You are currently viewing Amex Centurion (black) card benefits — and how to get them without the card

Amex Centurion (black) card benefits — and how to get them without the card

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

The Centurion Card from American Express is perhaps the most desirable piece of anodized titanium out there, in no small part because of the shroud of secrecy and exclusivity that surrounds it. Unless you’re invited to apply and accepted (more on how that happens later), Amex keeps a tight lid on the numerous benefits and exclusive perks available to cardmembers.

But we know enough people who are part of the Centurion “Club” (including the original Points Guy himself, Brian Kelly, who carries the business version) that we have a pretty good idea of what this exclusive card brings to the table.

Short of any official confirmation, here’s the best information we’ve been able to round up about the card. And if you aren’t invited to apply, don’t worry — we’ll also share other ways to get some of the card’s top-tier benefits.

The information for the Centurion Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

How to get the Amex Centurion card

First things first: There are two versions of the Centurion Card† — a business version and a personal one. It’s potentially much easier to get the card as a business owner, but either way, it requires racking up significant charges.

THE POINTS GUY

There’s no official requirement for Centurion eligibility, but we’re talking big bucks.

Amex reportedly extends invitations to apply for the business card only if you’ve spent (and paid off) at least $450,000 (or $500,000 — we’ve heard both) across all your Amex accounts in a calendar year. For the personal card, the bar is rumored to be set at around $350,000.

Note that these amounts aren’t officially confirmed, and just because you spend enough and have good standing across accounts doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be invited to apply. Part of the exclusivity of the Centurion Card† is that there’s a secret formula behind who gets invited.

Related: You can now request an invite to the Amex Centurion card

Centurion Card fees and payments

In the publicly available rewards card space, The Platinum Card® from American Express is considered the cream of the crop. But the initiation and annual fees for the Centurion Card† make Amex Platinum’s $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) look like child’s play.

There’s an initiation fee of $10,000, along with an annual fee of $5,000. This means you’re looking at a tab of $15,000 — between the initiation fee and the first-year annual fee — before you can even start using your card.

Related: Is the Amex Platinum worth its annual fee? 

Earning points on the Centurion Card

The Centurion Card† has some impressive benefits, but it falls flat in the points-earning arena. Cardmembers earn just one Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on all purchases.

Man paying with credit card in a restaurant
WESTEND61/GETTY IMAGES

Other options for earning: You’ll actually get much better Membership Rewards earning potential with the Amex Platinum or the American Express® Gold Card since both have bonus-earning categories.

And if you aren’t loyal to Membership Rewards, you’ll do much better earning 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases with the Chase Sapphire® Reserve or 2 Capital One miles per dollar spent on all purchases with the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

Elite status with the Centurion Card

Along with being a status marker itself, the Centurion Card† allows cardmembers to receive automatic elite status with several programs.

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status

Enjoy room upgrades at check-in and late checkout when available, plus a welcome gift at participating properties and a 25% points bonus on your stays (available for Qualifying Rates). Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status is a mid-tier hotel status that can be very valuable.

Grand Luxe bedroom/living area at The St. Regis Kanai Resort, Riviera Maya
The St. Regis Kanai Resort, Riviera Maya Grand Luxe suite. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

Other ways to get it: You’ll get Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status automatically with the Amex Platinum, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card (no longer available to new applicants) and the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card.

Alternatively, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card provide faster paths to elite status. Or, you could get Gold Elite status the old-school way by staying 25 qualifying nights at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties.

The information for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details om this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Hilton Honors Diamond status

Get space-available room upgrades, 48-hour room guarantees, free premium internet (on reservations booked directly with Hilton), a 100% bonus on all Hilton Honors base points you earn and the fifth reward night free. Hilton Honors Diamond status offers guests incredible value and benefits.

Other ways to get it: You can get this status automatically by holding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. Alternatively, you can get it through the end of the next calendar year by spending $40,000 in a calendar year on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card or the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card.

You can also achieve this status by reaching 30 stays or 60 nights at eligible Hilton properties in a calendar year.

The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status

You’ll also get priority check-in, complimentary room upgrades, a welcome amenity, early check-in, guaranteed room availability and a 60% bonus on base points earned during your IHG stays with IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status.

InterContinental Shenzhen Dameisha Resort. IHG HOTELS & RESORTS

Other ways to get it: You’ll get this status automatically as a cardholder of the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card, the IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card or the United Club℠ Infinite Card. Alternatively, you can earn this status by staying 40 qualified nights at eligible IHG properties in a calendar year.

Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status

Get complimentary upgrades, priority waitlisting, 9 miles per dollar spent, priority check-in and boarding and more. Platinum Medallion status is very valuable and sought after by Delta loyalists.

Other ways to get it: The Centurion Card† is the only card that automatically gives you this status. However, you can fast-track your path to SkyMiles status if you hold the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.

Hertz Platinum status

Get upgrades at the time of rental, courtesy pickup and delivery of the car to select private plane terminals, first priority for car availability at participating locations and complimentary child seats and ski racks.

Other ways to get it: You’ll get  Hertz President’s Circle status, which has most of the same benefits, as a cardholder of the Amex Platinum. You can also get it by completing 15 Hertz rentals or spending $3,000 with Hertz in a calendar year.

Avis President’s Club status

Enjoy a guaranteed car with a reservation, complimentary double upgrades, the lowest applicable rates on domestic reservations and expedited service at most locations.

Other ways to get it: You’ll get Avis President’s Club status automatically by holding the United Club Infinite Card. Alternatively, you’ll receive this status if you earn 100,000 American Airlines Loyalty Points or are a United Premier Platinum, Premier 1K or Global Services member. You’ll also earn this status organically with 20 rentals or $6,000 in spending in a calendar year.

