Live: Amex Cutting Centurion Lounge Guest Access

Live: Amex Cutting Centurion Lounge Guest Access

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Airport lounge crowding has become an increasingly big problem in recent years. Back in April 2021, Amex announced it would be making major changes to the access policies for its popular Centurion Lounges. This new policy has now gone into effect, so I wanted to recap all the details. Here’s to hoping that it moves the needle when it comes to crowding.

Amex Platinum Centurion Lounge guesting changes

As of February 1, 2023, major changes have been made to Amex Centurion Lounge access, which especially impact those with The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (review). Specifically, many cardmembers are no longer able to bring two guests into lounges for free, which was the previous policy:

  • Both primary cardmembers and authorized users on the Amex Platinum continue to receive lounge access
  • Those with the Amex Platinum are charged a $50 fee for each guest they bring into Centurion Lounges; there is a reduced fee of $30 when guesting people under the age of 18, though babies under two can still be brought in at no extra cost
  • Amex Platinum cardmembers who spend at least $75,000 per calendar year on the card continue to receive complimentary lounge access for two guests
  • The Centurion Lounge guesting policy remains unchanged for those with the Centurion Card, as well as those with the Corporate Platinum Card (which is different than the Business Platinum Card)
  • There were no changes to the guesting policy for the Amex Platinum Card when it comes to partner lounges, including the Priority Pass membership, Escape Lounges, etc.

Here’s how American Express described the change to its Centurion Lounge access policy in a 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.”

The Amex Platinum Centurion Lounge guesting policy has changed

Is this Amex policy change good or bad news?

On the surface this change to Amex Centurion Lounge guesting policies sounds like a devaluation, since a benefit is objectively being taken away here. Centurion Lounges are no doubt more impressive than most US airline lounges in terms of the food, drinks, and other amenities.

However, one major downside to Centurion Lounges is how consistently crowded they’ve been, given how popular they are. While the lounge network keeps expanding, and while individual lounges are also often expanded, it seems the lounges don’t get any less busy.

We’ve seen Amex try to add new restrictions in the past that would reduce crowding, but nothing made a material difference. Unlike the other solutions we’ve seen, I think this change should significantly thin out the crowds in these lounges.

Odds are that if you frequently take guests into Centurion Lounges you won’t be happy about this policy change. Meanwhile if you often enter Centurion Lounges alone and find them to be too crowded, you might find this to be a positive development.

For example, Miami is my home airport, but I typically skip the Centurion Lounge and just go to the American Admirals Club — while the former is significantly better, the latter is significantly quieter, and that’s what matters most to me.

Centurion Lounges are excellent, but also tend to get crowded

The best Amex Platinum strategy going forward

If you’re thinking “oh no, I usually travel with a couple of other people,” keep in mind that adding additional users on the personal version of the Amex Platinum is a particularly good deal (unfortunately on the business version this isn’t nearly as good of a value).

You can add up to three additional cardmembers for a total of $175 (Rates & Fees), which comes out to under $60 per cardmember. Those additional cardmembers get many benefits, including Centurion Lounge access. This is a rather affordable way to deal with this change, assuming you value Centurion Lounge access and consistently travel with the same people.

There’s quite an opportunity cost to spending $75,000 per year on the Amex Platinum, unless you spend a lot on airfare (a category in which the card earns 5x points). There are much better cards for everyday spending.

Adding additional cardmembers on the Amex Platinum can be a great deal

Will Centurion Lounges have significantly fewer kids?

I have to say, I feel kind of bad for parents here:

  • You can only add those 13 years of age or older as additional cardmembers on Amex cards
  • In other words, if you have a child who is 12 years or younger, your only options for getting them Centurion Lounge access are to spend $75,000 per year on the Amex Platinum, or to spend $30 per visit for them

That definitely seems drastic, and I could see a lot of parents canceling their Amex Platinum cards. Then again, perhaps having fewer children in these lounges is the goal, in order to refocus these lounges more around road warriors.

This will likely lead to a significant reduction in children in Centurion Lounges

How do you see your Amex Platinum spending?

As mentioned above, you now need to spend $75,000 per calendar year on the Amex Platinum Card if you want to bring guests into Centurion Lounges. With these new restrictions having now taken effect, where you can you see your current spending on the card?

Just log into your Amex account, and go to the Amex Platinum card profile. Once there, click on the “Benefits” tab.

Amex Platinum Card “Benefits” tab

Once there, you should see a spending tracker that will show your eligible spending on the card. I assume most people know if they’ve spent more or less than $75,000 on the card in a year, though if you’re close, this could be helpful.

Amex Platinum Card spending tracker

Bottom line

As of February 1, 2023, those with the Amex Platinum can no longer bring guests into Amex Centurion Lounges. The exception is for those who spend at least $75,000 per year on the card.

This is an interesting change, and your opinion of this will likely vary based on whether you usually take guests into these lounges or not, and also based on whether you have kids.

What do you make of these changes to Amex Centurion Lounge access?

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees).

Conversations (157)
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  1. Bill Guest

    I’d sure like to use my useless airline fee credit as an Amex fee credit.

  2. C. Weston Guest

    Can there be a no kids side?

    I grew up with: Children are to be seen and not heard.

    Not anymore

  3. Vinay Guest

    I'll gladly pay the 30$ to bring my extremely spoiled, destructive and obnoxious 4 year old next time I see a Centurion Lounge. Seeing these comments from entitled "road warriors", most of whom are traveling on their company's dime, makes it all the more appealing for me to ruin their lounge experience. I can easily make the 30$ back in drinks, food, and the priceless satisfaction that comes with watching the shock and horror on...

