In recent years, airport lounge congestion has become an increasingly big problem. In April 2021, Amex announced major changes to access policies for its popular Centurion Lounges. Now that it’s 2023, I wanted to go over all the details of this because we’re only a few weeks away from this new policy going into effect.
Amex Platinum Centurion Lounge guests change
Effective February 1, 2023, there are major changes to Amex Centurion Lounge access that will particularly affect holders of The Platinum Card® from American Express ( view ) and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express ( view ). In particular, many cardmembers will no longer be able to bring two guests into the lounges for free, this is the current policy:
- Both prime card members and Amex Platinum authorized users will continue to have access to the lounge
- Amex Platinum holders will be charged USD 50 for each guest they bring to the Centurion Lounge; Guests under the age of 18 will receive a $30 discount, although infants under the age of two can still be brought at no extra charge.
- Amex Platinum cardmembers who spend at least $75,000 on the card in a calendar year will continue to receive complimentary lounge access for two guests.
- The Centurion Lounge guest policy will remain unchanged for Centurion Card holders as well as Corporate Platinum Card holders (This is different from the Business Platinum Card).
- Priority Pass membership, Escape Lounge and more. There are no changes to the guest policy for the Amex Platinum Card when it comes to partner lounges, including
Here’s how American Express describes the change in Centurion Lounge access policy in its statement:
“Centurion Lounge is one of the most popular benefits of the Platinum Card. We want to make sure we continue to support our Cardmembers as they travel by providing a comfortable place to recharge and relax, so we’re making some changes to our Centurion Lounge guest access policy.”
Is this Amex policy change good or bad news?
On the surface, this change to the Amex Centurion Lounge guest policy sounds like a devaluation because the benefit is taken objectively. The Centurion Lounge is certainly more impressive than most US airline lounges in terms of food, beverage and other amenities.
However, one of the main downsides to Centurion Lounges is that they are consistently crowded, given how popular they are. While the lounge chain continues to expand and individual lounges often expand as well, it seems that lounges are not getting any less busy.
We’ve seen Amex try to add new restrictions in the past that would reduce crowding, but nothing has made a material difference. Unlike other solutions we’ve seen, I think this change should significantly reduce crowding in these lounges.
Chances are, if you frequent the Centurion Lounge, you won’t be happy with this policy change. Meanwhile, if you often walk into Centurion Lounges alone and find them very crowded, you may find this to 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 – the former is much better and the latter is much quieter, and that’s what matters most to me.
The best Amex Platinum strategy is moving forward
If you’re thinking, “Oh no, I usually travel with a few other people,” remember that adding extra users to the personal version of Amex Platinum is an especially good deal (unfortunately, the business version isn’t. It’s not nearly as good value). .
You can add up to three additional cardmembers for a total of $175 (Fees and Fees), which is less than $60 per cardmember. These additional cardmembers receive many benefits, including access to the Centurion Lounge. Assuming you value Centurion Lounge access and consistently travel with the same people, this is a fairly cost-effective way to handle the change.
There’s plenty of opportunity to spend $75,000 a year on the Amex Platinum, as long as you don’t spend too much on airfare (a category where the card earns 5x points). There are better cards for everyday spending.
Will there be significantly fewer children in the Centurion Lounge?
I have to say, I feel bad for the parents here:
- You can only add those 13 years of age or older as additional card members to Amex cards
- In other words, if you have a child 12 or younger, your only option to get them access to the Centurion Lounge is to spend $75,000 per year on Amex Platinum or spend $30 per visit.
It definitely looks sharp and I could see a lot of parents canceling their Amex Platinum cards. Then again, maybe the purpose of having fewer kids in these salons is to focus these salons around more road warriors.
How do you see your Amex Platinum spending?
As mentioned above, if you want to continue bringing guests to the Centurion Lounge, you will need to spend $75,000 per calendar year on the Amex Platinum Card. With these new limits coming into effect in a few weeks, where can you see your current spending on the card?
Simply log into your Amex account and go to your Amex Platinum card profile. Once there, click on the “Benefits” tab.
Once there, you should see a spending tracker showing your eligible expenses on the card. I’m guessing most people know they’ve spent more or less $75,000 on the card in a year, although if you’re close it can be helpful.
Effective February 1, 2023, Amex Platinum holders will not be allowed to bring guests into the Amex Centurion Lounge. The exception is for those who spend at least $75,000 a year on the card.
It’s an interesting change, and your thoughts on it may vary depending on whether or not you usually host guests in these salons, as well as whether or not you have children.
What do you think of these changes to Amex Centurion Lounge access?
The links below will direct you to the rates and fees of the American Express Cards listed. These include: Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees).