Archive | November, 2008

Diddy: Approved!

Random Black Card celebrity fact: Diddy once used his Centurion to buy 400 pink Cosmopolitans at what was formerly known as Sunset Room, Sterling Steakhouse, Sideways, but is now known as “Green Door.”

The venue, named after a 1972 porn flick, features longer lines and more gawkers on the weekends. For more of a local vibe, try a Thursday night for maximum people watching and better door policies. Men should bring a female friend in tow, given the house’s 2:1 ratio requirement for ladies to gents.

1429 Ivar Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028-4605
(323) 463-0008

+ Diddy

= 400 Cosmopolitans.

Posted in Sean Combs0 Comments

Interview with the Jessica Igloe, AMEX Director of Global Sponsorship Marketing at the U.S. Open


American Express Company (AXP)Funny bloopers are a click away

Posted in Entertainment0 Comments

McCain: Married into 100M and a Black Card

Check out this clip to get more details behind McCain’s wealth. Why would you go anywhere else for such information when you can find it right here?

Posted in McCain0 Comments

The Seth Tobias affair: Hedge Funds, Cocaine, Gay Bars, Death and a Lucrative Will

Seth Tobias (April 8, 1963 – September 4, 2007) was an American hedge fund manager and financial commentator who made frequent appearances on the CNBC television programs Squawk Box and Kudlow & Company. He graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Finance.

He was the president of Circle T Partners, a company he founded in 1996 after working for five years as portfolio manager and equity trader at JRO Associate.

Tobias’ body was discovered in the swimming pool of his Florida home; the cause of death has not yet been officially disclosed. The details of his death were widely reported in The New York Times in a major article on December 4, 2007. They included accusations of drug use, bisexual dalliances with a go-go boy and gay porn star named Lexx Parker (pictured below), and murder. Tobias’ wife was a suspect for his murder and his two brothers were left as beneficiaries to his disputed will.

Jim Cramer was actually Tobias’ boss at Goldman Sachs and was quoted as saying, with true cheesy and offkey Kramer style, “I don’t know why this hasn’t ended up on CSI Miami yet.”

To go with all the scandal in Tobias’ life, the man made, and spent, millions of dollars a year. Outstanding expenses at the time of his death included $52,532 on his Black Card, and his mortgage payment for one of his homes was $35,000 a month.

Posted in Cardholder Profiles, Entertainment0 Comments

Demi Moore Changes Name for Ashton

As soon as Demi Moore became Demi Kutcher, she paid a pretty penny for some changes with the marriage. It was a long time coming before she changed her surname from Moore to Kutcher, which she is rumored to have done so to make Ashton happy. However, the change didn’t stop there. Demi also spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $350,000.00 USD on plastic surgery to get breast implants, collagen injections and liposuction on her hips, thighs and stomach. She also spent about $8,000.00 USD on a procedure to lift the sagging skin on her knees.

Perhaps all of this made Ashton happy too, but Demi didn’t stop there. She also made arrangements to become Mrs. Kutcher on her black American Express card, her passport and other official documents, but opted to keep her name from her first marriage to Freddie Moore for all her professional endeavors.

Posted in Celebrities0 Comments

Black Card UltraLounge opens in Scottsdale, AZ

So you never would have guessed, but not long ago–close to the end of the summer in August–a new club opened up targeting none other than holders of The Black Card. The fact that AMEX is targetting club-goers might come as no surprise to you, but what about the fact that The Black Card Ultralounge opened up in none other than Scottsdale, AZ?

I have got to be honest: I don’t know all that much about Scottsdale, or AZ, other than the fact that there are lots of canyons, cliffs and hippies existing in Arizona. However, when the glitzy and aesthetic club opened its doors on Saturday, August 16, 2008, the owners of the establishment were definitely aiming for older and more upscale visitors.

The club’s owner, Ed Pope, has a Centurion of his own, of course. When asked about the concept of the club, Pope said, “We were just looking at it and we realized what the card stands for is what we want this club to be about.” The club has a maximum occupancy of 615 and is in an affluent neighborhood, in close proximity to other upscale businesses.

The club has been remodeled to a modern but dark sketchbook theme. The DJs at the club play everything from hip-hop to top-40 to mash-ups and house.

Of course the upscale club has an upscale dress-code; however, exceptions are made so long as the untraditional dress-code clothing such as t-shirts and sneakers are with proper labels: Ed Hardy, Diesel, Louis Vuitton, Moschino, and so on. If it’s made by an expensive enough designer then it will probably be acceptable. However, this must mean that the club’s bouncers are aware of the latest fashions and have the ability to distinguish real designer labels from knock-offs. One would hope, anyway.