    I'll gladly pay the 30$ to bring my extremely spoiled, destructive and obnoxious 4 year old next time I see a Centurion Lounge. Seeing these comments from entitled "road warriors", most of whom are traveling on their company's dime, makes it all the more appealing for me to ruin their lounge experience. I can easily make the 30$ back in drinks, food, and the priceless satisfaction that comes with watching the shock and horror on their faces when Vinay Jr heads to the buffet on his own.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Given that you were presumably bringing him before for free, how will we notice the difference?

    2. Vinay Guest

      Why do you presume you know Vinay Jr's pronouns?

    3. Vinay Guest

      I'm pretty sure you're the one whining on this thread.

  4. Karl Guest

    It's a good start. If overcrowding does not come down quickly, I hope that Amex bumps up the annual spending to $100k.
    Delta is bound to renegotiate with Amex some kind of similar restriction when the current deal expires.

    People who are upset about this the most are under misguided impression that lounge access is a basic human right.

    1. Travelfoot Guest

      When the platinum card was introduced 38 years ago it wasn't a basic human right to get one. You were selectively invited to apply for one and the perks were deservedly the offering of the elite product of the time. Anyone who is familiar with the level of benefits of 25/30 years ago knows well of how those benefits have been whittled down and are a mere representation of such benefits. Platinum description is increasingly...

      When the platinum card was introduced 38 years ago it wasn't a basic human right to get one. You were selectively invited to apply for one and the perks were deservedly the offering of the elite product of the time. Anyone who is familiar with the level of benefits of 25/30 years ago knows well of how those benefits have been whittled down and are a mere representation of such benefits. Platinum description is increasingly beginning to look more like aluminum, no surprise the Centurion lounge access is suffering from the same lack of enthusiasm to maintain the first class standards once pride of the named product.

  5. TP Guest

    Children are not the problem with crowding but families with children suffer with this policy. Whenever I go to the Centurion Lounge, I survey the environment and families with children account for a very small proportion of the overall crowd. The problem is too many people have the Amex Platinum card, the Amex PP card being not as useful (i.e. restaurants), and individual PP lounges having the power to restrict entry for PP card holders....

    Children are not the problem with crowding but families with children suffer with this policy. Whenever I go to the Centurion Lounge, I survey the environment and families with children account for a very small proportion of the overall crowd. The problem is too many people have the Amex Platinum card, the Amex PP card being not as useful (i.e. restaurants), and individual PP lounges having the power to restrict entry for PP card holders. Those commenting hating on children, you just don't like children, don't blame families with children for the crowding issue. How often can you bring the whole family on flights in a year anyways!?

    1. DCAWABN Guest

      The only people claiming families aren't the problem are the assholes that bring all their horrid crotch-goblins with them and let them run amok, yet casually claiming Brooklin and Cassiday are perfect angels and aren't disturbing "anyone" while they are, in fact, screaming bloody murder - unsupervised - at the buffet. Family are absolutely A problem, not the ONLY problem, but definitely a HUGE problem. And us regular business travelers can see that because A....

      The only people claiming families aren't the problem are the assholes that bring all their horrid crotch-goblins with them and let them run amok, yet casually claiming Brooklin and Cassiday are perfect angels and aren't disturbing "anyone" while they are, in fact, screaming bloody murder - unsupervised - at the buffet. Family are absolutely A problem, not the ONLY problem, but definitely a HUGE problem. And us regular business travelers can see that because A. We have eyes, and B. We're not brain dead.

    2. Luis Guest

      @DCAWABN lol why you mad?

  6. dara Guest

    more chicken thigh for me

  7. Never In Doubt Guest

    Anecdotal data: Have been checking the SFO lounge on the app occasionally when I eat breakfast, which would be morning rush at the airport. Before today it was always “almost full”, today it’s “a little busy”.

    It’s working!

    1. Travelfoot Guest

      I have yet to visit SFO Centurion since its recent opening after refurb. I was disappointed to see that apart from the new entry limits it closes at 5.00 pm according to the Amex Global lounge information. That would be a remarkable gain for the lounge to make more room by excluding myself and most of my fellow UK bound members on evening only flights not to mention all other evening flights to other destinations.

  8. mattnav_travel Guest

    It's definitely worth pointing out that any and all AMEX Platinum cardholders with cards issued outside the US still get granted 2 free guests like before. The new $75K spend requirement does not apply to foreign cardholders and I am glad that AMEX finally cut the rest of the world some slack given our less than stellar offerings compared to the US version

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Non US cardholders can’t have been a factor in US lounge crowding.

  9. John Guest

    Good. A cardholder should have priority over the guest (including family that are not AUs) of a card holder.

    1. Donna Diamond

      John - Totally agree! Solo travelers are paying full freight while card holders with guests are getting a discount.

  10. Santastico Diamond

    Family of 4 here. Have been using the additional cards for my wife and kids since the kids were 13. It is a no-brainer. Love that guests are no longer welcome. The fee to bring a guest should be the same as the annual fee for the card. Want access to the lounge? Pay for the card. Easy!!!!!

  11. Pat Guest

    I have a three year old and a one year old, and canceled my platinum card last year out of protest.

    But then I just signed up for it again because I wanted to buy a Soul Cycle.

  12. DaninMCI Guest

    A couple of observations:
    I would also pass up a crowded Centurion Lounge for a less crowded Admirals Club when flying on American.
    $30 fee for those under 18. Is that the "Groomer" policy or is another way to think about it is if your spouse is under 18 you can save money :)
    Amex allowed 2 free guests and now none. So if guests are the crowding issue couldn't they have...

    A couple of observations:
    I would also pass up a crowded Centurion Lounge for a less crowded Admirals Club when flying on American.
    $30 fee for those under 18. Is that the "Groomer" policy or is another way to think about it is if your spouse is under 18 you can save money :)
    Amex allowed 2 free guests and now none. So if guests are the crowding issue couldn't they have cut it down to 1 free guest first to see if that helps? The average user doesn't spend $75k on this card and they know that. It is a huge devaluation for those that have this card.
    And, Chris (Military Hater guy), is it HaRd tYpInG aLl ThOsE WoRdS LiKe ThAt or just a mental disorder known to Trolls? Btw they don't have Centurion Lounges at the trailer park.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Amex knows how many people used to bring in one guest, and how many would bring in two. They didn’t need to “test” anything.

