American Express Ending Centurion Lounge Guest Access for Platinum Cardholders
One of the most valuable benefits for American Express Platinum cards is lounge access. If you hold the card, you can access any any of the 1,300 locations in the American Express Global Lounge Collection, located across 140 countries. That includes the The Centurion Lounge collection where Platinum and Centurion cardmembers have unlimited complimentary access.
Besides being able to visit these lounges every time they fly, Platinum Card members can also bring guests. Each cardmember receive may enter with up to two guests at no additional charge. But that will change in the future.
No Guest Access Starting in 2023
Starting in February 1, 2023, you will no longer be able to bring in guests for free. Platinum Card Members, Business Platinum Card Members and Additional Platinum Card Members on the account will be charged a $50 fee for each guest. You will have the option to bring in free guests, but only if spend $75,000 annually. Here’s the relevant text in the announcement:
Effective February 1, 2023, Platinum Card Members, Business Platinum Card Members and Additional Platinum Card Members on the account will be charged a $50 fee for each guest. To receive Complimentary Guest Access at these locations after January 31, 2023, the total eligible purchases on the Platinum Account must equal or exceed $75,000 between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022 and in each calendar year thereafter.
Beginning February 1, 2023, eligibility for Complimentary Guest Access will be processed within a week of the Platinum Account’s meeting the purchase requirement in most cases, but may take up to 12 weeks to become effective. Complimentary Guest Access status will be reflected in the Benefits tab of your online account and in the American Express App. Once effective, Complimentary Guest Access will be available for the remainder of the calendar year in which it became effective, the following calendar year, and until January 31 of the calendar year (for example, if Complimentary Guest Access becomes effective on May 1, 2023, it will remain effective through January 31, 2025). Eligible purchases made by any Additional Card Members on the Platinum Account will contribute to the purchase requirement.
Before the pandemic, Centurion Lounges did have overcrowding issues. But this is a surprising and shocking solution to those issues. That’s even more so now, considering we are still far from reaching the travel demand of two years ago.
This devaluation of the lounge access benefit will affect most people who travel in couples, or families. Now every family member needs to have it’s own Amex Platinum card in order to access Centurion Lounges. Or the other option is to spend $75,000 in a year earn the right to bring guests for free. Considering the card earns just 1X point on most purchases, you are better off paying $50 per guest.
If you really need access for additional guests, then your best option in 2023 will be to just add them as authorized users to you Amex Platinum card account. You can add up to three Platinum authorized users for $175 annually. But considering that the Platinum cards have a fee or $550 or $595, and there are rumors of those increasing, you could soon be looking at close to $1K per year. Keep in mind that Gold Card and Green Card Additional Cards on your Platinum Card account are not eligible for complimentary access.
If you want to look for any positives in this, I guess you can point at the fact that it will help with overcrowding, you have two years to think about it, and it doesn’t affect solo travelers.
HT: Doctor of Credit