Last, the VIP section of the club is blocked off with a wrought-iron railing, and of course a Black AMEX must be presented in order to gain entry past the rail. However, due to the small portion of people actually in possession of Black Cards in Scottsdale, AZ, the club allows members to purchase a $1,000 membership to the VIP section. With the membership comes a black metal card with a serial number on it, embossed with a crown, stars and Gothic script, which comes in a black faux-leather wallet.

Pope has already made a name for himself in the California bar scene and has plans to open up eight other clubs in the Valley, with hopes of taking the Centurion card concept to New York, MIami, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Diego.

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Posted in Clubs2 Comments

European Villa Stays

Whether you are interested in hiking the rugged Andalucian border between Spain and the Mediterranean or prefer to hit balls on the golf courses of Portugal, the best way to get away from the crowds is to go to one of the less-populated locations researched for you by American Express.

In association with Abercrombie and Kent, AMEX has compiled a brochure that features an extensive portfolio of Europe’s finest retreats to suit every taste, exclusively for Centurion cardholders.

If you would prefer Central Europe, visit Abercrombie & Kent for more details on destinations, itineraries and pricing. Why not visit the best travel sites that places like Prague, Vienna and Budapest have to offer this holiday season? Trips for two begin at $20,780.00.

Posted in Travel0 Comments

Jay Z and Beyoncé: Ballin’ Hard

Just to give you an idea of what Jay Z and Beyoncé are working with: a five-star penthouse suite at a hotel in Miami’s Setai for a small nightly fee of $25,000.00. Of course, once you get to six-star level, the Amex Black Card proves to be especially useful. Like Black AMEX, there are very few six-star hotels. To name a couple: Crown Macau in China and Dreams Los Cabos in Mexico. Obviously you can expect nothing but the best treatment when you stay at these places: butlers, bathrooms the size of apartments, private pools and getting picked up in a Rolls Royce or helicopter from the airport (or your private hangar).

Posted in Celebrities1 Comment

Kendra, Holly, and Bridget: Playboy’s Girls Next Door

You never know who the next Black AMEX cardmember will be. It is no secret that Hugh Hefner’s “Girls Next Door” from the show on E! are all packing the Black Cards in their Prada bags. Hef’s three pampered girlfriends Kendra Wilkinson, Holly Madison (his girlfriend no longer as of October 2008), and Bridget Madison are regulars at the Joseph Martin Salon in Beverly Hills where they get their hair bleached to that platinum blond. But money is no problem there or anywhere else on Rodeo Drive when you have a black card.

Posted in Girls Next Door2 Comments

Mark-Ups and Access

Studies show that services used with your Black Card can come with a mark-up of as high as 66 percent. For instance, the concierge service at the Ritz-Carlton got a Black Amex member a room at a rate of $349 per night that a corporate discount could have supposedly booked for $210, or two thirds of the cost.

American Express explained that purpose of the card is not to provide members with discounts but rather to enhance lifestyle and to provide elite access and services.

An American Express company spokesperson said, “We call them card members and not holders as it is about being in an exclusive club, and it is about being special and that is how we build the benefit and value. It’s about access. We do fashion events with designers such as Roberto Cavalli or Diane von Furstenberg where 25 people get to meet the designer who helps them pick out clothes one-on-one. We do famous chef events and you can cook with them at home. There is a program to shop with famous people like Stacey London.”

Posted in Ritz-Carlton0 Comments

Marquis Jet Card

The Marquis Jet Card Program gives you flight time on private jets in increments of 25 flight or occupied hours. Founded in June 2001 by Kenny Kichter and Jess Itzler Marquis Jet Partners Inc. provides members a card that represents a prepaid lease. Cardholders get the experience of jet ownership without the responsibilities associated.

Posted in Private Jets3 Comments

GK Power / Dubai First: Royale MasterCard

GK Power, a Seoul-based smart card maker and online game provider, developed the luxury card and began selling it to local and overseas banks last year. Recently, it signed a $175,000 contract with Dubai First Bank in September to supply 1,000 cards _ worth 300 times more than conventional plain plastic cards _ for the bank’s most valued clients. Kim says this is just the beginning of the high-end card market that the company is looking to step into in the U.S., China, Europe and the Middle East

Posted in Dubai First0 Comments

Centurion Card FAQ

American Express Centurion Card Frequently Asked Questions

What is the black card?

The black card is a high end credit card available from American Express similar to the Platinum card, however, it has extended special benefits (see the benefits guide).