  13. Nick Guest

    Additional card member pricing changing in 3,2,1. Unfortunately it’s almost guaanteed.

  14. Bruno Guest

    Good news! Still maybe not enough. I’ve been AMEX Platinum card customer for 15 years and never seen crowds as last 2 years. The experience is totally different. They need to do something, hope this work.

  15. Karen Guest

    I hate centurion lounge now. Doesn’t feel “platinum” level with all the kids an and munching down at the trough. People line up to the buffet like they haven’t eaten in days. I spend over $200k a year on Amex. A quiet lounge experience is what i expect. I literally walked out of the lounge in Dallas last week when i saw the line snaked out to the elevator. I ended up in Admirals Club. Better space and larger room. It’s making me rethink the platinum card benefits. .

  16. Jay Yibm Guest

    I spend way more than $ 75000 a year on AMEX Platinum, I have not been in a Centurion lounge for years, always go to American Admirals club, Amex lounge was WAY too crowded, filled with bums and the food was not great, I welcome this change, we shall see if it makes a difference

  17. Matthew Weinberg Guest

    It is good they are reducing 2 guests but can a cardmember still bring 1 guest for gratis??

    1. Nick Guest

      No, no free guests, except for babies.

  18. Didier Guest

    It appears this will only apply to US issued platinum cards. But how will the staff be able to tell if the card was issued in the US or in Canada?

  19. Son S Guest

    Does the full 75K spending have to be on one card, or can it be a combination of the primary card holder + authorized user?

  20. airline employee Guest

    These new rules are not even the most screwed up access rule Amex has. Their rules bar almost all airline employees from entry at all. Yes this pathetic excuse for an upscale financial services company expects me to pay them $695 a year and never be able to use the lounges.

    They already have a rule that guests must have a seat assignment on their boarding pass which most airline employees will not have until...

    These new rules are not even the most screwed up access rule Amex has. Their rules bar almost all airline employees from entry at all. Yes this pathetic excuse for an upscale financial services company expects me to pay them $695 a year and never be able to use the lounges.

    They already have a rule that guests must have a seat assignment on their boarding pass which most airline employees will not have until boarding. I think this is probably due to airline employees possibly overusing the lounges in the past, but how effed up to expect anyone to pay full price and not get full benefits.

    My fico averages are 800+ and they keep sending me pre-approved offers for their worthless cards. I saw the contact info for one of their marketing execs and reached out to her. She had some creature call me back and try to lecture me to read the terms and conditions and that state the rule. I reminded this bump on a log that her boss told her to call me because I had already read the rules and found them unfair. I asked her if she thought it was fair that amex wanted me to pay the full AF and receive a fraction of the benefits. The dumb, er, witch, said yes.

    I ended the call before telling her that she could take the preapp offers, roll them up and stick them, well you know, but if she calls back again I probably will tell her.

    If Amex can figure out how to process financial transactions all over the world, then they should be able to figure out some way to allow some airline employees some access. But because they are not smart or proactive enough to do that they can stick their preapps there. No way I am trusting them with my credit history.

    And if they cannot do better than to have this ignorant creature, who probably works in some call center somewhere, call me as a rep of a marketing exec then......

    I hope they go out of business. If they do, I will nonrev to their HDQ and throw a party. Expecting anyone to pay full price for few benefits is just effed up.

    Happy new year. I enjoy the blog.

    1. CHRIS Guest

      Um. No.....and stop losing my bags.

    2. airline employee Guest

      Well, yeah. You do need a seat assignment to enter. You can call the creature yourself as she is happy to lecture on this topic, although I have an intuition you will see her tonight when you get home.

      And I forgot to mention that when I told her this policy would also prevent stranded revenue passengers, like the thousands who were affected by the WN meltdown, from entering while they were stranded at...

      Well, yeah. You do need a seat assignment to enter. You can call the creature yourself as she is happy to lecture on this topic, although I have an intuition you will see her tonight when you get home.

      And I forgot to mention that when I told her this policy would also prevent stranded revenue passengers, like the thousands who were affected by the WN meltdown, from entering while they were stranded at the airport until they were confirmed on a new flight, she gleefully said, "Yes it would! Our lounges are not for standby passengers."

      So yeah, what I said is correct. Amex policy is to deny lounge access to those who need it the most. So yeah, they can take their preapproved offers and stick 'em.

      Oh and about your bags. I do not handle bags at work but I did some checking and found them.
      Your bags are waiting for you at home, safe and sound........under the bridge.

      Asking customers to pay full price without receiving full benefit is wrong, no matter what the troll council says.

      Toodles!

    3. CHRIS Guest

      Um no....as in no, airline employees should not be allowed to consume lounge space all day while those of us who pay the freight have to deal with overcrowding. I FULLY support AMEX. In fact their policies don't go far enough. There should be a personal verified minimum income of $75k....not too much but enough of a number to thin out the coupon book crowd.

    4. Airline Employee Guest

      It appears you found your bags. Yay!

      How unfortunate that you are unable to understand complex concepts such as it's wrong for a company to ask someone, regardless of where they work, to pay full price for a product and then not provide the product. I am sorry that I cannot think of a better way to explain it.

      I do not speak troll.

      Your crazy $75k income requirement would exclude many if...

      It appears you found your bags. Yay!

      How unfortunate that you are unable to understand complex concepts such as it's wrong for a company to ask someone, regardless of where they work, to pay full price for a product and then not provide the product. I am sorry that I cannot think of a better way to explain it.

