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Surprisingly, it’s easy to get a decent read on it, because every Platinum Card and Centurion Card member gets a complimentary subscription to Departures Magazine from American Express, and non-members can’t subscribe to the magazine.
Since Departures is a magazine that accepts advertising which is based on circulation figures, it has to publish audited circulation counts on a regular basis.
These circulation numbers are roughly equivalent to the number of Platinum and Centurion card members in the United States, save for a handful of industry subscriptions.
As of early last year, the circulation figures say there are 1.3 million Platinum and Centurion Card members.
Perhaps more interesting is how much the numbers have grown in the last five years. Here are figures since 2010:
That’s an increase of about 27% or almost 300,000 members since 2010, which Amex’s publishing partner Time Inc. brags about.
The Platinum Card lost United Club access in the fall of 2011, while American Admirals Club access and complimentary Delta Sky Club guest access ended during 2014. And the $200 airline fee credit kicked in during 2011.
Centurion Lounges really started rolling out in 2014.
So despite a lot of turbulence for The Platinum Card and Centurion Card, the total member base has grown substantially in recent years.
And Cardmembers are well off.
The average household income reported by Departures readers is $741,170, and that’s a recent figure, not a number from 10 years ago, which puts readers solidly in the top 1% of income (which starts at “just” $400,000 a year).
New York is by far the biggest region for members, with over 261,000.
That’s more than double #2 Los Angeles at just over 115,000.
And that 115,000 is more than double #3 Miami at just over 50,000 members.
Outside the U.S., the numbers get smaller.
There are just over 450,000 members, with over half of those in Europe.
There is also some public info on the profile of Centurion card holders outside the U.S. via Centurion Magazine.
Average net worth of subscribers (which consists of all Centurion card holders) is almost $10 million, with income of over $1 million.
Meanwhile, Departures readers, which include the hoi polloi of Platinum Card holders, have average net worth of ‘just’ about $3 – $5 million, and income in the mid six figures.
The good news is Amex doesn’t ask for net worth when you apply for a Platinum Card in the U.S. And you don’t need anywhere near top 1% income to qualify for one.
So you can ride the back of all the big spending that’s happening on the accounts of truly wealthy cardmembers, and get hundreds of dollars worth of lounge access and other privileges for about $250 a year, if you take advantage of the $200 airline fee credit each year.
Centurion Card photo via Flickr
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