Centurion IDC Benefits - Where is this going?

Old Aug 29, 17, 9:50 am
  #1  
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Centurion IDC Benefits - Where is this going?

Hi All

I have done a search on whether this has been mentioned before, and while i did find some threads, i decided to write something myself, as honestly i have been pretty disappointed with most offerings from the IDC Centurion Card.

Let me first say,that i have had the IDC Centurion card since 2000. So i am one of the charter members(if this term still applies). AMEX was always a great security to have in my wallet. Wherever / Whenever i traveled this was the one card that never had any glitches, or not getting approved or anything close to being unreliable. In fact the complete opposite, whether travelling to India, Africa, the Caribs or Maldives, this card was always there for me.

So all in all, the card does what it has to do. Then couple years ago i see a membership increase. i think it was from $2.500 to $4,000. I didn't really like this, as i had already seen that the level of benefits was not "exclusive" anymore. i.e not many benefits were unattainable or important. Even the 3rd or 4th night free offerings, were easily accessible through a number of online booking sites.

So after i saw the increase of the annual membership cost, i give them a call. An advisor starts explaining to me that now i will be having a "personal relationship manager" who speaks my language, and will know my preferences etc etc. OK i say, but really this is not what i want. I have a PA that does that for me, and in fact, i enjoy the booking process of any hotel or flights that most of the time i like to do it myself.

Then last year, again my membership fee is due to be paid. So, again i ask for a list of benefits for this year. I see Melia Platinum (i did not even know the Melia brand) Hilton Diamond... and the only notable or of interest was the Virgin and Emirates gold card. Unfortunately for me though, i already had EK gold, and VS gold was not of interest as i am based in Greece, and not the UK. Shangri-LA diamond seemed interesting, though to be honest i have never used it yet. Again disappointed at the almost none existent offerings, i again pay me fees and renew.

Now this year again comes around, (this time i have already paid my membership fee) and hence chose to write this. I am wondering, is Centurion planning on offering something new or interesting for next year? Are they going to offer any Star Alliance memberships? Something excluding Carlton, or Melia or Hilton which sorry to say, in my view these chains are not the chains that (IMHO) are ones that a Centurion cardholder books.

I am not going to go the the yacht and plane charter, where the rates quoted are completely ridiculous. Not competitive at all. While i can understand this "flying" 20 years ago, now with the online marketplace it is easy to compare prices.

Anyway, really look forward receiving your views - Any other cardholders frustrated?Is there any information on what benefits we may be seeing soon..(hopefully at least!)
diminos is offline  
Old Aug 29, 17, 11:37 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
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Originally Posted by diminos View Post
Hi All

I have done a search on whether this has been mentioned before, and while i did find some threads, i decided to write something myself, as honestly i have been pretty disappointed with most offerings from the IDC Centurion Card.

Let me first say,that i have had the IDC Centurion card since 2000. So i am one of the charter members(if this term still applies). AMEX was always a great security to have in my wallet. Wherever / Whenever i traveled this was the one card that never had any glitches, or not getting approved or anything close to being unreliable. In fact the complete opposite, whether travelling to India, Africa, the Caribs or Maldives, this card was always there for me.

So all in all, the card does what it has to do. Then couple years ago i see a membership increase. i think it was from $2.500 to $4,000. I didn't really like this, as i had already seen that the level of benefits was not "exclusive" anymore. i.e not many benefits were unattainable or important. Even the 3rd or 4th night free offerings, were easily accessible through a number of online booking sites.

So after i saw the increase of the annual membership cost, i give them a call. An advisor starts explaining to me that now i will be having a "personal relationship manager" who speaks my language, and will know my preferences etc etc. OK i say, but really this is not what i want. I have a PA that does that for me, and in fact, i enjoy the booking process of any hotel or flights that most of the time i like to do it myself.

Then last year, again my membership fee is due to be paid. So, again i ask for a list of benefits for this year. I see Melia Platinum (i did not even know the Melia brand) Hilton Diamond... and the only notable or of interest was the Virgin and Emirates gold card. Unfortunately for me though, i already had EK gold, and VS gold was not of interest as i am based in Greece, and not the UK. Shangri-LA diamond seemed interesting, though to be honest i have never used it yet. Again disappointed at the almost none existent offerings, i again pay me fees and renew.

Now this year again comes around, (this time i have already paid my membership fee) and hence chose to write this. I am wondering, is Centurion planning on offering something new or interesting for next year? Are they going to offer any Star Alliance memberships? Something excluding Carlton, or Melia or Hilton which sorry to say, in my view these chains are not the chains that (IMHO) are ones that a Centurion cardholder books.

I am not going to go the the yacht and plane charter, where the rates quoted are completely ridiculous. Not competitive at all. While i can understand this "flying" 20 years ago, now with the online marketplace it is easy to compare prices.

Anyway, really look forward receiving your views - Any other cardholders frustrated?Is there any information on what benefits we may be seeing soon..(hopefully at least!)
There are multiple threads on the benefits (or lack thereof) of the Centurion Card.

Benefits have certainly decreased with very few being added.

I think most concern is the gap between Platinum and Centurion is getting narrower and narrower.

For a lot of cardholders the Plat card is probably the right card to have.

I just got a Business Plat card to supplement my Centurion and am actually surprised by the lack of differentiation.

If you travel a lot then the Centurion probably has the advantage but as a day to day card the Platinum is more than fine.

In fact a Plat and a Chase CSR is probably a good combo.
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Old Aug 29, 17, 12:12 pm
  #3  
mia
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Originally Posted by sdix View Post
...

