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

Jul 2, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

For more TPG travel news and tips delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our free daily newsletter.

(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.

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.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.