American Express Black Card: The Wild Benefits of the Credit Card that Costs $2,500 a Year

The American Express Black Card doesn't actually exist. But the benefits of the card that does exist will blow your mind.

Aug 24, 2014 at 10:30AM

Wallet

We all may have heard of the American Express Black Card. But you won't believe the incredible benefits it offers, nor should you.

The technical name for it
To start, it must be worth noting that technically speaking American Express doesn't offer something officially called a Black Card.

Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania

Source: Flickr / keithreifsnyder.

But it must be noted, technically there aren't 50 states either. You see, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are all considered as Commonwealths.

Yet the thing is, there really is no difference between a state and a commonwealth.

After all, Pennsylvania's Constitution designates itself a Commonwealth, but a simple visit to its official website reveals it calls itself "The Keystone State."

"Tomāto, tomăto" as they say.

In the same way, what American Express actually offers isn't officially called the Black Card, instead it's the Centurion Card. But regardless of its technical name, the benefits sure are wild to consider.

The fees
To start, the American Express website offers little information on the Centurion Card. But what is there is remarkable.

The card member agreement shows that the initiation fee stands at a staggering $7,500, and the yearly fee is $2,500. And you can't simply apply for one and hope to be approved: As The Wall Street Journal reported, the card is "available by invitation only to people who charge more than $250,000 a year."

There are pretty mind-blowing numbers, but the benefits are even more impressive.

The benefits
Perhaps the biggest benefit is that there is no spending limit on the Centurion Card. It has been widely reported that one cardholder used the Centurion to buy a $300,000 Bentley.

Even more remarkably, Bloomberg recently revealed that a Chinese collector used the card to buy an ancient ceramic cup for $36 million -- that's right, a cup -- which netted him 422 million in points from American Express. The article noted that the points from that single purchase could be used for "more than 28 million frequent flyer miles or about $180,000 worth of vouchers at Hong Kong retailer ParknShop."

American Express Black Card

Source: American Express.

The benefits don't stop at the spending. The Journal noted in a separate article that the card offers free access into American Express airport lounges that provide amenities such as "a free celebrity-chef food buffet, showers stocked with L'Occitane products and manicures, facials and massages."

There's also a free concierge service that can provide cardholders with access to exclusive tickets, reminders about certain events, and countless other personal benefits. Credit Card Insider also suggested that Black Card holders receive automatic premium status at hotels, airlines, and car rental companies.

And while it may not be a benefit of the card, in 2011 it was reported that the average income of a Centurion Card household stands at $1.3 million, with assets of $16.3 million. Among cardholders, the top five car brands driven were BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Lexus, and Ferrari.

The Foolish takeaway
Others have attempted to copy the Centurion Card -- Visa actually offers something called the Black Card, and JPMorgan Chase has the Palladium Card for individuals who have $25 million in wealth management at the bank -- but nothing has quite the lure of the original offered by American Express.

Warren Buffett -- whose Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A)(NYSE:BRK-B) holds a $14.3 billion stake in AmEx -- once said, "'Buy commodities, sell brands' has long been a formula for business success." In this vein, whether you call it the Centurion Card or the Black Card, we can see just one more example of the powerful position American Express has in the minds of consumers everywhere.

Your credit card may soon be completely worthless
The plastic in your wallet is about to go the way of the typewriter, the VCR, and the 8-track tape player. When it does, a handful of investors could stand to get very rich. You can join them -- but you must act now. An eye-opening new presentation reveals the full story on why your credit card is about to be worthless -- and highlights one little-known company sitting at the epicenter of an earth-shaking movement that could hand early investors the kind of profits we haven't seen since the dot-com days. Click here to watch this stunning video.

Patrick Morris owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool recommends American Express, Berkshire Hathaway, and Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase, and Visa. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.


Compare Brokers