When the card was initially released it was only offered to a few thousand people (celebrities, wealthy business moguls, etc).
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You can redeem that for $625 in travel rewards when you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal, or $500 in travel rewards not booked through the portal. There’s one final option out there if you’re looking for a black metal card, and that’s the Visa Black card.
However, we don’t feel that the benefits justify the $495 annual fee.
Since then, American Express (a Credit Card Forum advertising partner) raised the annual fee all the way up to $2,500.
In addition, they’ve now tacked on a $7,500 so-called “initiation fee” just to get the card.
It’s comes with a wide array of benefits, many of which are comparable to the Am Ex Black. And it also has some benefits that might save you money, including a $200 credit for airline fees and reimbursement for Global Entry and TSA Pre Check.
In fact, a friend of mine who was a Centurion charter cardmember (and had it since ’99 when it launched) recently downgraded his account to Platinum because he found it had comparable benefits, yet costs thousands less per year. But be aware that its annual fee is 0 and that is NOT waived the first year.The Centurion has gone back and forth from being invitation only to open application.Currently, it is back to being offered by invitation only, but I’m sure if you met the spending qualifications on an existing Am Ex charge card and were willing to pay the fee, you could make inquiries and be given the opportunity to apply.You would think with such a drastic fee increase, that the benefits must have improved, right? Many feel the concierge service quality has diminished the past few years.In fact, I have read a number of forum posts by cardmembers who have canceled or downgraded to the American Express Platinum (with a 0 fee) because they said the Centurion was no longer worth anywhere close to the annual fee.A: The qualifications for the American Express Centurion card (a.k.a the “Black Card”) haven’t really been altered significantly since the card was first issued (in stealth mode) in 1999, but American Express has always been very strict about who gets to enter their posh club (as in the card is “by invitation only” and that’s just the beginning).