The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Monday, November 23, 2020

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

Get A Black Card

credit card advice

Linsey Knerl
By: Linsey Knerl
Updated: November 3, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

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, technically named the Centurion® Card from American Express, has been used to proclaim status, both in spending and in credit-worthiness. With all the hype, you may be wondering how to get a Black Card for yourself. But what is a Black Card? And what does it take to get an invite to this “members-only” club?

While we know that it’s an elite card used most often by celebrities and the ultra-rich, with the card itself being made of anodized titanium, less is known about exactly how to get your hands on one. That said, there are rumors of some rather strict requirements that must be met.

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 likely the most commonly invited, a list that includes 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% 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.

In the end, though, it’s mostly about how much you spend. 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.

A photo of the American Express Black Card

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 purported $250,000 a year in purchases and payoffs required 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:

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Redeem on travel—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent
Chase Freedom FlexSM Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Blue Cash Preferred® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year on purchases (then 1%). Also earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • Earn 3% cash back on transit, including U.S. gas stations, taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
  • Access to Global Assist Hotline - 24/7 medical, legal, financial and other select emergency assistance and coordination services
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from the date of account opening
  • $95 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
13.99% - 23.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good
American Express® Business Gold Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of card membership
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle, including airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio), U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions, and U.S. purchases at gas stations, restaurants, or for shipping. Applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.
  • Earn 1X Membership Rewards® points on other purchases
  • Book your flight with American Express Travel using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points and get 25% of those points back
  • $295 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
14.24% - 22.24% Variable
$295
Excellent
The Business Platinum Card® Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of card membership
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, 1.5X points on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more (that's an extra half point per dollar) up to 1 million additional points per calendar year, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases
  • Select one qualifying airline and get up to $200 in statement credits each calendar year for baggage fees and other incidentals charged by the airline to your Business Platinum Card®
  • Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection™, including 1,200 airport lounges across 130 countries and counting
  • Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of an eligible fare and get 35% of those points back, up to 500,000 points back per calendar year
  • $595 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A (Charge Card)
$595
Excellent
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – a $200 cash redemption value
  • Earn 3X points on eating out and ordering in; gas stations, rideshares, and transit; flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals; and popular streaming services - all other purchases earn 1X points
  • Introductory 0% APR offers on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from account opening (balance transfer fee applies)
  • No limit to points you can earn, and points don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Cell phone protection helps protect your cell phone from damage or theft
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
14.49% - 24.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
The Platinum Card® Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Also earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels (booked and paid in advance) on amextravel.com.
  • Earn 1X points on all other eligible purchases. Terms apply.
  • Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees, such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments, are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card® Account
  • $100 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities. Qualifying activities vary by property.
  • Access to The Global Lounge Collection® including 1,200 airport lounges across 130 countries and counting
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A (Charge Card)
$550
Excellent

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 characteristics, and they may be more open to new recruits. Many of these alternatives offer appealing benefits and rewards that the average user will find very valuable.

Black Card images courtesy of BusinessTech and Vecer MK

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