Archive | Centurion Card

Centurion adds Centurion Lounges at Various Airports

The Centurion team has been had at work to add new/supplemental benefits to replace, the once (premium benefits of the card), namely automatic airline status.

As a result in starting in 2014, and moving into 2015, American Express has begun to open “Centurion Lounges” as various Airport locations throughout the US.

Centurion Lounges Existing & Planned:


  • Las Vegas


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AMEX Wins Cancellation of BLACKCARD Trademark Registration

AMEX Wins Cancellation of BLACKCARD Trademark Registration

American Express (“Amex”), the issuer of the ultra-exclusive “Centurion Card” credit card (which is black in color and thus better known among the public as the “Black Card” — pictured above), won a victory in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Black Card, LLC (“BC”), a company that obtained a trademark registration for the mark BLACKCARD (for credit and debit card services). The Court granted summary judgment in favor of Amex on its claim that BC’s trademark registration for BLACKCARD should be canceled on the grounds that it is merely descriptive and BC had not demonstrated acquired distinctiveness. See American Express Marketing and Development Corp, et al. v. Black Card, LLC, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133151 (S.D.N.Y. November 17, 2011)

In 1998, Amex, following its long history of color-based credit cards reflecting a hierarchy of credit card prestige (i.e., green, gold, platinum), developed a black colored credit card which it called the Centurion Card and which was available by invitation only. While Amex never formally refers to the Centurion Card as the “Black Card,” Amex executives recognized that the public referred to its Centurion Card as the “Black Card” and thus often informally referred to the card as Amex’s “black card.” While Amex applied to register BLACK FROM AMERICAN EXPRESS, it never filed a Statement of Use and the application went abandoned.

(The other “Black Card”)

In 2008, BC began issuing its own card (in connection with Barclays Bank Delaware and Visa) which was black in color and which had the words “BLACK CARD” emblazoned theron (pictured above). BC’s CEO Scott Blum, who founded Internet retailer and who was a Centurion cardholder since Amex first introduced the card, began developing his black-colored premium credit card back in 2005 when he was CEO of Internet company called Yub, Inc. Blum, apparently frustrated with Amex’s Centurion services, sought to build a “better Black Card.” Yub applied for the BLACKCARD on September 20, 2005. The mark was published for opposition in May 2006 and, when no oppositions were filed, the PTO issued a Notice of Allowance in 2006. Yub later assigned all of its rights to the as-yet-unregistered mark to BC. [Query: Was this assignment of an intent-to-use application even valid under 15 U.S.C. § 1060? – see actual recorded assignment]

BC (and its predecessor) filed thirteen applications total between 2005 and 2009 for various BLACK CARD marks. Some were refused on the grounds that the mark was merely descriptive; in others, Examining Attorneys requested information from BC about whether consumers would associate the mark with a different provider of credit card services. Nonetheless, the PTO did issue the aforementioned trademark registration on April 29, 2009. However, for reasons not entirely clear, even though BC’s attorney had filed a preliminary amendment which inserted a disclaimer of the term BLACK apart from the mark as shown, the registration certificate did not reflect the disclaimer when it issued.

On May 13, 2009, Amex filed a petition to cancel with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. See American Express Marketing & Development Corp. et al v. Black Card, LLC, Cancellation No. 92050968 (TTAB). On February 16, 2010, BC filed an action in Wyoming that sought a declaratory judgment regarding Amex’s rights to “Black Card” as well as other trademark and unfair competition claims. On February 26, 2010, Amex filed the instant action in New York District Court alleging its own trademark and unfair competition claims as well as seeking to cancel BC’s registration under §2(e) of the Lanham Act. The TTAB’s proceeding was suspended on May 7, 2010, pending the outcome of the lawsuits. Moreover, Amex was able to get BC’s Wyoming complaint dismissed as an anticipatory filing. BC later refiled its counterclaims in the New York action. The parties later stipulated to have Amex’s claims for monetary damages and BC’s federal and state trademark infringement and unfair competition claims dismissed with prejudice. Upon close of discovery, the parties filed cross motions for summary judgment, with Amex moving for partial summary judgment on its §2(e) cancellation claim.

The court’s decision goes into a lengthy (but informative) discussion of its power to determine the right to registration of a mark, the standard for refusing registration of marks which are “merely descriptive” when used on or in connection with the goods/services of the applicant, the spectrum of distinctiveness with respect to protection of a mark (i.e., generic, descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary, and fanciful), and the rebuttable presumption which arises a mark that is registered by the PTO.

Regarding the rebuttable presumption, the court stated:

When the PTO issues a certificate of registration for a mark, a rebuttable presumption arises that the mark is protectable. Papercutter, 900 F.2d at 562-63. “Registration by the PTO without proof of secondary meaning creates the presumption that the mark is more than merely descriptive, and, thus, that the mark is inherently distinctive.” Lane Capital, 192 F.3d at 345. The fact of registration, however, “shall not preclude another person from proving any legal or equitable defense or defect . . . which might have been asserted if such mark had not been registered.” 15 U.S.C. § 1115(a). The party challenging the registration “bears the burden to rebut the presumption of [the] mark’s protectability by a preponderance of the evidence.” Lane Capital, 192 F.3d at 345. “The presumption may be rebutted by a showing that the mark is descriptive, not suggestive.” Papercutter, 900 F.2d at 563.

The presumption, in short, is a “procedural advantage” to the registrant and nothing else. Lane Capital, 192 F.3d at 345. It is not “itself evidence of how the public actually views the mark.” Id. “The presumption of validity that federal registration confers evaporates as soon as evidence of invalidity is presented. Its only function is to incite such evidence, and when the function has been performed the presumption drops out of the case.” Id. (citation omitted).

So while the court gave BC’s BLACKCARD registration its appropriate rebuttable presumption of protectability by virtue of its 2009 PTO registration, the court found that Amex had demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that the mark is descriptive was descriptive, and thus not protectable absent secondary meaning. The court also found that “No reasonable factfinder could find that a prospective consumer would consider the mark to be suggestive rather than descriptive.” The court first noted that BC’s mark BLACKCARD appears on a black-colored credit card. “As with other credit cards, it enables its holders to make purchases on credit. The black color of the card is an essential feature or characteristic of the card. BC’s advertising emphasizes the color, underscoring this point.” The court further noted that the word BLACK is descriptive in a second sense within the credit card industry:

Within the credit card industry, the word “black” is descriptive in a second sense as well. Largely through the efforts of Amex, the word “black”, when used in connection with credit cards is understood to describe access to premium credit card services. Indeed, this was the very reason that Blum chose the mark “BLACKCARD” for his credit card. The term “BLACKCARD” immediately calls to mind an important aspect or characteristic of the product and describes the product’s principal features and qualities. It is, in essence, communicating the grade of credit card offered by BC. The black-colored credit card marketed by BC is central enough to the overall product, however defined, to render “BLACKCARD” a descriptive mark.

Finally, following its determination that BC’s mark was descriptive, the court further found that BC had offerred no evidence of secondary meaning accruing to the mark BLACKCARD in order to support an argument of acquired distinctiveness.

BC attempted to argue that Amex lacked standing to seek to cancel BC’s mark, but the court rejected such arguments finding that Amex had “a significant, concrete, and real interest in proceedings to challenge the registration” based on its own use of the term “black card” in communications to prospective customers about the Centurion card (and noting that BC sued Amex for infringement).

BC also attempted to argue that its mark is not descriptive, but instead is suggestive of high-end financial services (citing cases where the color RED was held to be a protectable mark in connection with perfume and scotch whiskey). However, with respect to the Red Label mark on scotch whiskey, the mark did not serve as a grade designation; and with respect to RED on perfume, such reference suggested romance and passion to the prospective purchasers. In the instance case, the court found that BLACKCARD “merely describes the color of the card and the category of credit card services into which BC’s card falls.”

As such, the court granted ary judgment for Amex on its cancellation claim under § 2(e) of the Lanham Act.

Republished from:

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American Express raising Centurion Requirement To 500k?

American Express Centurion CardSomeone recently updated Wikipedia with info that as of August 1, 2009, American Express will require a minimum of 250,000 500,000 USD within a 12 month period to qualify for the Centurion Card; I’ve called AMEX to verify this in the past, and they have said it is not the case, although maybe they just are not divulging a change? It definitely makes sense, 250k is not want it used to be.

Anyone have more detail on this? Guess we will find out this week on 8/1. Still $250,000, for now.

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Royal Pains TV Pilot – Black Cards in the Hamptons

I was out in the Hamptons this past weekend and saw the van for Royal Pains out and about. If you haven’t seen it already USA has a new series that starts this Thursday at 10PM EST titled Royal Pains. Royal Pains is about a doctor “Hank Lawson” (played by Marc Feuerstein) who was fired from his position and against his judgment becomes a “concierge doctor” for the rich.

