My family has an Amex Platinum card, and have enjoyed several perks from it (in addition to the sign-up bonus points).  Some of these perks include the $200 annual airline fee credit, complimentary access to the new Centurion Lounges, and more.  However, from the time we got the card last year to now, there are several travel related perks that have worsened.  Just today, it happened again.  So, I have several updates on this card, and figured I would put them all in this one post.  I’ll start with the (mostly) good news.

$200 Travel Fee Reimbursement on United:

Each year this card comes with a $200 credit toward airline fees such as checked bags, lounge access, on-board snacks, change fees, etc.  You must select one airline to have the $200 annual credit with, and I described this process here.  We choose United for the year, and I had some United gift cards to purchase.  Historically those have “off label” counted toward the $200 annual airline credit.  I had read reports on this Flyertalk thread that success with that process was becoming mixed.  I needed to buy a $50 and $100 gift certificate anyway, and used this card.  Just as a data point, I want to report that a week later the $50 gift certificate was reimbursed as part of the airline fee credit, but the $100 certificate was not.  This is pretty consistent with reports on the linked thread, but do note that United gift registry purchases are having a higher success rate.  I’ll report back on that soon, as I had one of those to purchase today as well.  So, that is partial good news I suppose, but I’ll take it.

Credit to Help Offset the Loss of US and American Lounges Effective March 22nd:

We learned in late 2013 that as of March 22, 2014 the Platinum card will no longer get you access to US Airways and American Airlines lounges.  Some people were reporting getting credits of up to $500 to use toward fees from US Airways and American once lounge access is lost.  Anecdotally, those getting the largest offers were ones who frequently used those lounge benefits, which makes sense.  We have yet to access a US or AA lounge using this particular Platinum card, and our credit offer was zero, even after asking expressing our disappointment.  We do actually plan to use the AA lounge access in the near future, and had just ordered an authorized user card for my in-laws knowing that they do frequent AA lounges.  So, on paper we weren’t losing anything I guess as we had never used the perk, but in practice we were about to use it much more in the future (or at least our authorized users were), so the change did hurt us.

I asked again today (via secure chat) for a credit to offset the loss of these lounges and was told that they would enroll the account for a $100 credit toward fee charges from US Airways and American Airlines (such as for lounge day passes, but not limited to that) that would be valid from March 22, 2014 – December 31, 2014.  That isn’t a ton, but it is a ton more than zero.  If you were told no in the past for a credit to help offset this loss, it might be worth another try.

Delta Lounges to Start Charging for Guests (including family members):

The bad news from today is that Delta, as it relates to the Platinum card, is that effective May 1, 2014, American Express Platinum holders will no longer be able to bring free guests or family members into the Delta lounges.  They will be able to bring two guests, or their immediate family, for a fee of $29 per person.  Yes, technically that includes having to pay for young children.  Some say hip-hip-hurray there will be fewer families clogging up the lounges.  I’m sure this will get rid of a few families, but my travels show that the overwhelming majority of people in lounges appear to be on business travel.  In fact, I get excited when I see another family in the lounge because it isn’t an overly common occurrence in my experience.  Aside from during peak holiday travel times perhaps, families are not why lounges are crowded.

The Platinum cardholder still gets in free to the Delta lounges, so if you have the card, and your spouse is already an authorized user with their own card, then presumably you can both get in for free via that route.  If you had children 15+ you can theoretically get authorized user cards for them as well.  The fee for authorized users on the Platinum card is $175 for up to three authorized users per year.  Not necessarily worth it in all cases, but it could be depending on your situation.

Time will tell how American Express responds to yet another kick to their lounge benefits.  They are building more Centurion Lounges, which are far superior to the lounges they are losing, but they may not be building enough locations at a fast enough pace to meet the needs of cardholders who like to utilize lounges on their regular travels.  For those not familiar, there are Centurion lounges currently open in Las Vegas and DFW, with forthcoming locations announced in San Francisco and LaGuardia.  It has been hinted at that an “entire network” of Centurion lounges are coming, but no additional locations have been confirmed to my knowledge.

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Food at Centurion Lounge at LAS

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Family Room at LAS Centurion Lounge

I’d love to hear your thoughts on some of these recent developments as they relate to the Platinum cards.

