Confirmed: American Express Dropping Centurion Lounge Guest Access for Platinum Cardholders

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Cardholders of The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express may soon have to pay a fee to guest non-cardholders into Centurion Lounges. American Express confirmed to AwardWallet that this change to the Centurion Lounge guest access policy will take effect in early 2023 for U.S. cardmembers.

Despite American Express expanding existing Centurion Lounges, overcrowding remains an issue. So, Amex seems to be taking the next step in combatting overcrowding at Centurion Lounges by requiring Platinum cardmembers to pay to bring guests into lounges with them.

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Amex Platinum Cardholders to Lose Complimentary Guest Access at Centurion Lounges

A revised version of the Centurion Lounge terms and conditions outlined how Centurion Lounge guest access will change. The terms and conditions were updated to show that American Express plans to eliminate the Centurion Lounges guest access policy for Amex Platinum and Business Platinum Card cardmembers as of February 1, 2023.

Until that point, up to two guests can accompany Amex Platinum cardholders free of charge. However, this will no longer be the case come early 2023. Instead, cardholders of U.S.-issued Amex Platinum will need to pay $50 per guest to bring up to 2 guests with them into Centurion Lounges.

In short, if an individual does not have a Amex Platinum or Business Platinum Card card in their name, a fee will be charged to the Amex Platinum cardholder wishing to guest others into the lounge.

After this story broke, American Express removed the details about these changes from their website. However, AwardWallet has confirmed with Amex that the Centurion Lounge guest-access policy will be changing as described above:

Beginning February 1, 2023, U.S. American Express Platinum and Business Platinum Card Members, and the Additional Platinum Card Members on their accounts, will receive complimentary lounge access for up to two guests if the total eligible annual spend on the account is $75,000 or more each calendar year (starting with the 2022 calendar year). If the annual spend threshold is not reached, Platinum Card Members will be charged a $50 fee for each guest they bring into Centurion Lounges. U.S. Additional Platinum Card Members will receive complimentary lounge access for up to two guests when annual spend at the account level reaches $75,000 or more in a calendar year.

Centurion Lounge Philadelphia view of bar and dining area
The bar and dining area at the Centurion Lounge Philadelphia (Image by Max Prosperi / AwardWallet)

New Amex Platinum Centurion Lounge Guest Access Policy

Here is the new Centurion Lounge guest access policy beginning February 1, 2023:

  • Up to two guests per Amex Platinum and Business Platinum Card cardholder (no change)
  • Cardholders will incur a $50 fee per guest that is not a Platinum cardholder (new)
  • Authorized users will not incur a fee (no change)
  • The $50 guest fee will be waived for up to two guests should the primary cardholder spend $75,000 or more in a calendar year with their Platinum card. (new)

For many cardholders, this change may sound way worse than it actually is. If you think about who is typically guested into Centurion Lounges, it's often spouses, children, or close travel companions. In many cases, these guests may already have access themselves as an authorized user of the Amex Platinum.

However, if you are someone who does not travel with other Amex Platinum cardholders, this is a pretty big loss.

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Making Someone an Authorized User

One way to avoid having to pay to bring those traveling with you into Centurion Lounges is to make them an authorized user on your account. However, this does come at an added cost.

Currently, American Express allows Amex Platinum cardholders to add up to 3 authorized users for a fee of $175 a year (Rates & Fees). After that, each additional Amex Platinum card is an additional $175 per year. If you haven't added a spouse, child over the age of 16, or other eligible travel companions as an authorized user, now may be the time to do so.

If you are concerned about how an authorized user might use their card, there are ways to manage the spending of authorized users. Primary cardholders can lock the cards of authorized users and set spending limits. Neither locking a card nor setting a spending limit will prevent the primary cardholder from bringing authorized users into Centurion Lounges as guests.

Other Ways to Access Lounges as an Amex Platinum Cardholder

One of the biggest selling points for Amex Platinum and Business Platinum Card cards is the ability to access Centurion Lounges while traveling. Centurion Lounges are among the best domestic lounges in the U.S. However, due to their popularity, access continues to become harder and harder to come by. Luckily, there are other ways to access lounges and clubs while traveling.

Priority Pass

Another fantastic benefit that comes with the Amex Platinum is Priority Pass. While American Express credit cards no longer receive complimentary access to Priority Pass restaurants and bars, Amex Platinum cardholders still receive complimentary access to over 1,300 lounges worldwide.