In the show pilot, the writers wasted no time on black card references, the son of the heir to family that invented the blender (Tucker Bryant) wrecks his Dad’s Ferrari and is injured. After some emergency care, Tucker needs transport to a hospital, “[Tucker Bryant] The Hamptons heritage no way man, Dad calls it the local cemetery. [Hank Lawson] What would your Dad suggest we do? [Tucker Bryant] Go into my wallet and get the little black card that says American Express on it.” Tucker is then taken by helicopter to Mount Sinai in Manhattan. You can watch the full pilot for Royal Pains on Hulu

Royal Pains Emergency Tucker Bryant Black Card

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American Express Black Card (Centurion Card) Unboxing Video

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American Express Centurion Card Song

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Centurion Card Video from In Debt We Trust – Documentary

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Centurion Card Requirements

American Express Black Card / Centurion Card Requirements


Many rumors and poor facts exist on Centurion Card Requirements, but it is really this:

  • Have a good credit score and history (necessary for Platinum Card Also)
  • Have been an existing American Express Platinum cardholder for a minimum of 1 year
  • Spend $250,000 USD on American Express Personal Cards within a rolling 12-month period


  • The Centurion Card as well as the Platinum Card are no longer “invitation only
  • The Centurion Card has a credit limit based on personal finance profile (assets, spending habits, etc)
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    Black Card History

    The Black Card started out as an urban legend in the early 1980s circa 1984. It was alleged by that American Express handed out a high end ID with unusual privileges. This rumor is corroborated by a Wall Street Journal article written in 1988, despite the fact that American Express continually declined the rumor as true.

    From WSJ: Suppose, for example, on a 3-o’clock-in-the-morning whim, you decided to book a round-the-world trip; American Express would accommodate you with a travel service staffed 24 hours a day. In the market for a red 1965 Ferrari? If you were a black-card holder, American Express would kick tires in the world’s fanciest used-car lots. If you remembered in Singapore that you had left your favorite suit in a Hong Kong penthouse, the company would arrange to fetch it. (full 1988 WSJ Black Card Article Here)

    On October 14, 1999, publicly launched the American Express Centurion Card aka The Black Card, see original press release here. Doug Smith, director of American Express Europe said:”There had been rumors going around that we had this ultra-exclusive black card for elite customers… It wasn’t true, but we decided to capitalize on the idea anyway. So far we’ve had a customer buy a Bentley and another charter a jet.”

    In 2004 in Europe and 2006 in the US the Centurion Card was switched over to Titanium from Plastic.

    In 2006 American Express also raised the eligibility requirement from 150,000 annual spend to 250,000 annual spend.

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    Life Liberty and Pursuit of the Black Card

    Let’s face it, people want it; People have over the years gone to great lengths in attempt to try obtain the card and without success. Because the rules are pretty strict, spend the money (250k) and pay in 12 months ($20,833.33 a month), have good credit and you can get the card, otherwise? Denied.

    There have been stories of people:

    • Complaining to the FDIC (One Investment Banker in CT)
    • Phone calls, letters, and pleas to American Express from Cardmembers that they promise they will “never use it”
    • Setup of a website to build support
    • Pooling family members and friends together in attempts to reach the spending requirements

    There are some that will shrug it off and say $2500 a year, that’s crazy, the fees are too high, I’ll stick with Platinum. An AMEX spokesperson once said, “The card is absolutely not for everyone,” she added “It’s open to a select group for that reason. If you don’t find value in the benefits and services, then it’s probably not right for you.”

    That means, “If you have to ask…”

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    Wall Streets’ Trickle Down To Black Card Spenders

    Peter Robison wrote recently in a Bloomberg article details of how the falling out of Wall Street has resulted in deteriorated local business in New York City.

    Buddha Bar, in New York’s Meatpacking district 20M in revenue in 2007, and now anticipates $12M. Rosa a waitress at Buddha Bar, details the spending decrease.

    It wasn’t uncommon to see someone with a black American Express Co. card ringing up a $30,000 tab, said Tim Gaglio, who helped start the restaurant and bar in 2006.
    The black “Centurion” card, billed as “the world’s rarest,” is available by invitation only, according to the company’s Web site.
    At the peak, Rosa, 30, said she made $85,000 a year working three days a week.
    “You wouldn’t see an empty chair here,” she said, surveying the half-filled lounge last week. As tips fell, Rosa stopped taking frequent trips to Miami, where she ate at the Prime 112 steakhouse on Ocean Drive, and to Puerto Rico, where she stayed at the Palmas del Mar resort.

