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American Express forum. Talk about AmEx credit cards like Blue, Gold, Platinum, Centurion, and more.
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Mogul of Pineapples
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Postby Mogul of Pineapples » Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:06 pm

The Fuzz, do you know if Amex has any new card in the works that is above the Centurion level? Now that the Centurion has gotten a bit more common I've heard rumors that there will be a new premium card that will be even above the Centurion level. Is this true?
Disclosure: I am a moderator/paid staff of this site, which does have advertising relationships with some credit cards that are discussed and linked to. Regardless, anything I say is my honest opinion.

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The Fuzz
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Postby The Fuzz » Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:04 am

Mogul of Pineapples wrote:The Fuzz, do you know if Amex has any new card in the works that is above the Centurion level? Now that the Centurion has gotten a bit more common I've heard rumors that there will be a new premium card that will be even above the Centurion level. Is this true?


I don't think it is possible to get something above the Centurion card. If you know the benefits of that thing then it becomes pretty clear that you can't do much to top it. I have heard that they are going to go real invitation only for it. Right now we don't mail anything out to invite people to appy for the Centurion card. You call up and we evaluate if you qualify and then we 'invite' you. Soon they won't even let you request to apply for it unless you have an invitation. I think they are trying to thin out the ranks so it remains an elite product. There are some pretty uninformed people running around spreading rumors though. Before the Plum card was released I heard people talking about it like it was going to be the next black card. Uh... not quite. lol

What is the market value of a centurion card these days anyway. I've never thought about putting dummy cards on ebay before.

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Cucumber
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Postby Cucumber » Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:31 pm

That's good they need to thin out the number of people with Centurion cards!!! I know here in the LA area it seems like EVERYONE has a Centurion card..... way too over-saturated IMHO.

I hear ya on the rumors people say all kinds of stuff when they have no clue what they are talking about. Do you know about that "white card" that was the Stratus Rewards Visa? I remember people saying that was above and beyond the Centurion card.... YEAH RIGHT! :rolleyes: That's why the crap Stratus card no longer exists because it was a knockoff.
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The Fuzz
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Postby The Fuzz » Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:48 pm

I've heard people say that the Red card in the UK was better than the Centurion card simply because they couldn't find any information on it and they never saw one. Hmmmm... Just because nobody with a red AMEX card shops at the WalMart they work at doesn't mean it is an elite card that is the best of the best. lol

There have been rumors for a couple years that they were going to make the spend requirement of $250,000 a yearly requirement in order to keep the card. There are too many cardmembers who do what it takes to get the black card and then they stop spending. It costs over $30K a year just to maintain the benefits of that card, so we would really prefer they be spending on it rather than sitting on it and just flashing it to people on planes or to cut in line.

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Postby sputNick » Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:31 pm

If the black card costs Amex 30k a year why do they do it? Wouldn't that mean they are losing money on a lot of them?

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Mogul of Pineapples
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Postby Mogul of Pineapples » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:38 am

I would have to agree it will be best to limit the number of Centurion cards in circulation. American Express did an excellent job with this until very recently, maybe the last 2 or 3 years, and then they became a bit too common.

$30k is pretty high. Do you know how the costs roughly break down? From what I remember the concierge service is outsourced to a separate company but that didn't cost much from what I've heard. I'm blanking on the name of the company but I know they do concierge for a number of similar high end companies.
Disclosure: I am a moderator/paid staff of this site, which does have advertising relationships with some credit cards that are discussed and linked to. Regardless, anything I say is my honest opinion.

Current Cards:
American Express: Blue Cash, Simply Cash Bank of America: WorldPoints Platinum Plus Chase: Amazon, British Airways, Cash Plus Rewards, Freedom, Ink Cash Citi: Thank You Premier, Dividend Platinum Select Discover: More
Primary Everyday Card: American Express Blue Cash
Primary Travel Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred

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The Fuzz
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Postby The Fuzz » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:29 pm

sputNick wrote:If the black card costs Amex 30k a year why do they do it? Wouldn't that mean they are losing money on a lot of them?


They turn a decent profit on these cards. You have to consider that the average Centurion account is spending several million dollars a year on the card. In 2006 alone we logged a single charge for $26 million dollars on a black card. These people spend lots of money. Some of the things my wife has told me about their travel habits is pretty facinating. I'm sure you've seen 'The fabulous life of..." series on VH1. The people spending $80,000 a day on vacation are the ones packing around black cards. They put their entorage payroll on it, they book their whole concert tour on it, they put all of their business expenses on it... The $30 thousand that we spend to keep them happy is a small investment in what they are willing to spend on it to have the status and rewards.

If you have seen the financial news lately then you'll probably find the announcement that our CEO put out yesterday and another one just now regarding cutbacks and changes in the organization. We have phased out a couple of cards in the last couple months that weren't incredibly popular or necessary, but I don't see them making any significant changes to the Centurion card structure. These are the people who keep AMEX afloat. The top 6% of our cardmembers make up 60% of the spend that happens on all cards. You have to keep those people incentified to carry and use the card.

edit after gathering more information: Concierge is in a couple different places, actually. There is one I know of in Toronto, but they have told me they are in multiple places. I don't know how much information they want out there on this kind of thing, but I can say that the company we use is named after a geometric shape and they do handle concierge services for other companies as well as AMEX. ;)

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Cucumber
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Postby Cucumber » Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:01 pm

Ok what I really want to know is what was the $26 mil charge someone swiped on their black card? :D
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AnthonyBarone
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Postby AnthonyBarone » Sat Nov 01, 2008 8:53 pm

What Amex oughta do is not give black cards to all these wannabe spenders if it's costing them $30,000 a card. A lot of folks are signing up for these black cards that are making 200 or 300 thousand a year because they like the prestige that comes with this thing. That ain't no income to sneeze at but they oughta up the requirement for the black card and leave it to the tip top spenders. Platinum card is just fine for everyone else.

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Mogul of Pineapples
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Postby Mogul of Pineapples » Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:41 pm

I now remembered the name of Amex concierge company - Circles. Do they handle concierge for both the Platinum and Centurion cards? I used concierge on a friend's Platinum before and I was disappointed with having to go through the typical number prompt menu on the concierge's 800 number to speak to a real person. I think they should put a live operator there to take calls, starting a phone call off with a robot is like starting your day off by getting up on the wrong side of the bed.... whatever that phrase is supposed to mean, but you know what I'm saying. ;)

That statistic about the top 6% generates 60% of American Express revenue is interesting. About the cutbacks I noticed they had got rid of the IN:LA, IN:NYC, IN:Chicago cards recently. I understand why they did that based on the cards having a low marketshare, but I think they could have been a big hit if they were marketed a little different. For example, the reason I never got a IN:LA card is because from what I read up on it, the rewards weren't really different or specific to my location. I think if they tailored it to almost 100% city specific rewards that you can't buy anywhere people would have had more incentive to get it over the Blue card. Like for Los Angeles they could have geared their rewards to entertainment and special deals with hot local restaurants.
Disclosure: I am a moderator/paid staff of this site, which does have advertising relationships with some credit cards that are discussed and linked to. Regardless, anything I say is my honest opinion.

Current Cards:
American Express: Blue Cash, Simply Cash Bank of America: WorldPoints Platinum Plus Chase: Amazon, British Airways, Cash Plus Rewards, Freedom, Ink Cash Citi: Thank You Premier, Dividend Platinum Select Discover: More
Primary Everyday Card: American Express Blue Cash
Primary Travel Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred



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