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Reminder: Amex charging for most Centurion Lounge guests starting today

Feb. 01, 2023
4 min read
Amex Centurion Lounge JFK Zach Griff - 65
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Editor's Note

This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information. 

If you enjoy visiting American Express Centurion Lounges, this is your reminder that there's now a cost for bringing guests into the lounge with you from today. Most cardmembers no longer have free guest privileges.

These changes affect cardmembers with The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. To bring guests into the lounge with you, you’ll need to pay a per-visit fee or spend heavily on your card to earn guest privileges.

However, these changes do not apply to Corporate Platinum and Centurion cardmembers.

Here’s what you should know about the change in guest policies at Centurion Lounges effective today. We also have a handy workaround to get your guests into the lounge for free.

Related: The ultimate guide to American Express Centurion Lounges

A crowded Centurion Lounge at the San Francisco airport. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Centurion Lounge guest policy

The price for bringing a guest into an American Express Centurion Lounge is now $50 for adults and $30 for children aged 2-17. Children under two, however, can enter for free when accompanying an adult.

The new policy in effect at the lounge at LaGuardia Airport (LGA). SCOTT MAYORWITZ/THE POINTS GUY

To qualify for complimentary guest privileges, you must spend $75,000 on your Amex Platinum or Amex Business Platinum Card each calendar year. For 2023 guest privileges, your 2022 spending is the deciding factor. If you didn’t spend at least $75,000 on your card last year, you cannot bring complimentary guests into the lounge from now on.

These spending requirements reset each calendar year. Complimentary guest access is usually processed within seven days of meeting the spending requirement, although it may take up to 12 weeks to become effective. American Express has a spending tracker so cardmembers can follow their progress toward guest privileges.

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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.

Related: Amex adds live capacity indicators for Centurion Lounges

The Amex Centurion Lounge at JFK. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

A handy workaround

For those who can’t or won’t spend $75,000 per year on their Platinum card, a potential solution is adding authorized users to your Platinum card.

Authorized users aren't subject to the $50-per-visit guest fee. You 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). Authorized users on the Business Platinum cost a whopping $350 per year each (see rates and fees).

Children younger than 13 can’t be added as authorized users, so this is a noticeable devaluation for families who must shell out $30 to bring each kid into the lounges — some of which have dedicated family rooms.

Related: Is the Amex Platinum worth the annual fee?

Bottom line

Amex now charges $50 for adult guests and $30 for children aged 2-17 to access its Centurion lounges. You can avoid this charge by spending $75,000 on your Amex Platinum or Amex Business Platinum Card each calendar year or adding authorized users to your card.

The new Centurion Lounge guesting policy comes as Amex is working hard to expand and renovate its existing network of outposts. New locations are planned for Washington National (DCA), Newark Liberty (EWR), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta (ATL) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) airports. Plus, expansions are also underway in Seattle (SEA).

Additional reporting by Joseph Hostetler and Ryan Smith.

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

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.