The big boy of all charge cards out there. Something that only used to be a rumour and came into existence as the most exclusive card out there, the American Express Centurion or The Black Card.
One of my followers on Instagram ( follow us @brown.points ), who is a Centurion Cardholder, reached out to me to share an update on the Shangri-La Diamond status, and he was kind enough to share some insights and details on this super exclusive card.
I'm not going to be writing this as a review because I don't have it and can't say much without using it for myself. But I'll document everything that the Centurion Card offers to its Indian cardholders, and you can decide for yourself if it's worth the annual fee.
Requirements For Amex Black Card
As many of you may already be aware, one has to hit a few crores in personal spending to receive an invitation to apply for the Centurion Card. The categories you spend on are also important. However, if you are too big to be ignored by Amex, this may not even be a requirement.
Amex Black Card Annual Fee
You receive the invitation in a black box with a note from Mr Adlakha, the CEO of American Express India, inviting you to the Centurion program. Once you accept the invitation, you pay a joining fee of ₹7 Lakhs + Taxes and an annual fee of ₹2.75 Lakhs + Taxes.
In terms of ongoing benefits, it's not very different from The Platinum Card. However, they do size it up to the Centurion level to make things better for its card members.
Amex Black Card Benefits
The Centurion card gives its members the elite statuses to the same hotel chains that you get with Platinum Card, but the tiers you get are different.
Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite: Similar to Platinum, you get the Gold Status at Marriott. I believe Marriott is very conservative in terms of handing out its elite statuses to credit cardholders. However, they probably do this to ensure the people who stay at their properties get better perks.
Hilton Honours Diamond: Unlike Platinum, you get the top tier with Hilton, which is of great value given you are eligible for Suite upgrades, lounge access, and free breakfast. These perks are also applicable to their top-of-the-line brands, Conrad and Waldorf Astoria.
Radisson Rewards Gold Elite: You get the Radisson Gold which gives you room upgrades, early check-in, late check-out, and in-room welcome gifts with each stay.
Taj InnerCircle Silver: The Centurion card offers the Taj Epicure membership which comes with the InnerCircle Silver tier. From my experience, the Silver tier doesn't give you many benefits except a category upgrade.
On top of the memberships, you get free night stays at Taj and Oberoi properties every year:
Get a complimentary suite night with breakfast at any of the Taj properties. Cardmember will have to pay the taxes.
Get a complimentary room night without breakfast at Oberoi Hotels and Resorts as a birthday gift.
Some of the ongoing promotions include:
50,000 Bonus Membership Rewards points at Ananda, Vana, RAAS, Atmantan, Ahilya Experiences, Kumarakom Lake Resort, The Postcard Hotels, and The Tamara on eligible bookings.
Enjoy 30% savings on Suites and more at select Taj Hotels, Palaces, Resorts, and Safaris. Along with the discount, you get airport transfer on arrival, breakfast, welcome drinks, a bottle of house wine, a curated meal experience, and club access at properties with a club.
Get ₹50,000/- worth Taj Vouchers when you book a domestic trip worth ₹1 Lakh with the Centurion travel desk. You can avail of this benefit twice a year.
Centurion Fine Hotels & Resorts:
Similar to Platinum Card's FH&R, American Express tops it up with even better CFH&R for their Centurion cardholders.
The Centurion cardmembers you get up to $200 worth of room credits, dining or spa service compared to the $100 that you get with a Platinum Charge card. The rest of the perks remain the same.
Best Credit Card For India Travel
The Centurion card's Airline perks are excellent and unique to this card. You get elite status along with preferential rates. The preferential rates overlap with what you get with the Platinum Card.
Emirates Gold: The Gold tier with Emirates gives you a host of benefits, like 50% Skywards Miles, Business Class lounge access for you and a guest, priority check-in, etc. Read more about the benefits.
Centurion Fare Guarantee: You always get the best fare when booking Etihad, British Airways, Lufthansa, Unites Airlines, and a few other member airlines.
Private Charter: You get a $1000 Credit when you book a private charter flight using their Private Charter Program.
Meet and Greet: Get expedited airport experience and one-way airport transfer when booking Business or First class with them.
Along with this, the Centurion card offers discounted fare similar to the Platinum card:
25% discount on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class and Premium Economy
15% discount on Vistara Business class and Premium Economy
10% discount on Emirates First and Business Class
14% discount on United First, Business, and Economy Class.
When you book a round trip international flight originating and terminating in India along with a hotel booking, this could be just a single night booking anytime during your trip. The flight has to be booked on a full-service carrier You get to choose one of the following benefits:
Taj Voucher worth ₹25,000/-
10x Membership Rewards points and Meet and Greet service.