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The Amex Centurion card, which is also called the Black card, is a status symbol of the rich. It’s the equivalent of a toy poodle soaked in Dom Perignon Vintage 1995 White Gold Jeroboam. According to a 2008 reader survey of Centurion magazine, which is published solely for Centurion cardholders, the average net worth of its users is about $7.8 million. Moreover, its users have an average monthly disposable income of about $15,000.
Details of the card are hush-hush. It’s only after card hopefuls are approved that all the features are revealed in a black book (of course) shipped with the card. However, it is known that to qualify for the card, consumers have to charge about $250,000 and pay it all off within one year. There is also a one-time $5,000 invitation fee and a $2,500 annual fee, both of which might be waived if you are a big enough public figure.
So who can afford this mysterious piece of
plastic titanium bling? Let’s name drop: Lil’ Wayne, John Mayer and, of course, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, have one, according a Web site dedicated to the Centurion card. The list also includes celebrities Halle Berry, Denzel Washington and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. One high-paying profession is missing — politicians. If a big name can get you a Black card, shouldn’t McCain and Obama have one? One prankster thought so.
John Hargrave, from the comedy Web site Zug.com, called American Express posing as Barack Obama’s assistant. He said Obama wanted a Centurion card and asked if the high-dollar requirements could be waived. He got fairly far, but eventually service representatives said they had to talk with Obama. A terrible Obama impersonation followed and ended with “My name is Barack Obama, and I approve this credit card application.”
While Hargrave never got the Centurion Card, he did get a supplemental gold card issued in Obama’s name. The card links to the prankster’s bank account, but it looks like Obama is making the purchase every time Hargrave buys something. Hargrave’s next step is to decide what to buy and whom to send it to. He is taking suggestions, but so far sending a ham to John McCain’s house is in the lead.
So maybe this mysterious credit card isn’t worth the trouble after all. But as long as celebrities aim to top each other’s spending, status symbols such as the Centurion card will live. Like P. Diddy said, “More money, more problems.”