New Guest Fees Are Coming to Amex’s Centurion Lounges—Here’s How to Avoid Them

There are a few ways Amex Platinum cardholders can bypass the substantial guest fees at Centurion Lounges that begin February 1, 2023.

Main lounge area with chairs at the Charlotte Airport Centurion Lounge

Inside the Centurion Lounge at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina.

Courtesy of American Express

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The Platinum Card® from American Express ($695 annual fee, see rates and fees) is hands down the best personal credit card available for airport lounge access, in terms of both quantity and quality. The American Express Global Lounge Collection grants Platinum Card holders entry into more lounges than any other credit card on the market, including AirSpace lounges, Delta Sky Club airline lounges, International American Express lounges, Lufthansa lounges, Plaza Premium lounges, and Priority Pass lounges. Best of all, the card is a golden ticket (or platinum, shall we say) into Centurion lounges, Amex’s snazzy signature airport lounges. Platinum Card holders can enter any Centurion lounge (there are 13 domestically and 11 internationally) on their date of air travel, regardless of airline flown or class of travel.

However, a perfect storm of recent revenge travel and the Platinum Card’s popularity has resulted in overcrowding at Centurion lounges. In response, the credit card company is revising its generous guest policy, which currently stands at two guests per visit, free of charge. Come February 1, 2023, each guest will cost $50 (or $30 for children ages 2 through 17, with proof of age). However, there are still a few ways to bypass the impending fees and enjoy Centurion life among friends and family—gratis. Here’s how.

Spend a lot on your Amex Platinum in 2023

Heavy swiping of your Amex Platinum now translates to more than just accumulation of Membership Rewards points. Spend $75,000 or more on eligible purchases on your card during a calendar year and receive complimentary guest access for up to two guests per visit for that calendar year plus the next year and into January of the following year. For example, hit that $75,000 spend threshold, say, April 5, 2023, and your complimentary guest status begins immediately, remaining valid the rest of 2023, all of 2024, and until January 31, 2025.

Check your 2022 receipts

If you used your Amex Platinum frequently and fervently in 2022, you might want to check your year-end totals. Those who spent more than $75,000 in 2022 will automatically get complimentary guest access for two guests per visit through January 31, 2024.

Add authorized users (aka extra cardholders) now

One of the greatest perks of The Platinum Card® from American Express is the ability to add authorized users—also known as additional cardholders—for a nominal fee, with each receiving many of the benefits of the primary member, including Centurion lounge access. It costs just $175 total for up to the first three authorized users, which amounts to less than $60 per cardholder. Each of these three users is privy to the following travel benefits and more:

  • Lounge access across the entire American Express Global Lounge Collection, from Centurion lounges to Priority Pass lounges
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credits up to $100 every four years
  • Complimentary gold status in Hilton Honors
  • Complimentary gold status in Marriott Bonvoy
  • Implicit travel insurances (e.g., trip cancellation and interruption insurance)

So, if you, an Amex Platinum holder, expect to travel in 2023 and plan to visit the Centurion lounge with your spouse and two college-age kids, it will cost $150. But for $25 more, each could be an additional cardholder and have unlimited lounge access with you—or when traveling solo—plus the other benefits listed above, all year long.

Why Centurion lounge access matters

Centurion lounges aren’t your typical airport lounges. Inside you’ll find noteworthy food and beverage programs, often created by local celebrity chefs and mixologists. (We’re especially fond of dishes by James Beard Award–winner Michelle Bernstein in Miami and fellow recipient Nancy Silverton at the Los Angeles outpost.) There’s also thoughtfully designed work and relaxation spaces, and sometimes salons and spas, where complimentary treatments are given. In short, they’ll make you want to linger in the airport and even arrive a few hours before departure.

There are 13 currently in major U.S. airports (Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York–LGA, New York–JFK, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle) and a growing number internationally. The San Francisco Centurion lounge is slated for a makeover and expansion in 2023 (set to double in size) and a brand-new Seattle Centurion lounge will be triple the size of the current one and feature views of the Olympic Mountains. Also on deck for next year are three new Centurion lounge locations (Atlanta, Newark, Washington–DCA).

Bottom line

Centurion’s guest policy is changing for the worse come February 1, 2023, for those carrying The Platinum Card® from American Express. Each guest will cost $50 (or $30 for children ages 2 through 17, with proof of age). However, it’s possible to avoid these fees by adding cardholders to your account now or spending upwards of $75,000 in a calendar year.

While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.

Paul Rubio is an award-winning travel journalist and photographer. His byline appears in AFAR, Conde Nast Traveler, Fodor’s, LUXURY, MSN, NerdWallet, Palm Beach Illustrated, Yahoo Lifestyle and more. He has visited 133 countries (and counting) over the past 20 years and won 27 national awards for his writing and photography. When he’s not plotting out his next trip, Paul loves to spend time at home watching reruns of Portlandia and Parks and Recreation with his husband and rescue dog, Camo.
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