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    AMEX UK Titanium Pins and Chips

    TimesOnline UK reports on a batch of American Express cards including Centurion (Black Card), as well as Platinum cards that had batch of faulty cards produced in February in the UK (The Centurion Card in the UK runs a £1,800, maybe this will someday become a bargain if the pound continues to decline against the dollar (now 1.4 = 1)). TimesOnline UK reports come from at least one Centurion member Olver Watson:

    Who confesses to being “rather excited” when his card arrived in a small velvet pouch wrapped in several layers of black packaging, says: “I immediately set out to do what most credit card users do: I changed my PIN to a combination that I could remember. Or at least I tried to. I found that not only did the titanium card refuse to allow me to do so, but I could no longer use the card.”

    Although, this must be specific in the UK, I can’t remember many times that I’ve ever used a credit card to get cash, at least, unless in Las Vegas. One nice perk of the Centurion is that they sign you up to withdraw cash direct from your bank account via ATM, bypassing those ever so limiting daily limits many banks place on ATM withdrawls. We’ve also heard of users nervous to put their cards in the old-style ATM machines that suck in the card, and heard in some cases of credit card readers of this type getting jammed by the Black Card. Titanium isn’t perfect, at least not in the world designed for plastic.

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    Centurion Card Canada Benefits

      1. Takes personal service to new heights, strives to provide you with access like you’ve never experienced before and unparalleled privileges in abundance.
      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: Visit 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. Centurion membership also entitles you to access American Airlines Admirals Clubs, Continental Airlines Presidents Club, Delta Crown Room Club, Northwest Airlines, 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.

    Posted in Centurion Card, Centurion Card Canada1 Comment

    Chinese Artst Makes Sculptures Using Black Card

    Mao Zedong, standing on a box of Dom Perignon, with the American Express Black Card/Centurion Card in his hand. As a strong status symbol in popular culture it is not surprising that the Black Card is emerging in Art work.


    “Getting Rich is Glorious”
    Deng Xiaoping

    About the Artist:  R. Lloyd Ming
    R. Lloyd Ming uses photography, video art, installation and sculpture to ask hard questions about society. He is inspired by artists who use found or readymade objects to create their work and Ming typically also works in this way. Notable influences are Marcel Duchamp, Subodh Gupta, Ai Weiwei, Fred Wilson, Haim Steinbeck, Joseph Cornell, Louise Nevelson and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Ming is particularly influenced by the work of American artist Robert Rauschenberg. Throughout his career Rauschenberg used objects he found on the street to make sculptures he called combines.

    Posted in Centurion Card, General4 Comments

    The Visa Black Card vs American Express Centurion Card (in depth comparison/review)

    History of the Black Cards, and the Visa Black Card

    Visa Black Card

    On October 2, 2007, ThinkTank Holdings LLC (founded by Scott Blum, located in Jackson, Wyoming.) announced a new Patent Pending (filed 2007) Credit Card Venture titled “Next Card“. The concept for “Next Card” was simply for a high-end/luxury credit card made from a special carbon/carbon based material. Concept from inception was that this card would be available to corporations and individuals for an annual fee of $495, it was also anticipated that the card would launch with typical luxury card services such as 24-hour concierge, points and rewards program, as well as other benefits.

    After Black Cards and the Black Card Brand (that is, American Express)

    Chasing the American Express Black Card brand was no doubt a goal of Scott Blum with this concept. The American Express Centurion Card started out as an urban myth (see history) that American Express ultimately decided to capitalize on October 14, 1999. “There had been rumors going around that we had this ultra-exclusive black card for elite customers,” says Doug Smith, director of American Express Europe. “It wasn’t true, but we decided to capitalize on the idea anyway. So far we’ve had a customer buy a Bentley and another charter a jet.”

    Visa after having launched it’s “signature” series of cards in 1999, launched a higher tier of “signature preferred” cards in May of 2007 targeted at customers who spend $50,000 a year or more on their cards (Visa Signature average spend is approximately $27,600 a year). Merchants actually pay 14% more per transaction vs a regular Visa or Signature card.

    The whole purpose of this card is to take share from American Express,” said James McCarthy, Visa senior vice president for consumer-credit products. They may be a ways away, according to a 2007 survey in Europe, Centurion cardholders spend 11.5 times more (see demographics) than the typical American Express card member, and on average have income in excess of 1M a year.

    Combine urban myth and Black Card allure with Visa salivating over American Express and Centurion Card premiums and what do you get? The Visa Black Card.