The swimming pool at the VIP Lounge Punta Cana
One of the over 1,300 Priority Pass lounges accessible to Amex Platinum cardholders includes the VIP Lounge at Punta Cana which features an outdoor swimming pool. (Image by Max Prosperi / AwardWallet)

Delta SkyClub

Amex Platinum and Business Platinum Card cardholders with a confirmed ticket on Delta Air Lines have access to Delta's network of SkyClubs. To clear up any confusion, Amex Platinum cardholders must be traveling on Delta Air Lines to access SkyClubs. I have personally used this benefit dozens of times. As long as you have your boarding pass on you, it's quite easy to access SkyClubs as an Amex Platinum cardholder.

The Sky Deck at the Delta SkyClub at New York-JFK
The outdoor seating area at the Delta SkyClub New York-JFK (Image by Max Prosperi / AwardWallet)

The Bottom Line

This isn't great news for Amex Platinum cardholders. However, restricting access to Centurion Lounges appears to be done with the best of intentions. Despite already limiting who can access these lounges and even expanding the size of existing lounges, Centurion Lounges are often subject to overcrowding.

For now, the existing cardholder terms and conditions remain in effect. Cardholders of the Amex Platinum have almost two whole years to add authorized users to avoid paying to bring guests with them into Centurion Lounges. Other than adding eligible travel companions as authorized users, the only way to avoid this new policy is to spend $75,000 or more with your Amex Platinum or Business Platinum Card in a calendar year.

What do you make of these changes? Do you plan on making any adjustments to your wallet as a result of this change?

For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees)

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Comments

  • Avatar

    Not a good move by Amex. I’ve used the CL and certainly a perk of having the Plat card. I could understand reducing bringing one guest instead of two, but making me pay 50 dollars for my partner to access the lounge is absurd. Let’s see how it goes in 2023 when this comes into effect.

  • Avatar

    Is this a worldwide thing or does it just affect holders of US-issued cards?

    • Avatar

      Just US-issued cards:
      Beginning February 1, 2023, U.S. American Express Platinum and Business Platinum Card Members, and the Additional Platinum Card Members on their accounts, will receive complimentary lounge access for up to two guests if the total eligible annual spend on the account is $75,000 or more each calendar year (starting with the 2022 calendar year). If the annual spend threshold is not reached, Platinum Card Members will be charged a $50 fee for each guest they bring into Centurion Lounges. U.S. Additional Platinum Card Members will receive complimentary lounge access for up to two guests when annual spend at the account level reaches $75,000 or more in a calendar year.

  • Avatar

    I’ve been seriously considering the Amex Platinum, on top of the other travel cards I hold, for lounge – specifically Centurion lounge – access, but this news has tipped me toward not pursuing it since I usually travel with my partner who doesn’t have the card. The fees are just too high, the other benefits a bit too esoteric, and I’m not convinced Priority Pass membership provides a decent alternative. Still on the fence, but I’m thinking that $550/year just won’t be recouped. I believe Amex needs to reconsider these terms.

  • Avatar

    Big change and disappointing, this was a great feature of the Amex card

  • Avatar

    This is a bad decision, i will start looking for a different option. Maybe mastercard Black.

    • Avatar

      I believe the lounge benefit on the Mastercard Black Card offers nothing more than the same Priority Pass options the Platinum card maintains.

  • Avatar
    Enrique Goldaracena says:

    Cannot believe this I used In the Past several times the centurions lounge and All was really excellent, food, place , you fell like in home even I had to travel very far away. Hope in the near future it re opens. So necessary for people who travel frequently like me before covid 19. Thks

  • Avatar
    Venkat Akileshwaran says:

    Will adding my spouse as an authorized user of my Amex Card make her eligible for this benefit as well? If so, I am assuming that there wont be any credit check for my spouse? That is the only thing preventing me for adding an authorized user.

    If this works, then the majority use cases of family travel not being able to use the lounge together will be resolved.

  • Avatar

    Very disappointing as this was one of the best features of the AMEX platinum card.

  • Avatar
    Aerovinelle says:

    Wow. I moved over to AE from Chase because I have the Saphire Reserve and Priority Pass but could never get into the lounges, worthless benefit. Now, I will have to pay $50 to bring my wife into these lounges? I will pay it, but that is outrageous… I could see eliminating the second guest but we should at least be afforded one guest!

  • Avatar
    Ross Thompson says:

    I guess now is the time to reconsider adding my wife as an authorised user of the credit card. There would be some added benefits, practically, but also saving me $50 each time would mean it would pay for itself in no time. But no lounge is worth $50.

  • Avatar
    Phillip Hoare says:

    Another “enhancement” yet again. I won’t be renewing, not on this basis alone, but mainly on the 3% fees i’m charged everywhere to use AMEX!