In fact a Plat and a Chase CSR is probably a good combo.
But perhaps not for a resident of Greece because Chase is a North American issuer with little international presence.
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Old Aug 29, 17, 3:53 pm
  #4  
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Thank you for your replies, but still is AMEX not concerned about losing customers? Has anyone heard of any new benefits which are to be introduced?

Surely I am not the only one who believes that some of the present benefits are almost embarrassing for Amex

Mia you are right.Chase is not an option for Greek residents. I have not seen anyone with a chase card

I forgot to mention that they even took away the 100k bonus miles on the $100k spend....

Last edited by mia; Aug 29, 17 at 4:40 pm
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Old Aug 29, 17, 4:44 pm
  #5  
mia
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Originally Posted by diminos View Post
...is AMEX not concerned about losing customers? ....
The comparison is not yesterday's Centurion vs today's Centurion, it's Centurion vs cards from other issuers. Who is their competition? In many instances the competition is another American Express product, and in that circumstance they do not seem to be concerned if a cardholder downgrades to a different color.
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Old Aug 30, 17, 2:35 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
The comparison is not yesterday's Centurion vs today's Centurion, it's Centurion vs cards from other issuers. Who is their competition? In many instances the competition is another American Express product, and in that circumstance they do not seem to be concerned if a cardholder downgrades to a different color.

This seems right apparently. I did ask last year on whether i can downgrade to platinum, but was advised that i have to re-apply for AMEX Platinum, and i couldn't just downgrade...

Still, i see that no one really mentions any interesting benefits around, so i guess we are stuck with what is there.
At least the US Centurion offers some better benefits than the IDC
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Old Aug 30, 17, 7:55 am
  #7  
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some get a lot of value out of centurion's hotel room/suite/villa upgrade at time of booking, not sure if they have started limiting more or not in terms of highest possible upgrades
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Old Aug 31, 17, 7:41 am
  #8  
 
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It seems the biggest benefit drop in recent years was both the quiet elimination of the $100K annual spend = 100K MR bonus and more important-- the quiet reduction in points for airline rewards. DL, AF, and VS previously yielded 1MR= 1 frequent flyer mile. Now the ICC MR program now provides less than one frequent flyer mile per MR reward point.

It was wonderful for a two year period when the program offered CX Diamond-- i.e. One World Emerald status for travel. It is disappointing that the ICC Cent does not have a frequent flyer relationship with a major airline alliance-- i.e. Sky Team, Star Alliance or One World.

Perhaps the biggest benefits I use are the extensive hotel program relationship (if you travel to India, you can also parlay your Shargri-La Diamond into Taj hotel's top tier), the European Cent pre-paid Hertz rates which include CDW and Liability included in the rate-- that was a key factor in making me feel comfortable renting a BMW recently in Mexico. I also like the travel service when I have complicated itineraries where I need a through-ticket with multiple carriers, and I like the meet and greet service they will arrange at non-US airports for revenue business or first class tickets. Alas, at the end of the day, it is a personal cost-benefit decision whether retaining the card is right for you.
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Old Sep 1, 17, 11:49 am
  #9  
 
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Just cancelled my IEC Centurion after nine years. Got a pro rata refund of my membership fee, and that was that.

When I joined, the membership was €2200 and due to the bonus, you earned 2 MR per euro for the first €100k. Due to frequent offers, this could mean 3 BA Miles (now Avios) or more per euro spent. In my mind this went a long way towards offsetting the eyewatering membership fee. I also got a lot of use out the Mandarin Oriental free night offers.

Fast forward to now, the 100K MR bonus is gone, the membership fee is €4000, and an euro spent earns two thirds of an Avios. The free night benefit is essentially gone. The only part of the current offering I'll actually miss is the Hilton Diamond status.

All that said, Centurion is quite clearly a luxury travel product and if that is your lifestyle, you can still extract plenty of value for the price. The suite upgrades I've received over the years have been nothing short of spectacular.

I switched to the locally offered Platinum card here in Finland. It earns more MR per euro than the Centurion, and the conversion ratio from MR to Avios is also better. Like most markets but unlike the IDC/IEC cards, there's also an Amex iPhone app. Local promotions and retail offers. And a prospect of Apple Pay down the road, something that doesn't seem likely to ever happen with the international cards.
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Old Sep 1, 17, 1:16 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Markonen View Post
suite upgrades I've received over the years have been nothing short of spectacular
nice. did you notice any changes in quality of upgrades more recently?
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Old Sep 4, 17, 3:07 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Markonen View Post
Just cancelled my IEC Centurion after nine years. Got a pro rata refund of my membership fee, and that was that.
Interesting... I can't say that i have not considered this. Did Centurion try to keep you or they just accepted your cancellation?

I also attest that i have received some pretty impressive upgrades, though have to say that i have notice this has become less and less...
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Old Sep 5, 17, 1:44 am
  #12  
 
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No effort to change my mind—not that I expected any.
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Old Sep 5, 17, 4:17 pm
  #13  
 
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It is certainly a disappointment that ICC Cent quietly eliminated the 100k MR bonus for 100k in spend, particularly as they have already watered down the MR program— Delta and VS redemption used to be 1 mile = $1 or EUR 1 but more recently they dropped the redemption for DL, VS and Flying Blue to something like $3 = 2 Miles.

ICC has always been a product for non-US residents. However, recently they sent out a notice that cardholders could no longer maintain a US billing address and could no longer use any US address for address verification purposes. They also mentioned that account holders with US billing addresses would have their accounts cancelled if the address was not changed to a non-US location by August.
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Old Sep 6, 17, 7:17 am
  #14  
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For me the biggest and most disappointing downgrade of benefits was the elimination for the 100k MR bonus for 100k spend. It is even more annoying that they really made sure this goes down quiet, and no effort to replace with something.

Would have expected them to really step up with something.
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