    Visa Black Benefits vs American Express Centurion Card Benefits

    In our initial comparison of the Visa Black Card and American Express Centurion Card we observed that luxury plastic is no longer, well, plastic (although it sure seems that way); The question still remains how truly exclusive the Visa Black Card is? Time (and our readers) will tell, but as stands, 1% of the population is somewhat “undefined” other than by credit record, and other private information (Barclay’s has yet to clarify what this actually means), while American Express has some hard limits, e.g. you have to spend $250,000 on a Platinum Card to qualify, no getting around that. Outside of exclusivity, luxury credit cards aim to offer “new levels of service” for their “elite clientele”  while providing “unique experiences” and unusual “discounts and amenities“. Below, we’ve put together a detailed comparison chart of the Visa Black Card compared to American Express Centurion Benefits. What stands out most is the automatic membership and hotel/airline elite access gained with the Centurion Card, which is nonexistent on the Visa Black Card; Of course, the Visa Black Card only runs $495 a year, compared to the $2500 a yearfor the Centurion Card. At current it appears the Barclay’s Black Card is sorely lacking in many areas where American Express is not, and the card itself is more comparable to the American Express Platinum Card ($450/year membership).

    American Express Platinum Card

    VISA Black Card vs AMEX Centurion Benefits

    No Pre-Set Spending Limit (Limit Based on Individual) N Y
    CONCIERGE (24/7/365) Y Y
    Personal Assigned Concierge Y N
    Full service, 24/365 travel agency and concierge Y Y
    Centurion Destinations Vacations Bonus points and credits for booking Y NA
    Frequent Flier Programs Y N
    Continental Airlines Gold Y N
    Delta Airlines Gold Y N
    Virgin Atlantic Airways Gold Y N
    US Airways Platinum Y N
    International Airline Program (complimentary companion tickets) Y N
    Private Jet Services Program Y N
    Airport Lounge Programs Y N
    American Airlines Admirals Club lounges Y N
    Continental Airlines Presidents Club Y N
    Delta Crown Room Club Y N
    Northwest Airlines WorldClubs Y N
    Priority Pass (access to over 450 airport lounges) Y Y
    Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses Y N
    Automatic Baggage Insurance Coverage
    Up to 3,000 loss or damaged carry-on Y N
    Up to 2,000 beyond Common Carrier coverage for checked bags Y N
    Travel Accident Insurance (Death and Dismemberment) Y N
    Car Rental Elite Status Membership Y N
    Avis Presidents Club Y N
    Hertz Gold Y N
    Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance Plan Y N
    Limousine Program Y N
    Centurion Cruise Credits
    $500 shipboard credits for cruises booked through Centurion Travel Service Y N
    Receive additional upgrades and amenities (cruise partner specific) Y N
    Annual Reward $100 credit to book a cruise or land vacation via CTS. Y NA
    Private Yacht Program Access and Special Amenities ($750 or more) Y N
    Fraser Yachts Y N
    International Yacht Collection Y N
    Fine Hotels & Resorts Y NA
    Centurion Hotel Privileges Y N
    Peninsula Y N
    Aman Y N
    Orient Express Y N
    Mandarin Oriental Y N
    Ritz-Carlton Club Y N
    Centurion Villas Y NA
    Exclusive Resorts (25 destinations worldwide) Y NA
    Abercrombie & Kent Villas Y N
    Beautiful Places Y NA
    Four Seasons Residence Clubs Y N
    LaCURE Y N
    The Mansion at MGM Grand Y N
    Villas of Distinction Y NA
    Centurion Destination Vacations Y NA
    Hotel Elite Status Y N
    Hilton Family of Hotels (HHonors Gold) Y N
    InterContinental® Hotels and Resorts (Priority Club – Platinum) Y N
    Starwood® Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (SPG) Y N
    Club 5C Relais & Châteaux Y N
    24/7 Medical, Legal, Financial, and other Emergency Assistance. Y Y
    Arrange Transfer to Medical Facility by Air or Ambulance Y N
    Prescription Replacements Y N
    Emergency Hotel Check-in Y N
    Immediate Cash Access Y N
    Lost Luggage Recovery and Tracking Y Y
    Stolen passport assistance Y N
    Emergency cancellation and Replacement Y N
    Emergency Translation Services ? Y
    Foreign Protocol information ? Y
    Message Service ? Y
    Computer rental, audio/visual rental equipment ? Y
    Check Cashing Privileges up to 10k/month Y N
    Order foreign currency and fee-free Travelers Cheques by phone Y NA
    Access to special seats Y Y
    Special invitations to exclusive events Y Y
    Reservations at remarkable restaurants Y Y
    Services of Professional Concierge Y Y
    By Invitation Only (sports, performing arts, business symposiums, etc) Y N
    Centurion Dining Reservations (tables held at restaurants for cardholders) Y Equivalent
    Premium Seats (reserved seats)
    Sports Events Y Y
    Entertainment Events Y Y
    Live Concerts at venues in LA/NY Y Y
    Platinum Lounge Access at Staples center in LA Y NA
    Access to American Express Gold Card Events Y NA
    Space Adventures’ Spaceflight Club Membership Y N
    Magazine Subscriptions
    Black Ink Y N
    Departures Y N
    Equinox Fitness Clubs
    Centurion member rate Y N
    Complimentary Personal Training Sessions Y N
    Spa Treatments Y N
    Guest passes Y N
    Kids’ club Y N
    General Escalated Shopping Privileges Y Y
    Assistance with finding speciality items, rare, research Y Y
    Bergdorf Goodman (close store for private shopping) Y N
    Gucci Y N
    Neiman Marcus Y N
    Sony Cierge Y N
    Extended Warranty Y N
    Fraud Protection Guarantee Y Y
    Purchase Protection Plan Y N
    Points Programs Y Y
    Membership Rewards First Program Y Equivalent
    Tour GCX13 Membership with benefits ($150 credit) Y NA
    Special Free Luxury Gifts Y Y

