The Centurion® Lounge by American Express has some of the best airport lounges available. With prime airport locations in select cities, these lounges are a huge benefit for The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, providing free access to top-notch lounges across the country.
Offering complimentary fresh food by award-winning chefs, premium bar service, shower suites, and a place to relax away from the hustle and bustle, make these lounges the preferred location for the frequent traveler.
American Express recently announced some significant changes coming to their personal and business Platinum® Cards which go into effect on March 30th and the guest policy for The Centurion Lounge will also see a change on that date.
The policy has been that card holders can bring 2 guests and immediate family members into Centurion Lounges with them, while the new upcoming policy will be 2 guests or immediate family members and additional guests can buy a day pass for $50.
This change is meant to be implemented throughout the new Global Lounge Collection (excluding Delta Sky Club), which has over 1,200 lounges worldwide which will soon allow just 2 guests free access to their lounges.
We first noticed this change when we saw the addition of allowing two complimentary guests access to Priority Pass lounges for cardmembers when American Express first announced changes to its Platinum® Cards.
For some, like solo business travelers, this could be seen as a benefit since one of the main complaints American Express receives about access to these lounges is that they are overcrowded, and limiting access could potentially lessen the crowds.
For others, like traveling families, this could be a huge problem since the access that was fully extended to immediate family members will now be significantly reduced. A family of 4 traveling with one card holder will soon have to pay an extra $50 just to ensure the family can stay together in one of the Centurion Lounges.
There is an alternative for families to gain more access to these lounges, which would be to have the main cardholder add another family member as an authorized user for up to 3 cards, each with a $175 annual fee.
Authorized users have the same benefits as the original card holder and sometimes come with an additional bonus, so the family of four with both parents having a Platinum® Card (one being the main cardholder and the other authorized user) would be allowed to take their two children, plus two of their friends.
While this might not seem ideal, it ultimately depends if you will want to buy an additional day pass for your family at least 4 times a year. Then adding a family member as an authorized user would be beneficial.
Hot Tip: Families of 4 or more can request additional authorized user cards for a $175 annual fee per card (up to 3 cards) which will allow an additional 2 guests per card and save $50 per guest for each day pass when the family travels together.
Families who took advantage of this elite travel perk and frequented Centurion Lounges on a regular basis will suffer from these upcoming changes. In addition to the upcoming increase of the annual fee on the personal Platinum® Card from $450 to $550, this new guest policy is giving families something to think about when choosing their premium travel rewards card.
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, will not be increasing its annual fee, which could help offset the cost of adding an authorized user if needed.
It’s strange that American Express is attempting to reduce its crowds at their Centurion Lounges by changing one word in the guest policy, which really seems to target only families, especially since each lounge location offers a family room.
It appears that American Express is trying to solve a problem, which is the overcrowding of their premium Centurion Lounges across the country. In doing so they are taking a risk by changing their policy and reducing the guest access of immediate family members, which could disappoint some of their customers.
I’m not sure if offering a limited number of guest passes per year would be very appealing to cardmembers since these benefits target frequent travelers looking for exclusive perks on a regular basis.
Perhaps reducing access to just one guest plus all immediate family members would have done the trick, but that may have disappointed business travelers who regularly guest their favorite business partners into these premium lounges.
Maybe American Express is trying to see what works to reduce the overcrowding at the Centurion Lounge, and it’s possible this won’t, which would mean we could see another change from American Express regarding this exact policy sometime in the future.
All we know is that competition is heating up in the premium travel rewards card market, and The Platinum® Card by American Express is one of the longest standing premium cards out there, and I’m sure they will do their best to adjust to the current needs of their main customer base.