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Michael Jordan’s plain-Jane AmEx

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Monday, September 17, 2012
Posted: 4 pm ET

An online auction site is hawking an American Express card that once belonged to his Airness, Michael Jordan.

GoldinAuctions.com will accept bids on the expired charge card on Oct. 10 with minimum bids starting at $1,000. "Michael J. Jordan" is printed on the front with the former Chicago Bulls star's signature on the back. The card expired in July 2005.

What I found interesting is that Jordan carried a plain-vanilla American Express Green Card, rather than a more premium card offered by the issuer, such as the Gold Card, Platinum Card or the rarely seen Centurion Card.

The Green Card offers 2 rewards points for every $1 spent on travel and has an annual fee of $95 after the first year.

By comparison, the more elite cards from American Express provide the following.

The regular Gold Card, at $125 a year, offers the same rewards earning power, but cardholders have access to "Gold Card Events." The Premier Gold Card costs $175 a year, but you earn 3 points on airfare, 2 points on gas and groceries, and 1 point on everything else. The Platinum Card earns 2 points on travel booking and 1 point on every other dollar you spend. Its annual fee? A cool $450.

All these are charge cards, rather than credit cards. That means you must pay off your balance in full every month.

However, the exclusive Centurion Card by American Express is a credit card, meaning you must pay the minimum payment at least to stay in good standing. Its annual percentage rate is low -- prime rate plus 5.9 percent. Not bad. But is it worth the $2,500 annual fee? You heard me right. There's also an initiation fee of $7,500. That's what you call an upscale card.

Unfortunately, there's not much information about the Centurion Card's rewards program or benefits. American Express is notoriously tight-lipped about them, adding to the allure of the card. But I'm thinking the benefits can't be too good if Michael Jordan himself decided to stick with a Green Card.

Of course, rumor has it that American Express has to invite you to become a Centurion cardholder. Maybe Jordan didn't make the cut, but I doubt that. (American Express didn't respond to my email asking if Jordan is still an American Express cardholder. And if so, what card he carries.)

American Express isn't the only issuer with exclusive cards. Barclaycard has its Black Card, made from carbon and with an annual fee of $495. (I recently got "preselected" for the Black Card.) Chase has its J.P. Morgan Palladium card, named for the metal it's made of, and charges $595 each year. Chase also has its Ritz-Carlton card.

What's the most exclusive credit card in your wallet?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron

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