Centurion Card statement credits

Clear Plus membership

Cardmembers receive an annual statement credit for up to $369 to cover a Clear Plus membership for them and up to three family members. Clear uses biometric authentication to speed you through security and deposit you right at the front of the line, and it’s currently available at more than 65 airports, stadiums and other venues. 

Other ways to get it: The additional family member coverage is unique to the Centurion Card†. However, the Amex Platinum and the American Express® Green Card both come with statement credits of up to $189 for Clear Plus memberships.

The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Saks Fifth Avenue credits

Cardmembers receive up to $1,000 annually in credits for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases, distributed as quarterly credits of $250.

Other ways to get it: This specific credit is unique to the Centurion Card†. However, Amex Platinum cardmembers receive up to $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue credits annually, distributed as two up to $50 credits during the calendar year.

Equinox All-Access membership

Cardmembers receive up to $3,600 in credits annually for an Equinox All-Access membership.

EQUINOX/FACEBOOK

Other ways to get it: Again, this specific credit is unique to the Centurion Card†, but Amex Platinum cardmembers receive up to $300 in Equinox credits annually for eligible membership purchases (subject to auto-renewal; enrollment required).

Centurion Card perks and access

Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts

In addition to the Centurion Hotel Program, cardmembers can leverage Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts to enjoy several on-property benefits like room upgrades when available, daily breakfast for two and a unique property amenity when paying with an eligible card.

Amanjena, an Aman hotel. AMANJENA/FACEBOOK

Other ways to get it: Amex Platinum cardmembers can also access this program.

Centurion concierge

One of the most valuable “soft perks” of having the Amex Centurion† is the personal concierge who is available to help with many tasks.

Here’s what Brian Kelly has to say about Ray, his personal Centurion concierge:

I’d guess that Ray saves me more than $20,000 a year. From knowing my preferred seat on a plane based on the layout of the cabin to advising hotels of my arrival and departure time, Ray is a jack of all trades. He’s arranged a tour in Beijing for me and my parents to visit the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China. He’s gotten me theater tickets, great concert seats (front row for Celine Dion) and hard-to-get restaurant reservations. Ray even takes on particularly cumbersome tasks, like locating my headphones when I lost them 10,000 miles from home.

Brian also praises the concierge for helping him leave Bali, Indonesia, during the eruption of Mount Agung, as well as providing excellent service for rebooking travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

Other ways to get it: While not quite as extensive as the Centurion concierge, premium Amex cardholders can access an American Express Concierge for assistance purchasing event tickets, making reservations, booking travel and fulfilling shopping requests. This perk is available on the Amex Platinum, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.

The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Centurion International Arrival Services

When you travel in business or first class on international flights, you’ll be greeted by a personal guide who will expedite you through customs and immigration. When possible, Centurion can coordinate ground transportation as well, and baggage porters are available for a fee. These services are available for you and up to eight travel companions on eligible flights and at over 30 international airports.

Airport lounge access

Centurion† cardmembers receive complimentary access to Amex’s Global Lounge Collection, which includes access to Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass Select lounges, Escape Lounges, Plaza Premium lounges, Lufthansa lounges and other Global Lounge Collection partner lounges. Plus, they receive complimentary access for up to two guests — a benefit that has been restricted on the Amex Platinum.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Other ways to get it: Amex Platinum cardmembers also receive complimentary access to Amex’s Global Lounge Collection but with stricter guest privileges.

Centurion Haus

Centurion† cardmembers have exclusive access to the Centurion Haus lounge, a speak-easy venue hidden behind a shop in the Raffles Singapore arcade.

ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Those who have the card and know the lounge’s location can gain access by walking into the right hat shop and pushing a specific display panel. The hat shop wall then opens to reveal the entrance to this members-only lounge, where Centurion cardmembers can relax in their choice of elegant seating and order from a menu of sophisticated food and beverage options.

PS Membership

Centurion† cardmembers get an annual membership to PS (formerly The Private Suite) with locations currently open at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and another at Miami International Airport (MIA) set to open soon. These private airport suites let you feel like a true celebrity when departing or arriving from one of their airport locations.

LAX PS VIP Terminal. BENJI STAWSKI/THE POINTS GUY

The normal membership cost is $4,850, but you’ll still need to pay an additional $3,550 each time you use the service.

Travel and shopping protections

Centurion† cardmembers enjoy the highest level of travel and shopping protections American Express has to offer, including protection against trip delay and cancellation* and baggage delays** as well as extended warranty** and purchase protection.**

Other ways to get it: Amex Platinum cardmembers also receive the full range of Amex protections, but similar protections can be found on multiple cards in Amex’s portfolio.

*Eligibility and benefit level vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

**Eligibility and benefit level vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

Exclusive offers and events

Centurion† cardmembers also receive special access to dining opportunities and special events, including preferred reservations at top restaurants and access to private wine tours. They also receive the top tier of exclusive VIP access to entertainment.

Other ways to get it: Amex Platinum and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers also receive access to concierge services, which can secure a table at most top restaurants. They also have access to Amex’s exclusive By Invitation Only events.

Go to the Kentucky Derby with exclusive offers with the Centurion Card. IAN JOHNSON/ICON SPORTSWIRE/GETTY IMAGES

Bottom line

For businesses and individuals lucky enough to get invited to apply, the exclusivity and the cushy lifestyle exclusives make this card quite enticing. But even if you don’t have the opportunity to add the coveted Centurion Card† to your wallet, you can get many of the same perks for a much lower annual fee with the Amex Platinum. Regardless of your path to luxury credit card perks, the cards in your wallet can be a key to the good life.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Bevy, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Business card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Platinum, please click here.  
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve, please click here.