Ever heard of the American Express "Black Card"?
06-15-2010, 06:27 PM (This post was last modified: 06-17-2010 11:36 PM by NickHedge.)
Ever heard of the American Express "Black Card"?
I am sitting here listening to Limbaugh vomit about his wedding to a 30 year old babe (whose father is [by the way] friends & naval schoolmates with McCain). He mentions very quickly that he is a "Black Card Member". I thought I would google that and see what it was he was talking about. Come to find out that there is an interesting story here.
American Express Centurion "Black Card"
The Centurion Card, known informally as the black card, is a charge card issued by American Express. The card is available in select markets, mainly the US, Canada, Europe, Korea, areas of China, Japan, Australia and Israel. The Centurion Card provides access to a range of benefits, depending on the country where the card is issued. In the 1980s, urban legends circulated about a black credit card of high spending power. While those legends were false at the time (yeah right), American Express decided to capitalize on them by introducing the Centurion card in 1999.
To become a Centurion cardholder, one must meet American Express's strict eligibility criteria. Cardholders are required to pay an annual fee, and in some countries also an initiation fee.
In the 1980s, rumors and urban legends began to circulate that there was a "magic credit card" where the bearers of the card could order up luxuries instantly; some of the reported uses of this card involve the bearer ordering a trip to Paris via the Concorde and buying the horse used by Kevin Costner in the movie Dances with Wolves. These stories remain unsubstantiated. (I suspect it's true)
In 1999, playing upon this urban legend, American Express released the Centurion Card, named after AMEX's corporate logo. The card is made of anodized titanium, which gives the card heft and weight.
The Centurion card was available to preferred cardholders by invitation only up until 2006.
Now, potential cardholders may call American Express directly, but are subject to a strict verification process. There are ways to obtain a card without verification. (I just bet there is) A way to obtain a Centurion card and bypass the verification process is work for a company that issues Centurion cards to its top employees. Advice from Quicksprout.com (whose founder is a Centurion cardholder) notes that if you offer the money upfront, American Express may consider you to be less of a credit risk.
While American Express does not publicly disclose the requirements for getting a card, requirements revealed by the founder of Quicksprout.com include:
* A nearly blemish-free credit history
* Spend at least $250,000 annually on a current American Express Platinum or Gold card (around roughly $21,000 per month)
* A one-time card membership fee of $5,000. An annual fee of $2,500 is also levied
* Have a "major" net worth (undisclosed by American Express)
Centurion Card Annual Fees
Country & Annual Fee
United States US$ 2,500 + One-time joining fee of US $5,000
United Kingdom £1800
Canada CDN $2,500 + One-time joining fee of CDN $5,000
France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden € 2,000
Germany € 2,800
Switzerland CHF 2,000
Australia AU $4,300
Japan ¥ 367,500
Hong Kong HK $19,800 + One-time joining fee of HK $23,800
Singapore SG $5,000
Mexico About 33,000 pesos
Saudi Arabia SAR 11,250
Intl Dollar Currency Card (IDC) US $2,800
International Euro Currency Card (IEC) € 2,800
Israel US $2,000
Russia 85000 Rubles
The card, available for personal and business use, offers services such as a dedicated concierge and travel agent, complimentary companion airline tickets on international flights on selected airlines with the purchase of a full fare ticket, personal shoppers at retailers such as Escada, Gucci, and Neiman Marcus, access to airport clubs, first class flight upgrades, membership in Sony's Cierge personal shopping program, and dozens of other elite club memberships.
Hotel benefits include one free night when at least one paid night is booked during the same stay in every Mandarin Oriental hotel worldwide once a year (except for the New York City property), and privileges at hotel chains like Ritz-Carlton, Leading Hotels of the World, and Aman resorts. All of the benefits mentioned above are for United States-issued cards.
American Express Centurion cards issued in other countries may include different benefits. The card has recently added new amenities, including access into the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold, as well as US Airways Platinum Preferred status as of June 1, 2007 in addition to Continental Gold and Delta Gold (which also works on Northwest). As of August 14, 2007, American Airlines Admirals Club access was added to the list of amenities. The card also features complimentary enrollment in Hertz Rent A Car #1 Club Gold and the Avis Rent A Car Presidents club.
A new Centurion card crafted from anodized titanium was issued as an upgrade for all plastic U.S. Centurion cards in the first half of 2006, with the titanium version being rolled out to certain other countries as well.
This new card is slightly thicker than a standard credit card, and therefore is sometimes difficult to insert and remove from some card readers, such as the ones found on gas station pumps, and point of sale terminals. The Titanium card is manufactured by First Data as well as Data First. (I hardly think that people with this card are going to be using that card to buy gas at the local Circle K station)
Since the inception of the card, members have received a copy of Departures Magazine, which is also sent to all Platinum cardholders. However, in 2004, American Express Centurion members began to receive an exclusive "no name" magazine which was not available by any other means (Hmmmmm). Starting with the Spring 2007 edition, this magazine has been officially titled "Black Ink". Black Ink magazine is available for Centurion members with the 'personal edition' of the card, not the Centurion Business edition. European, Asian and Australian Centurion members receive quarterly the Centurion magazine, published by Journal International GmbH (Munich, Germany).
According to Journal International, the average age of a Centurion reader from Europe or the Middle East is 49 years. 94% of primary cardholders are male and they have an average of 3.3 properties. Their average household income is €653,000 and their average total net worth is €4.5million. They have an average disposable monthly income of €8,800. Centurion Magazine has been published since 2001 and has a circulation in Europe and the Middle East of 44,100, in Asia of 13,900 and in Australia of 6,000.
How interesting. I would love to get a copy of that magazine Black Ink - just to see what it says.
My personal prediction for Limbaugh is this:
I find that the "health issue" took place only a few months ago. The planning of the wedding was supposedly months (last year) in the making. I never believed that Limbaugh was in the hospital for what they said. I always believed that he was getting his "wiring tuned up". I believe that the marriage is arranged. I believe that Limbaugh will not be alive for another 365 days. From the date of the wedding counting forward Limbaugh will be dead before 1 years time and his "wife/handler" will be quite rich and one of the triumvirate (Levin, Limbaugh, Hannity) will be removed from the national stage. That is my prediction.
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats. H. L. Mencken
|Messages In This Thread|
Ever heard of the American Express "Black Card"? - NickHedge - 06-15-2010 06:27 PM
RE: Ever heard of the American Express "Black Card"? - h3rm35 - 06-15-2010, 08:43 PM
RE: Ever heard of the American Express "Black Card"? - SiLVa - 06-15-2010, 09:15 PM
RE: Ever heard of the American Express "Black Card"? - Weyland - 06-15-2010, 11:08 PM
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