400,000 to $500,000 in annual spending.

Request an Invite

Centurion interest form
Image Credit: American Express

Even if you meet the spending and relationship requirement, you may not get proactively invited to the exclusive Centurion card club.

Luckily, you can now request an invite! Follow these steps to request an invite:

  1. Visit the Centurion card portal
  2. At the bottom of the form, click the button that says Interested in Centurion® Membership? Click Here
  3. You’ll be redirected to a short form; enter your name, Amex card number, and the accompanying 4-digit security code on that Amex card
  4. Click Submit
  5. Hope for the best!

Final Thoughts

In this guide, we outlined all of the perks and benefits associated with the Centurion card. We also walked through the fees associated with this card, as well as how you can position yourself to get invited to this card.

If you want an ultra-premium card that confers some of the world’s best travel and lifestyle benefits at all costs, the Centurion card could be a good fit for you.

Even though the card’s fees are hefty, there are tons of benefits and perks that you can take advantage of to make it a lifelong keeper!

The information regarding the Centurion® Card from American Express, Business Centurion® Card from American Express, and Corporate Centurion® Card from American Express was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided by the issuer. 

Frequently asked questions

How do you get a black American Express card?

There isn’t a specific formula to get the black Centurion card, but the best way to increase your chances is to put lots of spending on your existing Amex cards. The general rule of thumb is anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000 in annual spending.

Who qualifies for Amex's black card?

High-spending Amex cardholders are the best candidates for the Centurion card. However, there’s a secret formula — and just because you make a lot of purchases on your Amex card doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll qualify for a Centurion card!

How many people have Amex's black card?

In total, there are estimated to be less than 20,000 people who hold the Centurion card.

How much do you have to make to get Amex's black card?

There aren’t any income requirements per se, but you most likely need to be a high spender on your Amex cards. If you’re in the ballpark of $250,000 to $500,000 in annual spending across all your open Amex cards, you may qualify for the Centurion card.

What is the rarest American Express card?

The rarest Amex cards are the Centurion card, the Amex Business Centurion card, and the Corporate Centurion® Card from American Express.

What is the hardest credit card to get?

Some of the hardest credit cards to get are the Centurion card, the Amex Business Centurion card, and the Amex Corporate Centurion card. This is because these cards require an invitation from Amex and it has a secret formula for these invitations!

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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