The American Express Red is an American Express credit card which has been launched for the first time in the United Kingdom in March 2006. Applicants must be UK residents. It is part of the Product Red initiative. The principle of the card is that every time money is spent with it, 1% of the amount is sent to a fund called Global Fund, created in 2002 to fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. When the yearly spending amount exceeds £5000 a year, this percentage is increased to 1.25%.
In the UK, the card is advertised by spokespersons such as Bono, Gisele Bündchen and Elle Macpherson.
Red American Express is mentioned in the 2007 song “The Way I Are” by Timbaland ft. Keri Hilson.
The Black Card started out as an urban legend in the early 1980s circa 1984. It was alleged by that American Express handed out a high end ID with unusual privileges. This rumor is corroborated by a Wall Street Journal article written in 1988, despite the fact that American Express continually declined the rumor as true.
From WSJ: Suppose, for example, on a 3-o’clock-in-the-morning whim, you decided to book a round-the-world trip; American Express would accommodate you with a travel service staffed 24 hours a day. In the market for a red 1965 Ferrari? If you were a black-card holder, American Express would kick tires in the world’s fanciest used-car lots. If you remembered in Singapore that you had left your favorite suit in a Hong Kong penthouse, the company would arrange to fetch it. (full 1988 WSJ Black Card Article Here)
On October 14, 1999, publicly launched the American Express Centurion Card aka The Black Card, see original press release here. Doug Smith, director of American Express Europe said:”There had been rumors going around that we had this ultra-exclusive black card for elite customers… It wasn’t true, but we decided to capitalize on the idea anyway. So far we’ve had a customer buy a Bentley and another charter a jet.”
In 2004 in Europe and 2006 in the US the Centurion Card was switched over to Titanium from Plastic.
In 2006 American Express also raised the eligibility requirement from 150,000 annual spend to 250,000 annual spend.
American Express filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Los Angeles alleging that Courtney owes $352,059.67 that includes unpaid balances ($279,079.68 on a Centurion Card, $69,245.56 on a Gold Card and $3,734.43 on a Platinum Card), attorney fees, and late charges. American Express suspended her charging privileges after she both failed and refuse to make payments.
Courtney Love’s publicist had no information as of Wednesday regarding the suit, but had left a message for Love’s attorney. Courtney was also sued for libel in February for comments she made regarding a fashion designer on Twitter; And just last year Courtney was sued for one million by an advisory firm seeking it’s share of proceeds from sale of Nirvana’s publishing catalog.
Myspace and Twitter, Courtney Love is definitely in touch with the times, even at the age of 44.
Wikipedia has created a disambiguation page to resolve confusion and ambiguity pertaining to the definition “Black Card”. It is possible that the more “Black Cards” exist, the less the term has meaning, similar to what happened to “Platinum Cards” years ago. What do you think, does it matter what color your credit card is, or is it really about the benefits?
To refresh you, I’ve included the definition for disambiguate –
dis-am-big-u-ate / Pronunciation [dis-am-big-yoo-eyt]
–verb (used with object), -at-ed, -at-ing.
to remove the ambiguity from; make unambiguous: In order to disambiguate the sentence “She lectured on the famous passenger ship,” you’ll have to write either “lectured on board” or “lectured about.”
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The term black card could refer to:
* American Express’s Centurion Card wikipedia page here
* Barclays’s Black Card VISA credit card (no wikipedia page, the editors nixed it)
* the black penalty card issued for serious misconduct in the sport of fencing
This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same title. If an internal link led you here, you may wish to change the link to point directly to the intended article.
Back in early 2000s, the number of “platinum” credit cards had doubled in a short period, reaching 100 million total since the late 1990s according to the Nilson Report (www.nilsonreport.com). The end result for Platinum credit cards? They still exist but if you think about it, they have no real meaning anymore, at least not culturally. To make it now there are “titanium cards” that aren’t actually titanium, rather “titanium colored plastic.”
Brilliance in marketing maybe, but the same fate will likely come to fruition for the Black Cards that are out there today. The more that exists on what the card actually is, the more common consumers will confuse what a Black Card actually is, with meaningless black cards such as “secured black cards” that are far from elite, or even worse (black card kits), and eventually, it will all mean nothing, least so far as status is concerned.
Let’s face it, people want it; People have over the years gone to great lengths in attempt to try obtain the card and without success. Because the rules are pretty strict, spend the money (250k) and pay in 12 months ($20,833.33 a month), have good credit and you can get the card, otherwise? Denied.
