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TPG reader Marlon tweeted me to ask:
“@thepointsguy—I’ve been thinking of getting the Platinum Card from American Express. Is there a Centurion Lounge in every airport?”
Well, don’t we all wish! The Amex Centurion Lounges are amazing; however, there are currently only four full-fledged Centurion Lounges: at New York LaGuardia, Dallas-Fort Worth, Las Vegas, and San Francisco airports. The fifth Centurion Lounge is opening in Miami sometime this spring (potentially late April/May, but you didn’t hear it from me). American Express is also opening up a smaller Centurion Studio in Seattle at some point this year, and I know they’re aggressively trying to open up more and more of these Lounges.
What I love most about the Centurion Lounges is that access is free if you’ve got the Platinum Card or Centurion Card. You can get your immediate family in for free as well, including your spouse or domestic partner and children under 18, or up to 2 companions. That’s an incredible value, since you can’t even get into the Centurion Lounge unless you have an American Express card, and even then you have to pay $50. Once inside the lounge, you have access to Michelin quality food, great drinks, and no upcharges, and there’s no nickel and diming like at most airline lounges.
If you often fly through these major markets and can visit the Centurion Lounges a couple times each year, you’re easily getting enough value to cover the Platinum Card’s $450 annual fee, especially since you get $200 in airline rebates each year. You also get Delta Skyclub access, Priority Pass Select, Global Entry fee reimbursement, the Fine Hotels and Resorts program, and overall pretty great customer service in my experience.
All the points you earn on the card go into the Membership Rewards program, so you can transfer to airline and hotel partners. American Express also runs transfer bonuses (like the recent 40% bonus to British Airways, and the 35% bonus to Virgin America that ends today).
If you’re thinking about getting the Platinum Card, there’s a public offer right now for 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. That’s up from the last few years when it was only 25,000 points. Howeve, a lot of TPG readers have reported getting targeted offers for 60,000 or even 100,000 points, so make sure you check the CardMatch Tool to see what offers are available to you. Otherwise, 40,000 Membership Rewards points and all those perks make the Platinum Card a no-brainer, especially for the first year.