AmEx Black Card is Only Available by Invitation
The Black Card is perhaps the rarest AMEX credit card. It is available only by invitation to selected individuals worldwide. The official title of this card is The Centurion Card and it conveys a credit status far above that of most of us.
If you carry an AmEx Black Card you are the recipient of services far beyond that of standard credit cards. This is the ultimate status credit account.
In the 1980s there was an urban legend in circulation that told of a high limit black credit card that conferred high status on anyone who used it.
Although the legend was only a myth in the 80's, AMEX capitalized on the story by introducing the Centurion card in 1999. There is no application process as the black card is available by invitation only.
The requirements are not publicly disclosed but it is reported that minimum card activity of $250,000 in a 12 month period is one point of qualification.
Other factors appear to be a substantial net worth and an exceptional credit history of the consumer who is invited to join the Centurion account network.
The Black Card is available in the US and issued by AMEX UK to customers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In some instances, it appears invitations may be issued to highly visible public figures and celebrities by waiving some of the qualifying limitations.
Account holders pay a healthy fee for the status of carrying a Centurion black credit card. A one time joining fee of up to $5,000 and an annual fee of $2500 appear to be the norm. For those fees, you can have up to 22 cards for a single account.
These would include the black card and titanium Centurion Card for the main account holder as well one addition black credit card for a family member. In addition, you may have 19 more supplementary cards for the account that are green, gold or platinum to be used by family members.
Features of the AMEX Black Card
You may be invited to obtain an AMEX Black Card for your personal financial use or for your business. An impressive list of services includes dedicated concierge and travel agent, companion airline tickets and first class flight upgrades.
Also included are dozens of elite club members such as Sony's Cierge personal shopping program and free nights in many participating upscale hotels and resorts. Benefits differ by country.
The original black plastic card was replaced in 2006 with cards crafted from anodized titanium. This slightly thicker credit card has caused some problems for users as it may be difficult to insert and remove from card readers.
The "It" Factor
American Express has endeavored to enhance the status of its Black Credit Card by offering as many services as possible and focusing on high end services and products.
Originally, those invited to open an AMEX black card credit account received complimentary copies of Departures magazine.
Later this was replaced by a magazine only for Centurion account holders and in 2007 the magazine was given the title "Black Ink".
Journal International estimates the average age of an AMEX Black Card holder to be 49 years and that 94% of those holding these accounts are male with an average monthly disposable income of more than $900,000 per annum.
There are other black credit cards offered, most notably by Bank of America and Barclaycard in the U.S. None carry the prestige associated with the AmEx Black Card.