Rumor: Amex Introducing New Ultra Premium Card

Filed Under: Credit Cards

Let me once again start this post my emphasizing that obviously there are more important things going on in the world, but I think for everyone’s sake, some distraction is actually a good thing. Over the coming days I’ll be publishing both “normal” blog posts, and also ones specific to the current global situation.

Anyway, while I have no inside knowledge here, there’s a rumor circulating that suggests American Express may soon be introducing a new ultra premium credit card that’s somewhere between the Amex Platinum Card and the Amex Centurion Card. I’ll share what I’ve heard, and then my take on what this card could look like.

Details of the rumored premium Amex Card

In fall 2019 the rumors began about a possible new ultra premium Amex card. At a conference an Amex executive was asked about the rumor of a product being launched between the Platinum and Centurion, and he said he had no comment, but did so in a way that caused many to believe that something was imminent.

Doctor Of Credit now notes that a list of vendors that produce American Express cards points at a new product being in the works. On page 51 of this document (which talks about cards produced in the US), five card types are listed:

We’re of course familiar with the Gold, Platinum, and Centurion products, and the years listed coincide with when changes have been made to these cards.

Meanwhile:

  • There’s not currently an Amex “Titanium” product
  • While the Centurion Card is often referred to informally as the “Amex Black Card,” it looks like there could be a new card actually called the “Black Card,” or something

Why a card between the Platinum & Centurion could make sense

In the past Amex was a real leader in the premium card space, though since then we’ve seen cards with $500-600 annual fees introduced from other issuers, including Chase and Citi.

That’s why it’s also interesting to note that Amex recently increased the gap between the Platinum and Centurion products. As of this year, the Amex Centurion’s annual fee has increased from $2,500 to $5,000, and the card maintains the $7,500 initiation fee.

With Amex having created such a big gap between the annual fees, it sure makes sense that they might be introducing a product between the two. The timing of that also makes sense…

What benefits could the Amex Black or Amex Titanium offer?

The above is all that’s really rumored as of now, and everything regarding the annual fee, etc., is complete speculation. If I had to guess, I’d say:

  • The annual fee will be somewhere around $1K-2K, probably right in the middle; that seems like a happy medium between $550 and $5,000
  • I would guess that the focus will be on benefits rather than on a rewarding return on spending; it’s interesting that while Chase and Citi have used their premium cards to introduce widely valuable 3-5x points categories, Amex continues to be most focused on benefits for their most premium cards

Just to give a sense of Centurion Card benefits, the card offers perks like:

  • Complimentary CLEAR membership; this would ordinarily cost $109 at most
  • A $1,000 Saks credit per calendar year
  • An Equinox Destination Access membership; this would ordinarily cost $300 per month
  • Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status and Hilton Honors Diamond status

Perhaps the card would have somewhat watered down versions of those benefits? Maybe fewer restrictions on Centurion Lounge access, either SkyMiles Silver or Gold status, and maybe Hilton Honors Diamond status, given that the Hilton Aspire Card offers that as well?

Most importantly, I think they’re probably targeting those who want to feel like they have a fancy “Black Card” while not wanting to drop $5K per year.

Bottom line

At this point all we can do is speculate, though rumor has it that Amex may be considering a card between the Platinum and Centurion, called either the Titanium or Black.

It appears they were aiming for a 2020 launch, though with what’s going on right now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this delayed.

If Amex does introduce an ultra premium card, I’d love to see it actually offer generous points earning categories, though I’m not holding my breath…

If Amex does introduce a new ultra premium card, what would you like to see it offer?

Comments
  1. Generous points per $ would entice me to upgrade to this card. Maybe a central benefit around the $500/year for Sax credit would also be helpful.

    The prepaid hotel 5x points sounds nice but can’t be used because it’s a 3rd party reservation and voids the hotel elite qualification nights.

    Travel Insurance(s). Car. Hotel. Cancellation. Trip delay.

    Buyer protection. Price protection. Extended warranty. Etc.

    Some premium VMware’s have this now. CSR. AmexPlat. But they are all so restricted.

    Enhancing or adding to any of these above benefits would entice me to add the card.

  2. Fixing typo…

    Generous points per $ would entice me to upgrade to this card. Maybe a central benefit around the $500/year for Sax credit would also be helpful.

    The prepaid hotel 5x points sounds nice but can’t be used because it’s a 3rd party reservation and voids the hotel elite qualification nights.

    Travel Insurance(s). Car. Hotel. Cancellation. Trip delay.

