Earlier today I wrote about new benefits for the American Express Centurion Card, also known as the Black Card. They need to offer strong benefits for a product with a $7500 initiation fee and that has had a $2500 annual fee.
Most of what’s new strikes me as fluff. Membership with the Private Suite terminal at LAX isn’t even the cheapest way to use that service. Equinox and CLEAR memberships have non-zero value but don’t seem game changers.
I found it especially valuable, though, that Black Card cardmembers would receive a $1000 annual credit with Saks. That’s real money for real goods.
However it doesn’t come close to making up for the other changes happening to the card, especially a new $5000 annual fee.
The Centurion Card will have a new annual fee of $5,000. The fee will not change until your renewal date, on or after April 1, 2020, but you can start enjoying new benefits now. Your newly designed titanium Centurion Card will be delivered in the next few weeks.
As with other American Express cards, the Black Card is losing Boingo Preferred internet access January 1st. That’s not surprising.
However the Centurion Card also will no longer receive an airline fee credit. So a $2500 higher fee, no more $200 airline credit, but $1000 giveback via Saks. That takes an already questionable value proposition for the high price of the product and makes it worse.
My advice: drop the Black card and get most of the benefits with Platinum. The major losses would be Hertz Platinum, Delta Platinum, and Hilton Diamond (versus Gold). Though in practice, at least until Hilton starts a suite upgrade benefit for Diamonds, Gold to me is the sweet spot in that program anyway.
Thanks to several readers who forwarded notice of these changes from American Express.