American Express Axes Free Guest Access To Centurion Lounges
Update (Apr. 18, 2021) – The new terms have been removed from the page linked below. But I would guess that this is something that is already planned, and we’ll just find out officially later on.
American Express has announced a big change to the Centurion Lounge benefit for Platinum cardholders. 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 are the details of this change:
U.S. Basic Platinum Card Members and Additional Platinum Card Members on the account and U.S. Basic Business Platinum Card Members and Additional Platinum Card Members on the account may bring up to two (2) guests per visit into locations of The Centurion Lounge in the U.S., at Hong Kong International Airport and at London Heathrow Airport for no per-visit guest fee (“Complimentary Guest Access”) through January 31, 2023. 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. Eligible purchases to meet the purchase requirement are for goods and services minus returns and other credits. Eligible purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, cash advances, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift cards, person-to-person payments, or other cash equivalents. If a Basic Platinum Card Member upgrades or downgrades from a different American Express Card, eligible purchases made on that Card Account will count toward the new Platinum Account’s Complimentary Guest Access purchase requirement.
You can read more here on the Centurion Lounge website.
This is a big devaluation of the Centurion Lounge benefit for Amex Platinum cardholders. Bringing in guests for free was a big perks for traveling couples or families. Only one person needed to have an Amex Platinum card. On the other hand, solo travelers could see this as a positive change which will help with overcrowding.
Now if you want to bring additional gusts to the lounge, they need to be Platinum cardholders. The best option would be to add them as authorized users to your account. Gold Card and Green Card Additional Cards are not eligible for complimentary access. So you need to get them Platinum Card Additional Cards. You can pay $175 for up to three Platinum Card Additional Cards.
Spending $75,000 on Platinum cards to get guests access doesn’t make sense. The cards earn just 1X Membership Reward on most purchases, so you would end up losing much more than the $50 guest fee, compared to putting that spend on a 2% credit card.
The timing of this announcement is strange though, as travel demand is still low, and far from the numbers of 2019. It could also be part of the changes that will come along with the rumored fee increase for the Amex Platinum Card.