American Express offers credit cards with a variety of annual expenses, qualifying income, and services offered. It introduced the second most expensive card, the Platinum card, in 1984. Within a few years, other credit card companies began offering similar premium cards labeled “platinum.” In 1999, American Express began issuing a higher-level card, the Centurion card. Unlike other credit cards that are made of plastic, the all-black Centurion card is titanium-only.
American Express Platinum
The Amex Platinum card has an annual membership fee of $450. It provides members with premium services in a number of areas. You earn points whenever you use the card, with certain purchases going to earn three and four times as many points. Points can be redeemed for gifts or travel from Amex’s corporate partners, including some airlines. Amex stressed that its tourist destinations do not have power outage dates or other restrictions. The company offers Platinum cardholders free access to airport lounges with air travel partners and “concierge services,” meaning the company will book hotels, airlines, restaurants and a range of events for cardholders. Its Platinum “Membership Rewards” program includes significant fraud protection, purchases and returns.
Like other cards, you will receive an Amex Platinum card by signing up. The company will check your credit not only on the overall score but also on spending habits. It does not publish information about specific criteria, but platinum card applicants often receive a lower-cost, lower-status Yellow card. If your Yellow Card spending habits meet Amex’s criteria, you will receive a Platinum card offer. The card does not have a fixed spending limit.
American Express Centurion
Amex Centurion cards, often referred to as “black cards” or “titanium cards”, offer special benefits at a hefty price. Amex charges a starting fee of $5,000 and an annual fee of $2,500. In addition to all the benefits available in Platinum membership, Amex designates each of its Centurion cardholders (approximately 17,000 worldwide) a personal guide. You call your own concierge, who will book almost everything that needs to be booked in advance, from hotels and airlines to sold-out events. In addition to all the perks afforded to Platinum cardholders, Amex also creates special, free Centurion events, in addition to redeeming Centurion points: a round of golf with Tiger Woods (80,000 points) or a flight into extra orbital space with astronaut Buzz Aldrin (20 million points).
You can’t get a Centurion card by signing up. Amex must invite you. As well as the Platinum card, Amex does not specify its eligibility criteria. Credit card analysts believe that, in addition to good credit and a previous relationship with Amex, you need to charge about $250,000 annually on Amex and its other credit cards.
Shortly after Amex introduced its Platinum card, other credit card companies began issuing competitive platinum cards. Bank of America, Citigroup and others have repeated this process at the black card level. For example, Bank of America’s Accolades card offers similar perks and a $500,000 credit line. Coutts, a UK bank, offers its special cards to customers with a minimum margin amount of $1 million.