How to Get a “Black Card” – American Express® Requirements

By: Linsey Knerl • June 16, 2017

Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

Advertiser Disclosure

Advertiser Disclosuretap to close

CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

If you’ve heard the buzz surrounding the American Express® “Black Card”, you already know that it’s the velvet rope of consumer credit options. This invite-only charge card, formally known as the Centurion, has been used to proclaim status, both in spending and in credit-worthiness. But what is a Black Card? And what does it take to get an invite to this “members-only” club?

It’s an elite card used most often by celebrities and the ultra-rich, with the card itself being made of anodized titanium. While the information isn’t as readily available as the terms for more common cards, there are some rather strict requirements to be aware of.

Invitation Only  |  For the Ultra Rich  |  10 “Easier to Get” Alternatives

Black Cards are Invitation Only

Like most elite experiences, the card is invite-only at the moment, with no indication that this will change anytime soon. Loyal American Express® cardholders are most likely the target market for those on the VIP list, including both long-time business and personal charge card customers.

Since there is no way to officially “apply,” your best bet is to check out the requirements for members to see if your habits and qualifications match up. Most people realize that it’s not about knowing how to get a Black Card, but rather managing the very strict thresholds for eligibility.

Those wondering “What is a Black Card?” should also know that there are some unique perks for members, including access to airline lounges and VIP treatments at spas and hotels.

Black Card Requirements: For One, Be a Multi-Millionaire

Credit scores used to be one of the most important factors in getting a great credit card offer, and the Black Card is no different. The card, available to just 0.1 percent of the population according to The Motley Fool, would most likely only be offered to those who can handle its high-limits and spending power.

While the jury is out on what the exact cut-off is for a qualifying credit score, common sense would dictate that you must have an excellent and established history of spending and payments with an existing American Express® card to even be considered for this premium offer.

The typical card user won’t be using their card in a way that meets Black Card requirements because most people don’t spend that much.

The American Express Centurion card, nicknamed the “Black Card,” is invitation only.

While it’s rumored that only Platinum Amex members would have the credit lines available to push spending to the limits of qualifying, the required $250,000 a year in purchases and payoffs can likely come from any qualifying card. No matter what card you use, however, it’s obvious that you need the income to both buy and repay a massive amount of goods and services to be Black Card material.

In addition to the high spending thresholds needed to be invited and maintain your status, there is a cost to join, as well. Annual membership fees are currently $7,500 for initiation. (This is on top of the $2,500 annual fee per card!) That means the perks you use must likely be high valued enough to make it worth the cost.

10 Easier Black Card Alternatives

If you haven’t received a Black Card invitation and don’t happen to be a millionaire with a near-perfect credit score, that’s quite alright. There are many other cards that offer robust credit lines, awesome rewards, and other great features for the rest of us.

Here are our favorite alternatives to the Black Card, along with links to each card’s online application:

Final Thoughts

For those wondering just how to get a Black Card, the answer is pretty obvious (and pricey!): spend often, and on big purchases, with the intent to pay back promptly. If you find that you can’t qualify for the posh requirements of the American Express® Centurion card, you may want to consider other “elite” options. VISA and MasterCard have their own cards with elite benefits, and they may be more open to new recruits.

Black Card images courtesy of BusinessTech and Vecer MK

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

About the Author

Linsey Knerl

Linsey is a finance blogger, author and public speaker with a passion for helping everyday families earn more and live better. In addition to covering the credit card industry in depth on CardRates, she shares her expertise for parents who want to start budget-friendly businesses from home at 1099Mom.com.