American Express will double the annual fee on its Centurion card, colloquially called the “Black” card, while adding additional benefits. Is it worthwhile?
While the Centurion card is considered by many to be a status symbol more than anything else, I recently outlined why I am considering the card. Back then (about a week ago), the annual fee was $2,500/year (plus $7,500 initiation fee). Today, American Express announced the annual fee is doubling to $5,000/year.
Cardmembers received the following email this morning:
New benefits will include:
- Complimentary CLEAR membership (for the cardmember + family members)
- $1,000 Saks Fifth Avenue credit per year
- Equinox membership
- The Private Suite at LAX membership (per use payment still required)
But the $200 annual airline credit is disappearing.
These new benefits mean nothing to me and surely do not justify the doubling of the annual fee. That said, this recent annual fee increase does not change my calculus IF the card provides additional protection in the case billing inquiries. There’s a lot of crooked people in the wholesale business (another reason I don’t need the Saks Fifth Avenue credit, since I don’t have to buy any clothing at retail price) and I need American Express to be my advocate when fraud is committed by unscrupulous vendors. This discussion here is quite interesting on this topic.
I’d say the value proposition of this card dropped for most people today. Then again, for the demographic AMEX is targeting with this card, the extra $2,500/year probably doesn’t make a huge difference.
(H/T: Jason Around the World)