Today I received an offer from American Express for a platinum card. I thought they were confused. I already have a platinum card. So, I called them to help straighten things out. Turns out I was the one needing the straightening–well, maybe ‘informing’ says it better. What I learned, in a nutshell, is that all platinum cards are not created equal.

My platinum card, I was told, is “a good one”–but it’s not the best. (Horrors!) And I thought I had arrived. Shows what I know. Heaven knows it took years of cajoling by American Express to get me to spring for the extra that the platinum cost over the pitiful, as it is now apparent, gold that I had had before.

I think I was finally lured by the prospect of earning more bonus points in sky miles if I went to platinum. Apparently that lured many others as well because now when I try to use any of my accumulated miles, I can’t–all the sky miles seats have been booked by these other lured souls who have beaten me to the reservations line. That makes me wonder again why I made the switch. It seems all I’ve done is added more than I would have, had I stuck with my lowly gold card, to the coffers of AmEx.

But anyway, so there was this letter offering me a platinum card. I called AmEx to see what was up. That’s when I found out that that although I do already have a platinum card, it is not “The Best”–and that was what this offer was for. There were all kinds of high-falutin’ benefits from discounts on all manner of things I would never buy anyway to more things I wouldn’t buy anyway. And they were all outrageously expensive things, of course.

This new “super” platinum card–which I was assured was “the best platinum out there” cost a mere trifle more–that is, just over four and a half times–what my current, plebian platinum card cost. Surely this offer was for the epitome of what American Express has to offer. Not so fast.

Again, my total ignorance was proven when I learned how base platinum cards in themselves really are. The card we should all, I now know, be aiming for is The Black Card. Why hadn’t I realized this before? Now here is a real bargain, beginning with its cost. It is only just over six times the cost of The Super Platinum card that was over four and a half times the cost of my measly most ordinary platinum card–and that, interestingly enough, my calculator tells me, means that the cost of The Black Card is only just under thirty times the cost of the lowly card I have now. Is that a deal or what?

How can I possibly live for one more day without The Black Card–and all of the glorious benefits it brings, to say nothing of the unsurpassed prestige? The sales rep on the phone told me The Black Card comes with a concierge service–apparently “a real live concierge” who will come to my home to do my bidding. Now that is a deal! What would I have him–or her–do first? That would definitely take some thinking. I wonder if there is a definition of the concierge’s acceptable tasks? I hope not. And I wonder if there is a limit on the number of hours I am entitled to his/her services. The sales guy said there is no limit on what I can spend on The Black Card, but sad to say, it still would be up to me to pay for whatever I had charged. Now there’s a disadvantage.

Maybe The Black Card would also give me free flights on the Concorde. (Never mind that the Concorde is no longer flying–it sounds good.) Maybe I was hallucinating about all of this, or maybe the sales rep was just teasing me with all of these impressive sounding promises of benefits that could be mine if only I were a holder of The Black Card.

But wait a minute…I like the look of platinum on a card ever so much more than black. Platinum is so sparkly and bright while black is so dull and dark when appearing on that little slice of plastic. Don’t get me wrong–I like black and black definitely has many important places as a color, but not on my credit card.

I know that American Express will be so disappointed to learn that I could not bring myself to succumb to the varied and vast temptations of The Black Card ownership. I just keep thinking, if only it were purple…

*Note: Since this piece was written American Express apparently did come out with none other than a purple card…do they have access to my psyche??

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