      I do not speak troll.

      Your crazy $75k income requirement would exclude many if not most military servicemembers, who risk their lives protecting our country, but maybe that's ok as long as you don't have to wait to get in.

      Just because I make a decent living, does not mean I am willing to waste money sending it to a company that does not value my business.

      And again, their policy just excludes all the WN pax who were stranded for a week until they were re-booked with a confirmed seat. There is no way to justify that as being ok.

      Last comment on this end. #keepontrollin'

      Toodles.

  21. TProphet Guest

    Meaningless to me. I was denied access to Centurion Lounges so often that I cancelled my Amex Platinum. The handful of times I got in, I was not impressed. Amex didn't make any retention offer, so I cancelled the card.

  22. MikeyInOregon Guest

    I applaud this move. Lounge overcrowding takes all the joy away from a journey, I wish other lounges would follow suit. Also, I think all lounges should have a children area where they belong. I was recently in the UA Polaris Lounge and the misbehaved children took all the quiet and peace away from the guests and their clueless and inconsiderate parents did nothing about it.

  23. Scotes New Member

    I can’t remember the last time I even had the opportunity to use a Centurian Lounge but with AmEx’s constant fee increases and the gamification needed to actually get value out of the card this is annoying to hear. And with this new $75k spend requirement where are we going next? Platinum Gold, Platinum Platinum, Platinum Executive Platinum?? And I agree with a previous poster; kid/no-kid thing is getting out of hand. In all the...

    I can’t remember the last time I even had the opportunity to use a Centurian Lounge but with AmEx’s constant fee increases and the gamification needed to actually get value out of the card this is annoying to hear. And with this new $75k spend requirement where are we going next? Platinum Gold, Platinum Platinum, Platinum Executive Platinum?? And I agree with a previous poster; kid/no-kid thing is getting out of hand. In all the time I've spent in lounges, mostly Admirals Clubs, kids have not been the problem...

    1. Mike Guest

      Amex gold is way better to collect points....

  24. CK- Guest

    Must one bring their children to the lounge? Seems the lil buggers go everywhere anyways. Peace in a lounge however is almost nonexistent. Those were the days.

  25. Christopher Singleton Guest

    Well, they had to do something to handle the overcrowding, and that seems most logical. My M.O. has been to go to a Centurian lounge for the food and drinks, and then to the Admirals club for some space and quiet.

  26. iamhere Guest

    I don't think this will thin out the crowds there since there are ways around the guest policy as you mentioned. I also think they should be accommodating for guests especially those under 13 because they can't be added and they are children. Furthermore, they could have started with a 1 guest limit before eliminating it to see if it helped the situation. Perhaps many business people brought in colleagues.

  27. Todd Guest

    It would be interesting to see what the policy is on US lounges for holders of cards issued outside the US. There has been no change on the access t and c for Australian card holders
    “The American Express Global Lounge Collection.
    The Centurion® Lounge: Platinum Card Members have unlimited complimentary access to all locations of The Centurion Lounge. Card Members may bring up to two (2) companions into The Centurion Lounge.”

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Whatever it is, non-US cardholders can’t be a significant crowding cause for US lounges.

  28. Clem Diamond

    I always have to laugh a bit when I enter one of these lounges and literally see people standing around with their plates in their hands because there isn't an available chair left (like at JFK). I seriously do wonder if those people are thrilled to be there because they may not get to be in an airport lounge often and they can't see how ridiculous it is. When it's like that, I exit and...

    I always have to laugh a bit when I enter one of these lounges and literally see people standing around with their plates in their hands because there isn't an available chair left (like at JFK). I seriously do wonder if those people are thrilled to be there because they may not get to be in an airport lounge often and they can't see how ridiculous it is. When it's like that, I exit and go plop somewhere in the terminal. I don't even bother trying to get in if there's a line more than a few people. Even a lot of Priority Pass lounges aren't this bad nowadays.
    And like others said, even if I don't enjoy kids in lounges or planes, I don't think they're the problem with overcrowding. What I can see is mostly (child behaved?) adults.

  29. GG Guest

    Raising membership fees, *massively* devaluing Member Rewards Points to the point of uselessness (at least in Sweden), and now restricting your ability to bring your own family into the lounges (one of the only compelling reasons to keep the card)...?

    If the goal is losing members in a cut-your-nose-despite-your-face method of controlling Centurion crowding, it's working! I certainly won't be renewing in 2023.

    And I can't imagine that a pivot to serving only...

    Raising membership fees, *massively* devaluing Member Rewards Points to the point of uselessness (at least in Sweden), and now restricting your ability to bring your own family into the lounges (one of the only compelling reasons to keep the card)...?

    If the goal is losing members in a cut-your-nose-despite-your-face method of controlling Centurion crowding, it's working! I certainly won't be renewing in 2023.

    And I can't imagine that a pivot to serving only business travelers is going to work out for them, considering the economic outlook this year and the continued depression of business travel. My company, like many others, has frozen business travel. So enjoy the empty lounges and empty membership rolls, AMEX!

    1. BRC Guest

      It is “to spite your face” not “despite your face.”

    2. Never In Doubt Guest

      I will enjoy the empty lounges. Thank you.

    3. Chuck Guest

      What on earth would "despite your face" mean?

  30. DavidB Guest

    Definitely a good move. Your guest can certainly afford to pay for access or you can. Overcrowding defeats the whole purpose of these (and many of the better airline lounges) and this is a logical way of reducing numbers.

    On my recent visit to the new LGA lounge it was crowded and those inside looked more like pigs at the trough rather than civilized adults! Fortunately I can access AA’s superb Flagship lounges at two...

    Definitely a good move. Your guest can certainly afford to pay for access or you can. Overcrowding defeats the whole purpose of these (and many of the better airline lounges) and this is a logical way of reducing numbers.

