The American Express Centurion Card from Amex is perhaps the most desirable piece of anodized titanium, an invitation-only charge card issued by American Express to platinum card holders after they meet certain criteria. This “secret” card is made for the wealthy few and so the benefits are in parallel to the lifestyle of the super rich.
This is the review contributed by an actual Amex Centurion Card holder in India. Here you go: I have held the American Express Centurion Card for three years now and here is my review of this card.
Joining Fee and Annual Fees of Amex (India) Centurion Card:
- One Time Joining Fee: Rs. 2 Lakhs
- Annual Fee: Rs. 2.5 lakhs
- Supplementary cards are chargeable
This card is offered via invitation only and American Express has not explicitly mentioned anywhere as to what is the exact criteria one must meet before being eligible for this card. (more on this later)
Benefits of American Express Centurion Card:
Complimentary Memberships to:
- Hilton Hotels Diamond membership
- Accor Hotels Platinum membership
- Shangri La Inner Circle Gold membership
- British Airways Gold Membership
- Etihad Airways Gold membership
Other notable benefits includes:
- A Centurion Relationship Manager
- 24×7 access to Concierge service / Travel Desk
- 7 Amex Platinum Supplementary cards at no cost
- Special rates and deals at select hotels and restaurants globally (this usually includes some discount on room rates, free upgrades, early check in, late checkout and some credit to be availed at the dining outlets at the particular hotel).
- Free ‘Meet and Greet’ service every-time you book a Business class or First class ticket through American Express at 18 cities including London, Dubai, Singapore, etc. (great value)
- Unlimited Priority Pass access to airport lounges
- Travel Desk: They can usually help with applying for visas for entry into other countries
- ‘No limit’ on spending
- Limited time promotional offers on air tickets (for example 25% on Air India Business and First Class tickets)
- Low airfares compared to any other OTA’s (on economy class too)
- Many other benefits including golf/spa and others are also there.
- Foreign Currency Markup Fee: 3.5%+GST
Some of the above mentioned benefits can change from one year to the next.
The Concierge Service:
There is much hype surrounding the Centurion concierge service. There are a number of stories circulating on various forums about how the Centurion concierge has pulled off seemingly impossible tasks just to keep their clients happy. There is no way to verify any of these claims (at-least in India).
Some of the things that the Centurion card can definitely do is help you get tables at popular restaurants around the world on very short notice.
While the Centurion Concierge is quite highly regarded globally, from my personal experience I can tell you that the Indian team is not up to the mark, especially not after charging an eye popping R+ lacs of annual fees.
I have personally had many instances when I have called up the Centurion concierge and there have not been enough customer service staff to take my call. Even after leaving multiple messages to be called back, the team would not follow through. I have also had emails go unanswered for days. The one thing that the Concierge is quite good at is helping you book flight tickets.
Somehow I have found Centurion to have the best prices on flights 99% of the time.
Even though the Centurion is the most expensive credit card available, American Express is shockingly unable to do the simplest of tasks where technology is concerned.
For example, if a supplementary cardholder wants to execute an online transaction, they are unable to do so on their own, as the OTP will only be sent via SMS (not even email) only to the Primary cardholder.
Even for any regular transactions at a point of sales such as a restaurant/retail store/petrol station, the supplementary holder will not receive any email or SMS confirming their transaction, and this information will only go to the primary cardholder.
The CARD Material:
It is made of a very special Titanium material. It is quite thick, heavy and definitely feels very premium. The only problem is that in case you lose the card, it takes a couple of weeks to receive the replacement as it is not made in India (I believe it is sent from Australia).
How to get the Amex Centurion Card:
I have had the Platinum Charge Card for a number of years now. Prior to receiving the invitation for the Centurion card, i had made a large number of high value transactions on my Platinum card (probably in the range INR 3 Crores) in a short timeframe. – Of course I duly paid off the entire bill on time.
Tip: You can increase the chances if you hold Amex Platinum Charge card for 5 Years with good spends. Spends has to be in “luxury” or “non-business expense” category to be eligible for the personal card. You may chase Business variant if your expense is related to business.
Day to Day Experiences with Amex Black Card:
I have often presented this card while checking in at hotles or dining at high end restaurants. Many times people will comment how heavy and solid the card feels (due to the Titanium material).
The card is more iconic overseas, and in India very few people know the meaning and value of this card – so don’t expect to be treated like a celebrity everytime you flash it around.
The Centurion card is more about vanity than anything else. Even after all the various perks and benefits given by the card, it is almost impossible to get back the value of the annual fees. Moreover, the highly underwhelming service provided by the concierge team makes matters worse.
The only way a user of this card can really extract true value is if they are flying EXTREMELY frequently (at least 20 international flights annually). Had the concierge service been better, I would have also recommended this card to busy individuals who could have delegated various tasks to the concierge team – but unfortunately in India this is not the case so far.
So guys, for most of us, this card stands nowhere in value compared to the super premium credit cards in India, even some of the most popular credit cards of all time has better benefits in some aspect or other. Though, we’ve to understand that this card is made only for the super rich and so are the eligibility & benefits aligned in that way.
For those wealthy few, they don’t need to chase the 5x or 10x programs to save money, infact, saving money isn’t a thing they look for as a primary benefit as they have enough already. What they need is to save “time” which is more important, especially during travel as this can make more “money” for them.
The free ‘Meet and Greet’ service every-time you book a Business class or First class ticket through Amex – is indeed a lot of value for that type of traveler as they seem to help you through immigration, etc which saves a lot of time. For most others, its very hard to get the value for the fee paid.
- Editor’s Rating: 3.5/5
Would you opt for one if you get an invite to American Express Centurion Card? If i get, i would – Atleast to add some titanium piece to my credit card collection. What about you? 🙂
P.S. Did i miss something? Feel free to ask in comments below, i’ll try my best to have a word with the card holder and update the article accordingly.