Did the card start out as a rumor?

Yes, the card began as an urban myth. “It wasn’t true, but we decided to capitalize on the idea anyway,” according to AmEx Europe director Doug Smith, see how-to-guide history section.

Is it true that the card is made out of titanium?

Yes, Initially the card was made out of plastic, in limited areas in Europe in 2004, and wider adoption in 2006 American Express replaced cardholders cards in the US with a titanium version.

Does the titanium version go off in metal detectors at airports?

No, the card does not typically set off airport metal detectors.

Is it true that there is no limit?

No, there is a limit set based on cardholder account history, credit history, and cardholder assets.

When are payments due?

Payments are due at the end of every month like a normal American Express Green, Gold, or Platinum card. It is not a “normal charge card” that allows payment over time.

How do I get one?

In short, if you are not a famous or some sort of icon, you need to have an American Express Platinum Card for 1 year, and spend 250,000 in a rolling 12 month period. See our how to guide for more detail.*****As of October 2009 the Centurion Card is Invitation Only.

What are the fees?

In the US, $5,000 initiation fee, $2,500 annual membership fee, $1,500 per additional card member fee. That means that $7,500 is due in the first billing cycle after first receiving the card.

Can I keep my American Express platinum card for free?

Not in the US currently, if you want to keep your platinum card you will need to pay that membership fee as well, this is waived in certain parts of Europe.

Can I upgrade my platinum card account to centurion card from a Credit Report perspective?

No, you will receive a new card number and entry on your credit report, even though your Platinum card can be upgraded.

Can I keep my credit card number when upgrading from Green to Gold to Platinum?

Yes, you can maintain the same American Express card number when upgrading from Green -> Gold, Gold -> Platinum, or Green -> Platinum.

Can I keep my credit card number when upgrading to Centurion?

No, you will be assigned a new credit card number (notice the typical 37xx sequence).

Is it true the Centurion card can be declined?

Yes. Popular culture has you believe sky is the limit with this card, but just like any other credit card, it can be declined for a number of reasons, including security, non-payment, overages over normal spending habits.

Will I be upgraded when I check into a hotel and just show my card?

Typically not, despite what some may allege. There may be exceptions to the rule, but although the card carries significant status, the benefits come from the programs provided in the membership, see the benefits guide.

What about getting into Clubs, VIP Access and Bottle Service?

The card carries heavy status in the US, usually more so on the west coast in places like LA and Las Vegas, but less so on the east coast in places like NY (see NY Centurion Card Member favorites); This being said, the Centurion Concierge may be able to help you get into places otherwise off-limits, however, don’t expect this experience to be free. Also don’t expect that you will be able to flash you card and get in, you should simply expect that you will get what you pay for, and the card tells Club and Bar owners that you are willing to pay for a lot.

Many have said that American Express is working to generally improve the benefits of being a Centurion Card Member as many of it’s younger clients are seeking this sort of card amenity

What about Restaurants?

Similar to getting into Clubs, VIP Access, you should not expect special attention beyond what the Centurion Concierge can provide. The Centurion Concierge may be able to help you secure a reservation at an exclusive restaurant, have the general manager greet you and your party, but there is nothing particularily extraordinary here.

What are the travel benefits like?

Often claim the best benefit of being a Centurion Card member are it’s travel benefits, most notably the airline and hotel elite status. This is due to the fact that Centurion Card Members receive complimentary and automatic elite membership/status in multiple airline and hotel programs, see the benefits guide for specific detail.

Will I be upgraded to first class?

It is likely that if you travel enough, you will be bumped as a result of having elite status on the airlines (Continental, US Air, Delta, and Virgin). You will also accumulate miles faster as following the typical rules for elite status on airlines.

Can I charter a private jet on my card?

Yes, but be ready to pay that balance in 30 days.

What celebrities have this card?

You can be assured that most celebrities with an American Express would have access to this card if need be, however, you may check our known cardholder page for more info.

Is there a card above the American Express Centurion card?

American Express Centurion card is currently the highest card available from American Express. There are cards issued by other banks under Visa and Mastercard (see alternate cards) that in certain cases require substantially more in assets (Sotheby’s world Mastercard requires 2 Million in assets), however, do not carry the same universal recognition. In second place for recognition and status is likely the “White Visa” or Stratus Rewards Visa.

Where’s the card reference in popular culture?

Check out our “In Culture” section, which aggregates sources on references to the Centurion Card in Media and Entertainment.

Anything questions we are missing or you’d like answered? Please feel free to comment/ask our team.