    Buyer protection. Price protection. Extended warranty. Etc.

    Some premium **CARDS** have this now. CSR. AmexPlat. But they are all so restricted.

    Enhancing or adding to any of these above benefits would entice me to add the card.

  3. @ Ben — Absent a 100,000+ MR bonus, ths sounds like a crappy card. Of course, I suppose the RATS will want you to pay the annual fee twice for the bonus. Given that, I would probably pass. 2020 is the year of card closures for my household. It is time to punish companies like AMEX for things like RATS.

  4. “Let me once again start this post my emphasizing that obviously there are more important things going on in the world”

    Ben, no need to apologize, and please ignore the concern trolls that think that the COVID-19 situation means that doing/thinking about anything else is shameful.

  5. I wish they would just combine the benefits Amex platinum and the points earnings of the gold and charge $800.

  6. If they do 5x across the board plus regular plat benefits, I bet a lot of people would sign up for that. Or if they just do 5x for travel including hotel and everything else 3x would be enticing enough for most people.

  7. I do find it funny that Titanium has a higher ranking than Platinum now in all these rewards schemes since they decided they needed to push everyone down a level and needed some new easily identifiably term. Titanium is usually priced in tons vs platinum in ounces.

    With that said, I have to imagine if they slotted these two cards in they significantly limit Plat cardholders Centurion lounge access. Take away guest access or limit number of uses each month/year. Something has to give regardless as I have consistently seen them at capacity already and having to use a paging system to let folks in as folks leave.

    Even if you compare the price point of domestic US airline clubs, which are generally inferior, to having the Plat card, the Plat card currently is the deal. I know we can sit and scoff at how absurd airline clubs value one time access or annual memberships but perhaps they actually do understand the costs.

  8. A $1,000 Saks credit per calendar year

    = rather than a single pair of socks, you can get the underwear ‘value’ pack.

  9. For a card that will have $1K-2K annual fee, then I would like to see:
    5x for travel, but less restrictive. I want a broad inclusion like Chase.
    4x-5x dining.
    I agree with Lucky about Diamond status with Hilton and possibly Delta Gold.

    Without bonus earning, most won’t find the value of the benefits to be worth the annual fee.

  10. Just combine the benefits of gold/plat/green into one card so I don’t have to have 3 freaking cards. That would be nice. But who are we kidding here, this is amex we’re talking about here.

    So $1500 a year, includes
    CLEAR, GE/Precheck, 5x earn same as plat, 3x earn travel/dining, $200 Saks, skip the line to get into centurion lounges, hilton diamond, $400 uber, $400 airline credits. Sounds kind of trash so far but wait… 150k signup bonus!

  11. Thanks, Ben
    I have a similar concern as you, that either of Black/Titanium/Optio won’t be premium points earning cards. Given that I’m spending just under $1000/year in fees for both the personal AmEx Gold and Plat cards for me and my brood, combine the best points earning features of both, add some perks as suggested (usable ones – travel related reimbursement, not just tortured path to ancillary airline fee recovery, etc.), and price where you’ve suggested. I could drop the other two cards. But the math has to work.

    I personally like the Uber credit, even if I don’t use it every month. I have benefitted from the chosen airline fee reimbursement, but it could be easier. We have all gained Global Entry status. No gym membership, please. The Saks benefit is limited, though a higher dollar threshold could possibly be useful. Keep the 4X for grocery/restaurant spend from the Gold, for the new cards. Bump up the multiplier from 1X to 3X for all other daily spend.

    150,000 MR points for sign up bonus
    Add Delta Silver or Gold Medallion
    Add Hyatt status to the hotel perk
    Add Sixt status to the car rental perk
    Add a Silvercar benefit
    Add Gogo/Viasat or other in-air wifi service
    Keep GE/TSA Pre-Check and add CLEAR and Nexus (for us northern border dwellers!)
    Restore Priority Pass to non-lounge restaurant use
    Add in benefits from the Business Plat – Dell benefit; 1.5X points for purchases over $5000

    Not asking a lot! LOL

  12. Premium cards like this (and even the $450-550 ones years ago) are not for those who want maximize rewards by MS and abusing the credits. There are people paying $5000 annually for a 1x everything card, and there will be plenty of people who’re willing to pay $1000+ for a benefit card instead of a reward card. They don’t care if the reward+credit is “worth” the annual fee or not.