    On my recent visit to the new LGA lounge it was crowded and those inside looked more like pigs at the trough rather than civilized adults! Fortunately I can access AA’s superb Flagship lounges at two airports where Centurion lounges are packed.

    If I have a guest, I can afford $50. If you can afford the card you can afford to pay too…or you shouldn’t hold the card! The US version has many more benefits than found in other counties more than rebating the annual fee.

    Good move Amex!

    1. JJ Guest

      As someone who specifically got the AmEX card for lounge access, I welcome this news.DFW lounge is crawling with young military jocks in their 20s. Great for eye-candy but not for lounge experience!

      Also the food quality has gone downhill. When I started going to CL 8 yrs ago, it's was very spacious and felt luxurious. Now it's basically a dining hall with free liquor.

  31. Bob Guest

    Very happy. I think they need tk reduce 3 per $175 to two. Add the next for $100. Kids are loud, rude and ill behaved. Parents are nowhere to be found. Good riddance

  32. Never In Doubt Guest

    As expected, the whining is EPIC!

    1. Karo Member

      Are you talking about people who can barely afford paying AF, ask for retention bonuses every year, but line up to get free alcohol and snacks and consider themselves "elite" travelers? If so, I'll agree with you. They whine a lot. The same crowd whines about parents who pay to have their kids in F, whereas they themselves get upgraded for free or their job pays for them.

  33. Boeing777 New Member

    And so that will populate the UAL United Clubs with even more kids. It is already out of control as I look for seating and a quiet environment.

  34. Catharine Guest

    If crowd reduction was truly the goal, they would start with one guest…. It’s really just to recoup costs.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      That makes absolutely no sense.

  35. Mike Guest

    Amex lounges became romper room. Worse yet, curtain climbers counted against capacity which resulted in line business folks going on a long wait list making lounges unusable. This change was needed three years ago.

  36. WorldTraveler312 Guest

    I am glad for the change. Three times last year at the JFK lounge at terminal 4, had 32 - 42 minute waits and just ended up skipping it. I came from Terminal 8 just to use it. I even gone early to the airport just to get some time in the lounge and still can't get it. 10 wait at Hong Kong lounge 3 years ago. Lots of little kids running around with cookies...

    I am glad for the change. Three times last year at the JFK lounge at terminal 4, had 32 - 42 minute waits and just ended up skipping it. I came from Terminal 8 just to use it. I even gone early to the airport just to get some time in the lounge and still can't get it. 10 wait at Hong Kong lounge 3 years ago. Lots of little kids running around with cookies and single serve Haagen Daaz ice creams. Buenos Aires was the worst. Luckily now wait for me, but 30 minutes later there was a huge line. Groups of 4 - 7 getting in with one card and line going down the stairs. No self serve food at the time, had to order via cell phone and attendants brought it out. Very good attendants. No wait at DFW but was jam packed. Finding seating was a problem. Got a retention offer or I was going to cancel the Platinum.

    1. Jake212 Guest

      @WorldTraveler312

      If you were coming from terminal 8 at JFK then you were either departing on AA, BA, QR, CX or AY (all OneWorld). None of those airlines operate out of JFK terminal 4, so how were you able get through security at T4 just to use the Amex Centurion lounge at JFK??

    2. RICflyer New Member

      I've done this plenty of times. It's not an issue, and it doesn't really take more than 30 min T8 gate to Centurion lounge. TSA doesn't care. Just take the air train to 4 and waltz right through just like everyone else. Having Clear and Pre helps at T4.

    3. OFJ Guest

      You just tell them that you want to use the lounge. I've done that multiple times when I've arrived at JFK early. It doesn't work for all airports, though.

  37. Mike Guest

    Typical American Express. They have the same business model as Southwest. Tell people what they want to hear and the rest does not matter.

  38. TiminJ Guest

    Holiday season was our last gasp for Centurion access: AU for the Mrs isn't worth the amount of times we could visit a Cent Lounge.

    Holy crap, though, I understand why Amex is trying to limit access: CLT and LAS were standing room only. 10 minute wait to get a drink.

    Tbf domestic travel is rapidly becoming a race to the bottom. Excluding transcon, it is more difficult to justify flying v driving

  39. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    "I feel kind of bad for parents here:"

    Well, you're sailing THAT ship solo... fugg'em, they're not special. If they want their brats in the lounge, they can pay the additional fees like anyone else.

    1. DCAWABN Guest

      The only people saying "Families aren't the problem" are the assholes bringing their precious little Breighlynn and Ashleighay into the clubs and letting them run amok. Everyone who's an actual business traveler knows families are a HUGE part of the problem. It's like Disneyland in there some days.

  40. shza Member

    This was a good reminder to add my 13 and 17 year-olds as AUs. My wife was already an AU on my account, so the marginal cost of this to me was $0.

    That said, (1) I travel solo about 20x as often as I travel with family or anyone else, and (2) I agree with others that I actually rarely see a bunch of kids at Centurion lounges, so I expect if this has much of an effect, it will be because there's currently a critical mass of members who bring unrelated adult guests.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      And you’ll be starting their credit history.

      You should have done that long ago.

    2. shza Member

      These will not be their first credit cards. But thanks for the condescension!

    3. Never In Doubt Guest

      You’re most welcome.

  41. Paul Guest

    It's not just parents who will be unhappy. I'm unhappy because I can't bring my spouse without paying an exorbitant fee. I only use their lounges a couple of times a year and I would like to bring my spouse. Is it fair that I can't do that, while a frequent traveler who visits the lounge 50 times a year, obviously adding to the crowd Factor.

    1. Zamma Guest

      Who says Spouse in 2023?

    2. Chuck Guest

      Who says "spouse" in 2023? People who are over 35. Anything else troubling you?

