Amex Platinum to lose guest privileges for Centurion Lounges

American Express will be cutting guest privileges at Centurion Lounges for Amex Platinum cardholders starting February 2023.  Amex Platinum cardholders have been able to bring 2 guests into Centurion Lounges free of charge, but starting February 2023, Platinum cardholders will now need to pay $50 per guest.  Amex Centurion cardholders will still be able to guest 2 at no charge, along with Amex Platinum cardholders who spend at least $75,000 in a calendar year.

The why

Amex Centurion Lounges have been some of the best airport lounges in the U.S. with their hot food and alcohol selections.  However, pre-pandemic, crowding has been a significant issue at pretty much every lounge in their network.  Amex has gone to great lengths in attempting to reduce crowding, including only allowing Platinum cardholder access within 3 hours of departure and disallowing access on arrival.  In addition, Amex has been actively renovating and expanding existing lounges to increase capacity.  However, crowding has remained an issue, often with significant wait times at lounges such as San Francisco, Miami, and Las Vegas airports.

Losers and some winners?

This is without a doubt a huge benefit cut for Platinum cardholders, especially those flying with companions and families.  The ability to bring in 2 guests has allowed many families to enter lounges with just one card holder.  But starting February 2023, a family of 3 would either need to pay $100 to enter or have 3 Platinum cards.  One way to mitigate this loss is by adding additional cardholders.  Amex allows up to 3 additional cardholders for $175 annually, and each additional cardholder will be able to access the Centurion Lounge on their own.

Whereas this policy will hurt many, those benefiting will likely be solo travelers as the crowds should be less crowded.  But this remains to be seen as passenger traffic has yet to pick up back to the norm.  It should also be noted that the Amex Platinum's other Global Lounge Collections and Partners, including Priority Pass, AirSpace, Escape Lounges, and Plaza Premium Lounges, will still retain the 2-guest privilege as this policy change only affects Centurion Lounges.

Keep or cancel?

Since the start of 2020, Amex has opened Centurion Lounges at Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, and New York-JFK airports.  Amex has also expanded the Las Vegas lounge, with plans to also expand the San Francisco, Seattle, and New York-LaGuardia lounges.  These additions and expansions have always been met with much fanfare, though the inability to bring guests into the lounge is definitely going to take a hit.  Amex Platinum cards are not cheap to carry with their $550 annual fees, and cutting guest privileges could play a role in cardholder's decisions on whether or not to renew their cards.

Bottom line

As travel has been picking up, so have the crowds at the Centurion Lounges.  Amex has been investing in opening new lounges and expanding existing lounges to cope with the crowds.  Cutting benefits seems like an ill-will to curb the crowding, and it remains to be seen if the lounges will become emptier as a result.  Will you be holding onto your Amex Platinum card after February 2023?

From all of us at Flying for Fitness, please stay healthy during this trying time.  We hope you enjoyed this post.  Please consider visiting one of our sponsors by clicking on the advertisements.  Our sponsors pay us for customer visits and help us to keep the lights on.  Thanks!


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