American Express Centurion Black Card Review 2019

4 stars out of 5

The Smart Investor has collected card information independently. Issuers did not provide the details, nor are they responsible for their accuracy. The review is not a recommendation, the actual rates/fees may be different.

American Express Black Card is a highly desirable card that is “invite only,” for big spenders. The estimated spending amounts of the invitees are $250,000 to $500,000 a year on their credit card.

 This card is for high net worth individuals who make over $1,000,000 a year and who are big spenders. There are many high-end benefits for card holders. 

Many of these benefits are exclusive to card holders and other cards in the market do not have the same or even similar benefits. The value of these perks ranges, but can be worth thousands of dollars. 

The cardmember agreement does state a hefty $10,000 initiation fee when you open the card and a $5,000 annual fee.

American Express Black Card

American express black card review 2019

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Our Bottom Line

Credit Rating Requirements




Here’s a summary of the main pros & cons (click to see explanation or scroll down):



Membership Points

High Initial Fee

Elevated Centurion Lounge Experience

High Annual Fee

Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion

Authorized User Fee

High Requirements/Spending

Restaurant Reservations, Wine Buying Benefits

American Express Centurion Black Credit Card – Benefits

Let’s take a look at the benefits of the Black Card card and see if it’s the right one for your wallet or not.

American Express Black Card holders earn 1.5X on purchases over $5,000. 

Many of the benefits are not earning points or rewards, but the many perks listed below.

American Express Black Card members get exclusive access to American Express Centurion Lounges at airports. 

Many Amex Lounges can be crowded and American Express Black Card holders get reserved seating at these lounges.

This may be the most valuable benefit of the American Express Black Card. The Platinum Medallion allows cardholders unlimited first-class upgrades on Delta. 

You can also get upgrades without paying the additional fees. Members also get priority check-in and boarding. This is about a $4,000 value.

American Express Black Card holders get a surprise gift every year. 

This gift is usually around a $250 value and can vary from high-end items, to exclusive dining experiences, to gift cards.

American Express Black Card holders can have access to over 1,000 of the world’s top restaurants that may be hard to get otherwise. 

American Express pre-reserves tables in advance and card holders can call the Amex concierge service to get a reservation through them.

American Express Black Card holders are offered private wine tasting tours and exclusive wine buying offers.

 The American Express Black Card also offers an annual complimentary appraisal of up to 100 wines.

American Express Black Card members have a dedicated concierge service that will go to great lengths to meet customers’ needs.

The American Express Black Card grants special hotel services for card holders at some of the top hotel chains in the world. 

Card holders enjoy perks such as late check-out, upgraded rooms, and credit at the hotel to spend on amenities such spa services. 

American Express Black Card holders are automatically signed up for the Hilton Honors Diamond status. This a $1,915 value which offers many Hilton perks.

American Express Black Card holders can get upgraded memberships to several of the leading rental car companies. 

This includes Hertz Platinum which guarantees vehicle upgrades.

American Express Black Card will reimburse your application fee for TSA Precheck or Global Entry once every four years. 

This cost is usually around $80 to $100.

You receive 50% of membership points back when you redeem points and book travel through American Express Travel or Centurion Travel Services.

Card holders will be greeted personally by an Amex representative in international airports who will help them through customs and immigration processing.

Cardholders get up to a $200 annual credit for fees such as checking baggage and in-flight purchases, $3,000 in Baggage Coverage, VIP Events, purchase protection, extended warranties, and travel protections.

American Express Centurion Black Credit Card – Drawbacks

Let’s take a look at the drawbacks of the American Express Centurion card and see if it’s the right one for your wallet or not.

American Express Black Card has an initial fee of $10,000 just to get the card.

American Express Black Card has an annual fee of $5,000, the highest in the market.

To add an authorized user, American Express Black Card charges an additional annual fee of $2,500.

American Express Black Card members must spend about $250,000 or more annually on a current American Express Card.

The only way to apply for American Express Black Card is by invitation. 

Card holders must make over $1 million a year and have a high net worth. 

The card is not for available for the general public.

Alternatives to American Express Centurion Black Credit Card

There are a couple of great cards you can consider as an alternative to the American Express Centurion card:

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers many rewards and benefits, but those rewards come with a smaller annual fee of $450. 

You get a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first four months. Points go further if travel is booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. 

You get 3X the points on travel and restaurants with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. If you book travel through Chase you also get a $300 credit once every year, which can help pay for the fee.

The Platinum Card from American Express offers many of the same perks as the Black card at a fraction of the cost. The Platinum card perks for hotels and rental cars are very similar. 

The Platinum Card also has a $200 travel credit, TSA pre-check reimbursement, and free wifi at airports and on airplanes. The Platinum Card annual fee is $550. 

It also offers a sign-up bonus of 70,000 points if you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. The Platinum card is not “invitation only,” and is available to the general public.

Mastercard Black Card is a premium card offered by Mastercard which offers some of the best travel rewards in the market. It is also available to the public and does not require a special invitation. 

Card holders earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. The rewards can be increased to 2% if they are redeemed for travel purchases. 

The Mastercard Black Card also has a concierge service, $100 annual travel credit, TSA pre-check and many travel and hotel benefits. The card’s annual fee is $495.

Is the AMEX Centurion Black Card Right for You?

American Express Black Card is one of the most exclusive cards in the market and is out of reach of the average consumer. The Black Card is for high net worth individuals who are big spenders.

The American Express Black Card offers many travel benefits and uses; in fact, you will find that the travel perks are the most extensive in the market. This card is best for high net worth individuals who spend a lot of time traveling. 

The initial and annual fees are steep, and the average card holder can get similar benefits from other cards in the market. American Express Black Card holders should take advantage of all the perks in order for the card to be worth it. 

Many may find the status symbol a sufficient benefit but the card offers hundreds of perks, exclusive offers, and benefits that card holders should explore fully.