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With The Platinum Card® from American Express (as well as the business variant of the card and select premium Delta credit cards), you gain exclusive access to the issuer's Centurion Lounges in a variety of different airports. Picture enjoying a delicious buffet and indulging at the complimentary bar before your flight.
With perks like that, you might be wishing for a flight delay. But hold those thoughts, because now, as of Feb. 1, 2023, the policies surrounding the Centurion Lounge have changed.
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What's the Centurion Lounge?
The Centurion Lounge is a perk granted to select premium Amex credit card holders. These luxury lounges are scattered all across the globe and far surpass the often lackluster lounges offered by various airlines. The best part? You don't have to purchase a premium flight ticket to gain access to the lounge.
The benefits of the Centurion Lounge can fluctuate based on location, but common amenities include:
- High-speed internet
- Fresh, locally inspired food
- Access to desktop computers
- Premium bar offering wine and spirits
- Private workspaces
Previously, the Centurion Lounge policy stated that cardholders could bring up to two guests into the lounge free of charge. While this might seem like a great incentive, especially when trying to impress potential clients or shmooze your in-laws, it introduced some flaws.
The looming issue? Long wait times to access Centurion Lounges.
Centurion Lounge Access: New Policies to Know Before Your Next Flight
In response to significant wait times, American Express announced they will update the guest entry policy and that is now live. The new policy reads:
- $50 entry fee per adult (18+)
- $30 entry fee for children ages 2 through 17
- Children under the age of 2 can enter for free
For current Platinum cardholders, this update can be unfavorable. Especially when you're already paying a high annual fee which grants you lounge privileges. For solo travelers, however, this is a welcomed change to put the Centurion Lounge back in easily accessible reach.
As mentioned, American Express's goal is to reduce overcrowding and deter people from abusing lounge privileges.
Is There a Way Around The Centurion Lounge Guest Fee?
You can avoid the fee but it's going to cost you. The price of waiving the fee (for both adults and children) is to have a purchase history of $75,000 on your Platinum Card. Which to some cardholders will present as a staggering amount for "free" lounge access. Additionally, this purchase amount must have been accumulated from Jan. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2022, to be able to avoid the new fees.
If you have reached this benchmark in spending, you will essentially be "grandfathered" into the old policy of two free guests per visit. Those who don’t meet the threshold will likely find it cheaper to just pay-per-entry on an as-needed basis.
Is The Centurion Lounge Worth The Cost?
The Centurion Lounge is an amazing perk of being an American Express Platinum Card member. With access to complimentary food, beverages, Wi-Fi, TVs, and more it provides an air of exclusivity that is commonly absent from your average airport visit. Unfortunately, as more people became aware of this benefit, overcrowding quickly became an issue American Express had to combat.
The updated policy and associated fees can be a bummer for certain customers, but the changes are the necessary evil to ensure the frequent flyers of the Centurion Lounge remain happy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Currently, there are 24 Centurion Lounges, most of which are located in the United States. However, there are 11 international lounges.
Currently, these American Express cards grant you access to the Centurion Lounge:
- Platinum Card
- Business Platinum Card
- Centurion Card
The value of American Express Centurion Lounges can vary greatly, depending on usage. Frequent travelers who fly out of airports with Centurion Lounge locations, especially during meal times, can get hundreds or thousands of dollars in value from their membership annually. Conversely, those who rarely fly out of airports with Centurion® Lounge locations may find a membership to not be worth pursuing.
Yes, a perk American Express offers for the Centurion Lounge is that food and beverage (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) costs are included in your annual membership fee.