The Black Card, also known as the Centurion card by American Express, is arguably the most prestigious – and mysterious – card in North America.

Owning one of these bad boys is like being part of one of the most exclusive clubs in the world. If you have one, you know you’ve made it. BIG.

The catch? You’re not able to apply for it – you have to be invited by American Express exclusively, which only adds more to its mystifying charm.

And the alleged requirements in order to be invited are…well, frankly, quite unattainable for the vast majority of Canadians.

Let’s take a deeper look into what makes this card so extra.

Related: 11 Credit Cards That Offer Priority Customer Service

The urban myth: what is the Black Card?

The shroud of mystery surrounding the Black Card has created many myths throughout the years.

When I asked my partner if he knew anything of the Black Card, he responded: “Isn’t that card only for people like Ellen Degeneres?”

And, ironically, he’s not wrong. (But don’t tell him I said that).

Qualifications to get the Black Card

In order to qualify for the business or personal version of the Black Card, you have to fit a certain profile.

You basically need the income bracket, level of spending, and social status that only celebrities or wealthy business people have.

There aren’t any specific requirements published, but speculation leads to believe that, in order to be deemed worthy to be invited to have the Black Card, you have to:

  • spend at least $500,000 or more per year on an existing ,
  • have a considerable net worth,
  • have an impeccable credit score,
  • accept a one-time sign-up fee of $5,000 (in Canada), and
  • an annual fee of $2,500 (in Canada).

That being said, these rules aren’t set in stone – even if you’re a big spender, you may never receive your invitation to Hogwarts get the card. There is a certain “secret formula” that determines whether or not you fit the bill.

Even if you meet all these requirements, you may still be interviewed by Amex to see if your personality fits their desired cardholder profile.

Related: Your Travel Bucket List: 5 Dreamy Places To Visit And How To Get There For Practically Free

Benefits of the Black Card

So what do you get in return?

In essence, the Black Card is a luxury credit card with similar perks and benefits to the .

Its overall value isn’t necessarily greater – its purpose is simply to convey wealth and prestige, as with most other luxury items.

For example, a Rolex watch serves the same purpose as a Timex – they both tell time. But the Rolex also comes with status.

That being said, some of the benefits of the Black Card include:

  • 24/7 concierge service,
  • no set spending limits (the biggest purchase ever made was for a whopping $170 million),
  • exclusive offers from luxury brands through the Centurion Shopping Program,
  • complimentary companion airline tickets and complimentary first class flight upgrades with the International Air Program,
  • automatic hotel Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton, Fairmont, Luxury Villa, Relais, and Chateau,
  • Centurion Hotel Program,
  • Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts,
  • access to the Global Lounge program, which includes complimentary membership in Air Canada Maple Leaf lounges, all Alliance lounges, Priority Pass Lounges, and more,
  • a 50% Membership Rewards bonus when you redeem points for any flight booked through Amex Travel,
  • Centurion International Arrival Services,
  • $85 credit for Global or TSA PreCheck Application,
  • free in-flight Wi-Fi,
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit,
  • premium benefits on luxury cruise lines and tours,
  • Avis Presidents Club, Hertz #1 Club, and Elite Rent-A-Car benefits,
  • American Express Front of the Line,
  • and much more.

Not to mention the card is crafted in anodized titanium – no big deal. It could even double as a bulletproof vest, like in this news story.

The Centurion Card vs. The Mastercard Black Card

The Black Card is more commonly known as the Centurion Card’s nickname, but Mastercard registered the name for their luxury credit card line, causing a bit of controversy back in 2010.

Let’s take a look at how the two compare:

Feature The Centurion Card The Mastercard Black Card
Rewards 1 point per dollar spent 1 point per dollar spent
Issuer benefits * American Express Front of the Line
* Centurion dining program
* Mastercard Priceless Cities
* Mastercard Priceless Golf
Lounge access Global Lounge program Priority Pass Select
Airport perks * International Air Program
* Free in-flight Wi-Fi
* Global Luggage Delivery
* Charter Service
* Chauffeured Transportation
Annual airline fee credit $200 $100
Airport arrival assistance Yes Yes
Credit for Global or TSA PreCheck Application $85 every 4 years $100 per year
Rental car perks Avis Presidents Club, Hertz #1 Club, and Elite Rent-A-Car benefits Enjoy competitive pricing and upgrades at car rental partners
Hotel perks * Automatic hotel Elite status in multiple programs
* Centurion Hotel Program
* Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
N/A
Cruiseline perks Yes Yes
Other perks * No set spending limits
* Centurion Shopping Program
* 50% Membership Rewards bonus when you redeem points for any flight booked through Amex Travel
N/A
Annual fee $2,500 + $7,500 initiation fee $495
Concierge service Yes Yes
Availability Invite only Citizens of U.S, Japan, or China
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Black card alternatives

Although these cards aren’t quite as prestigious as the Black Card, they come with some of the highest income requirements in Canada, as well as some of the best perks.