    3. Anameofaguy Guest

      Presumably that traveler is putting a lot more annual spend on their premium ravel credit card, do they'd probably say it is fair.

  42. Lane Guest

    I am 100% in favor of this change. Anything to reduce crowding!

  43. Mr. Kelps Guest

    Worth noting these changes only impact US, London and Hong Kong, so the other international centurion lounges are not impacted.

    Also, let's be serious, a few kids here and there are not causing the issue, its people who arrive early and use the lounges for the full 3 hours like an all inclusive.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      I mean, it's called a "lounge"... not a grab&go.

      No reason that people who don't wish to be stressed for time before they'd flight, should have any deference to people who want to cut everything to the last second.

    2. OFJ Guest

      No - all the international AMEX lounges have been rebranded as Centurion lounges. The changes will impact all of their lounges worldwide.

  44. Patrick Guest

    Amex is playing a numbers game here and they believe they'll come out ahead with these changes. They're betting the loss of annual fee revenue will be more than offset by new authorized user fees and guest access fees. If the math doesn't work out in their favor, expect more tweaks to the lounge access policy. Or possibly an annual fee increase.

  45. Abhi Guest

    How does this work for Amex Reserve Delta cards?

  46. Donna Diamond

    Unless you travel very frequently, I don’t see the value in these lounge memberships under the current prices and constraints. My reading of the tea leaves is that crowding will decrease.

  47. David Guest

    Are you certain Amex Platinum cardholders will still be allowed to bring 2 guests into Escape lounges? I have not seen this reported anywhere else else.

  48. HK Guest

    So if I sign my spouse up as an authorized user for my Personal Platinum card and vice-versa (me for her Business), then me and my spouse would both have two cards each. Would that allow us to bring our two kids in (total of 4 cards)? Or can only one card be used per person? Our kids are below the age of 13 so we cant add them as authorized users either.

    1. Al Guest

      The cards has to match the user- under your example you both spent 175 each in add the spouse as a Authorized user, but still have to pay for your little ones.

    2. Never In Doubt Guest

      I wonder how they’d handle that. If you have one card per person, would they overlook the fact that the names don’t match?

  49. CHRIS Guest

    Freebie military grifters when asked to pay for a guest:
    "YoU DoNt ApPrEcIaTe MuH SeRvIcE"
    "AMEX DoEsNt SuPpOrT ThE TrOoPs"

    ....and the dependapotamus:
    "ROOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRR"

    1. Joe Guest

      Haha wow. What a tool you are.

    2. T. Stewart Guest

      He definitely got kicked out of the military and is salty now haha.

    3. CHRIS Guest

      I didn't know you could get kicked out of the military. Is that why you're still there?

  50. Tony W Guest

    I am not sure I understand, as it seemed unclear: Did Centurion Lounge go from 2 to 1 kids max, or from 2 to 0, or did they go from 1 to 0? All with the regular individual Platinum card (not Black card, not $75K annual spend).

    1. Anonymous_Traveler Guest

      It isn’t “kids”, it is “guests”. They are going from the Platinum cardmember being able to bring up to two guests with them into the lounge free, to 0 free guests and two $30 paid guests. Whether the guest is a kid or a spouse or a friend doesn’t matter.

  51. SJ Guest

    Very cynical move.

    Just be honest about it and say kids aren't allowed.

  52. The_Bouncer Guest

    Good news for me as a solo traveller.

  53. AP Guest

    FEBRUARY CAN'T COME SOON ENOUGH!!!

  54. NYGuy24 Diamond

    I'm all for reducing overcrowding however given the high AF there seems like there could be a compromise here. Maybe plat card holders get two complimentary guest passes a year. I've been in lounges with children running around and yes that is obnoxious but I don't find children to be the main source of overcrowding. Nothing beats the lounge I was in in Turkey where some clown with PP or something brought in like 8...

    I'm all for reducing overcrowding however given the high AF there seems like there could be a compromise here. Maybe plat card holders get two complimentary guest passes a year. I've been in lounges with children running around and yes that is obnoxious but I don't find children to be the main source of overcrowding. Nothing beats the lounge I was in in Turkey where some clown with PP or something brought in like 8 guests into a lounge that was small to begin with. That kinda crap should never be tolerated.

    1. Arlington Traveler Guest

      I think that makes sense, a LIMITED number of guests allowed and managed electronically. However, I think everything else they have tried has not materially reduced crowding given how aggressively Amex is adding curd members.

  55. Db Guest

    Oh no, 30 dollars.....
    You can all still expect my kids to be in there.

    1. NFSF Diamond

      You already pay out the nose for the AMEX Plat, paying for guests is grating.

  56. Ken Guest

    I don't consider my spouse as a guest and I don't agree that I should add her for an extra charge to my card

  57. Cassie Guest

    The anti-children crowd will never stop being disturbing.

    1. Jake212 Guest

      @Cassie

      The pro-children crowd will never stop being selfish and pedantic twits.

      You want somewhere to entertain your kids -
      Take them to a McDonald’s playground.

      The Centurion Lounge is members only adult private club that serves free liquor. It *should* be 21+ only, but if they are going to allow children and it’s that important you need access (which I suspect you do for the free booze to mentally escape your kids) then pony up the $30 fee to get them in.

    2. Karo Member

      Said a person who is willing to sit in an overcrowded lounge just to get free booze and chips. If you want to spend a good time, just go to a bar, pay, and drink as much as you want.

  58. Giorgi Guest

    Restrictions are only for US issued platinum cards. Row cards will allow guests as far as I know.

  59. Jack Guest

    I could say the same thing for SkyClubs, United Clubs and AC maple leaf lounges: less kids the better. Maybe teach them that there is a cost to things in life and I’m a parent.

