This Baby Has an American Express Black Card


Giovanni Zampolli is just five weeks old (born April 7, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital), but he’s already in possession of a black AmEx, the elite credit card with no spending limit. He’s not technically using it just yet, but his babysitter is flashing it to buy diapers, and his parents have used it for his first plane ticket, for a summer trip to Spain and his nanny’s new BlackBerry Bold. His father is Paolo Zampolli, a former modeling-agency mogul turned environmentalist and real-estate entrepreneur. Mom is Brazilian model Amanda Ungaro, who has graced the cover of Italian GQ and was the muse of Patrick Demarchelier and Antoine Verglas — the perfect combination to produce a baby baller.

The black card, also known as the Centurion Card, has been described by some as the ultimate status symbol. It’s by invitation only, and you need to spend more than $250,000 annually on another American Express Card you’ve had for at least a year to qualify. “We don’t discuss the benefits, but I can tell you it caters to an affluent customer who has discerning tastes and enjoys personalized service. It is the most premium card we offer,” said Desiree Fish, a spokesperson for American Express. “We got the card when he was a day old but I will not give it to him before 16,” said Zampolli. “So far, the charges are lots of diapers. No toys yet.”

Papa Zampolli, who just turned 40 with a blowout party heaving with models and a sprinkling of billionaires, got his own black card in the United States twelve years ago (he says he was part of the first 200 invites). According to his parents, baby Giovanni will have three passports, from the United States, Italy, and Brazil, and “will have a lot of frequent-flyer miles.” And even though he hasn’t bought any toys yet, we’re pretty confident he won’t lack for them his whole life: He’s already been gifted flatware from Hermès, and he has a Saudi Arabian prince for a godfather.