The Centurion Card from American Express: A $5,000-a-year status symbol few can actually get



All information about the Centurion® Card from American Express credit card has been collected independently by Fortune Recommends™.

Our take: Want to get the American Express Centurion card, known for its sleek metal as the Amex Black card? Good luck with that. Amex notoriously won’t reveal what it takes to score an approval for this card that carries a $10,000 “initiation” fee and an ongoing $5,000 annual fee.

The Centurion Card from American Express

Qualification


The Amex Centurion is invite-only.





Annual fee $5,000
Initiation fee $10,000


Centurion Card overview

Card type: Travel, Airline, Hotel

Saying that the Centurion Black card is unique among credit cards is like saying that Elon Musk is unique among CEOs—a laughable understatement. Unlike the Platinum Card from American Express and or really any other premium credit card, the Amex Centurion card is never advertised and you can’t directly apply for it.

This aura of mystery only adds to the appeal of a card that costs as much as the annual social dues at a country club. What is known about the card is socialite-slim: You have to be an existing Amex Platinum cardholder and you have to have consistently spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 annually or more on that card. 

Those who are invited to apply will unlock an unparalleled trove of benefits. The Centurion Black card functions less like a credit card and more of an exclusive membership for the 1% of the 1%.

Who is the Amex Centurion card good for? 

The Amex Centurion card is ideal for a jet-setter who spends a lot, wants to put an extra “V” in VIP status and doesn’t mind paying for it. The card confers elite status at multiple hospitality brands, skip-the-line rights at Centurion airport lounges and perks like discounts on private airport waiting rooms at Los Angeles and Atlanta airports. 

Perhaps most importantly, its high-profile, hard-to-get status means that those who do obtain it get the ultimate bragging rights.

Who shouldn’t get the Amex Centurion? 

The Amex Centurion card isn’t right for anyone who has a more modest budget when it comes to spending on their credit card. It also isn’t right for someone who rarely travels as the bulk of the benefits (outside of the pride of ownership) are travel-related.

Amex Centurion: How to earn rewards

For a card that’s so far above the rest of the pack of ultra-premium cards as to basically be in its own category, the Amex Centurion card has a surprisingly lackluster rewards rate of just 1 Membership Rewards point per dollar spent. And, there’s no welcome bonus with this card. 

However, keep in mind that the point of the Centurion card isn’t the rewards but achieving the hard-to-get invitation to apply and unlocking the rich perks that come with it.

How to redeem Amex Centurion rewards 

Membership Rewards points are flexible, meaning they can be redeemed in multiple ways. Let’s break down what you can do with the rewards earned on the Centurion card.

Pay with points at checkout

You can use your stash like cash to pay at checkout with eligible partners like Amazon, Best Buy and PayPal. Points are typically worth 0.7 cents per point this way.

Redeem for travel with Pay with Points

You can use Membership Rewards to book travel through AmexTravel using the Pay with Points feature. Using points this way will give you a value of 1 cent per point for flights and hotels in the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts Collection, and 0.7 cents per point for prepaid hotel bookings, cruises, rental cars, and vacation packages.

Business Centurion cardholders get a 50% points rebate when booking reward flights through Amex Travel.

Redeem for travel by transferring to airline and hotel partners

One of the best uses of Membership Rewards points is transferring them to one of Amex’s airline partners. Amex has 18 airline partners and three hotel partners and in most cases you’ll get more value from your Membership Rewards by transferring points to a partner.

That’s because when you use your rewards to book a flight through Amex Travel, a point is always worth 1 cent. For example, a $300 flight booked this way would cost 30,000 Membership Rewards points. But, transfer 30,000 points to an eligible transfer partner and things get more interesting — and potentially, more valuable.

Here’s a quick example: We found a round trip nonstop flight from Miami to Toronto on Air Canada in June 2024 for $377.90. That same flight costs 27,400 Aeroplan points, meaning you save by transferring your rewards to Air Canada’s Aeroplan program and booking directly.