    1. Karo Member

      Exactly, there is a cost to things in life. Get the black card and enjoy your reserved spot with no kids around. Go take a picture of the lounge next time you visit it to show how many kids you're complaining about. And the fact that you're a parent means nothing.

  60. Robert Guest

    I welcome the change. I usually travel solo but If I do have a guest, I’ hope I can use my Bank of America Elite card which reimburses me up to $300 per year for lounge access.

    1. Jake212 Guest

      You’re joking right? You think AMEX is going to let you pay the fee to an Amex lounge on a Bank of America credit card?! Good god get a grip.

  61. Greg Guest

    We'll see what it does. The $175 for unlimited guest access via additional cardholders isn't a huge bar for many couples. And families with 1-2 teenagers. Surprised they didn't change that aspect.

    1. Adam Enright Guest

      It’s not unlimited. It’s $175 for three AUs and many people bring in friends just as much as fam and the fact that Amex requires AUs provide a SSN or they won’t activate the card will deter many.

    2. Anonymous Guest

      I don't consider my spouse as a guest and I don't agree that I should add her for an extra charge to my card

    3. NYGuy24 Diamond

      Amex views anyone who is not a cardholder as a guest. Doesn't really matter who you consider a guest or not.

    4. hongkiepie Guest

      Tough. Amex does. And that's consistent with air industry practice overall -- perhaps there's an airline somewhere that might allow me to share my status with my spouse, but I certainly haven't heard of it.

      Besides, the additional AU is $175 a year, which is peanuts compared to the $675 fee (and at least comes with a partial set of bennies).

  62. Jan Guest

    no prob with German amex platinum. there you can continue to bring guest for free

  63. Jcam418 Guest

    I think this is a net positive. I too value a quiet space to relax when I have extra time to burn in an airport. If I’m willing to pay for a premium card/services there needs to be some tougher restrictions in my opinion.

  64. Jito Guest

    Hello
    If you have a personal amex and also a business platinum card it will count both card for the yearly 75.000 ?

    1. OCTinPHL Gold

      No. The spend is for each account.

  65. KK13 Gold

    This is good news! It's so crowded around 5-6 pm.

    Ben - I have question: "For example, Miami is my home airport, but I always skip the Centurion Lounge and just go to the American Admirals Club."

    Why not the Flagship Lounge at Miami?

    1. Adam Enright Guest

      Bc he’s not a concierge key, and you only get flagship if you fly a qualifying international flight for plat, plat pro and exec plat.

  66. Dick Bupkiss Guest

    If I'm reading this correctly, it's not just "no more 2 guests" it's no guests at all. Traveling as a couple, you can't bring your spouse as a guest, unless you spend $75K or they have their own card?

    I think many people have abused the guest privileges, with parents basically using the Centurion Lounges as a child care facility. Tragedy of the commons.

    Given the cost of the card, it seems denying cardholder's spouse...

    If I'm reading this correctly, it's not just "no more 2 guests" it's no guests at all. Traveling as a couple, you can't bring your spouse as a guest, unless you spend $75K or they have their own card?

    I think many people have abused the guest privileges, with parents basically using the Centurion Lounges as a child care facility. Tragedy of the commons.

    Given the cost of the card, it seems denying cardholder's spouse is a bit extreme (but maybe that's because I travel with my spouse and no kids...)

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Your reading is correct.

      And I think that requiring non card holder spouses and other adult flying companions to pay to enter is why Amex thinks this will have a noticeable effect of crowding.

    2. Lisa Guest

      Kids aren’t over running the lounges.

      Personally, I wish they would restrict guests to family at the same address.

    3. Anthony Diamond

      You can pay a fee (I think it is $50 per person) to bring in guests. Two guests used to be free.

    4. Arlington Traveler Guest

      I disagree with @Dick Bupkiss. The problem is nothing they have tried has reduced crowding. I'm unable to use the Centurion Lounge unless I arrive 2 hours in the airport because there are typically 15-30 minute lines. Once you get in the lounges are packed and it can take a few minutes to get a seat. Oh then you get to line up for the buffet and again at the bar if you want to...

      I disagree with @Dick Bupkiss. The problem is nothing they have tried has reduced crowding. I'm unable to use the Centurion Lounge unless I arrive 2 hours in the airport because there are typically 15-30 minute lines. Once you get in the lounges are packed and it can take a few minutes to get a seat. Oh then you get to line up for the buffet and again at the bar if you want to drink anything but the drinks they provide via dispensers. I'm fine with adding my wife or paying $50 each time when we travel for leisure. It's not a ban, just pay to play.

      I am all for expanding lounges to deal with capacity but that's just going to lead to higher annual fees, and the annual fee is high enough already in my book. American Express is not stupid. If there is too much vacant capacity they will distribute it via limited guest coupons or something like that.

    5. SS Guest

      I see a lot of college kids and young adults, probably parents added them to the card (for free when they added a spouse and had 2 more cards to give). These kids bring their friends, drink heartily, and show up early. I actually know some who do this (extra cards for the kids when adding a spouse). That's all fine, but the kids can pay if they want to bring friends. Maybe only the primary card member can bring a guest? Overall, this should help crowding.

  67. Andrew Guest

    As someone who keeps the Amex business platinum just for centurion and delta lounge access (and just started with a new company where delta doesn’t fly to the corporate HQ city) and the DEN centurion lounge is a hike for the United gates, I can’t see any reason to keep it. Value keeps getting worse in my situation.

    1. Arlington Traveler Guest

      Great, less crowding in the Centurion lounges!

    2. Joseph Story Guest

      Wait until the lounge at DCA opens. It will be packed. At least the Delta lounge is limited to Delta flyers. The Centurion Lounge there will be open to everyone flying through that airport.

    3. Never In Doubt Guest

      Joseph Story, Since DCA isn’t opening for many months, it won’t even start crowded with the new rules!

