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The AMEX Centurion card has annual fees of, depending on the country, up to the equivalent of 5402USD for Taiwan. There are also one-time joining fees of up to 7500USD.

Now these anodised titanium cards clearly have a lot going for them in terms of prestige, but are they financially worthwhile? How could you use the card to make back that five grand?

I am interested in specific spending patterns which would make it financially worthwhile. For example, travel insurance is a good benefit, but cards with much cheaper fees offer it too. Does the card have better insurance, which you couldn't get for free with another card? If so, how much would you have to travel for it to be worth it? Or maybe having no limit allows you to make up the annual fee purely through increased interest in your savings account, but if so, how much are we talking about?

  • Did you read the benefit section of the article at the link you provided? – JoeTaxpayer Oct 18 '15 at 3:00
  • @JoeTaxpayer Of course, but it's far from clear that it's financially beneficial. Travel insurance is a good benefit, but cards with much cheaper fees often offer it too. Maybe having no limit allows you to make up the annual fee purely through increased interest in your savings account, but if so, how much are we talking about? I'm after specific details in this question. – curiousdannii Oct 18 '15 at 3:28
  • I question the statement on prestige. If I saw someone carrying one of those, I would think "dummy". – Pete B. Oct 19 '15 at 13:29
  • @PeteBelford Unfortunately most things which are popular do not deserve to be so ;) – curiousdannii Oct 19 '15 at 13:30
  • You could run up a huge balance and then declare bankruptcy or enter debt consolidation. – barrycarter Oct 20 '15 at 14:13
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The American Express Centurion Card (the "Black Card") is for extremely wealthy people who like to show off how much they spend. There are no cash back benefits like you have with traditional rewards cards. The benefits are all geared toward spending more money, not saving money.

For example, the benefits include a personal travel agent, personal shoppers at high end stores, elite status with airlines and hotels, etc.

There are some benefits that you could put a dollar value on. For example, first class upgrades and complementary companion airline tickets. If you like to fly first class and you do a lot of flying, it is conceivable that you could come out ahead. However, someone that does that much flying has probably already achieved elite frequent flyer status and enjoys regular upgrades without the Black card.

In my opinion, it is pretty difficult to justify the initiation and annual fees of this card as anything but a luxury.

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    If you announce in advance that you'll be spending a few K, most high end stores will arrange a personal shopper regardless of the color of your card. Heck, I got one merely by dropping a stack of clothes on the counter and asking the staff to hold on to them while I continue shopping. – MSalters Oct 18 '15 at 20:48

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