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File this under “What the hell are they thinking?”

Doctor of Credit notes some changes today which are, in my opinion, poorly thought out.

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This applies to both the Amex Platinum and Amex Business Platinum cards (and Centurion cards!):

U.S. Basic Platinum Card Members and Additional Platinum Card Members on the account and U.S. Basic Business Platinum Card Members and Additional Platinum Card Members on the account may bring up to two (2) guests per visit into locations of The Centurion Lounge in the U.S., at Hong Kong International Airport and at London Heathrow Airport for no per-visit guest fee (“Complimentary Guest Access”) through January 31, 2023.

Effective February 1, 2023, Platinum Card Members, Business Platinum Card Members and Additional Platinum Card Members on the account will be charged a $50 fee for each guest. To receive Complimentary Guest Access at these locations after January 31, 2023, the total eligible purchases on the Platinum Account must equal or exceed $75,000 between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022 and in each calendar year thereafter.

Beginning February 1, 2023, eligibility for Complimentary Guest Access will be processed within a week of the Platinum Account’s meeting the purchase requirement in most cases, but may take up to 12 weeks to become effective. Complimentary Guest Access status will be reflected in the Benefits tab of your online account and in the American Express App. Once effective, Complimentary Guest Access will be available for the remainder of the calendar year in which it became effective, the following calendar year, and until January 31 of the calendar year (for example, if Complimentary Guest Access becomes effective on May 1, 2023, it will remain effective through January 31, 2025). Eligible purchases made by any Additional Card Members on the Platinum Account will contribute to the purchase requirement.

In short (because, yes, I’m trying to blog this quickly and head back to the beach), Amex is limiting the cardmember to themselves for access to Centurion lounges, unless you want to pay $50 for your spouse / friend etc. Spending $75k in a year on your card will alleviate this restriction, but given the poor earn rate of the Platinum cards for most spend, this is the equivalent of paying more than $50 – in lost points or cashback opportunity cost.

While the Centurion Lounges are great, this just adds fuel to the fire for me to stick with my Chase Sapphire Reserve and Priority Pass lounge access for me and two guests, including Priority Pass airport restaurant locations, which Amex cards don’t allow. There’s also just no way I’m going to spend $550 – $595 on a credit card annual fee and then have to shell out $50 each time I travel with my wife…

Thoughts?

Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Dave,

    I’m with you on this one. I’ve had the Chase Sapphire Reserve since it became eligible (yes, the 100,000 points offer) and I have been considering off and on about getting the AmEx Platinum as well. This article just convinced me that there is no way I would get the Platinum with this change. I was sad when the Reserve went from unlimited lounge guests to me plus two. I also have the AmEx Hilton Honors Aspire card which has the same lounge benefits (me plus two) so when my wife and I travel with another couple I’ve been able to get all four of us in using my two memberships.

    Thanks for the informative article. It made my decision about the Platinum easier.

    Jeff

    • Thanks. I suppose the differentiation remains, simply, access to the Centurion lounges. I do like them more than almost all Priority Pass lounges and, sometimes, there’s only a Centurion Lounge available.

      However, that is a SUPER edge case. And probably not worth the annual fee if that is one’s primary motivation for the card. I know that for me, while I like that I can visit a SkyClub with the lounge, I have the same issue if traveling with someone. None of these lounges are, to me, worth anywhere near this per visit cost.

  2. When I get large bonuses I use this card. Also, charges above 5K on anything get me 1.5X. So this should not be an issue when I have a guest. I will say that More changes will be coming. They don’t want you to use the lounge. That is clear. The front desk used to be friendly and things have changed greatly. Although I have not been flying for the past year. Also $75.00 additional person on a $550/card at this time is outrageous. It shows me they want less people there. And the front desk will become a battleground as soon as these charges are made clear. I see them losing customers.

  3. As the parent of a toddler, the only way I ever consider paying $50 is for Amex to provide child supervision in the lounge while my wife and I relax

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