Black Card Alternative Cost & Income Requirement Standout Bonus & Features Apply
The Platinum Card * $699 annual fee
* No income requirement
* 50,000 point welcome bonus (terms)
* $200 annual travel credit
* International Airline Program
* Automatic hotel Elite status in multiple programs
* Card crafted in metal
Apply
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege * $399 annual fee
* $200,000 personal or household
* Up to 50,000 mile sign-up bonus (terms)
* Priority check-in, priority boarding, and one complimentary checked bag on all Air Canada flights
* Visa Infinite Privilege benefits at Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal-Trudeau International airports
* Priority pass membership and 6 free passes
Apply
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite * $120 annual fee
* $60,000 personal or $100,000 household
* Up to 30,000 mile sign-up bonus (terms)
* Priority check-in, priority boarding, and one complimentary checked bag on Aeroplan reward flights
* Annual fee waiver through TD’s all-inclusive banking plan
Apply
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite * $139 annual fee
* $60,000 personal or $100,000 household
* No foreign exchange fees
* Priority Pass membership and 6 free visits annually (terms)
* Avis Preferred Plus Membership
Apply

The Platinum Card

The has to be the best attainable alternative for those who can’t qualify for the Black Card – it has absolutely no income requirements compared to all the other premium credit cards in Canada, making much more feasible for the average person.

It’s also one of the only Canadian credit cards on the market to be crafted out of metal.

Plus, it’s been our pick for the best credit card for perks in Canada for 2 years in a row.

And it isn’t hard to see why. You’ll get:

  • 50,000 points by making $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months (a $1,250 value when transferred to Aeroplan),
  • a $200 annual travel credit,
  • access to the International Airline Program where you’ll get discounted fares, and complimentary upgrades,
  • free lounge access at over 1,200 airports around the world with the American Express Global Lounge Collection,
  • if you travel through Toronto-Pearson airport, get complimentary valet service, 15% discount on parking, and access to priority security screening,
  • American Express fine hotels and resorts,
  • automatic Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy, Golden Circle Jade status with Shangri-La, and Gold status in Radisson Rewards and Hilton Honors,
  • automatic Hertz Gold Plus Rewards 5 tier membership and Avis Preferred membership,
  • preferred golf membership with access to once-in-a-lifetime experiences on legendary fairways, and
  • access to the Platinum Card travel service, for assistance with travel plans and reservations.

All this for a fraction of the cost of the black card – 72% lower, to be precise.

What’s more, you’ll earn:

  • 1 point per $1 spent.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on travel, and
  • 3 points per dollar spent on restaurants

Not to mention you’ll get 11 different types of travel and purchase insurance.

Get all the details here:

Related: Why You Want American Express Front Of The Line Exclusive Access

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege

Coming in hot is the .

This card will start you off with a 50,000 point sign-up bonus (worth $1,250) – 25,000 after your first purchase and another 25,000 after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of having the card.

And if you’re an Air Canada flyer, the perks keep on coming:

  • priority check-in,
  • priority boarding,
  • one complimentary checked bag,
  • a 50% discount on a Business Class companion ticket in North America,
  • a free Priority Pass membership with 6 free annual passes to their more than 850 lounges worldwide,
  • 4 annual Maple Leaf Lounge passes on rewards flights,
  • Visa Infinite Privilege benefits at Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal-Trudeau International airports,
  • access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection,
  • complimentary 24/7 Visa Infinite Privilege concierge,
  • the Visa Infinite Food and Wine Experiences, and
  • the Visa Infinite Canada Wine Country Program.

In order to qualify for this card, the price tag is $399 for primary cardholders ($99 for additional cards) and you need a personal or household income of at least $200,000.

Related: Fly Like A VIP With Air Canada

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

For a lower income requirement of $60,000 personal or $100,000 household, the offers similar perks and benefits on Aeroplan rewards flights with Air Canada:

  • priority check-in,
  • priority boarding,
  • one complimentary checked bag, and
  • 1 free annual pass to the Maple Leaf Lounge.

Plus, you’re able to get your annual fee waived through TD’s all-inclusive banking.

Get all the details here:

Related: Visa Infinite ‒ Your Guide To Visa’s Premium Program

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

Our top no foreign exchange credit card, the , is also one of the best premium credit cards in Canada.

You’ll get:

  • complimentary Priority Pass membership and 6 free lounge visits per year,
  • complimentary Avis Preferred Plus Membership,
  • Visa Infinite Concierge, as well as other Visa Infinite benefits,
  • 10,000 Scotia Rewards bonus points annually if you spend a minimum of $40,000 per year on the card,
  • 2,000 Scotia Rewards bonus points for every $10,000 you spend above that annually, and
  • 12 types of purchase and travel insurance.

Related: Canadian Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee

Black Card FAQ

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the American Express Black Card.

What does it mean to have a Black Card?

Having a black card means you have a certain level of status that comes with having a high income and even higher spending.

It also means that American Express has deemed you “worthy” of an invitation to have this card.

What are the requirements for a Black Card?

In order to qualify for a Black Card, you have to fit a certain profile. Sadly, not everyone can qualify.

Though American doesn’t publicly disclose the card’s specific requirements, speculation leads to believe that you have to:

  • spend at least $500,000 or more per year on an existing Platinum Card,
  • have a considerable net worth,
  • have an impeccable credit score,
  • accept a one-time sign-up fee of $5,000 (in Canada), and
  • an annual fee of $2,500 (in Canada).

What is the Black Card made of?

The Black Card is made of anodized titanium.

Roll out the red carpet

Even though some of us may only dream of one day having an anodized titanium credit card in our wallet, at least there are some comparable options.

What do you think? Would you like to have the Black Card in your wallet?

Let us know in the comments.