The American Express Centurion Card (also known as the Amex Black Card) is one of the most prestigious credit cards in the world—and also one of the hardest to get. You can't apply for this card, nor can you be referred by a friend; you need to receive an invitation directly from American Express, which will only happen if they deem you worthy.
However, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of getting invited. In this post, I'll dig into the details to learn if the Centurion Card is really worth the cost and the effort involved. I'll also compare it with other cards, like the Platinum Card, to see which is more valuable after all costs and benefits are considered.
What Is The American Express Centurion Card?
The American Express Centurion Card was launched in Canada in late 2008. American Express sent out 274,000 invitations to high-net-worth Canadians they thought may be interested in getting the card.
Thousands of Canadians signed up for the card, and ever since then, the Centurion Card has been a secretive part of the American Express family.
How To Get An Amex Centurion Card In Canada
The American Express Centurion Card is not one you can simply apply for as you would the Aeroplan Reserve Card or the Cobalt Card: it’s by invitation-only. Amex has maintained that exclusivity and takes pride in the benefits provided. This explains why the perks are not officially available or publicized on public platforms. It really is so lucrative to own one that it doesn't even require advertising.
How To Get Invited For An Amex Centurion Card
The best way to increase your chances of being invited to become an Amex Centurion cardholder is as follows:
- Own an American Express credit card for at least one year.
- Spend between $100,000 – $450,000 on the American Express card during a year (the Amex Platinum Card makes the most sense here since you'll earn the most on your spending with it).
- Maintain a clean credit report (especially with Amex Card usage).
- Earn at least $1 million annually.
- Have a high net worth.
Now, this is just to boost your chances of getting an invite from American Express. It doesn't necessarily ensure that you will get the invitation. American Express still reserves the right to choose who they invite, and they're not letting on their selection criteria.
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Features of the Amex Centurion (Black) Card
24/7 Personal Concierge
As an Amex Black cardholder, you could have access to a ‘personal concierge’. Assuming you enjoyed the service quality from a particular concierge, you can request the same person for the subsequent usage of this service. Communication via emails would always go directly to that person, and you will have his or her personal extension number to reach when needed.
It may seem like any other concierge service or similar to the Amex Platinum concierge, but it's not the case.
Picture this – You need tickets to a supposed sold-out concert or a reservation at the busiest restaurant. Your Centurion concierge makes it happen. All it takes for the Centurion concierge to say, when calling a business or restaurant, “This is so and so from American Express Centurion Concierge…” That one word, if said to a high-end business/hotel/restaurant, makes all the difference.
Your concierge can assist you as a personal travel agent: regardless of where you want to go or how challenging the booking reservations would be, the Centurion concierge makes it happen, on time, as requested, an impressive 99% of the time.
It's also been said that your concierge can arrange for a personal shopping experience at your requested mall after hours. Talk about living life in style! You can also expect special treats on your birthdays – exclusively taken care of by your concierge.
As a Centurion cardholder, you are automatically upgraded to the topmost elite category for airlines, hotels, certain private clubs, lounges and special events. According to an Amex Black Card user, ‘It’s an automatic bypass to the top tier ranking for the most valued customer status all around the world.’
Being part of the top-tier hotel programs, you can also enjoy these additional benefits:
- Late checkout until 4pm at fine hotels throughout the world,
- Automatic free upgrade to a suite (provided the upgrade room is not previously booked)
- Free in-room amenities; a bottle of wine, or cheese and fruit, or both, which will be waiting in the room at time of check-in,
- Free spa treatment(s) in certain hotels.
As an Amex Centurion Card holder, you automatically acquire Platinum Medallion Status with Delta.
With this status, your personal concierge can assist with these perks:
- Automatic upgrade to first class on selected flights. (the concierge will update you on latest offers at time up booking).
- You get a free companion first class ticket on select flights (concierge updates at booking) when purchasing a first class ticket for you.
- Personalized and dedicated concierge travel assistance for any emergencies during travel.
The card comes with access to the finest lounges globally via the American Express Global Lounge program. This includes the exclusive Centurion Lounge, where you can experience the muted surrounding with fine-quality amenities. Entry to this lounge is exclusive to Amex Centurion and Platinum cardholders.
The difference is Centurion card holders have no time limit to enjoy the Centurion lounge. Platinum card holders are limited to 3 hours (departure and transit passengers only).
It still does raise the question of how do you earn the amazing Amex Centurion card. The most practical way, it seems, is to start with the Amex Platinum card to match the spending requirement ($100,000 – $450,000) as listed above.
Having said so, in terms of the benefits, the closest card that can compare to the Amex Centurion card is the Amex Platinum card.
