The Centurion® Card from American Express Review [2024]: Secret Benefits of the Black Card

CREDIT CARDS - TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
Are the benefits of the Centurion Card from American Express worth the high fees? Maybe, but only a select few will have the opportunity to find out.
Updated April 9, 2024
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If you’re interested in premium credit cards, you may know most of them have large annual fees attached. For premium perks and benefits, you’re expected to pay a premium price.

In the case of The Centurion® Card from American Express, also known as the Amex Centurion Black Card, you’re expected to pay much more in fees than you would with any other comparable card currently available. It’s an extremely high-end card for high-income earners and comes with many exclusive perks — and it’s invite-only.

If you’ve been wondering about this secretive card and what’s actually behind this status symbol, then keep reading this Centurion Card from American Express review.

All information about The Centurion® Card from American Express has been collected independently by FinanceBuzz.

Exclusive Rewards for an Exclusive Club

The Centurion® Card from American Express
4.0

The Centurion® Card from American Express

Current Offer

Elite status for invite-only cardholders

Annual Fee

$5000 - Initiation fee of $10,000

Rewards Rate

1X points on all eligible purchases, plus 1.5X points on eligible purchases over $5,000

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

In this Centurion Card from American Express review

Key takeaways

  • The Centurion® Card from American Express is a very high-end and exclusive card with many luxury perks and benefits.
  • The card is invite-only, and the annual membership fee is $5000 (terms apply), with an additional $10,000 initiation fee for new members, making it one of the most expensive cards out there.
  • The Centurion Card offers a wide range of benefits, including elite status with hotel loyalty programs, airport lounge access, travel credits, rental car benefits, shopping perks, and more. Select benefits require enrollment.
  • The Centurion card lacks a welcome offer and only earns 1X points on all eligible purchases, plus 1.5X points on eligible purchases over $5,000.
  • The card's eligibility requirements are not officially disclosed, but it is generally reserved for high-income earners who spend a significant amount on their American Express cards annually.

Who should get the Centurion Card from American Express?

There’s no doubt about it, the Centurion Card from American Express is meant for a particular category of people that not many of us fit into. You may be a frequent traveler, but do you also spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year?

The annual membership fee for the Centurion Black Card is $5000. For context, the annual fee on The Platinum Card® from American Express, one of Amex’s best travel rewards cards, is $695. Add in the $10,000 initiation fee for the Centurion Card and your first-year membership fees come to a whopping $15,000. That is some serious cash to fork over for membership into this exclusive club of cardholders.

If you’re invited, that is.

You may want to become an Amex Centurion cardholder, but there’s no online application form. Membership is by invitation only, which means Amex will contact you if they think you should have this coveted card.

On the positive side, Amex recently added a link on their Centurion Card login page for individuals interested in Centurion membership. If you click the link, you’ll be brought to a form where you can input your first and last name, a card number for your existing Amex card, and the four-digit security card for that card. There is no guarantee that submission of this form will lead to approval for the Black Card, but it doesn’t hurt to try if you think you meet the vague requirements.

There are no official requirements released by Amex, but reports suggest you’ll need the following to get an invite to become a Centurion member:

  • Be an Amex cardholder
  • Spend at least $250,000 annually on your Amex cards
  • Have an income of at least $1 million per year and/or a high net worth

Card basics

Card type Travel
Card issuer American Express
Annual fee $5000. Terms apply.
Welcome offer None
Reward rate 1X points on all eligible purchases, plus 1.5X points on eligible purchases over $5,000
Recommended credit score Excellent
Foreign transaction fee None

Why we like the Amex Centurion Card: benefits and perks

The Amex Centurion Card has many built-in benefits and perks, including automatic status with a variety of hotel, airline, and car rental loyalty programs. There’s also airport lounge access, exclusive event access, shopping credits, and much more.

