Update: Amex has removed this change from its website.
Update 2: American Express now confirms these changes and underscores there’s no change to accessing anything other than Centurion lounges,
The Centurion Lounge is one of the most popular benefits of the Platinum Card. We want to make sure we continue to back our Card Members when they travel by delivering a comfortable space for our Card Members to recharge and relax, which is why we are making some changes to our Centurion Lounge guest access policy.
Currently American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders can bring two guests into a Centurion lounge.
Starting in February 2023, only Centurion cardmembers as well as Platinum cardmembers who spend $75,000 per year or more on their card in the prior or current calendar year will continue to receive free guest access. Platinum cardmembers who do not spend that much on their card will have to pay $50 per guest.
Those who are additional cardholders on a Platinum account will still be able to enter the lounge. You can add up to 3 additional cardholders on a Platinum account for $175 per year. So if you frequently bring the same guests into the lounge it may make sense to make them additional cardholders on your account (of course you are giving them charging privileges as well – but you don’t have to give them the physical card).
On the one hand,
- Centurion lounges are way too crowded and this should, in theory, reduce crowding
- I have a Platinum card, my wife is an additional cardholder on my account, if we’re traveling together with my daughter who will be four when this policy goes into effect we’ll have to spend $50 to bring her in. She is very well behaved, doesn’t drink, and doesn’t eat much or even take up very much space.
When my daughter is 13 I’d consider adding her as an additional user on my account and hanging onto the card myself just for lounge visits.
I’m unlikely to put $75,000 in ongoing spend on my Platinum card unless they add significant rewards for doing so. I will give them my airfare spend, but not my hotel spend through their travel portal since I give up hotel points, earning elite status, and status recognition for the stay by doing so. And unbonused spend just to avoid a Centurion lounge guest access fee is off the table.
Without authorized users, a cardmember traveling as a family of four will need to spend $150 to access the lounge with their Platinum card. An adult with the Platinum card whose spouse is an authorized cardmember, traveling with two children under 13 will need to spend $100. And when I traveled with my daughter as a five month old she was considered one of my guests. That’s one premium kids play room!
Hat tip to One Mile at a Time who wonders whether this won’t actually reduce crowding, but re-positions the Platinum card for the introduction of a new premium card between Platinum and Centurion that will come with free guest access.