“I Have Recently Discovered The Amazing Benefits Of The American Express Black Card” [Roundup]

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • For Canada flights British Airways charges the same surcharges as U.S. flights, but Canadian dollars instead of U.S. dollars making the surcharge cost a roughly 27% discount to fly from, say, Toronto instead of New York JFK.

  • She doesn’t get nearly this upset about losing investors massive amounts of money than she does about security at Delta’s New York JFK terminal 4.

  • Funny.

  • Smart.

  • I knew I was flying the JSX StarLink livery plane (with inflight internet launching just a few days after my trip) but hadn’t realized that JSX planned to make inflight internet free. Their whole fleet should be equipped by the end of March. My 2012 prediction that inflight internet would be free within 10 years is working out, despite pandemic delays.

  • Minor note or many, but while much has been made of both Air Canada Aeroplan and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan having access to long haul Singapore Airlines award space historically not bookable by partner programs, I’m increasingly seeing the same from Lufthansa’s Miles & More too.

  • Off-topic: I’ve had SiriusXM (née XM) for 17 years. Every couple of years I threaten to cancel and they drop the price by at least two-thirds. After 2 years price was about to snap up to a stupid $29.87/mo so a quick online chat dropped it 70% again. Calendar reminder set to rinse, repeat.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Gary — Cathie Wood has lonf seemed like a ponzi scammer to me. With inflation at 8%, she was crying about the Fed missing the real problem — DEFLATION. Absurd opposition to Fed tightening is generally a red flag when spewed by an investment fund manager.

  2. @Gary: C athie Wood is paid on performance so you can be sure she is upset when her portfolios lose money. The more important point is her rejection of the one sure thing in investing: diversification produces higher average returns. It is mathematically provable.

  3. A person with TSA pre-check, especially a wealthy one, complaining about a few other people opting for Clear and a little more pre-screening to save time seems odd to me. A lot of elites and credit card holders get it free.

    Incidentally, for the first time two weeks ago at IAD, there was no one in the precheck line. I literally skipped the clear stand so as not to get slowed down. Sometimes Clear makes a big difference, other times little at all.

  4. Gary what’s the benefit of Centurion. Wrote it off long ago but curious to hear about the “amazing benefits”.

  5. She calls it ”TSA PRE”?? That’s even more smooth-brain than buying stocks selling negative gross margin products

  6. I see the heading but don’t see anything about the Centurian benefit. I still have it and will keep it for the Hertz Benefit; the upgrades have been well worth it. My wife gets $1,000 of merchandise from Saks each year, I get up to three platinum cards for coworkers at no cost, another significant saving that provides lounge access. I do not fly Delta, the value of their points is not strong enough.

    Yes the membership cost is outrageous but I do get at least 50% plus back in benefits.

  7. Over 13 years, we had to do a bankruptcy due to a failed Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Franchise. By the way, many RMF went bankrupted. Unfortunately, I had an American Express credit card at the time. Due to the bankruptcy, we are now on their black list. We are automatically rejected anytime we try to apply. We get an immediate NO. Our current credit score are above 800. I tried having my niece add me on to her card. Unfortunately, it was still a NO. Normally, I would not care as we have plenty of credit cards but this puts us at disadvantage with Delta. Any suggestions?

  8. Given the Centurion Card’s reward structure, one would not use it as a credit card. As for the “no charge declined,” I’ve used the Platinum Card for individual charges north of $100k without a problem. So, the Centurion Card becomes a coupon book and provider of tier status. (Ask yourself: Are none of the tier statuses it provides available via another card or otherwise earned?)

    It provides a room upgrade at the time of booking at select hotels. But, the specific upgrade is subject to the same rules as the “at-check-in” upgrade of the Platinum Card. For any given property, it is typically a one category upgrade. But, there is typically a category cap. For example, standard room to standard room but not standard room to suite. Or, in no case higher than a junior suite. So, this benefit sounds sexy but it’s not.

    Someone who holds the Centurion Card might well have a personal assistant to handle concierge-type items. For those people, what’s the value? But, for those who don’t and see the Centurion concierge as valuable, the Centurion concierge team often/typically tasks the concierge at the hotel at which the cardholder is staying . . . and then cuts-and-pastes the details from the hotel concierge onto Centurion letterhead. What nerve! Once you find out, you feel cheated. While another blogger touts his personal Centurion concierge, I don’t buy it. Again, this benefit sounds sexy but it’s not.

    Once you see what you are really getting, you question yourself.

    One more thing. Some chosen individuals have the annual fee waived. For those who do pay and are even aware of the situation, they ought to check for toilet paper stuck to their shoe.

    By the way, there is the JP Morgan Private Bank’s Reserve Card, touted as the “most elite” card issued in the United States. In essence, it’s the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Don’t get caught up in the hype.

  9. @ Lee

    “…the Centurion Card becomes a coupon book and provider of tier status…”

    Yep – you nailed it (on this occasion).

    Dumped my personal Centurion after one year – it was a costly ego trip only valuable for hotel status – the concierge service was feeble – Amex tried charging the annual fee from the date they sent out the card, not the day of activation (nice bonus point compensation for that f—k up) – luckily, some years later, one of those hotel chains never downgraded the top status benefit when the card was dumped…..;)

  10. @Lee and Platy, I have the Centurian card. The hertz Platinum card makes it worthwhile with the upgraded cars ( I did search for other ways to have this), and I enjoy the privilege of the Lufthansa first-class lounge (I used it three times this year). It is still a difficult decision to keep it each year, and when traveling slows down, I imagine unless there is other value I will not. I am saving whatever the current platinum card cost is times three and make my wife happy with $1000 at Saks each year plus the other gifts they send. STILL, it is a tough decision each year.

  11. Leonard, an Amex Platinum Card holder receives Hertz President’s Circle tier status. An Amex Platinum Card holder receives access to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge if traveling in at least business class. (I suspect you are.) As for your wife, simply write her a check for the $5000. She’ll love you even more.

  12. @Lee I just looked at the Hertz level becuase I was uncertain. Here is what I found. I very much like the Platinum service. Hertz President’s Circle is the top-tier elite status. This level is above Hertz Five Star status but below Hertz’s super-elite invite-only Platinum status.

    You are correct about the lufthansa Senator lounge but the first class lounge is a completly different experience. Regarding the money, I am saving 650*3 for platinum cards and getting $1.000 in Saks benefits plus ocasionaly other financial benefits. I also have Hilton DIamond staus, IHG Platinum. Delta Platinum (I never use), Avis presidents along with several other benefits available on other cards. If I stop traveling the card has little value to me

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