Those personal assistants who work for the high net worth have probably seen – and even used – their employer’s Centurion Card, also known as the “Black Card”.
The Centurion Card is an invite-only card by American Express, and it’s made of titanium. It costs a whopping $7,500 to join and another $2,500 per year to stay a member.
Since we don’t have any business relationship with American Express, we decided to ask celebrity personal assistants in our network what they thought of the card. In general, the consensus was that the card doesn’t live up to the hype. Some of the issues include but are not limited to:
- Sometimes the card is not recognized and offers no real benefit when an assistant needs to do something for the boss.
- Since the card costs $10,000 its first year, the free airline tickets or occasional hotel upgrade isn’t worth it. Basically, you’re just buying the benefits ahead of time.
- The card doesn’t work in many retail stores – literally. When you swipe the card in a credit card machine, something about the titanium construction blocks the machine from working properly. Then the retail agent needs to manually type the credit card number into the system. Not only is this time consuming, but it also sometimes requires the store actually call American Express (because of potential fraud reasons).
- The concierge service is does not live up to the hype. Basically, you’re just calling an 800 number and hoping some person on the other side of the world can help you. Assistants told us it just seemed the agents helping them were simply using Google to find information for them. In the end, holding a “black card” in front of a bouncer at a busy nightclub in Las Vegas isn’t going to get you in. Cash is still king.
- Although Centurion Card holders do get “discounts,” it almost useless because billionaires are not going to check into the Ritz Carlton in Paris and ask for a discount. If you can afford a presidential suite at $15,000 per night, it doesn’t really matter if they knock $1000 off. In most cases, savvy talking at the front desk can get anyone a discount or upgrade to a suite, especially if you tip the front desk agent with a $20 bill.
Nothing against American Express, but it seems like the “Black Card” gives billionaires great bragging rights in the country club locker room (for being invited), but all the celebrity personal assistants that we spoke with said it just doesn’t live up to the hype.
The American Express Black Card
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