Posted by Mommy Points | 16 Comments

16 Responses to “Good News and (Mostly) Bad News For American Express Platinum Cardholders”

  1. Santastico says:

    I will probably cancel my card. I was also offered zero credit for losing AA lounge and when I called Amex today regarding this change on Delta lounge i was told i should get an Amex Platinum for my wife. WTH!!! Should I also get one for each of my two kids or should I tell them to wait by the gate while mom and dad will eat pretzels in the lounge? Amex has lost its customer service magic that I always loved and now the couldn’t are less about losing a 12 yeas of loyalty. Well, RIP Amex!!!!

  2. Leo says:

    I did $200 on my UA Registry and I was reimbursed a few days later.

  3. mike says:

    Same experience with Amex Plat Business card: “bonus” $100 credit toward fee charges from US Airways and American Airlines offered during phone call.

  4. Autolycus says:

    It’s very unfortunate to lose the guest access with Delta. My dream response from Amex would be to reduce the cost of authorized user accounts from the current $175, so at least having a spouse with lounge access is more palatable. I doubt that’ll be coming though.

  5. Gene says:

    I will be cancelling my card. I have access to DL lounges via being Diamond, and access to AA/US lounges via BA status (which came via bmi status). Once my BA status is gone, I will consider signing up for the card again, hopefully for another fat bonus!

  6. Gene says:

    Oh, I am an idiot. The card won’t get me AA / US lounge access. Duh. I’ll still sign up for the card again later if I can get another fat bonus!

  7. sean says:

    I’m really at a loss as to what I should do about the platinum card. I live in Houston and need United lounge access and I fly AA through MIA often to get to South America and other areas that AA services.

    I’m now looking at 1000 in lounge fees plus 450 for the AMEX PLAT. Now Delta kicks me in the pants.

  8. askmrlee says:

    @Sean – does a paid, standalone Priority Pass membership make sense for you? Or perhaps a UA and AA credit card that includes lounge access (and some bag fee waivers)?

  9. Phlflyr says:

    There are centurion lounges in both terminals A & B in MTY (Monterrey International). Terminal A lounge offers complementary beverages and food (United, American Air) while terminal B is pay as you go (Delta) though they have their own private security line and the lounge itself is nicer.

  10. JTP says:

    On a positive note…. perhaps they’ll increase signup bonuses on the card to make up for these losses??? Decrease annual fees??

    Wishful thinking, but this maaaaybe good for people that do not have this card yet. no?

  11. Rasputin says:

    Couple of data points. $200 united gift registry was reimbursed in 3 days. When I called to cancel the card, the agent mentioned the recent reimbursement and offered $100 more. I still ended up canceling the card.

  12. Alex says:

    Just called customer service with concerns about loss of lounge priveledges with my Business Platinum card. Was offered $500 reimbursement of incidentals when purchased on AA/US. Agent was very specific that this doesn’t count towards airline tickets purchases, upgrades, or gift cards but would count towards purchase of lounge access with AA or US. Of note, Admirals Club, if purchased with AmEx Plat, is set up as a yearly recurring charge.

    Agent mentioned that most accounts he has seen are not eligible for this offer, but mine is as i’ve been a frequent user of the lounge. Interestingly, I’ve used the US Air lounge maybe once in 2013 and maybe a dozen times in 2012.

    No such credit towards Delta when i asked about that

  13. Jorge says:

    Chase cards are offering protection levels that exceed Amex Platinum card. The $100.00 is a temporary band aid, for 9 months fly too fast and once Plats and Cents see the loss, they will either go Prestige/Exec or buy the membership.

    Delta is a blow to any fallback plan. And sorry but Centurion lounges are years away from filling in the gap. ( doubt that Amex will be able to afford them in the long run).

    Guess we started the year with the usual…bad news in the airline sector. But am glad we are not in 2009!

  14. Rebecca says:

    Wow. I did not know about the Delta change. I’m canceling. The use of Sky lounges for me and my family was the last reason I was keeping the card.

  15. Travis Swanson says:

    I’m actually surprised there aren’t more negative comments about the change on this site. This site is about families, and that’s who this change will effect the most. I like the idea of American Express offering the 3 authorized users free of charge. They really need to offer some more benefits (or a ton more Centurion Lounges) for the card to be worth while. In addition, it would be nice to see Delta to up it’s offering (instead of decreasing, which they have been doing) if they are going to restrict access this much more.

  16. Crissy says:

    I’m more of a frequent vacationer, than a frequent flyer. I can’t get into a lounge unless I’m on a reward flight in business/first class.
    I’ve been on the fence about the platinum card for some time. I have to say though, if they built out their lounge network with Centrion lounges, for someone like me who is not loyal to a specific airline, this is something I will definitely watch.

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