In Australia, the highest publicly available American Express card is the Amex Platinum Charge card. Costing $1,450 per year, this card comes with some serious perks including airport lounge access and status with several hotel chains. But there’s another Amex card that’s so exclusive, you have to be invited to apply.
The Amex Centurion card, which is physically made of anodised titanium, is not for everybody. This premium, invitation-only charge card comes with a $5,000 joining fee and a $5,000 annual fee. There are reports on Australian Frequent Flyer of the joining fee being waived is you ask politely, although it is unlikely that the annual fee would be waived or substantially reduced. So, the Amex Centurion card is quite an investment.
Amex Centurion card benefits
The Amex Centurion card, also known as Amex Black, comes with some serious benefits.
Firstly, it earns more points than any other Amex card in Australia. You’ll earn the equivalent of 1.25 airline points per $1 spent, uncapped. These points can be transferred to the same 10 airlines and hotel loyalty programs as the Amex Platinum card, including Qantas, Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines.
There’s complimentary Qantas Club membership for either the cardholder or a nominated additional cardholder. The Centurion card also comes with free Emirates Skywards Gold tier status.
As with the Platinum card, you’ll receive instant elite status with various hotel chains. But with the Centurion card, you’ll get top-tier Hilton Diamond and Shangri-La Diamond status – which can get you a year of Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold status if you take just one Singapore Airlines flight. There’s also Avis Presidents Club and Hertz President’s Circle status.
In addition, there are various concierge services, airfare discounts, airport escort services and other benefits available.
AFF member Pointy Bird has posted a full list of the Amex Centurion benefits on the Austalian Freuqent Flyer forum.
How do I get an American Express Centurion card?
American Express does not publicly reveal the criteria it uses in sending Centurion card invitations. But AFF member kallinch has posted some of the criteria on our forum.
In general, you need to have held an Amex Platinum charge card for at least 6-12 months to be eligible. You also need to be spending at least $100,000 per year on your card and have a high income.
If you meet this (and other unpublished) criteria, American Express may send you an invitation to apply for a Centurion card.
If you would like to apply, it is also possible to request an Amex Centurion invitation. You are allowed to do this a maximum of once every six months. If you’re eligible, you’ll receive a response within 30 days. Conversely, if you don’t hear back within a month it means you’re not currently eligible.
To be clear, most people will not qualify for an Amex Centurion card. It is an exclusive and expensive product, and the number of invitations sent out is intentionally small.
Is the Amex Centurion card worth it?
Whether an Amex Centurion card is worthwhile is really a personal thing. Realistically, it doesn’t offer a huge amount of benefits above and beyond what you can already get with a Platinum card for $1,450 per year. That said, there are some additional benefits of value – tangible or otherwise.
For those with an extremely high credit card spend, as well as frequent travellers, the American Express Centurion card may be worth it for the benefits. There is also a small number of people that mainly want the card as a prestige or status symbol.
This is what Pointy Bird had to say:
I have had it for about 5 months – is it worth the 5k pa? Depends on your circumstances. For me – borderline.
The fee (for my circumstances) is tax deductible. Gets me more points per $ spent than other cards – and as I spend a lot – it nearly pays for itself.
Service is good – One phone call and they found me U2 and Elton John tickets – I could have sourced myself – but saved me time. Free Qantas Club ( I have nil status with any airline), lots of hotel extras ( free room upgrades, free dinners/ breakfasts) and a dedicated person to look after me.
For most people the extra cost over plat charge is not going to be worth it unless you put a value on the prestige.
If you don’t have an extremely high credit card spend and don’t travel often, the Centurion card is probably not worth it. Ultimately, you would need to decide if the extra $3,550 in annual fees justifies the extra perks beyond those of the Amex Platinum card.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Amex Australia – Centurion Card Eligibility