Its the international symbol of unimaginable wealth a credit card made of black titanium that carries no limit and that grants instant admission to any high-stakes roulette game in the world. Since American Express first introduced the Centurion card in 1999, the companys premier credit card has grown into something of a pop-culture legend.
Commonly referred to as the Black Card, its referenced by rappers, flaunted by Trump and imitated by Visa. But for all of this publicity, the Centurion is still very much a mystery. Very few people will ever see one, and even fewer will receive the fabled invitation to own one.
This week, however, American Express finally shed some light on the enigma. Though the company had previously referred to the fabled piece of metal in cryptic ways, it recently decided to open up to Forbes in an interview and the truth that it revealed concerning the Centurion may surprise you. Here are the facts behind the three biggest mysteries surrounding the infamous Black Card.
1) How hard is it to get one? AmEx still wont reveal exactly what it takes to get tapped to join the secret Centurion society, but the popular opinion is that you have to spend at least $250,000 per year on your current American Express card in order to receive an application for a Black Card. The only thing we know for sure is that you’ll pay a $5,000 fee up front and an additional $2,500 every year just to keep a Centurion in your pocket. Thats a big price tag. But the Centurion is a big deal.
2) What are the benefits of owning one? The benefits of the Black Card are about what youd expect from the worlds premier credit card discounts on luxury cars and vacations, admission to VIP lounges worldwide and, most importantly, a 24/7 concierge service that will get you anything you want. Theyll find you tickets to sold-out shows, get you track time in a formula one car and locate any piece of merchandise that your heart desires. For one cardholder, the concierge team even found the horse that Kevin Costner rode in Dances with Wolves.
3) Is there really no spending limit? The rumor that the Centurion card comes with no spending limit isnt entirely true. Since the Black Card isnt actually a credit card, it doesnt come with a limit at all. Rather, the Centurion is a charge card, and what that means is simple: cardholders can theoretically spend as much as they want, but they’re expected to pay it all back at the end of the month. So while you can argue that the Centurion is technically limitless, anyone who attempts to carry a balance on the card will find themselves faced with a very unhappy American Express.
There are still a few questions surrounding the infamous Black Card, but when you check out the American Express interview, its easy to see why this card is really made for the richest of the rich. You’ll spend money to apply for it. You’ll spend even more money to keep it. And then you’ll spend exponentially more money if you want to enjoy any of its perks. At that rate, youd be better off just getting a standard rewards credit card.