Redeem for gift cards

You can redeem your rewards to buy gift cards from a variety of options including hotel brands, airlines, restaurant chains, retailers and more. The value of redeeming your rewards this way ranges from 0.5 to  1 cent per point, depending on the specific gift card.

Redeem for statement credits

Redeeming Ultimate Rewards for a statement credit is worth just 0.6 cents per point, making this one of the least valuable redemption options.

Centurion card rates and fees

  • Annual fee: $5,000 plus a one-time initiation fee of $10,000 when you open the account.
  • Foreign transaction fee: None.
  • Purchase APR: 21.24% variable.

Additional benefits

This card is all about the perks, which fast-track you to an upscale experience when you travel, exercise and shop.

  • Elite hotel status: You’ll get top-tier elite status with Hilton and IHG properties, which means benefits like room upgrades, points bonuses, food and beverage credits, and preferred check-in and checkout options. You’ll also get Marriott Bonvoy Gold status, which comes with a points boost, enhanced room upgrades and late checkout.
  • Delta Air Lines Platinum Medallion status: This elite status tier with the airline means unlimited complimentary upgrades, waived fees for bags and ticket changes, priority check-in and expedited baggage, reciprocal elite status with SkyTeam alliance airlines, and an annual choice benefit which includes your pick of statement credits, discounts on future travel packages and more.
  • 50% points rebate on airfare (Business Centurion only): Those who hold the Business version of the Centurion card will benefit from getting 50% of their points back when they book reward flights through Amex. Unfortunately the personal version of the Centurion card does not offer this perk.
  • Skip-the-line Centurion airport lounge access: The Centurion cards offer the same lounge access as the Amex Platinum cards, which includes Centurion lounges, Escape lounges, Delta Sky Club, Lufthansa Lounge, Plaza Premium Lounge, and Priority Pass Select, but only Centurion cardholders can bring up to two guests for free and can skip the line to enter if there’s a wait.
  • Hertz President’s Circle status: This benefit comes with the Delta Platinum Medallion Status and includes a 50% points boost on rentals, a free additional driver, guaranteed car upgrades and skip the counter access to your confirmed car.
  • Equinox All-Access membership: Get annual credits toward an Equinox All-Access membership, which includes both in-person and online access to classes and facilities, and which would normally cost $405 a month.
  • Two complimentary visits for PS airport service: PS allows you to skip the airline terminal at Los Angeles and Atlanta airports and go through a private, line-free TSA screening, access dedicated customs and immigration services on arrival and relax as PS drivers escort you across the airfield directly to and from your aircraft.
  • Access to Centurion Fine Hotels & Resorts: Enjoy a step beyond the Fine Hotels & Resorts program benefits offered to Amex Platinum cardholders and includes upgrades confirmed at booking and a statement credit toward hotels booked with your card through Amex Travel. 
  • Trusted traveler application fee credits: Get either a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or a credit of up to $85 for TSA PreCheck — per a four-year period for Global Entry or four-and-a-half year period for TSA PreCheck.
  • CLEAR Plus credit: Receive a credit of up to $369 per calendar year for a CLEAR Plus membership. Clear uses biometrics to get you through security faster at select airports.
  • Saks Fifth Avenue credits: Get a $250 quarterly credit when you use your card to shop at Saks.
  • International arrival services: Fly internationally in first or business class booked through Amex and get a ​​dedicated guide to expedite you through customs and immigration.
  • Exclusive offers and events: Centurion cardholders will receive invites and access to exclusive dining, sporting and entertainment events, and more.

Credit cards similar to Amex Centurion

Since the Centurion card has no equal and is invite-only, it’s hard to compare it to other credit cards. But if you’re looking for a credit card that conveys your hotshot status, here are two to consider:

J.P. Morgan Reserve Card vs. Amex Centurion

The J.P. Morgan card from Chase is also for those with bulging bank accounts, requiring an account with J.P. Morgan’s private bank with investable assets of at least $10 million. If you meet that criteria, you can apply for the card, unlike the Amex Centurion. However, aside from the quiet luxury of owning a card that few can qualify for, the $550-annual-fee card is a mirror image of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, right down to its generous rewards on travel and dining. 

