Amex Platinum Cardholders May Lose Free Airport Lounge Access for Guests in 2023

Annual fee hike and several new perks may also be in the works

The Platinum Card from American Express is arguably the best consumer credit card for airport lounge access. But starting Feb. 1, 2023, cardholders may no longer be able to bring guests for free. Additionally, there are rumors that the card issuer is considering a major revamp of the Platinum Card, including an eye-popping $695 annual fee, up from $550.

Key Takeaways

  • An eagle-eyed American Express customer noticed a change in the terms and conditions for the Platinum Card's lounge benefits.
  • The fine print, which has since been removed, required Platinum cardholders to pay $50 for each guest they bring to the card issuer's Centurion Lounges starting Feb. 1, 2023.
  • Rumors are also swirling that the card issuer is making some serious changes to the Platinum Card, including several new perks but also a higher annual fee.

The Change to the Centurion Lounge Guest Policy

Whether you already have the Platinum Card from American Express or you're considering getting one, the recent news may give you pause.

Currently, Platinum cardholders and additional cardmembers can invite two guests for free when they enter the Centurion Lounges at some major airports. Based on the new fine print, which has been removed since the discovery, that could change starting Feb. 1, 2023. At that point, cardholders would need to pay $50 per guest, which may not be worth it for many.

There is an exception for Platinum cardholders who spend more than $75,000 annually on the card, but these people likely represent a small percentage of the Platinum customer base. 

The disappointment may be familiar to longtime Platinum users. In August 2019, the card issuer changed its partnership with the Priority Pass lounge network, with the result that cardholders couldn't use their membership to get free food at participating airport restaurants. 

Rumored Changes to the Amex Platinum Card

In addition to the Centurion Lounge policy, there have also been rumors circulating that Amex may be planning other big changes to its Platinum Card.

The first is an increased annual fee, going from $550 to $695. In return, the following perks are rumored to be added:

  • An annual $300 Equinox credit.
  • A $20 monthly entertainment credit for magazines, news subscriptions, and select streaming services.
  • An annual $200 credit toward prepaid hotel reservations made through Amex Travel.
  • A $100 credit to Resy (may be temporary).
  • An annual membership to expedited airport screening program CLEAR, worth up to $179.

All in all, if the new credits align with current cardholders' existing expenses, the revamp may be a win, even with the steeper annual fee. But if you aren't interested in those perks or would need to spend money you wouldn't otherwise spend, it may not be worth it.