    *We are not fully aware of all Visa Black Card services offered quite yet, and will update as we learn more as our readers get the card and submit info.

    Posted in Centurion Card, Visa Black Card15 Comments

    Centurion Card FAQ

    American Express Centurion Card Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the black card?

    The black card is a high end credit card available from American Express similar to the Platinum card, however, it has extended special benefits (see the benefits guide).

    Did the card start out as a rumor?

    Yes, the card began as an urban myth. “It wasn’t true, but we decided to capitalize on the idea anyway,” according to AmEx Europe director Doug Smith, see how-to-guide history section.

    Is it true that the card is made out of titanium?

    Yes, Initially the card was made out of plastic, in limited areas in Europe in 2004, and wider adoption in 2006 American Express replaced cardholders cards in the US with a titanium version.

    Does the titanium version go off in metal detectors at airports?

    No, the card does not typically set off airport metal detectors.

    Is it true that there is no limit?

    No, there is a limit set based on cardholder account history, credit history, and cardholder assets.

    When are payments due?

    Payments are due at the end of every month like a normal American Express Green, Gold, or Platinum card. It is not a “normal charge card” that allows payment over time.

    How do I get one?

    In short, if you are not a famous or some sort of icon, you need to have an American Express Platinum Card for 1 year, and spend 250,000 in a rolling 12 month period. See our how to guide for more detail.*****As of October 2009 the Centurion Card is Invitation Only.

    What are the fees?

    In the US, $5,000 initiation fee, $2,500 annual membership fee, $1,500 per additional card member fee. That means that $7,500 is due in the first billing cycle after first receiving the card.

    Can I keep my American Express platinum card for free?

    Not in the US currently, if you want to keep your platinum card you will need to pay that membership fee as well, this is waived in certain parts of Europe.

    Can I upgrade my platinum card account to centurion card from a Credit Report perspective?

    No, you will receive a new card number and entry on your credit report, even though your Platinum card can be upgraded.

    Can I keep my credit card number when upgrading from Green to Gold to Platinum?

    Yes, you can maintain the same American Express card number when upgrading from Green -> Gold, Gold -> Platinum, or Green -> Platinum.

    Can I keep my credit card number when upgrading to Centurion?

    No, you will be assigned a new credit card number (notice the typical 37xx sequence).

    Is it true the Centurion card can be declined?

    Yes. Popular culture has you believe sky is the limit with this card, but just like any other credit card, it can be declined for a number of reasons, including security, non-payment, overages over normal spending habits.

    Will I be upgraded when I check into a hotel and just show my card?

    Typically not, despite what some may allege. There may be exceptions to the rule, but although the card carries significant status, the benefits come from the programs provided in the membership, see the benefits guide.

    What about getting into Clubs, VIP Access and Bottle Service?

    The card carries heavy status in the US, usually more so on the west coast in places like LA and Las Vegas, but less so on the east coast in places like NY (see NY Centurion Card Member favorites); This being said, the Centurion Concierge may be able to help you get into places otherwise off-limits, however, don’t expect this experience to be free. Also don’t expect that you will be able to flash you card and get in, you should simply expect that you will get what you pay for, and the card tells Club and Bar owners that you are willing to pay for a lot.

    Many have said that American Express is working to generally improve the benefits of being a Centurion Card Member as many of it’s younger clients are seeking this sort of card amenity

    What about Restaurants?

