Power Players

Mark Cuban once had his Amex Black Card declined — here's what happened

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, speaks to the media after winning the NBA Championship by defeating the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals on June 12, 2011 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.
Ray Amati | National Basketball Association | Getty Images

Billionaire Mark Cuban, "Shark Tank" investor and Dallas Mavericks team owner, has been an outspoken critic of using credit cards.

"Don't use credit cards," Cuban told CNBC Make It in 2018. "If you use a credit card, you don't want to be rich," he wrote on his blog in 2008.

But in 2011, after his NBA team the Mavericks beat the Miami Heat in the NBA finals, Cuban tried to use his American Express Black Card to purchase a bottle of champagne that cost tens of thousands of dollars to celebrate — but his card was declined, Cuban said on "Fair Game" on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) on Monday.

Fair Game tweet

Cuban and the Mavericks were celebrating their win at LIV, a nightclub in Miami, when the billionaire tried to pay for a bottle of champagne.

"When I went to put a card down, I had just gotten a new black Amex, and I hadn't called in to get it registered and authorized," Cuban said in the interview on FS1 in October. "And I got declined."

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12: Team owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks celebrates with the Larry O'Brien trophy after the Mavericks won 105-95 against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

An American Express Centurion, also known as the Black Card, is designed for the super rich. In 2018, an Amex representative told CNBC Make It that obtaining one requires a $7,500 initiation fee, followed by a $2,500 annual fee, and said the card's benefits are customized to suit a cardholder's lifestyle and needs.

According to The Points Guy, it takes spending at least $450,000 to $500,000 a year to get an invite for the business card and about $350,000 for the personal card. But, "that doesn't mean you'll automatically be invited to apply. Part of the exclusivity of the Centurion Card is that there's a secret formula behind who gets invited," The Points Guy says.

Cuban says at LIV he ordered a bottle of Armand de Brignac champagne, also known as Ace of Spades (the brand is owned by Jay-Z), which he recalled costing $140,000. But David Grutman, the owner of LIV, told ESPN in 2013 that Cuban was charged $90,000 for the bottle, and he said Cuban left a 22% tip.

When Cuban's Black Card didn't cut it, the nightclub had him call American Express in the back office.

"They put me on the phone, I called American Express, and they're like 'Sorry sir, this hasn't been authorized. It's a new card,'" he said during the FS1 interview. "And I was like, 'Can I talk to your manager please?' And they got the manager on, and I was like, 'Did you see the NBA game tonight? Are you a basketball fan?' I finally found someone who realized what was going on, and then they approved it."

Grutman remembered the night too: "We were in the back because his credit card was denied," Grutman told ESPN. "So he called up the people at the Centurion Card and said, 'This is Mark Cuban. We just won the championship. Can I please spend some money?'"

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See also:

Mark Cuban's 3 tips for success