  13. Not attractive to me personally. The more I have to actually THINK about using specific benefits with my card, the less attractive. Annual credits and status are cool but then I’m swayed in the direction of whichever airline, hotel or service gives me the most benefit with that specific card. Hence why the Platinum card is not in my wallet.

  14. 5X on all travel expenses, dining and groceries.
    Platinum Marriott, Diamond Hilton.
    Platinum Delta.
    Priority Pass with restaurants.
    Centurion Lounges access (to the Centurion section as well)
    Marriott or Diamond or airline credits.
    Saks credit.
    Other small perks.
    This card can come with 1k or 1k2 annual fee.
    Opinions?

  15. It’s funny people thinks the new card (if any) would give you more bang for your buck.
    If your worth is above certain point, you care more about recognition not rebates. AF is spare change. AMEX might see a gap between UHNW and HNW and a long way between it. It used to be the Platinum was for the HNW but a visit to any Centurion lounge says otherwise.

    But from the document I don’t think there is a new Titanium card just the new ‘black’ card.

    @Lucky

    Off topic a bit but since CC is the subject here. (For us normal people)
    Maybe you could write about what cards to get or cancel at times like this. i.e. is getting an airline card a good idea (DL has big bonus now) or should I cancel my Carnival cruise card.

    Also things like travel insurance. We all know they are smart enough to exclude pandemic. But they also include doctor quarantine. How does that work?
    What about the travel ban to EU, what will and will not be covered.

    Or aftermaths of quarantine such as, CBP or my local hospital quarantined me, who is paying for this. What is covered or not. Do I need to copay. What if I’m uninsured or it’s not covered.

    To more day to day things like, I went to my local Walmart and they ran out of TP and water. Is there a new secret paper soup recipe I am missing?

    Maybe a trip report to Walmart? It’s not that different than flying? LOL
    You go in, go to the lounges (Subway or some cafe inside), you go down the aisles, you go to immigration (checkout) or use Global Entry (self checkout) and baggage claim (grocery bags).
    Riding the scooters is like flying Flagship First. And don’t forget to cover the Walmart credit card on your way out.

  16. Oh and the new United Club Infinite Card just came out too. @Lucky is probably covering it by now.

  17. What’s this going o do to us keeping the platinum even after retirement when travel isn’t important anymore but we like the perks. Why should I keep platinum if they reduce benefits or minimize them to make their new card more attractive

  18. The Amex marteting stragety reminds me the coupon book of the 70/80’s where one purchases a book for a fixed price in order to gain coupons redeemable for items or expierences such as theme park admission or or discounted meals. The card is no different as it comes with impressive wrapping attracting those who carry it like beads to an American willing to trade property for a shiney object to gain status among peers. Of course the card offers one the opportunity to the convince and safety of not having to carry cash and carries the caveats of if you miss a payment you”ll pay a penalty.
    All cards embedded and born from marketing strategy are only worth the price if each coupon or benifit exceeds the purchase.
    That said, I love the idea of up selling and convincing consumers they need the next ” more expensive” bennifit.
    So before we get too excited here let’s see how Chase responds as the responder is generally the best offer.

  19. I just can’t see Amex letting go of 30 plus years of branding and recognition around platinum.
    My guess, it goes the other way, they Revamp/add benefits/ increase fee on platinum(again), and the new product will slot between gold and platinum with similar benefits to what we have today. Giving folks a downgrade path versus an upgrade path

  20. It would be amazing the get platinum Delta with a credit card with auto upgrades to comfort plus, however I think with only a $1500-$3500 fee it will give you gold.

    Hilton diamond and Marriott Platinum would be great.

    $400 travel credit that can be used on any travel

    Definitely up the points on travel, food, supermarkets and I’d get rid of my platinum, gold, and green and pay $1500-$2500 if I get everything these cards get and those status listed above with the credits being easier to use.

  21. Its doubtful these cards are going to be profitable if they are jacking up the AF well over what the plat costs. I don’t see travel returning anytime soon and I think business travel is going to be significantly changed forever as a result of this and will not return to the same levels especially since companies are going to learn how to adapt to not having soo many employees out on the road.

  22. I would pay up for a card offering more lux perks such as a free co branded first class airline upgrade at anniversary, access to an all lounge pass, an agreement with charter airlines such as Jet Suite- Surf Air or Wheels up, an upgrade in hotel and limo transportation perks.

  23. In Australia the platinum card already costs something like $1200 and centurion card is about 6000. If something turns up in between they better not depreciate the platinum card.