Hotels

  • Hotel statuses: Receive Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, Hilton Honors Diamond status, and IHG Platinum Elite status. All three statuses include complimentary internet access, room upgrades, and bonus points for eligible stays. Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite members also receive a welcome gift of points at each eligible stay, whereas IHG Platinum Elite members receive a welcome amenity. Hilton Honors Diamond members receive executive lounge access at applicable Hilton properties. 
  • Centurion Hotel Program: Amex Centurion cardholders can enjoy unique hotel benefits when staying at any properties within these hotel brands: Aman Resorts, Belmond, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, The Peninsula Hotels, Rosewood Hotels, The Hotel Waldorf-Astoria Corporation, Oetker Collection, and St. Regis Hotels & Resorts. Benefits may include complimentary breakfast for two, early check-in, late checkout, room upgrades, free internet, and a unique amenity gift at every hotel.
  • Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts: Amex Centurion cardholders can enjoy unique benefits at more than 1,000 participating luxury properties within the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program. This may include complimentary breakfast for two, room upgrades, early check-in, late checkout, free internet, and a unique amenity gift at every hotel.
  • Select benefits require enrollment.

Airlines, airports, and travel

  • Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status: Platinum Medallion members in the Delta SkyMiles program receive unlimited complimentary upgrades, waived fees for bags and ticket changes, priority boarding, priority waitlist, and your selection of one Choice Benefit. Choice Benefits include a $200 travel voucher, $200 Tiffany & Co. gift card, 20,000 bonus miles, four regional upgrade certificates, and more.
  • Centurion International Arrival Services: Cardholders traveling in business or first class on international flights will be greeted by a personal guide who expedites you through customs and immigration. In some cases, your guide can also coordinate ground transportation for you. This service is available at more than 30 international airports for you and up to eight guests in your party.
  • 50% airline bonus: Receive 50% of your Membership Rewards points back as a statement credit when you redeem points for flights through Amex Travel or Centurion Travel Service.
  • Centurion Lounge access: Access Amex Centurion Lounges and other American Express Lounges in airports around the world. Centurion Lounges typically offer high-speed internet, fresh food, alcoholic beverages, and workspaces. Some lounges may also offer shower suites, luggage lockers, and/or conference rooms.
  • Priority Pass Select: Get free access to Priority Pass lounges around the world. Amenities may include complimentary refreshments, free Wi-Fi, massage rooms, and/or sleeping areas.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application credit: Receive a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years for expedited screening when traveling.
  • CLEAR Plus membership: Receive statement credit toward CLEAR Plus memberships for you and up to three family members each year. CLEAR uses biometric (fingers and eyes) screening to move you to the front of the line at more than 65 airports, stadiums, and other venues throughout the U.S.
  • Private Suite at LAX membership: Receive an annual membership to PS at LAX. Members enjoy reduced rates on visits to this private terminal, along with quick and easy screenings on departure and arrival, luggage assistance, plenty of amenities, and a BMW escort to your plane.
  • International Airline Program: Book business class, first class, or premium economy through this program to save on airfare with more than 20 participating airlines.
  • Dedicated concierge service: Other cards may offer concierge services as well, but Centurion cardholders can request for one specific individual to be assigned as their personal concierge. Concierge requests may include gift ideas, getting tickets to events, making travel arrangements, and much more.
  • Travel insurance: Receive a variety of travel insurance coverages, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay insurance, and baggage delay insurance.
  • No foreign transaction fees: You can add this to the list of cards with no foreign transaction fees. Amex Centurion Cards have no foreign transaction fees, so you don’t have to worry about using your card when you’re traveling abroad.
  • Select benefits require enrollment.

Rental cars and cruises

  • Cruise benefits: Cardmembers may receive cruise credit, additional amenities, and extra Membership Rewards points when booking cruises with Amex cruise partners through Amex Travel.
  • Centurion Auto Program: Access luxury and exotic car rentals, plus driving experiences. You can also purchase premium cars through this program.
  • Hertz President’s Circle: Receive complimentary Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle status and additional Centurion benefits, including up to 20% off standard cars, a guaranteed one car class upgrade, priority service, free additional driver, complimentary one-way rental, free pick-up/drop-off, free child seats and ski racks, and more.
  • Avis President’s Club: Get an invite to the Avis Preferred President’s Club. President’s Club members receive a complimentary double upgrade, dedicated 24/7 assistance, 50% more rewards per dollar spent, and savings of up to 25% off base rates.
  • Rental car insurance/coverages: Automatically get primary rental car insurance coverage when you pay with your American Express Centurion Card and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver. Cardholders can also benefit from premium roadside assistance.
  • Select benefits require enrollment.