There have been stories of people:
Complaining to the FDIC (One Investment Banker in CT)
Phone calls, letters, and pleas to American Express from Cardmembers that they promise they will “never use it”
Setup of a website to build support
Pooling family members and friends together in attempts to reach the spending requirements
There are some that will shrug it off and say $2500 a year, that’s crazy, the fees are too high, I’ll stick with Platinum. An AMEX spokesperson once said, “The card is absolutely not for everyone,” she added “It’s open to a select group for that reason. If you don’t find value in the benefits and services, then it’s probably not right for you.”
Draft recently released a song all about the Black Card. The song by Draft Ft F.R.E.A.K titled “Kiss My Black AMEX” is on F Records. F Records was created by Dean “F.R.E.A.K” Farmer, June 9, 2004.
Below is the music video for “Kiss My Black AMEX”, you can go here if you want to buy their Black AMEX T-shirts
The Lyrics for Draft’s “Kiss My Black AMEX.” are as follows:
Uh ... Draft ... Freak
It ain't about this it ain't about that it's about a check
If you don't like then
Kiss my black Amex
It's time time to settle the debts people place your bets
If you don't like then
Kiss my black Amex
I got a buck pucker up and
Kiss my black Amex
Shawty knows what's up and
Kiss my black Amex
It's all about a dollar
Kiss my black Amex
So let me hear you holla
Kiss my black Amex
I got mad bucks I hit the stash up and spend that cash up
And use my new black Amex card for backup
Ain't no need to stack up I just hit Saks up
and treat it like a pool table and rack up
This is how it go: Put the merchandise on the counter
then slap the black card down like a domino
Just ask Ben and Big Mo
walking a day in my shoes is like slippin and fallin in a pot of gold
The money I make is just plain irate
if I don't rap no more from this dayforward I'm straight
I can get me a G5, a Land Rov, a Bentley
and that's just all off one day
Vintage '87 I hit the reverend charge
all my blessings and pay my way to heaven
A hundred million spent with nothing to show for it
I can run through money but I can never run out of it
Check it out
C & P jeans fresh fetus tee custom sneaks I'm dressed to a T
White socks fitted F Record pendant Carnivo sippin Cuban cigar clippin
Crib in the Hamptons loft in the city '08 Iconic Claudio himself sent me
You should see how many women it gets me
somewhere between a whole lot and too many
With the black Amex I don't have a price range
I tried to buy the world but they didn't have enough change
At the United Center sittin next to dame
last time I did that they almost put me in the game
It's a shame cause my main chick can even get charged
but shawty it ain't nothin to buy me a new broad
So if you wanna act like a retard kiss my black Amex card
It's Draft ... F Records baby ... Yeah ... Freaky crazy for this one
Courtney Love in a recent myspace blog post (I know, I am surprised she has a computer and can type) trashes Adam Horowitz’s girlfriend Kathleen Hanna by letting the cat out of the bag that she has a Black Card and a house in the Hamptons? She’s apparently trashing her glitzy lifestyle since being with Adam Horowitz.
ivehad my fair share of fights with artists, i mean Kathleen :Black Card” Horowitz OOPS did i tell a big secret? you mean ypou didmnt KNPW she had a HUGE bunch of property? a Centurion card and summers in the Hamptons? oops…well lets just pretend shes Julie ruin
Courtney and Kathleen’s feud started at Lollapalooza 1995 when Courtney attacked Kathleen (aka Julie Ruin) for being friends with bandmate Tobi Vail, who at one point had a relationship with Kurt Cobain?
American Express usually wants celebrities running around with their cards, but I wonder if this is a special case where AMEX denied Courtney a Black Card for being a Celebrity, I mean crazy. She seems a little salty about the card, doesn’t she?
Peter Robison wrote recently in a Bloomberg article details of how the falling out of Wall Street has resulted in deteriorated local business in New York City.
Buddha Bar, in New York’s Meatpacking district 20M in revenue in 2007, and now anticipates $12M. Rosa a waitress at Buddha Bar, details the spending decrease.
It wasn’t uncommon to see someone with a black American Express Co. card ringing up a $30,000 tab, said Tim Gaglio, who helped start the restaurant and bar in 2006.
The black “Centurion” card, billed as “the world’s rarest,” is available by invitation only, according to the company’s Web site.
At the peak, Rosa, 30, said she made $85,000 a year working three days a week.
