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Update: Amex to start charging $50 for most Centurion Lounge guests, $30 for children

July 02, 2021
5 min read
Update: Amex to start charging $50 for most Centurion Lounge guests, $30 for children
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Editor's Note

This piece has been updated with a statement from Amex. 

Back in April, American Express quietly updated its terms and conditions to state that it would clamp down on its Centurion Lounge guest policy and that most cardmembers would no longer be allowed to bring in two friends or family members for free.

(Photo by The Points Guy)

For a few nighttime hours, the terms and conditions indicated that beginning on Feb. 1, 2023, all Centurion Lounge guests that came in with a cardholder would be charged at a rate of $50 each. The terms said this would apply to anyone entering the lounge, along with a primary or authorized user of The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. Complimentary guest access can be unlocked by making $75,000 or more in purchases during a calendar year on a Platinum account, including charges made by authorized users.

However, as quickly and quietly as the American Express terms indicated this coming major change, it reverted them back to the original version, leaving us to wonder if this was a confirmed change.

We since confirmed that this change is in fact coming. However, Amex recently unveiled an incremental discount for select guests.

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(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Related: The ultimate guide to American Express Centurion Lounges

American Express has confirmed the changes to TPG with the following statement.

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.

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Amex went on to confirm that, "There is no spend threshold required for complimentary Centurion Lounge guest access for Corporate Platinum Card and Centurion Members."

Update: American Express has slightly walked back their upcoming guest fees for families, stating, "Card Members with children aged two through 17 (with proof of age) will be charged $30 per child."

To qualify for free guest access on the Platinum cards come Feb. 1, 2023, you'll need to hit the $75,000 threshold between Jan. 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2022. Complimentary guest access is usually processed within seven days of meeting the purchase requirement, although it may take up to 12 weeks to become effective.

Once you hit the requirement, free guests would be unlocked through Jan. 31, two years following the date you hit $75,000 in purchases.

For many, this is unfortunate news to go along with shelling out $695 each year for the Platinum card (see rates and fees). However, some deep-pocketed or solo travelers may be thrilled by a reduction in lounge guests. By cutting free guests, Amex is seemingly working to reduce overcrowding.

In the years leading up to the pandemic, overcrowding became one of the biggest complaints with Centurion Lounges. Even now, after a six-month pandemic-related closure, select locations are again operating at capacity, with many cardmembers being asked to join a waitlist for entry.

An overcrowded San Francisco Centurion Lounge before the pandemic. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Now that we've confirmed these changes are indeed coming, a potential solution will be to consider adding authorized users to your Platinum card. In the terms listed above, authorized users won't be subject to the $50-per-visit guest fee. You currently can add up to three Platinum authorized user cards to your primary personal Platinum account for a total fee of $175 per year (see rates and fees).

Children younger than 13 can't be added as authorized users, so this is a noticeable devaluation for families who'll now need to shell out $30 to bring their young kids into the lounges, some of which have dedicated family rooms.

Related: Is the Amex Platinum worth the annual fee?

Another alternative that Amex could consider is expanding the Platinum card's up to $200 annual airline fee incidental statement credit (enrollment required) to cover up to four guesting charges at the Centurion Lounge. It's possible the terms indicating this guest benefit change could be just a part of a larger overhaul of this iconic premium card.

Under these terms, Amex is providing cardholders just shy of two years' notice on the coming changes.

The new Centurion Lounge guesting policy comes as Amex is working hard to expand and renovate its existing network of 14 outposts. New locations are planned for London Heathrow (LHR) and Washington National (DCA), and expansions are underway in New York LaGuardia (LGA), Las Vegas (LAS), San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle (SEA).

Additional reporting by Joseph Hostetler.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.

Featured image by The American Express Centurion Lounge at JFK Airport. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards

1 - 5X points
5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 150,000 points120,000 points
The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.