The American Express Centurian Card, or Black Card as it is popularly known, has become a symbol of status for the ultra-wealthy.
Shrouded in a cloak of secrecy since its inception, the black card started as nothing more than a conspiracy theory in the 80’s when rumors of a black-colored card offering dignitaries and celebrities unlimited spending power and after-hours access to high-end stores began to circulate. American Express decided to capitalize on this free marketing buzz and in October 1999 released the black Centurian card by invitation only to selected holders of its Platinum Card. The Amex Centurion Card originally had an annual fee of $1,000.
So what’s so great about a black card? Well, first of all it is reportedly made of titanium, and apart from the seething look of envy waiters will give you when dining at fancy restaurants the card does come with several perks. Rumors suggest that using the card will get you a free companion ticket when purchasing full priced airfare on most airlines. You also get access to airport clubs, and free upgrades on most airlines and hotels are also rumored to exist. You get a free night’s stay per year at LXR Luxury Resorts. Personal shopper services are also part of the package for retailers such as Escada, Gucci, and Neiman Marcus. There seem to be other perks throughout the year such as free gift cards with values as high as $2,000 to luxury retailers.
Although there is no information available to the general public on the American Express website about the Centurian card, the latest reports suggest that in order to obtain one you must spend at least $250,000 on your platiunum card in one year and then call and ask for an invitation, or simply spend between $50,000-$100,000 per year for 5 to 10 years and wait for a formal invitation. Apparently the waiting list is quite long. Be warned though, the annual fee is $3,000 and a one-time $5,000 fee applies when ordering the card.
Official site: http://www.americanexpress.com/centurion