    Similar to getting into Clubs, VIP Access, you should not expect special attention beyond what the Centurion Concierge can provide. The Centurion Concierge may be able to help you secure a reservation at an exclusive restaurant, have the general manager greet you and your party, but there is nothing particularily extraordinary here.

    What are the travel benefits like?

    Often claim the best benefit of being a Centurion Card member are it’s travel benefits, most notably the airline and hotel elite status. This is due to the fact that Centurion Card Members receive complimentary and automatic elite membership/status in multiple airline and hotel programs, see the benefits guide for specific detail.

    Will I be upgraded to first class?

    It is likely that if you travel enough, you will be bumped as a result of having elite status on the airlines (Continental, US Air, Delta, and Virgin). You will also accumulate miles faster as following the typical rules for elite status on airlines.

    Can I charter a private jet on my card?

    Yes, but be ready to pay that balance in 30 days.

    What celebrities have this card?

    You can be assured that most celebrities with an American Express would have access to this card if need be, however, you may check our known cardholder page for more info.

    Is there a card above the American Express Centurion card?

    American Express Centurion card is currently the highest card available from American Express. There are cards issued by other banks under Visa and Mastercard (see alternate cards) that in certain cases require substantially more in assets (Sotheby’s world Mastercard requires 2 Million in assets), however, do not carry the same universal recognition. In second place for recognition and status is likely the “White Visa” or Stratus Rewards Visa.

    Where’s the card reference in popular culture?

    Check out our “In Culture” section, which aggregates sources on references to the Centurion Card in Media and Entertainment.

    Anything questions we are missing or you’d like answered? Please feel free to comment/ask our team.

    Posted in Centurion Card3 Comments

    Centurion Card Benefits (US) 2008-2009

    Complete List of the American Express Centurion Card Benefits.

    Frequent Flier Programs

    • Continental Airlines Gold
    • Delta Airlines Gold
    • Virgin Atlantic Airways Gold
    • US Airways Platinum

    Automatic Baggage Insurance Coverage

    • Up to 3,000 loss or damaged carry-on
    • Up to 2,000 beyond Common Carrier coverage for checked bags

    Card member Annual Travel Benefits

    Annual Reward $100 credit to book a cruise or land vacation via Centurion Travel Service.

    Car Rental Elite Status

    • Avis Preferred
    • Hertz Gold

    Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance Plan

    Automatic coverage for theft or damage on rental vehicles.

    Centurion Airport Lounge Program

    • American Airlines Admirals Club lounges
    • Continental Airlines Presidents Club
    • Delta Crown Room Club
    • Northwest Airlines WorldClubs
    • Priority Pass (access to over 450 airport lounges)
    • Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses

    Centurion Cruise Credits

    • $500 shipboard credits for cruises booked through Centurion Travel Service (CTS)
    • Receive additional upgrades and amenities (cruise partner specific)

    Centurion Destinations Vacations

    Unique vacation experiences and up to 25,000 Membership Rewards points and amenity valued at $200 when booked through Centurion Travel Service or Centurion Destination Vacations.

    Centurion Travel Service

    Full service, 24/365 travel agency and concierge specific tailored to Centurion cardholders, see Travel Insights. Benefits of booking through this service include special amenities available to Centurion cardholders only such as: Fine Hotels & Resorts, Centurion Hotel Privileges at 600 properties around the world at Peninsula, Aman, Orient Express, Mandarin Oriental and Ritz-Carlton hotels (special rates, late check out, room upgrades, continental breakfast, hotel amenities), International Airline Program (companion tickets), Centurion Cruise Privileges, Centurion Villas, Exclusive Resorts (25 destinations worldwide), Abercrombie & Kent Villas, Beautiful Places, Four Seasons Residence Clubs, LaCURE, The Mansion at MGM Grand, and Villas of Distinction, Centurion Destination Vacations, The Limousine Program, etc.

    Hotel Elite Status

    • Hilton Family of Hotels (HHonors Gold)
    • InterContinental® Hotels and Resorts (Gold)
    • Starwood® Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (SPG)
    • Club 5C Relais & Châteaux

    The Limousine Program

    Access to Limousine service partners, and triple Membership Rewards points for booking.

    Premium Global Assist Hotline

    • 24/7 Medical, Legal, Financial, and other Emergency Assistance.
    • Arrange Transfer to Medical Facility by Air or Ambulance
    • Prescription Replacements
    • Emergency Hotel Check-in
    • Immediate Cash Access
    • Lost Luggage Recovery and Tracking
    • Stolen passport assistance
    • Emergency cancellation and Replacement

    Private Jet Services Program

    Charter private jets, receive membership and fractional use in programs by six private jet partners.

