The ultimate “high-roller” credit card now carries a bigger price tag but more perks. American Express this month jacked up the annual fee on its prestigious Centurion or “Black” card from $1,000 to $2,500. However, AmEx added eight new travel and retail programs and enhanced some of the card’s existing programs. The Black AmEx card was introduced in the USA during October 1999 following the flood of platinum card offers that hit the market from VISA and MasterCard issuers. Prior to the Centurion, AmEx offered its highest U.S. spenders a Platinum Card. The Centurion is offered by invitation only and to high net worth cardholders who generally charge more than $100,000 per year to the card. The Platinum American Express card was formerly offered by invitation only but is now available to new customers. AmEx says the Platinum Card fee will be going to $395 per year from $300 per year on June 1st–the first change in 15 years. Among some of the Centurion perks:
Complimentary airline upgrades, dedicated check-in, priority boarding, and mileage earning at an accelerated rate via complimentary enrollment in the Continental Airlines OnePass Gold Elite Program, Delta Air Lines Gold Medallion program, and US Airways Dividend Miles Preferred Plus. Complimentary access to the airport clubs of Continental and Northwest. In addition, the International Airline Program offers a complimentary companion ticket when the cardholder purchases a full-fare First or Business Class ticket on more than 20 airlines participating in the program.
Room upgrades, late checkout, complimentary use of fitness centers, and other benefits through enrollment in Starwood Platinum Preferred Guest program, Gold VIP membership in the Hilton HHonors program, Diamond membership in the Hyatt Gold Passport program and membership in the Inter-Continental Six Continents Club. Confirmed room upgrades, when available, at Ritz-Carlton and select Four Seasons properties around the world and more than 330 other fine hotels, resorts, and spas. Complimentary international cellular phones, which are delivered directly to Centurion cardhlders, who pay only the cost of the calls.
Each cardholder is assigned a personal travel counselor to handle all travel needs, and their own concierge to help with anything from special occasion planning and selecting ideal gifts, to locating unusual items.
Special privileges will be extended to Centurion members at Sony, Escada, Harry Winston, Ferragamo, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue, including personal shopper services, invitations to exclusive events, free consultations, and private shopping hours. Ferragamo also provides an automatic subscription to Ferragamo’s Collections catalogs, a scarf for women with a purchase of $1200 (value of $200), and a belt for men with a purchase of $1200 (belt prices range from $135 to $195). ESCADA provides cardholders with access to their “With Compliments Escada” loyalty program, use of the VIP dressing rooms, and an annual gift.
Fee-free enrollment in Membership Rewards Plus, the premium level of the Membership Rewards program. This includes redemption of points for travel on any airline anywhere in the world, and for purchases charged on the American Express Card. A 100% Membership Rewards point bonus on all charges made with a Centurion Card at our Centurion partners. These partners include Delta Air Lines, Continental Airlines, British Airways, Hilton Hotels, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and others.
Complimentary two-hour consultation with Provident Financial Management, a subsidiary of American Express Tax and Business Services, which specializes in planning for high-net-worth individuals, including industry leaders and celebrities. A 25% reduction in the management fee for investments and a reduced minimum investment requirement at Portfolio Management Group, a division of American Express Asset Management Group at American Express Financial Advisors.
Special amenities and upgrades with purchase of an Equinox Fitness annual membership including five Elite Plus training sessions, five one-week guest passes, plus two complimentary spa treatments.
Centurion cardholders also receive all the benefits available to Platinum cardholders which include the Hot Plates dining program (whereby cardholders can make reservations at some of the more sought after restaurants in NY, SF, and LA); Quick Getaways which provides cardholders with great offers for fast getaways including relaxing locations such as the Bahamas to mini-adventures such as white water rafting on the Colorado River; Private Jet Charter Program; and Access to Luxury Suites around the world, among other benefits.
For more information visit www.americanexpress.com.