Monday, April 10, 2006

Luxury Plastic - American Express Centurion Card?

You're stranded on a desert island with nary a chilled Voss in sight. You've got a tragically hungry Chihuahua on your hands, and you're in sore need of a caviar facial.

Do you slump into the dune and cry? No. You pick up your satellite phone, call your credit card company and order a private jet to come rescue you.

Yes, your credit card company. Private bankers used to be the go-to resource for the wealthy, offering clients everything from exclusive access to art gallery showings to dog walking services, and that is still often the case. But card issuers have also been getting into the rewards game for the high-flying set. A select few issuers have introduced credit card programs in the last few years for the most elite of consumers, those willing and able to spend $250,000 or more a year and put it all on plastic.

Some of the programs have an almost mystical allure, mainly because they are by invitation only and thus closed off to the hoi polloi. The American Express Centurion card, also know as the "Black AmEx" is the subject of much speculation on Internet chat rooms. It does exist, but only 10,000 people are thought to have one, including teen actress Lindsay Lohan, who was reported to have lost hers one night two years ago.

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