  • Avatar

    I’ll certainly be giving the Centurion lounges a miss if travelling with a partner. No lounge no matter how good is worth $50 to me.

  • Avatar
    Lynn Ballinger says:

    Our Platinum card is in my husband’s name and we will probably not renew in 2023 due to this change. We frequently travel with our children and grandchildren and it will simply not be an option for us to pay $50 per traveler. I see why something like this is necessary due to overcrowding, but it will affect a lot of people negatively.

  • Avatar

    How much more popular the benefit than AMEX expected?

  • Avatar

    This is really unfortunate, as I rarely travel alone and am usually with my SO or family. This loses a lot of the value if I have to get each of them separate cards to be able to come to the lounge.

  • Avatar

    While it’s unfortunate that AMEX will limit the number of guests, their lounges are legitimately better than other domestic lounges and overcrowding can be a problem. I would have preferred to see them limit to one guest rather than remove guest access altogether. Pro tip – I’ve always enjoyed the lounge at LGA that is outside security so that I could have friends from the city meet me there when arriving or departing.

  • Avatar

    This is rather unfortunate for families but hopefully it reduces crowding in the lounges…

  • Avatar
    Juan Ignacui says:

    Such a huge lose… hope it will change before 2023.

  • Avatar

    What a shortsighted decision!

  • Avatar

    I get why Amex is doing this but I think for a lot of their cardholders it will become something they seriously think about if they raise the annual fee. I get that they want big spenders. I still think a lot are families and it’ll hit them hard. I wish they would have left at least one free guest without spending 75k a year. At least there are several options for lounges. Priority Pass is iffy too getting in and they do not have lounges where I travel often. I was thinking about getting the card but now I will weigh my options. I wonder if Amex put out these changes to test the waters?

    • Avatar

      One free guest would make sense, or maybe at a minimum one free guest with $15k in spend. I’m certainly never getting the card now.

  • Avatar

    This seems like a really poorly timed announcement – at a time Amex are giving retention incentives to stem losses, surely it is predominately those of us who have the card for the travel benefits who are most likely at risk of cancelling?

  • Avatar

    Annual fee for an AE plat card here in HK is usd1,000… No free Lounge access for even one guest?! What a joke…

  • Avatar

    Are the Centurion Lounges that popular?

  • Avatar

    Well that just sealed the deal. No Platinum card for me ever.

  • Avatar
    Rahil Nathani says:

    Wow what a loss for Amex Platinum in the battle vs Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • Avatar

    Unbelieveable! Lots of people, including me, only pay AMEX for this kind of benefits. They keep on rising their annual fees and now this… BTW, in Argentina you can only invite only one guest. Very bad move

  • Avatar

    Unbelievable. I live in Argentina and Amex’s costs are getting higher every year. They don’t even offer any discount to customers with a long relationship.
    This is a very bad move since many people keep their cards because of the access of themselves and their guest to their lounges.
    BTW, I thought only one guest had the access granted for free.

  • Avatar
    STEPHEN MILES JR says:

    My family has a policy that we never fly on the same airplane all together at the same time – just in case, you never know. Therefore, my air travel is almost always alone. A few years ago it was just myself and my Mom, so I had to pay the guest access fee to a Delta Sky Club for her, Amex Platinum complimentary admission for me. Dad bought lifetime passes to the major airlines airport lounges decades ago, which come with complimentary guest access.
    So, this Amex Centurion Lounge policy change may occasionally result in a fee to me, probably only once every few years, so I am not concerned.

  • Avatar

    Almost 2 years away, anything can change in that timeframe. I will not be making any changes to my wallet at this time.

  • Avatar

    I’m of two minds about this: I’m disappointed as I love to bring traveling companions to the lounge with me. It makes me look very generous and awesome.

    On the other hand, I usually travel alone for work and I just got denied access to the Centurion Lounge in PHX due to overcrowding so I’d welcome that policy right now.

  • Avatar

    This is going to be a bittersweet controversial topic. Already see multi page discussions on flyertalk and reddit. I hope they also introduce some limited number of guest pass or something

  • Avatar

    sorry, but for those of us with (well behaved) kids, this is definitely a devaluation. boo on amex.

  • Avatar

    Does the $50 charge apply to children under 16? Going to a lounge with 2 parents + 2 AMEX Platinum cards and paying $50 for a child would make me think twice about value AMEX actually provides.

  • Avatar

    I get the feeling that this is the beginning of de-valuing the Platinum card.

  • Avatar

    Anything to avoid the overcrowding is worthwhile. This will weed out a few. No complaints from me.