Centurion Black

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Via Drudge, we read about Antoinette Millard, a con artist suing American Express for issuing her a Centurion Black credit card, and letting her charge $150K a year:

She says she was mentally ill at the time of her spending spree and that American Express should have known that she was acting irrationally and impulsively.

She is suing them for $2 million.

The Centurion card, launched in October 1999, provides many exclusive benefits:
Personal Assistance

Each cardmember will be assigned a personal travel counselor to handle all travel needs, and their own concierge to help with anything from special occasion planning and selecting ideal gifts, to locating unusual items.

Retail Privileges

Special privileges will be extended to Centurion members at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, including personal shopper services, invitations to exclusive events, free consultation for restyling of precious jewelry (Neiman Marcus) and private shopping hours (Saks.)

The Amex Centurion web pages are not easily found. But there are web forums discussing the gritty details, including the annual fee:

Q: Ok because I am such a loyal spender with American Express will they give it to me for free?

Afraid not, American Express charge different amounts depending on the country of issue; in the US the fee is $2500 and in the UK �650, although in the case of the latter you can now renew for free.

I'm not rich, and would not use this card if I became rich. To some people this card sounds like conspicuous consumption--a tool of the ultra-wealthy; and it does demonstrate that a premium level of luxury is available only to them. But more importantly, it demonstrates that most of the services available to the ultra-wealthy--from basic financial advice to flight insurance to fraud protection--are available to anybody with any Amex card. Immense wealth still permits the expoitation of a team of fawning yes-men and personal servants. But Centurion club members cannot walk on water; aside from being treated with kid-gloves, they're just like everyone else.

Full photo here, and card reviews here and here. From the latter, a perfect example of the real benefit of the Centurion card:

He first received the card on the day of my birthday and used it to pay for a 600+ dollar meal at Ruth Chris� Steak House. Despite the fact that the waiters there have probably served some of the wealthiest customers in the area, the waiter my father gave the card to went around showing his friends (the other waiters). Not only that, but the manager of the restaurant came down shortly after paying the bill to see how things were and asks if my father wanted to celebrate my birthday (I guess the waiter had spoken with him) with a bottle of wine compliments of the house. I can�t see why anyone would not want to own this card if they could. Even if for nothing other than the sheer prestige that seems to come along with it.

UPDATE: At Overlawyered, Ted Frank has the details on the Amex lawsuit, as well as a link to a photo of the alleged perp.

2 Comments

Hi,
I had the Black Centurian card. Its fabulous. I call a helper and shops open privately for me. If you can get one I suggest you do! Its a great lil card to have in a purse.

check out the forum

www.blackcardforum.com

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin published on November 26, 2004 1:24 PM.

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