The American Centurion Card

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Few things will impress your buddies and the ladies as much as casually whipping opening your wallet at the bar or while on a vacation and plunking down the gorgeous titanium American Express Centurion Card.

The Centurion Card, also called the American Express Black Card, is a very elite, exclusive, high-credit-limit charge card that is actually issued to the very few. This is just one of the things that sets this card apart. Another thing is that this is not a credit card, as this Centurion charge card must be paid in full at the end of every month.

Perhaps the thing that makes this card so special is that unlike most cards, you can’t actually apply for this card, no matter how much money you have, or how great your credit rating is. You must be invited by American Express. How do you know if you qualify? Do you have to make a certain amount of money, spend a certain amount, or have to live in certain areas of the world? The frustrating thing (if you really, really want one, and haven’t been issued an invitation yet) is, you don’t. The terms are highly shrouded, although rumors are that you have to charge at least $450,000 USD per year.

Once you’ve been invited, you’re not in the clear yet. Let’s just say that bragging rights don’t come cheap, as this is one credit card you need to pay (and pay dearly) for the pleasure of having in your wallet. The initiation fee runs from $5,000 to $7,000, and after, that there is an annual fee of $2,500.

So – other than bragging rights – what are the benefits of having this Centurion card? You won’t actually be privy to the details unless you are invited, but they do include exclusive hotel, dining, entertaining, transportation and travel experiences that normal folks just don’t have access to.

Perks that users have taken advantage of include getting front-row seats to sold-out shows, extended shopping hours at a retailer, chartering a plane, and automatic upgrades at hotels and car rental places. Users also get standing reservations at high-end restaurants.

Even if you’re in it just for the perks and the experiences, there are other ways to get them, via other credit card companies. Critics say that the biggest perk of the Centurion card are the personal services like personal services and reminder calls for anniversaries and birthdays.

If this card – and its annual fees – are still too rich for your blood, but you’re still hankering to carry a metal card instead of one of those plastic ones that everyone and their dog has, you might want to get the American Express Platinum Card instead. It has a smaller annual fee of $450, and includes just as many (but different) benefits as the Centurion Card. Another option is the Marriott Rewards Premier Card, which offers travel rewards, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which is reputed to have great travel rewards and a great customer service team behind it. The Mastercard’s Black Card, which is also metal – it has an annual fee of about $500 and is made from stainless steel and carbon fiber.

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