Did Jerry Seinfeld Inspire the American Express Centurion Card?

by joeheg

There’s been a long-standing rumor that Jerry Seinfeld was the inspiration for the American Express Centurion Card, also known as the “black card.”

Jerry doesn’t deny the rumor, claiming he was the reason for the card on an episode of his Netflix show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”

To be honest, the timeline does kind of work. Seinfeld did a series of very popular TV spots for AMEX in the late 1990s, like this one from 1997. This was before AMEX had better supermarket cards than the Green card.

Centurion Card Moves From Rumor to Reality

AMEX introduced the Centurion Card, also known as the “Black Card,” in 1999. No one disputes the rumor that Jerry was the first to receive one.

However, American Express neither confirms nor denies that Seinfeld was the one who suggested the idea of the card to the President of American Express.

Snopes has done some work on the AMEX Black card but most of their research was into what the card could do. For example, could you charge a Bentley? Find and purchase the horse from “Dances with Wolves?”

If you do a Google search, you’ll find plenty of unboxing videos of people getting the Centurion Card. So it’s not such a secret as it once was.

But the story of how the card came about is an interesting one. Was it an example of the cart coming before the horse where rumors about an ultra-exclusive card caused it to come into existence?

“There had been rumors going around that we had this ultra-exclusive black card for elite customers,” says Doug Smith, director of American Express Europe. “It wasn’t true, but we decided to capitalize on the idea anyway.”

Do we have Jerry Seinfeld to thank?

Was Jerry Seinfeld the catalyst who made AMEX start the development of the Centurion Card?

While he claims this to be the case, can you believe someone who’s made a career out of making up stories mostly based on real-life events? And if you believe Seinfeld’s story, then isn’t the camera operator who mentioned the card to Jerry the one who had the idea?

Whether or not Seinfeld inspired the Centurion Card, it has become a symbol of wealth and prestige with its invitation-only membership, high annual fees, and exclusive benefits. For those lucky enough to have one, it’s a status symbol sure to impress.

Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.

Want to sponsor a post, write something for Your Mileage May Vary, or put ads on our site? Click here for more info.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and sign up to get emailed notifications of when we post.

Whether you’ve read our articles before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

Leave a Comment