Are Black Cards Rare?

Old Nov 3, 19, 3:03 pm
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Are Black Cards Rare?

My friend still carries and uses regularly his AmEx Black card that he has had since the early 90's. Are they still around or mostly been replaced by Centurion?

I was surprised that he had never heard of the Amex International Airline program and he flies like 3 times a month...many of them to Europe. He makes his own reservations.
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Old Nov 3, 19, 5:43 pm
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Centurion is the formal name of the American Express product often called the black card.

Until 2017 the USA version of International Airline Program was primarily a "companion" ticket benefit, which did not offer much to solo flyers.

In which country is his card issued?
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Old Nov 5, 19, 1:44 am
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Originally Posted by david55 View Post
My friend still carries and uses regularly his AmEx Black card that he has had since the early 90's. Are they still around or mostly been replaced by Centurion?

I was surprised that he had never heard of the Amex International Airline program and he flies like 3 times a month...many of them to Europe. He makes his own reservations.
Are you sure you got that right? The black card is the Centurion Card which Amex launched in 1999.
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Old Nov 5, 19, 8:06 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
Are you sure you got that right? The black card is the Centurion Card which Amex launched in 1999.
His card was black.... I thought Centurion cards looked different, hence a different protect. It easily could have been my misunderstanding.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 8:31 am
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They're rare in the sense that it's a terrible card for any type of daily spend, so the only person who would get it is someone who is stupidly rich and finds value in the 'exclusivity' of paying with the Amex Centurion card. There are plenty of people with the level of spend to be able to qualify for this card who would not take it, because almost literally any other rewards card offers better rewards than this one.

Originally Posted by david55 View Post
My friend still carries and uses regularly his AmEx Black card that he has had since the early 90's. Are they still around or mostly been replaced by Centurion?

I was surprised that he had never heard of the Amex International Airline program and he flies like 3 times a month...many of them to Europe. He makes his own reservations.
Not surprised. Your friend sounds like someone very wealthy who is not overly concerned with stuff like that. If he cared about maximizing perks/benefits, he would be flying with a Platinum for the 5x earn on travel spend.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 8:34 am
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The Centurion demographic is, in all probability, little concerned with sweating the small stuff like MR points, and probably more concerned with make-my-life-easy service. This is why I sometimes wonder about things like Uber credit.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 8:49 am
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That's true about most of the demographic not caring about the MR points. My friend has the card and he uses it for the concierge as they can get him tickets and reservations to shows/restaurants/travel without hassle. That's what makes the card worthwhile to him.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 8:54 am
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Originally Posted by jeff191 View Post
That's true about most of the demographic not caring about the MR points. My friend has the card and he uses it for the concierge as they can get him tickets and reservations to shows/restaurants/travel without hassle. That's what makes the card worthwhile to him.
Is there any real difference in the concierge service between the Centurion & Plat though? Probably just the same thing. I asked the Plat concierge to find me tickets to a sold out concert just to see what kind of access they have, and they just responded with some prices linked straight from Stubhub.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by Zorn_ View Post
Is there any real difference in the concierge service between the Centurion & Plat though? Probably just the same thing. I asked the Plat concierge to find me tickets to a sold out concert just to see what kind of access they have, and they just responded with some prices linked straight from Stubhub.
Big difference. Centurion holders have their own dedicated relationship manager, rather than a pool of people at Platinum. I agree with you that the Platinum concierge service is very hit-or-miss (ie useless mostly).
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Old Nov 6, 19, 9:25 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
....dedicated relationship manager,...
Does the RM perform American Express customer service, concierge -and- travel booking functions?

Bonus question: I think your Centurion account is now with American Express Germany, but was previously in the UK. Is the range of RM duties the same in both countries?
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Old Nov 6, 19, 9:29 am
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During the first few years of Centurion, in the USA a number of the best PTS agents (including some supervisors) moved over to Centurion.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 9:31 am
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Does the RM perform American Express customer service, concierge -and- travel booking functions?

Bonus question: I think your Centurion account is now with American Express Germany, but was previously in the UK. Is the range of RM duties the same in both countries?
I can't fully answer the question. Platinum concierge in the UK was useless (I could give you many examples, my favourite being when I asked them to get me two tickets to the New Year's concert in the Musikverein in Vienna. They said 'sure no problem' only to call back three days later to admit they had no clue what it was until they looked it up and realised that there was no way to get tickets.) I can't speak for Platinum Concierge in Germany, but the RM here basically does whatever I ask them to do, book travel (hotels/flights, etc), deal with card issues, and act as a concierge. I suspect they have to speak to different departments in house but that doesn't affect me. I don't know what RMs in the UK do, but I expect it is similar.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 9:35 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
Big difference. Centurion holders have their own dedicated relationship manager, rather than a pool of people at Platinum. I agree with you that the Platinum concierge service is very hit-or-miss (ie useless mostly).
Yeah I knew they get a dedicated person, but can they actually do things that the Amex concierge can't? I don't know the answer but I suspect no. For instance, in my above example, could the Centurion concierge actually get me sold out tickets, or just spit out a link to Stubhub again? That's what I'm curious about.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 9:37 am
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Originally Posted by Zorn_ View Post
Yeah I knew they get a dedicated person, but can they actually do things that the Amex concierge can't? I don't know the answer but I suspect no. For instance, in my above example, could the Centurion concierge actually get me sold out tickets, or just spit out a link to Stubhub again? That's what I'm curious about.
One difference is the FHR program, where Centurions get additional perks.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 9:44 am
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Originally Posted by Zorn_ View Post
Yeah I knew they get a dedicated person, but can they actually do things that the Amex concierge can't? I don't know the answer but I suspect no. For instance, in my above example, could the Centurion concierge actually get me sold out tickets, or just spit out a link to Stubhub again? That's what I'm curious about.
I suspect not. The point of the RM is to get to know their clients so that it isn't a cold call every time the way it was with Platinum. Once they know you it becomes a little easier for them to work with you on things that can be done (and how far you are willing to go to get it) and break news to you about things that can't. The point of an earlier comment was that the RMs are not miracle workers. There is nothing they can do that you couldn't do yourself but, like having a good secretary, it is often a better use of your time to have someone else do things like this so that you can use your time better/more efficiently. This is why Centurion is not about getting status with DL or having a shopping benefit or things like that.
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