“You wouldn’t see an empty chair here,” she said, surveying the half-filled lounge last week. As tips fell, Rosa stopped taking frequent trips to Miami, where she ate at the Prime 112 steakhouse on Ocean Drive, and to Puerto Rico, where she stayed at the Palmas del Mar resort.
Lloyd Banks on G-Unit’s Elephant in the Sand Mixtape references the Black Card.
[Verse 3: Lloyd Banks]
I’m comin out of South-side, you know I’m raw
Big ass check, they show our score
Put a dough out and roll out, the cream is off
Fo’-fo’ out, I know ’bout the Keizer war
I’m hot – five hunnid degress or more!
My door block an M16 or more
I’m in the store copin shit you ain’t seen before
Black card swipe, we galore
T*** Boi references the Black Card in “Paper Chasers.”
I’m tryna get clout, cash and a Black card.
So now even my pool got a backyard
Now it’s time to fast-forward, speed up the process
I’m so fresh, I could f**k her off my outfit
Ridin in the cockpit, ridin with the top back
Ridin on some butt-nicks, ridin they say, “What’s that?”
I’m Kan, the Louis Vuitton Don
Bought my mom a purse, now she Louis Vuitton Mom
I ain’t play the hand I was dealt, I changed my cards
I prayed to the skies and I changed my stars
I went to the malls and I balled too hard
‘Oh my god, is that a black card?’
I turned around and replied, why yes but I prefer the term
African American Express
Fat Joe references the Black Card in “I Won’t Tell.”
Grown man B.I.
Millionaire frames, Perrier rods
Every day a different chain n***a get ya gear up
Name another fat guy fly like me
and get you right, lay pipe all night like me
Call you Fruity Pebbles cause you got so many spa bags
Purple ones, yellow ones, sky blue, the wine bag
Hermes shiy wherever you lay your eyes at
Red card, black card, I could buy that
Louis Vuitton I’m truly the don
Christian, Lou’ Vuitton, the bluish charm
I’m a real n***a, real n***az do real things
And I can keep a secret is the song that I sing
Lil Wayne references the black card in Busta Rhymes – Don’t Touch Me (Throw Da Water On Em Remix) featuring Big Daddy Kane, Lil Wayne, Nas, Reek Da Villian, Spliff Star & The Game.
[Verse 5: Lil Wayne]
Chirp on the check like Michael Jeffrey
Even the referee said I need an ESPY, award just applaud I’m a boar with a broad
I go hard and my leather so soft and I cough
And the board of health say the boy need help
I am so hot the AM just melt
All aboard all aboard black card no fraud
I’m an extension cord I’m a lightning rod
I’m a lion roar I’m a dinosaur
I’m a sinus minus the nose I’m a cold
I’m raw than a temperature rose to five and, two o’s that’s 500 degrees for those who know
My fire’s higher than a liar, we don’t burn rubber, we burn tires
We riders we ciders, we live in The Carter
Wayne is a flame that could live in the water
Ok now let’s get it straight either you bait
Or the mate either eay you on my plate gettin ate
After grace, if you taste like base, snares and tenors be my dinner
I’m hotter in the winter, burn like sinner, turn like sinner
I swear I’ll put ya in the urn by your picture
Pa we ain’t playin Weezy baby be the man
Hotter than the Peter Pan till wet here I am
“Visa Black Card is focused on providing the highest level of service to each Cardmember. Marketed towards the top 1/3 of America, the Black Card member is one who demands only the best of what life has to offer.”
Two weeks ago Gawker reported on actress Salma Hayek’s hacked e-mail account, which revealed details on her personal life. Salma Hayek is currently married to born billionaire François-Henri Pinault. Details of the e-mail revealed included her American Express Gold CardReplacement. Gawker editors even note that it’s not the “Centurion Card.” Having a gold card, does not disqualify or mean that she does not have a Centurion Card, because American Express will let you have both if you want (in the US you will have to pay fees for both cards). Marketing research by American Express Departures Magazine has shown that the Rich & Famous seek out unique life experiences and value in their credit cards. But the real question is, if your Salma Hayek or Chuck Bass, do you really need a Credit Card? Seemingly yes, but any unique experience or value a credit card could offer, would certainly be easier to obtain via your own team of assistants. So although most Billionaires (all 792 of them) don’t fly commercial, but they still need credit time to time.
According to a Forbes report in March, the list of billionaires, e.g. those with net worth >= $1 billion, is down to 793 people (that’s 30% less than last year).