The card earns 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually, 5X points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually, 3X points on other travel and dining (including eligible food delivery services) not booked through Chase immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually, 1X on all other purchases.

That rewards rate is far better than what’s offered on the Centurion and the card comes with Priority Pass Select and Sapphire lounge access, plus, unlike the Chase Sapphire Reserve version, the J.P. Morgan Reserve offers United Club membership, worth $550 to $650, depending on your status with United.

If you want bragging rights, but are frustrated by the lack of an invitation to apply for the Centurion, the J.P. Morgan Reserve card will still let you flex your net worth — and you can apply for it through your J.P. Morgan client advisor.

The The Platinum Card® from American Express vs. Amex Centurion

The original status symbol card is available to anyone with excellent credit and a willingness to pay a $695 annual fee. Although the The Platinum Card® from American Express may not be as elitist as the Centurion, there are still plenty of people who consider it a mark of privilege given its hefty annual fee and extensive benefits.

The Platinum Card earns 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), 5x Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel and 1X on all other spending. Similar to the Centurion, the real benefit of the card isn’t in the rewards rate but the perks. No other publicly available card offers as widespread airport lounge access as the Platinum Card. Ownership includes access to the Centurion lounges, the Escape lounges, Delta Sky Club, Lufthansa lounges, Plaza Premium and Priority Pass Select.

The card also comes with a bevy of credits including a $200 hotel credit for eligible prepaid bookings made through Amex Travel, a $200 airline incidental fee credit, a $240 digital entertainment credit, a $155 Walmart+ membership credit, $200 in Uber Cash for rides or Uber Eats, a $300 Equinox credit, a $189 CLEAR Plus application fee credit and more. Terms apply.

You’ll also enjoy Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, Hilton Honors Gold status, and premium status with car rental programs for Avis, Hertz, and National. 

Although you don’t have to have net worth in the seven-digit range to be a cardholder, the Amex Platinum still offers plenty of clout, particularly at the airport.

Is the Amex Centurion right for you?

The Amex Centurion card is right for someone who charges hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to their Amex Platinum and can score an invite for the Platinum’s elusive big sibling. Whether or not you’ll get enough value out of the Centurion card to justify the high price of ownership isn’t the point. 

Getting an invite to apply is the end goal for most. If you do get one, you’ll be in elite company, as comedian Jerry Seinfeld is rumored to be a Centurion cardholder and rappers from Nicki Minaj to Romeo have referenced the Amex Black card in their work.

Frequently asked questions 

Who is eligible for the Amex Centurion card?

Although there is no publicly available definitive criteria, anecdotal reports indicate the invitation-only card requires excellent credit, willingness to pay the initiation and annual fee, ownership of an Amex Platinum card and several hundred thousand dollars a year worth of spending on your Platinum card. You can request an invitation to apply, but that won’t improve your chances if you don’t fit the above criteria.

What are the perks of the Amex Centurion card?

The main perk of the Amex Black card is the bragging rights if you were able to get it. If you are fortunate enough to have received an invite to apply, the card offers high-level luxury benefits including top-tier hotel statuses, Delta Air Lines Medallion status, Centurion hotel perks and credits and discounts for high-end experiences like private airport lounge access and Equinox All-Access membership.

How much is the credit limit on the Amex Centurion?

The Centurion card doesn’t have a preset credit limit, and account holders are expected to pay their card in full at the end of each billing cycle. It is possible to use Amex’s Pay Over Time feature on this card for eligible purchases, which would then be subject to the card’s APR like a traditional credit card.

It’s worth noting that since the criteria to apply includes regular spending of several hundred thousand annually on an Amex Platinum that the Centurion can most likely be used to charge high-ticket items without any issues.


Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying.

All information about the Centurion® Card from American Express credit card has been collected independently by Fortune Recommends™.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefits guide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.



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