Posted in Centurion Card3 Comments

Nerd Alert! The Black Card Is Used in Anime TV Show Lupin III

Lupin III (?????, Rupan Sansei) began as a Japanese manga (comic) series written and illustrated by Kazuhiko Kato under the artist handle of “Monkey Punch.” The storyline focuses on a gang of thieves led by Arsène Lupin III, the grandson of Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief of Maurice Leblanc’s series of novels. Lupin and his gang travel throughout the world to steal treasures and escape from the law. Phew, okay, glad we’ve gotten all that settled!

At any rate, the first Lupin III manga appeared in “Weekly Manga Action,” a series magazine, beginning on 10 August 1967. This led to the creation of a media franchise that includes numerous manga comics, a handful of animated TV shows, feature films, direct-to-video releases, TV specials, music CDs, video games, and a musical. Finally, WhiteLight Entertainment, a production company owned by Gerald R. Molen, purchased the live action theatrical rights to Lupin III in 2003 and the Hollywood production is scheduled to be released in 2009.

So what does any of this have to do with The Black Card you might be asking? Maybe you’re antsy for me to get to the point. Well, if I still haven’t lost you by now: on one of the Lupin III TV episodes, a character reserved her $8,000.00 a night suite at the Waldorf Astoria (pic below). Even Anime, although considered adult cartoons, has been infected. This is not only another example of Black AMEX in popular culture, but goes to show that the AMEX has gone global with the Black AMEX as a status symbol.

Posted in TV0 Comments

We Like Kanye West

Kanye is a fan of referencing The Black Card in his music. We’re a fan of Kanye. He knows the deal.

“Better Than Yours (Remix)”

“Last Call”

Posted in Kanye West1 Comment

Livin’ Large With Your Mortgage

Congratulations to America’s 44th President, Barack Obama. Oh, and congratulations to us for predicting that he would become president, on 50% odds of being right. But anyway, now that that’s out of the way and our country will be run better, on to another topic.

Did you know that you can make mortgage payments with your Black Card? That’s right. I said it, you can earn rewards using your Centurion card with a nominal fee of $395.00 for setting up the program with your card. Now, you might be questioning why you’d pay your mortgage with a credit card, but remember even with the low interest rates of your mortgage, if you pay your Black AMEX bill diligently you will actually be earning loads of rewards points and actually profiting from the practice. Although, the rewards for the program amount to about 1%, so after charging $39,500.00 of mortgage payments you start to get money back.

Beware, though, you wouldn’t want to have a false sense of cash-flow from using your Centurion card for such purposes if you don’t have the means to pay it off promptly. This really only benefits Black AMEX cardholders with high mortgage payments and the ability to pay-off their Black Card balance promptly!

Posted in Information0 Comments

Even James Bond Can’t Decide White VISA or Black AMEX

In the 2006 film Casino Royale, James Bond walks into The Ocean Club (an exclusive Bahamian resort), goes to the concierge, requests a room without a reservation, and simply hands the concierge a black credit card. We have little doubt this is the Centurion card he hands over. But how things change, here is a photo from the Omega Exhibition held recently, does this mean we will not see our beloved black card in the new movie?

Posted in Alternate Cards, Movies, Stratus Rewards Visa0 Comments

Get It Shawty (Lil Wayne Remix)

Ah yes, yet another reference to The Black Card in hip hop. I’m going to venture to guess that Lil Wayne is a rapper today with a lot of money. This 26-year-old from Louisiana is not playin’ when it comes to to making cake. By the way, if you didn’t know, his label has the fitting name of Cash Money Records.

Weezy is not lying when he says,

Okay I’m Weezy Baby
And I Am From The South Where We Call All Our Women Baby
Hey Baby Hey Baby
All Day I ask Hey Hey Hey
I’m Ballin Like Phay-a-way
3 Letter Credit A-Okay
Black Car Black Card
Girl I Got A Black Card
Can I Buy Some Of Your Time And Charge It To My Black Card

On a final note, the original version of this track by artist Lloyd was featured in the multi-million dollar game Grand Theft Auto IV. The GTA IV Game garnered a whopping total of $600 million one week from its release date.

Posted in Lil Wayne1 Comment

The First Cut Is The Deepest: AMEX Black In HBO’s Entourage

The show Entourage on HBO has been around for a while, and we just discovered this quick little reference to the Black Card when Vince and “E” are being told they’re in financial trouble and can’t rely entirely on Vince’s Black Card for their spending needs. Just another example of how the Black Card has become an icon in popular culture.

Posted in TV1 Comment