  24. I would upgrade for a high level Elite status with an airline I don’t already have a high status.

  25. The card may have this benefit, maybe not. Maybe this other one. Or not. The fee could be this. Or that.

    You went to journalism school for THIS?

    Oh right. You didn’t.

    Usually a fan but cut the bushirt out, ok?
    Most of us have an IQ higher than Delta’s flagship flight.

  26. If your listed Centurion Benefits are the big difference between Platinum and Centurion then wow – who would pay $5000 for that over the $595 for the Platinum card?

    Complimentary CLEAR membership; this would ordinarily cost $109 at most
    — UA gives to 1K for free
    A $1,000 Saks credit per calendar year
    — Don’t shop at Saks
    An Equinox Destination Access membership; this would ordinarily cost $300 per month
    — Questionable – is this a full membership where you live, or only access when you travel out of town???
    Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion status and Hilton Honors Diamond status
    — Don’t fly Delta and don’t stay at Hilton’s very often.

    If the Black Card offers a reduction of the above 4 – then why introduce it.

    I still question whether the Platinum Card is worth it with the loss of the $200 AA credit. The Uber benefit is helpful – maybe use half of the value.

  27. They have to be careful not to dilute the Centurion card. I can see AX reasoning as there is such a difference between Centurion and Platinum cards. There could be a slight reduction in Platinum card benefits and considerable more benefits to the new card. This all could be a move to reduce lounge entrance as they are so overcrowded. AX has already been doing this.

  28. @michael william
    The coupon book still exist. I still buy it every year. But I don’t think you can compare coupons to credit cards.

    @ROSS
    The term ‘platinum’ has been dilute too much to be salvaged. They can’t make it invitation only anymore. I think they are smart enough to move on. VISA and MC have made platinum the new normal.

    @Randy
    All your response is an example of “people who are not their target”. Don’t expect any invitation from AMEX anytime soon, you are not even close to being there yet.
    Oh, don’t forget way ahead of you are also people who got the invite but didn’t think its worth it, those are also “people who are not their target”.

  29. The big recession is coming. Look for premium cards, business class flights and $450 cruddy rooms at Las Vegas being passed on by consumers as they focus on core financial issues.

  30. If it added some of those perks I’d be all in. It would be nice to reduce the amount of different cards that I have to carry in order to get many those benefits. It would be card consolidation for me.

  31. Like many people here, I have quite an assortment of Amex cards- cobranded cards from delta and Marriott, plus the core charge cards and some business cards.

    What I would like to see is one card to rule them all- give me the 5x on airfare from the platinum, 4x on groceries and dining from the gold, maybe 1.5x on the rest from the everyday preferred. Throw in upgraded status over the platinum card, I imagine Marriott platinum and Hilton diamond would be possible. Delta status of any level would be fantastic. Take all of the stupid credits and combine them into a single credit that’s actually usable- I don’t care if I have to select one airline or hotel, I just want to get some value out of the credit without resorting to “loopholes”. Heck, get rid of the credits- give me a 20% discount up to a certain dollar amount on the airline or hotel of my choice.

    For these changes, I’d gladly pay a bit more than the cumulative cost of the cards it would replace (At least $1,000). If Amex can deliver a product I want to use for all of my spend, we both win. I’m happy to help Amex make money on swipe/merchant fees if they get rid of all of the “breakage” credits and the necessity of carrying multiple MR earning cards.

  32. I say this would be a good chance for a premium card like this to offer a top-tier status from one of the airline alliances. Just like AMEX tells us to choose which airline for incidental credits, let us choose out of the three major alliances and pick their top status for premium lounge access worldwide, such as sky team elite plus, one world emerald, or star alliance gold so we can go to any of their business class lounges (as first class lounges would be pushing it) even on economy class tickets. Because Priority Pass lounges are mediocre.

  33. How come you website has advertisements for N95 masks @ $12.95 EACH!?!

    Do you support and receive revenue for gouging like this?

  34. @David

    YOU have been searching for N95 masks.
    These are google ads. Report them to Google (look for small box in the corner).
    This is why Google Alexa and Apple knows everything you do.
    If you search for hotel rooms you will hotel ads.
    If you go to porn websites you will get porn related ads.

  35. Not to pour cold water on any good speculation but in Canada Amex has the Cobalt card which is a Gold level card targeted at Millenials. Its a black coloured card without being a”Black Card”. It could be a similar US card.

    Of course, that doesn’t explain away titanium.

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