The American Express Black Card, also known as the American Express Centurion Card, is one of the most elusive credit cards around the world – not just in Canada! There’s not too much information available about the specifics of this card, but that just makes it all the more alluring. All we can say is that those who do manage to get it will not be disappointed.
Not Just a Myth
The American Express Black Card was first introduced in 1999, but people were talking about it long before that. Due to American Express’ high standards for applicants of their cards and their tendency to want to cater to the very highest levels of consumers, everyone wondered whether there might be some sort of exclusive cards or deals that only the top-ranking customers would get access to. For whatever reason, it was popularly decided that the exclusive card that everyone was imagining was a black card (presumably to contrast the gold and platinum levels that are more commonly available and to provide an impression of sleek luxury).
At the turn of the century, American Express decided to make this legend into a reality, and now the card really does exist. However, they deliberately publish very little information on it, and so few people have one that it’s hard to know what most people’s experience with it is like. Most of the time when it’s mentioned online, it’s by people who are admiring it from afar and wishing they had it but who probably will never even have the chance to be considered for it. There are a few reviews written about it in travel publications, but those generally aren’t written from a general consumer’s point of view. If you’re curious about it, you’re just going to have to hope you get to try it out first-hand.
How Do You Get It?
There is no application form for the American Express Black Card. Anyone can request to be considered for this invitation, but a much smaller percentage of people will ever be seriously considered. No one is quite sure of what the real requirements are, but those who have managed to get it have pieced together some of the likely qualifying factors based on where they were in their credit lives when they were accepted. The commonly accepted requirements are that you must:
- be an American Express customer.
- hold an American Express card for at least 1 year.
- charge at least $250,000 in expenses to your card each year.
The last requirement is still up for debate, and some people believe that you really need up to $450,000 in spending to be considered. There is also an element of randomness to the invitations, as not everyone who fulfills these three criteria will automatically be approved to get the American Express Balck Card.
Why Do You Want It?
Now that you know how much of a struggle it is to be approved for the American Express Black Card, you might be wondering if it’s all worth it. Before we can answer that question, we need to make you aware of another aspect of it that might put some people off wanting it. Getting it will cost you $5,000 to $7,500 in intiation fees, plus another $2,500 for the annual fee and an extra $2,500 on top of that if you want an extra card for someone else to use. That’s on top of any interest fees you might end up paying – all told, this card is massively expensive to own.
That’s not to say that you don’t receive value for all that money, though. This is considered a travel card if you want to apply a classification to it, but it isn’t actually very good for rewards alone. You’ll get 1 point per dollar on everything you buy, which is a rate you can get with some free cards – although the Black Card reward points are admittedly worth more than those ones. Like most of the very most exclusive cards out there, though, this one packs all of its value into its benefits. With it, you’ll enjoy concierge service with a dedicated agent just for you, elite status with several hotel chains and airlines (and all the perks that come with that), exclusive airport lounge access, credits for flights and application fees for various programs, access to special events that only Black Card holders can go to, and much more.
By far the biggest part of this card’s appeal, though, is the prestige factor that comes with holding it. Very few people have this card, and getting it isn’t as easy as just applying for it. You have to be a person of significant means and get lucky in order to add this card to your collection because there is no specific set of intructions about what you need to do to be accepted. It’s a way of signalling your status and marking your achievements in life as much as it is any kind of practical financial product, and with all the hype built up around it, it does that job perfectly.
What You Can Do To Get Your Hands on the American Express Black Card
As we explained above, you can’t get the American Express Black Card through the usual channels. You have to be invited to get it, not apply for it, and the rumoured criteria for doing so is so demanding that it will be forever out of reach for virtually all Canadians. However, there will be some people out there who could potentially satisfy those requirements with a little more effort. If you’re one of them, here are some tips you can follow to make it more likely that you will become one of the elite few to get this card.
- Spend as much time as possible as an American Express cardholder with one of their other cards in your pocket.
- Increase your income enough that you can significantly increase your spending.
- Charge as much as possible to your card. each month
- Work on perfecting your credit score (it’s not usually thought to be a requirement, but it can’t hurt).
Good luck, and keep on trying to get that coveted card!