  68. Sebastian Bordon Guest

    How about non US cardholders. The USD 75.000 spending applies to them (I could not see something like the screenshots in my Amex site).

  69. Randy Diamond

    Since Military (all levels - privates included) get AmEx Platinum cards for free - I don't see much reduction in crowds - particulary at DFW. In an evening - DFW Centurion appears more like a mess hall dining area. I don't have a problem with it - just I don't see much in the way of crowd reduction. Centurion is basically a USO lounge.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      I think, as you noted, this a geography specific issue.

      I’ve seen several past comments about Dallas, but it’s not been an issue anywhere I typically visit.

    2. OneAlphaTwo Member

      LOL “privates included”…that actually made me laugh out loud. Years back, when I first applied for a Plat, pretty sure they checked my credit score and debt to income ratio; not my rank. I was an E4 at the time and talked my coworker into applying, who was an O3. He was denied. LOL

      Additionally, not everyone in the military has the Plat. I can speak from experience, when traveling for work, that several coworkers...

      LOL “privates included”…that actually made me laugh out loud. Years back, when I first applied for a Plat, pretty sure they checked my credit score and debt to income ratio; not my rank. I was an E4 at the time and talked my coworker into applying, who was an O3. He was denied. LOL

      Additionally, not everyone in the military has the Plat. I can speak from experience, when traveling for work, that several coworkers would gain entry as guests since they didn’t have the card, so I actually do think this will decrease crowding.

  70. Robert weinstock Guest

    Highly disappointing. Significantly devalues the benefit of my Amex platinum card

  71. Anthony Diamond

    I think the changes will have minimal impact on crowding.

    1) Parents will pay the fee for their kids
    2) If some adult guests don't come in, other single adults that have been avoiding the clubs may replace them
    3) Amex will continue to sign up new Platinum card members

    I find myself skipping the Centurion Lounge in favor of the SkyClub in airports where both exist. At some airports (like JFK),...

    I think the changes will have minimal impact on crowding.

    1) Parents will pay the fee for their kids
    2) If some adult guests don't come in, other single adults that have been avoiding the clubs may replace them
    3) Amex will continue to sign up new Platinum card members

    I find myself skipping the Centurion Lounge in favor of the SkyClub in airports where both exist. At some airports (like JFK), Centurion Lounge may have competition with Plaza Premium (Virgin), Capital One, etc.

    1. Omar Guest

      Sky club is even more crowded

  72. Never In Doubt Guest

    Interesting that the early comments are mostly focused on reducing the number of children.

    In my experience, the crowding hasn’t primarily been children, and child entry reduction won’t solve the crowding, although it will presumably reduce the annoyance that many seem to feel.

    I think that it’s much more likely that adults bringing in adult guests are what’s causing the crowding of AMEX thinks this new policy will have a noticeable effect.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      *if AMEX thinks

    2. Ken Guest

      I don't consider my spouse as a guest and I don't agree that I should add her for an extra charge to my cardok

    3. Anonymous_Traveler Guest

      “I don't consider my spouse as a guest”. But she is. You are the card holder. Anyone who is not you is your guest. Most card and airline benefits consider anyone not you as a “guest” and do not caveat “family members” in a separate bin. The only things that do, off the top of my head, are for pooling points on some programs. Your spouse can’t just take along with you on the plane...

      “I don't consider my spouse as a guest”. But she is. You are the card holder. Anyone who is not you is your guest. Most card and airline benefits consider anyone not you as a “guest” and do not caveat “family members” in a separate bin. The only things that do, off the top of my head, are for pooling points on some programs. Your spouse can’t just take along with you on the plane without her own ticket either. This isn’t one of those weird, shared couple’s Facebook pages.

    4. Hongkiepie Guest

      Wish I'd seen this before; Ken seems to have posted the same whine in several places.

  73. Kuloko Guest

    Yes, I saw this change when scrolled through Schwab Plat Amex benefits another days. Since my home airport does not havve a Centurion lounge, I will stay with AA club for now.

  74. Brant Guest

    Sure, I’m old school, but really if today’s parents were more proactive about discipline, the kids wouldn’t even be a factor. There is no freaking way I could have acted the way most children do these days in public or private. We had peace and order in our lives, to the benefit of everyone.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      KIDS THESE DAYS.

    2. Karo Member

      That's what every generation says about the current one for decades if not more.

  75. Robert Guest

    I personally haven't found enough value in my Plat card to keep it. Lounge access wasn't a determining factor but the overcrowding didn't help things. I'm glad I got my younger kids days behind me before these changes

    1. James W Guest

      I see this as a continual devaluation of the AMEX Platinum Card. First is was the Passport benefits at airport restaurants in the US, now this! I’ve been an AMEX Platinum member since the 1980’s and travel between 100k and 200k plus per year with airfare generally charged to AMEX. Maybe it’s time to dump AMEX and move to Chase.

  76. Dolores Guest

    It's about time they did this!!! These lounges are way overcrowded and crawling with kids.

  77. Never In Doubt Guest

    The whining in the blog comments will be epic.

    Preparing my popcorn now!

    My first flight after Feb 1 isn’t until Feb 18, but maybe I’ll see some IRL whining too!

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

CHRIS Guest

Freebie military grifters when asked to pay for a guest: "YoU DoNt ApPrEcIaTe MuH SeRvIcE" "AMEX DoEsNt SuPpOrT ThE TrOoPs" ....and the dependapotamus: "ROOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRR"

5
Randy Diamond

Since Military (all levels - privates included) get AmEx Platinum cards for free - I don't see much reduction in crowds - particulary at DFW. In an evening - DFW Centurion appears more like a mess hall dining area. I don't have a problem with it - just I don't see much in the way of crowd reduction. Centurion is basically a USO lounge.

4
mdande7 Diamond

Fewer kids sounds good to me!

4
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