6 Facts About The “Black Card”

(featured image by simon pielow)
here are six things you need to know it’s kind of cool to know about the american express centurion card, also known as “the black card” (not to be confused with visa’s “black card”). go.

1. It’s Not A Credit Card

AmEx Centurion is not a credit card, but rather a charge card. That means, you must pay everything off by the end of your billing cycle (hence the 0% interest rate — you never owe anything). Other charge cards by AmEx include: the Green Card, Gold Card, Premier Rewards Gold Card, and the Platinum Card, which is the most “prestigious” AmEx card after Black.

2. It Does Have A Limit

It’s just incredibly high, and varies from user to user. Centurion uses a system that is called a “no pre-set spending limit,” which means that your limit changes depending on specific circumstances, such as your past spending habits, payment history, etc., although no one really knows for sure how it’s calculated. For this reason, its very much possible to have your Black card declined. Basically, if you’re planning on making a really huge purchase that’s a bit of an outlier for you, just give them a heads up and you’re less likely to run into problems.

ESPN reported that when the Dallas Mavericks racked up a $90,000 tab (plus a 22% gratuity — that’s $19,800 in tips) at LIV for a 15-liter bottle of Armand de Brignac, Mark Cuban’s Black card was declined after he attempted to pay for the whole thing. He then phoned the Centurion customer service and said, “This is Mark Cuban. We just won the championship. Can I please spend some money?” The charge was then authorized.

The “no pre-set spending limit” system isn’t limited to the AmEx Centurion, however. The Green, Gold, Premier Rewards Gold, and Platinum all share the feature.

3. It’s made of anodized titanium

“Swiping your plastic” doesn’t apply to the Centurion, because it’s made of metal–anodized titanium to be exact. Users online who claim to have had the card say that cashiers normally comment on how heavy it is compared to regular cards. A Centurion holder once said in an interview with The Huffington Post that upon using her card at a Wegmans grocery store, “the check-out lady called over her co-workers and everyone in line started asking about who, where and what do I do for a living to have a card like that.” Yikes.


In 2014, a Chinese collector purchased an ancient ceramic cup at an auction for an equivalent of $36,000,000, all charged on the Black card. The collector–Liu Yiqian–got a pleasant surprise when his purchase earned him 421,860,000 AmEx points. That’s about 28 million frequent flyer miles.

5. It’s got some really exclusive benefits

From a dedicated concierge, invitations to exclusive events (in the best seats), high-end upgrades (we’re talking Ferraris and Lambos, not BMWs), to personalized gifts at your doorstep, owning an American Express Centurion Card has its perks. Need a reservation on the busiest holiday at the busiest restaurant tonight? Done. Want to go to the beach without really going? Have a ton of sand and palm trees delivered to your property because why the heck not.

Note, however, that while an excellent concierge strives to give you what you want when you want it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting the best possible price. You’re still paying for everything that you’re requesting to be done.

6. holding it comes with a cost

As of 2015, it is reported that a one-time initiation fee of $7,500 is needed before a person can officially own a Black card. The holder then pays $2,500 annually for their membership (see the User Agreement on the American Express website). Depending on the owner’s lifestyle and what the card is being used for (Centurion comes in “personal” and “business”), the fees involved may or may not be worth it. Frequent travelers, heavy spenders, and business owners are more likely to see their benefits outweigh the costs of owning the card.

What do you think about the American Express Centurion “Black” Card? Let me know!




I write about exceptional people in pop culture and business, and about things related to money, style, and life.

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