American Express Centurion vs. American Express Platinum
|Benefits||American Express Platinum Card||American Express Centurion Card|
|Card Type||Charge Card||Charge Card|
|Initiation/Annual Fee||• Initiation Fee: None|
• Annual Fee: $799
|• Initiation Fee: $5,000|
• Annual Fee: $2,500
|24/7 Personal Concierge||Available for free. |
Concierge service personnel is assigned to the cardholder
|Available for free including travel agent.|
Cardholder may request for a designated personal concierge.
|Companion Tickets||Discounts available for participating airlines for companion tickets||Free upgrade for selected airlines|
|Airport Travel Lounge||Golden Lounge Program |
(incl. Centurion Lounges within a time frame of 3 hours only)
|Global Lounge program|
(incl. Centurion lounges for any period of time and Maple Leaf Lounges)
|Foreign Transaction Fee||2.5%||None|
|Travel Credit||$200 annually||$200 annually|
|Global Entry Fee Credit||Yes. $100 application fee credit every 5 years when applied for.||Yes. $100 application fee credit every 5 years when applied for.|
|Free WiFi on Flight||Complimentary Boingo WiFi access||• Complimentary Boingo WiFi access|
• Complimentary Gogo WiFi access
|Centurion International Arrival Services||No||Yes. |
To fast track the arrival, customs, immigration, and coordinate grounds transportation at selected airports.
|Hotel Elite Statuses||• American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program|
• Hilton Honors Gold Status
• Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade membership
• Marriott BonvoyTM Gold Elite status
• Radisson RewardsTM Gold Status
|• American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program|
• Hilton Honors Diamond
• Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade membership
• Marriott BonvoyTM Gold Elite status
• Radisson RewardsTM Gold Status
• IHG Priority Club Rewards
• Centurion Hotel Program
Relais & Châteaux 5C
|Fine Hotels & Resorts Exclusive Benefits||Yes||Yes|
|Car Rental Elite Status||Hertz9 and Avis10 Car Rental Benefits||• Centurion Auto program|
• Avis Presidents Club,
• Hertz #1 Club
|Additional Card||• Up to 9 cards total |
• $175 for additional Platinum Cards
• $50 for additional Gold cards
|• $2,500 for each additional Centurion Card (up to 2 only)|
• $175 for up to 3 additional Platinum Cards
• $0 for additional Gold Cards
|Front of the Line(advanced access/tickets to concerts)||Yes||Yes|
The American Express Centurion Card is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious charge cards to be used. It has beyond believe perks that takes luxury living to the next level. The service that comes with the card alone makes the annual fee worthwhile, considering the time and effort saved with the Centurion concierge.
Assuming you receive the coveted invitation, you could use the Delta Platinum Medallion status, access to exclusive invite-only events, and the privilege of being a part of one of the most exclusive communities worldwide.
Increase your chances today of getting an invitation, by starting out with the Amex Platinum Card. It shares similar benefits with the Amex Black Card, and it's the closest option you'll find if the Amex Centurion seems too far fetched to earn.
Centurion Card Reviews By Actual Centurion Cardholders
If you have the budget, the Amex Centurion is a dream come true, but don't take our word for it; here are quotes from actual Amex Centurion cardholders…
‘There’s nothing you cannot do with the Centurion card but if you travel enough or want to experience the best things in life; nothing compares to the centurion.
I had friends in my network with the Centurion card long before I got it, so not much surprised me. When I say there’s nothing you cannot do with a centurion I am not exaggerating. I know people who have got front row seats to sold out shows, backstage with celebrities, bought jets and even rare luxury cars on their centurion.
After having a Platinum Card for over a year, I reached out to my concierge about booking a yacht charter for a client (I own a luxury chartering service) and happened to in conversation bring up the centurion, which he asked if I would like to apply for. I was denied. A year later, I had changed a few things financially and increased my spend on both of my cards drastically, and asked again and was accepted within 2 days. I used my existing points to pay my annual fee and the rest is history so they say.
You definitely need a near perfect credit score, never missed or late on a payment (not just with Amex no late payments on your report at all) and over 150k a month in spend. I have heard 250 before but can tell you I got my personal centurion much easier after having the business one. I’ve also heard you need a net worth over 2 million dollars however I’m not sure how they would verify that as they only asked me for tax documents. Yes, they will ask for tax documents, bank statements, and will not accept you no matter what you spend without them.
It’s better to hold because of the perks, as well as the prestige. I know people who barely have a 600 credit score who have a Platinum Card. The Platinum is only a stepping stone to the centurion in my opinion. If you stay at 5 hotels a year and go from a basic room to a suite (let alone a presidential suite) upgrade the card has paid for itself.' – Kovach.B. (Kovach Companies. Inc)
‘Overall, I get way more out of this card — more than $45,000 in benefits a year — than I spend on keeping it in my wallet. Granted, I do have a business with more than 20 employees, so not everyone will be able to get this much out of this card, but some may be able to get even more out of it. Having a dedicated concierge at Amex who is always available to me is essentially priceless. Combine that with the rest of the perks on this card and it’s well worth the $2,500 annual fee.
It’s a very exclusive card, of course, so you can’t just apply for one — you have to be invited to apply by American Express. While nothing’s guaranteed, there are a couple of tricks that you can try that will (likely) get you on Amex’s radar. The first of these is to spend — a lot — on your Business Platinum Card, and the second is to simply ask.
I love booking hotels with Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts because of the perks you get like room upgrades, free Wi-Fi, a $100 amenity benefit and late checkout. I just recently was upgraded to a Penthouse Fountain View Suite at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and as you can see below, that definitely didn’t suck. As a Centurion cardholder, these perks go a step beyond, and most upgrades will be confirmed at booking. I also get an additional $200 benefit per two-night or longer stay.' – Kelly, B (ThePointsGuy)