The American Express Centurion titanium credit card was first introduced in 1999 and is known as the "titanium card" or "black card." The card is completely black with the exception of the silver card numbers and American Express symbol on the front. Its look has remained much the same as of 2011.Usually the name of a credit card is merely a symbol. For example, a gold or platinum credit card isn't actually made of gold or platinum. The American Express Centurion card, however, is actually made of titanium. The titanium gives the card considerable weight when compared to other credit cards.
The Centurion card is not made available through an application. American Express extends initiations to certain qualifying American Express account holders for the titanium card. To qualify for the titanium centurion card, a person must own an American Express account and charge at least $250,000 a year; although that won't guarantee anyone an initiation. Invites are given at the sole discretion of American Express and are few and far between because American Express wants the card to remain exclusive. Upon accepting the invitation, an initiation fee of $5,000 is due immediately and an annual fee of $2,500 is due each year. The card does not come with an interest rate, although Centurion card users must pay off their balance at the end of each month.
American Express Centurion card holders are given a personal concierge who helps book the cardholder for special events. The range of Centurion card benefits is extensive. Cardholders receive invitations to rare special events, such as hanging out with professional athletes or attending private fashion shows. The card also grants its users access to private shopping services, according to Yahoo Finance.
While the benefits are impressive, the card serves mostly as a status symbol. Since only the wealthy can hope to qualify for the card, the card is essentially like owning a $500,000 car: it may drive well, but it's driven as a status symbol. Yahoo Finance states that the number of American Express Centurion cards in existence is unknown, but more than 17,000 likely exist. Although other high-priced, invitation-only cards exist on the market, none are made of the titanium metal that the Centurion card is as of 2011.