Wining, dining, and entertainment

  • Wine benefits: Access private wine tours in Napa; exclusive Napa Experience and/or Tuscany tour packages; a complimentary annual tasting experience for two; and a complimentary annual one-hour consultation with a wine-collecting specialist
  • Centurion Dining Program: Access to over 1,000 exclusive restaurants around the world.
  • Exclusive sales and events: Access to by-invitation-only events and VIP experiences, as well as other exclusive events. This may include the Kentucky Derby, Wimbledon, Coachella, Grand Prix de Monaco, and more.
  • The List: Access to a curated list of things to do and places to visit in cities around the world. Features may include restaurants, hotels, shopping, attractions, and more.
  • Select benefits require enrollment.

Shopping

  • Saks Fifth Avenue credits: Receive up to $250 in statement credits each quarter, or up to $1,000 per year when using your Amex Centurion Card on Saks Fifth Avenue purchases.
  • Centurion Shopping Program: Access exclusive offers on luxury brand products, shopping experiences, and unique events to meet fashion designers. You also gain access to NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER shopping services.
  • InCircle: Receive InCircle rewards with a registered Amex Centurion card when you make eligible purchases at Bergdorf Goodman, Cusp, Horchow, Last Call, and Neiman Marcus. InCircle rewards can be redeemed for InCircle Point Cards.
  • Protections and warranties: Receive important protections and coverages, like price protection, return protection, and extended warranty.
  • Select benefits require enrollment.

Extras

  • Equinox membership: Receive a complimentary Equinox Destination Access Membership for access to more than 100 Equinox gym locations in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.
  • Holiday gift: Cardholders can receive special holiday gifts from Amex Gifts are typically valued at $200 or more and have included a Tiffany & Co. crystal decanter, complimentary nights at Four Seasons properties in Hawaii, and donations to charitable organizations.
  • Cellphone protection: Receive coverage for cellphones attached to a cellphone bill you pay in full with this card. Up to $800 per claim for stolen or damaged cellphones and up to two claims per card account per 12-month period. A $50 deductible per claim may apply.
  • Select benefits require enrollment.

What we don't like about the Amex Centurion Card: drawbacks

  • Extremely high fees: For the first year of membership, you have to pay $15,000 in fees. Each year after that, it’s $5,000 per year. And if you want to add an authorized user, it’s $5,000 per user.
  • No welcome offer: You can expect generous welcome offers with most premium credit cards, but not with the Amex Centurion Card. With this card, there’s no welcome offer at all.
  • Low earning rate: You can earn 1X points on all eligible purchases, plus 1.5X points on eligible purchases over $5,000. It’s not a special rewards rate in any way, as one point per dollar spent is usually seen as the bare minimum for rewards cards. The additional rewards for purchases over $5,000 make it slightly better.

Earning and redeeming American Express Membership Rewards

Best ways to earn and how to maximize your redemptions

The Centurion Card from American Express earns 1X points on all eligible purchases, plus 1.5X points on eligible purchases over $5,000. If you make frequent purchases of $5,000 or more, then it’s a decent earning rate.

Still, there are other cards available that can earn you more overall rewards without the $5,000 threshold. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases. The earning potential is much higher with the Sapphire Reserve than the Centurion Card.

American Express transfer partners

Amex Membership Rewards points are valuable for multiple reasons: you can redeem them toward travel with Amex Travel or you can take advantage of more than 20 American Express travel partners in the airline and hotel industries. Most Membership Rewards points will transfer at a 1:1 ratio.

