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The American Express Centurion Card

From travel credits and hotel upgrades to airport lounge access and complimentary champagne – discover a world of exclusive features with the American Express Centurion.

The American Express Centurion Card is one of the most prestigious and exclusive cards in the world. Introduced in 1999, this charge card has no set spending limit, a suite of travel and lifestyle perks and rewards for your spending. It is also only available by invitation from American Express and shrouded in mystery.

Use this guide to learn about some of the benefits, features and costs for this card and how to improve your chances of getting an American Express Centurion in Australia. You can also compare other American Express credit cards to decide which premium option offers the most benefits for you.

How is the American Express Centurion different to other cards?

American Express is known for offering a range of premium cards. The key difference with the Centurion is that it is only available by invitation to a select number of people. These chosen few then gain access to an extensive range of complimentary extras such as flights, lounge access, hotel stays and upgrades and insurance.

While the eligibility criteria is quite ambiguous, it's useful to note that the average household income for cardholders was $1.3 million with assets of $16.3 million in 2011. It's also been said that cardholders required a five-figure monthly spending bill per month to get this card.

How much does the American Express Centurion cost

Within Australia, the annual fee for the card is $5,000 with a one-off establishment fee of $5,000. This means you'd pay $10,000 in the first year and $5,000 per year after that. Other American Express cards have annual fees ranging from $0 to $1,200.

Comparison of other credit cards available from American Express

Rates last updated January 21st, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
American Express Velocity Escape Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Earn uncapped Velocity Points on purchases, pay $0 annual fee for life and take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer offer.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$395 p.a.
Get 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, a yearly $400 Travel Credit and 2 entries per year to the Amex Lounge.
American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle - Qantas
20.24% p.a.
$99 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($249 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 75,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria with this dual Visa (issued & serviced by Westpac) & Amex (issued & serviced by Amex).
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$375 p.a.
Receive 50,000 bonus Velocity Points and enjoy complimentary lounge passes, a domestic return flight and insurance covers.
American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle
20.24% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
$49 first year annual fee & up to 75,000 bonus Altitude Pts when you meet T&C with Visa (issued by Westpac) & Amex (issued & serviced by Amex).
David Jones American Express Card
20.74% p.a.
$99 p.a.
Not just for David Jones shoppers, receive 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards points or 10,000 Qantas Points when you meet the spend criteria.
American Express Essential Credit Card
14.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 3% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Get Smartphone Screen Insurance of up to $500 when you pay for your phone or contract with this card. Plus, a $0 annual fee for life.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$450 p.a.
Receive 55,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
David Jones American Express Platinum Card
20.74% p.a.
$295 p.a.
For DJ's shoppers or Qantas travellers, receive 40,000 bonus Membership Rewards points or 20,000 Qantas Points when you meet the spend criteria.
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card
16.99% p.a.
$395 p.a.
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you meet the spend criteria. Plus, 2 yearly entries to the American Express Lounge.

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What are the features and benefits of the American Express Centurion Card?

While American Express does not offer public details of this invitation-only card, some of the benefits you could look forward to include:

  • Personal or business use. The card can be used for personal as well as business use. You can also request additional cards for family members or employees.
  • Titanium card. One of the most famous features of the Centurion Card is that it is made of titanium. However, you can also be issued with a plastic version that's compatible with contactless and mobile payment services.
  • Travel benefits. Some of the travel benefits you could enjoy with this card include complimentary flights, a dedicated travel-booking service, airport chauffeur service, Priority Pass membership, Virgin Lounge and Qantas Club Lounge benefits and cruise company credits.
  • Hotel benefits. As well as a complimentary hotel stay and upgrades at many locations, exclusive privileges and hotel reward program benefits are available with partners including Hilton Honors, Starwood Preferred Guest and InterContinental Hotels.
  • Complimentary insurance. The American Express Centurion offers a suite of complimentary insurance covers including international travel insurance, purchase protection, refund protection and extended warranty cover.
  • Mobile contactless payments. Whether you have an Android, Apple or Samsung device, you can save time at the cash register and pay with the convenience of your smartphone with Google Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.

How can I get an American Express Centurion Card?

As an invitation-only card, there are no specific eligibility criteria available for the American Express Centurion Card. But if your aim is to get this card, there are a few details that could help you get an invitation:

  • Build a relationship with Amex. American Express only sends out a limited number of Centurion invitations to its existing customers. So you can work towards getting this card by using other premium American Express products.
  • Pay off your account regularly and on time. If you want an Amex Centurion invitation, you'll also need to show that you can afford to use it by making account repayments regularly.
  • Make use of your current extras. The American Express Centurion is reported to have an extensive suite of complimentary extras and benefits that cater to premium card members. So using the perks available on your current card could help show American Express that you are the type of person who appreciates and benefits from these features.
  • Meet the financial requirements. Although there are no official financial requirements listed for this card, it's clear that the Amex Centurion is designed for big spenders and earners.

The American Express Centurion Card has become a status symbol for the elite. Informally called the “black card”, this card has held a high position among ultra-premium cards since its launch. But if you don't get an invite for a Centurion card, you can still compare the wide range of American Express credit and charge cards to find one that suits your current needs.

Frequently asked questions

Images: Shutterstock

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Adrian Barclay

Adrian spends most of his working hours writing about home loans and everything property, as well as interviewing finance experts.

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