    The Ritz Carlton Club

    Vacations in unique residences with all comfort of Hotel including on-site amenities, concierge services, and housekeeping.
    Space Adventures’ Spaceflight Club Membership

    Complimentary membership with Space Adventures (space tourism company). Membership in the Spaceflight Club provides invitations to special space-related events, private tours of launch facilities, a credit towards a suborbital flight reservation, etc.

    Travel Accident Insurance

    Automatic coverage for up to 1.5 Million in accidental death and dismemberment coverage when traveling by plane, train, helicoptor, ship, or bus charged to the card.
    Private Yacht Program Access and Special Amenities ($750 or more)

    • Fraser Yachts
    • International Yacht Collection

    LifeStyle / Experiences

    • Access to special seats
    • Special invitations to exclusive events
    • Reservations at remarkable restaurants
    • Services of Professional Concierge
    • By Invitation Only (sports, performing arts, business symposiums, etc)

    Magazine Subscriptions

    • Black Ink
    • Departures

    Equinox Fitness Clubs

    • Centurion member rate
    • Complimentary Personal Training Sessions
    • Spa Treatments
    • Guest passes
    • Kids’ club

    Centurion Dining Reservations

    Reserved tables at over 1,000 restaurants across North American and abroad for Centurion members

    Access to American Express Gold Card Events

    Personal Concierge

    Centurion members have the choice of being assigned a personal concierge to assist with dining reservations, order flowers and gift baskets, provide local information and city guides, finding special items, and setting up arrangements for special occasions, and more.
    Premium Seats (reserved seats)

    • Sports Events
    • Entertainment Events
    • Live Concerts at venues in LA/NY
    • Platinum Lounge Access at Staples center in LA

    Tour GCX13 Membership with benefits

    $150 credit towards (with purchase of 5-Tee Unit TOUR Card)


    Special rewards, savings, and individual service for Centurion members. Special privileges and amenities from Bergdorf Goodman, Gucci, Neiman Marcus and Sony.

    Extended Warranty

    Items paid for with the Centurion Card, receive an extended warranty equal to the duration of the original manufacturer’s warranty, with a maximum of three additional years.

    Fraud Protection Guarantee

    Protection from fraudulent or unauthorized charges.

    Purchase Protection Plan

    • Protection from lost, stolen, or damaged items from accident or vandalism from 90 days of purchase. Coverage up to $10,000 per incident, and $50,000 per card member per year.
    • Return Protection within 90 days, up to $300 per item, and a maximum of $1,000 per account per year.

    Membership Rewards First Program

    Access to a private collection of luxury retail, lifestyle, and travel rewards.
    Check Cashing Privileges

    Use your card to cash personal checks at American Express Travel ervice locations, up to $10,000 per account per month.

    Order foreign currency and fee-free Travelers Cheques by phone

    Receive foreign currency and Travelers Cheques in 9 available currencies delivered to you in five to seven days.

    Credit Card Registry

    Program for automatically canceling and replacing credit cards registered

    No Pre-Set Spending Limit

    Purchases are approved based on account history, credit record, and personal resources.

    Posted in Centurion Card5 Comments

    Prologue – The Black Card

    Now that American Express has made the urban myth reality and released a Black Card, also known as the Centurion Card, who needs cash anymore? They should be phasing out cash anyway, what a waste of paper when you can flaunt your bling status by simply handing over this little titanium beauty whenever you make a purchase. Let’s face it, no matter where you live, money is an enabler. If you have enough of it, you’re removing the limits of the society in which you live. Of course, the benefits of an black card don’t come for free. First off, you must charge an annual spending sum of $250,000 to your existing Amex account, while also having exceptional credit history and significant financial assets. However, the requirements could be waived for celebrities and public figures. Let’s take a look at some of those celebrities and public figures. Our Full Black Card Page is Here

    Posted in Centurion Card0 Comments

    American Express Centurion

    I know, how could we even feature this here, but for completeness. You have to spend at least $250,000 a year to even qualify for this card, but getting one puts you up there with celebrities and fellow rich folks. You get access to private jets or upgrades on regular airlines, hotel upgrades, a personal travel counselor, and all sorts of freebies and loyalty programs that are also available to AmEx’s lowly Platinum cardholders. See the full list in our Benefits section. Here’s a picture of the UK Centurion Card.


    Posted in Alternate Cards, Centurion Card3 Comments