This is hugely important – American Express has announced significant changes to its Centurion Lounge access, but they won’t be introduced in just under two years from early 2023.
Changes in the Amex Platinum Centurion Lounge
According to the Amex Centurion Lounge Terms and Conditions Many American Express Platinum card members can no longer bring two guests into the lounges for free::
- These changes will take effect on February 1, 2023
- Both primary and additional Amex Platinum card members will continue to have access to the lounge
- Those with the Amex Platinum will be charged a fee of $ 50 for each guest they bring into the Centurion Lounges
- Amex Platinum card members who spend at least $ 75,000 per year on the card will continue to receive free lounge access for two guests
- The guest policy for the Centurion Lounge remains unchanged for people with the Centurion Card
Currently, those with the Amex Platinum can bring two guests into the Centurion Lounges at no additional cost.
The Amex Platinum Centurion Lounge guest policy is changing
Is that good news or bad news?
On the surface, this sounds of course like a devaluation, since objectively a benefit is being taken away. Centurion Lounges are hands down more impressive than most US airline lounges in terms of food, drinks, and other amenities.
One big downside to the Centurion Lounges, however, was how constantly they were overcrowded (at least before the coronavirus) considering how popular they are. While the lounge network is constantly expanding and individual lounges are expanding frequently, the lounges don’t seem to be any less busy.
We’ve seen Amex try in the past to add new guidelines that would reduce the hustle and bustle, but nothing made a significant difference. Unlike the other solutions we’ve seen, this change should significantly reduce the amount in these lounges.
If you frequently take guests out to Centurion Lounges, you probably won’t be pleased with this policy change. If you often walk into Centurion Lounges alone and find that they are too crowded, this may be a positive development.
For example, Miami is my home airport, but I always skip the Centurion Lounge and just go to the American Admirals Club – while the former is way better, the latter is way quieter, and that’s what matters most to me.
Centurion Lounges are excellent but also tend to get crowded
The best Amex Platinum strategy for the future
If you’re thinking, “Oh no, I usually travel with a few other people,” remember that adding additional users to the personal version of the Amex Platinum is especially good business.
You can add up to three additional card members for a total of $ 175, which is less than $ 60 per card member. These additional card members receive many benefits, including access to the Centurion Lounge. This is a pretty inexpensive way to deal with this change, provided you value access to the Centurion Lounge and consistently travel with the same people.
There’s quite a bit of the opportunity cost of spending $ 75,000 a year on the Amex Platinum unless you’re spending a lot on airfare (a category where the card earns 5x points). There are much better cards for everyday spending.
Adding additional card members to the Amex Platinum can be a lot
Do you say goodbye to kids in Centurion Lounges?
I have to say I feel kind of bad for the parents here:
- You can only add people aged 13 and over as additional card members on Amex cards
- In other words, if you have a child who is 12 years or younger, you can only spend $ 75,000 per year on the Amex Platinum, or $ 50 per visit on the child in the Centurion Lounge
That definitely seems drastic, and I’ve seen a lot of parents cancel their Amex Platinum cards. On the other hand, the goal may be to have fewer children in these lounges and to make these lounges more geared towards street fighters.
This is likely to result in a significant reduction in the number of children in Centurion lounges
Could this have anything to do with Amex’s new rumored card?
For some time now there have been rumors that Amex is introducing a new ultra-premium card. One has to wonder if this change could be related to:
- Amex must notify such changes in performance to a considerable extent, so it makes sense that this change is announced in advance
- Could this also be part of a repositioning of the map? Perhaps lounge access will be reduced on the Amex Platinum, but we’ll see a new ultra-premium card that allows guest privileges for free regardless of how much you spend on the card?
This is pure speculation on my part, but a lot can change in ~ 22 months so I wouldn’t make too many decisions one way or another …
From February 1, 2023, guests with the Amex Platinum will no longer be allowed to bring guests into the Amex Centurion Lounges. The exception is for those who spend at least $ 75,000 per year on the card.
This is an interesting change, and your opinion on it likely depends on whether or not you normally take guests into these lounges and whether you have children.
What do you think of these changes to Amex Centurion Lounge access?
(Tip of the hat to Bill)