Amex airline transfer partners include:

Amex airline transfer partner Airline alliance Transfer ratio
AeroMexico SkyTeam 1:1.6
Air Canada Star Alliance 1:1
Alitalia SkyTeam 1:1
Aer Lingus N/A 1:1
Air France SkyTeam 1:1
All Nippon Airways Star Alliance 1:1
Avianca LifeMiles Star Alliance 1:1
British Airways Oneworld Alliance 1:1
Delta Air Lines SkyTeam 1:1
Emirates N/A 1:1
Etihad Airways N/A 1:1
Hawaiian Airlines N/A 1:1
Iberia Plus Oneworld Alliance 1:1
JetBlue Airways N/A 1.25:1
Singapore Airlines Star Alliance 1:1
Qantas Airlines Oneworld Alliance 1:1
Virgin Atlantic Airways N/A 1:1

Amex hotel transfer partners include:

Amex Hotel Transfer Partner Minimum transfer Transfer ratio
Choice Hotels 1,000 1:1
Hilton Honors 1,000 1:2
Marriott Bonvoy 1,000 1:1

Other cards to consider

The Centurion Card from American Express is on its own level when it comes to luxury travel benefits. It’s also largely on its own when it comes to the enormous annual and new member fees. To avoid these fees and still have access to valuable travel benefits, you might consider the following cards:

The Platinum Card® from American Express shares many benefits with the Amex Centurion Card, including access to the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts Program, application fee reimbursement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®, and access to the Centurion and Priority Pass Select lounges. Keep in mind that select benefits require enrollment. The Platinum Card® from American Express has a much lower annual fee of $695 (terms apply) and enables you to benefit from a welcome bonus. Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 on purchases on your new card in the first 6 months.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is another great luxury travel card that enables you to earn up to $300 annual travel credit. You can also earn Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee credit and enjoy access to Priority Pass Select airport lounges. This credit card comes with a $550 annual fee and also offers a welcome bonus. Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Exclusive Rewards for an Exclusive Club

The Centurion® Card from American Express
4.0

The Centurion® Card from American Express

Why We Like It

Elite status for invite-only cardholders

Terms Apply

See how these cards compare:

The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 on purchases on your new card in the first 6 months
  • Select your metal card design: classic Platinum Card, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu
  • 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel.com
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Select benefits require enrollment.
  • $695 annual fee
  • See rates and fees | Terms Apply
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 10X points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel℠ (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs

Centurion Card from American Express FAQ

Is the Centurion Card worth it?

The Amex Centurion Card is worth it for cardmembers who can take advantage of the many perks and benefits attached to it. Many of these benefits are travel-oriented, so luxury travelers may benefit the most. If you can’t take advantage of the many travel benefits, it may not be worth it for you to have this card even if you get the invite.

How hard is it to get a Centurion Card?

The Amex Centurion Card is acquired through invitation only. Invites are generally sent to existing Amex cardholders who spend at least $250,000 annually on their Amex cards and also earn over $1 million per year.

How many Amex Black Card holders are there?

There are no official reports of the number of Amex Centurion cardholders worldwide, but estimates would put that number at more than 100,000 around the world. In the U.S., it’s most likely over 20,000. So needless to say, it’s a pretty exclusive club.

Can I have two Amex cards?

Yes, you can have two Amex cards. The unofficial Amex rule for card applications is that you can have up to five American Express cards open at the same time, including both personal cards and business cards.

The Centurion® Card from American Express: bottom line

The Centurion® Card from American Express, which is also known as the American Express Black Card, is an ultra-exclusive luxury card with an annual membership fee of $695 and an additional $10,000 initiation fee.

The American Express Centurion Card is reserved for high-income earners who travel frequently and want access to top-notch benefits and elite statuses with hotel loyalty programs. Additionally, Centurion cardmembers get their own dedicated personal concierge that can help with various tasks, such as finding gifts, making reservations, booking travel, and more.

However, the lack of a welcome offer and a relatively low earning rate of 1X points on most purchases might make it less appealing to some, considering the substantial costs involved. That’s why you may prefer The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for their lower annual fees and higher rewards rates. You can also explore more options in our list of the best credit cards for travel.

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is a Senior Credit Cards Writer at FinanceBuzz. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.
Yahia Barakah, CEPF Yahia Barakah, CEPF, is a Senior Editor at FinanceBuzz and has created finance-focused content since 2011. As a Certified Educator of Personal Finance, he has a background in institutional investment and asset management, as well as a deep passion for financial literacy.

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