The American Express Black Card (Centurion Card) has a $5000 annual fee and you pay a $7500 initiation fee your first year as a cardmember, too. It comes with standard Platinum card benefits (sans the $200 annual airline fee credit), plus Delta Platinum, Hilton Diamond, and IHG Rewards Platinum status. New in the last year is complimentary CLEAR membership, an Equinox Destination Access Membership, and a $1,000 annual Saks credit.
They also send occasional gifts. Here’s the Tom Ford wallet Centurion cardmembers receive.
Personal Centurion cardmembers are reporting a new gift they’re receiving: a $500 gift card to use at furniture, art and jewelry marketplace 1stDibs.com.
With the Black Card you’re really paying for prestige and exclusivity. It was cool when Kanye West dropped references to it in 2004.
I went to the malls and I balled too hard/ ‘Oh my god is that a black card?’/ I turned around and replied, ‘Why, yes/ But I prefer the term African-American Express’
Now it’s just an expensive card with some travel status. However the cardmember base is valuable to market to. They tend to be high net worth individuals with the kind of discretionary spend they might drop at a site like this. So giving them $500 credit and encouraging them to use it is a marketing expense. Here cardmembers are the product (being marketed to by 1s Dibs) rather than the customer. But if they’ve got something a cardmember likes for around $500 there ya go.
It does underscore, though, that if you’re rich and don’t need it people will literally give you money, but if you’re poor there’s no value proposition in doing so.