IN PARTNERSHIP: American Express has always been known for giving its customers an exceptional experience.

Exclusively for Centurion Members, the group recently launched the global Centurion Living programme. To find out more about the first-class offering, Emirates Man spoke with Hamad Hassani, Vice President of Centurion – American Express Middle East.

What is the Centurion Membership?

Launched in MENA in 2008, the Centurion Card from American Express has achieved iconic status providing Centurion Members with access to unique experiences across the arts and culture spectrum, with superior travel experiences.

What level of servicing can a Centurion Card member expect?

Personalization, exceptional service, and exacting standards are central to the Centurion offer. Each Centurion Member has a dedicated Centurion Concierge or Relationship Manager to help curate and facilitate personalized requests, including superior travel opportunities and unique access to experiences across the arts and culture spectrum.

The membership has been around for a while. How is the experience staying new and current?

The offering and products are always changing. The Centurion Card design is evolving with a modern new look. In addition to the sleek new black card (made from Stainless Steel and with contactless-enabled), Centurion Members can alternatively choose to select one of two Centurion Artist-designed Cards. Members can opt for a Centurion Card with a design provided by either artist Kehinde Wiley (whose groundbreaking body of work includes a commission of former US President Barack Obama) or Pritzker Prize winner and one of the most influential architects of our generation, Rem Koolhaas. Whichever choice of the three new card designs Centurion Members select, they can also receive a Wearable designed exclusively for Centurion by luxury fashion house Prada. The unisex black Saffiano leather wearable can be worn on the wrist as a bracelet and is discreetly enabled with a payment chip to make contactless payments.

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How does the Prada Centurion Wearable work?

The Prada Centurion Wearable can be worn on the wrist as a bracelet. As with contactless cards, it has an embedded payment chip which although imperceptible to the eye, allows for contactless payments that work in the same way as any contactless card. It can be used to make a payment anywhere in the world that accepts American Express contactless payments, up to locally applicable contactless limits and the Wearable uses the same technology as a contactless card so payment is just as secure as using any contactless card.

What is the Centurion Living experience and how is it making a mark in the region?

Centurion Living is a carefully curated, global arts and culture programme providing Centurion Members with unique insight and access to some of the world’s leading artists and performers from around the world. Exclusively for Centurion Members, all the experiences, performances and introductions provided by the Centurion Living programme are complimentary and take place all over the world.

What great performances and experiences can AMEX customers expect under the Centurion Living programme?

There are two strands to the Centurion Living programme. First, the Great Performances and experiences strand – which is an opportunity to indulge and enjoy things you may already love. Recent experiences which have taken place as part of the Great Performances and Experiences programme include:

  • Grammy award-winning ‘singer-songwriter’ Alicia Keys with performances in Paris and Munich.
  • Bossa Nova performed by Grammy-Winning voice of Elaine Elias with performances in New York, Miami, Zurich, Dubai, Frankfurt, Milan and Stockholm.
  • Classical Indian dance, kathak with Aakash Odedra with performances in Rome, Dubai, Los Angeles and Amsterdam.
  • Jazz with Diane Reeves who boasts more Grammy’s than any jazz vocalist in history with performances in New York, Miami, Geneva, Milan, Dubai and Los Angeles.

Secondly, Centurion Living ‘Introductions’ is a programme specifically curated for those who have always wanted to know more about certain arts and culture ‘territories’ but never had the time or didn’t know where to start Recent experiences which have taken place as part of the ‘Introductions’ programme include:

  • The Scottish Highlands – A weekend with the team at Fife Arms, in Braemar, Scotland, to discover more about Scottish heritage, craftsmanship and culture by foraging alongside winding brooks, playing the world’s oldest golf course, visiting Scottish castles and clay pigeon shooting.
  • Ceremonial Japan – Customers discovered more about tea ceremonies, sake and Japanese classical theatre at events in Tokyo.

How did AMEX’s recent Dubai event showcase what its future plans for the region are?

Our recent Dubai event was a tremendous success. We had a wonderful performance by Salif Keïta, attended by an intimate gathering of one hundred Centurion members. It demonstrates that there is appetite, excitement, and enthusiasm in this region for such exclusive events. We will continue to build on the Centurion Living programme, introducing new events in the region in 2023 and ensuring our local members can experience events all over the world.

In your role, how are you growing engagement for the AMEX Centurion business in the region?

My role is to grow engagement, market share and usage across our Centurion Member base in the MENA region. My main objectives are to maintain and drive personalization, exceptional service, and exacting standards for our Centurion Members. At American Express, we are always exploring new and innovative ways to provide our Card Members with unique and exclusive access and experiences. The Centurion Living programme is key in our value proposition.

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