Up until earlier this year, not only did you get complimentary access for yourself, but you could also bring in up to two guests with you for no additional charge. But now if you want to get a travel companion into the lounge with you, it'll cost an extra $50 per guest – unless you spend $75,000 or more per year on your Platinum Card.
But is that the case everywhere? No, actually … it's not.
While not widely advertised, there are still quite a few Amex Centurion Lounges around the globe that give cardholders complimentary access and allow you to bring in a guest (or guests) for no additional charge. Unfortunately, there's no blanket, one-size-fits-all, approach to Centurion lounge access – so you'll need to check with each specific location to know for sure.
Let's take a closer look at Amex's Centurion Lounge guest policy and which outposts still allow free guest access.
Amex Lounges in the U.S.
There are no longer any true Centurion lounges in the U.S. that allow free guest access – unless you spend $75,000 or more per year on your Amex Platinum. But that doesn't mean you're completely out of luck. A couple of years back, Amex announced that the bank would be taking over Escape Lounges and rebranding them as Centurion Studio Partner Lounges.
This means that premium Amex cardholders also get complimentary access to these Escape Lounges – and so far, they've been spared from Amex's harsh guest access restrictions.
If you're wondering how the experience at these Centurion Studio Partner Lounges stacks up against a full-fledged Centurion Lounge, they're typically on the smaller side but still offer great food and comfortable seating. Really, not much has changed since Amex took over the 15 different Escape Lounges scattered across the country – and that's mostly a good thing. The Minneapolis Escape Lounge has long been a favorite gathering place for the Thrifty Traveler team starting a trip from our home airport and that's still the case to this day.
Getting into Escape Lounges is also much easier (and cheaper) than Amex's flagship Centurion Lounges. By holding the Amex Platinum or Business Platinum Card, you'll not only get complimentary access for yourself, but you can also bring two guests in with you for free. If you want to bring in additional guests, that'll cost you an extra $45 per person – which is still more reasonable than the $50 charge for guest access at Centurion Lounges.
The Amex Platinum and Business Platinum aren't the only cards that'll get you access to Escape Lounges, though. You can also get in with a *delta reserve card* when flying with Delta – and in some cases, you can even get in with a *bonvoy brilliant*. Neither the Delta Reserve Card nor the Bonvoy Brilliant Card will get you free guest access, though. If you're using one of these cards to get in and traveling with someone else, you can pay a discounted fee of $30 per person to bring them in with you.
If you don't have one of Amex's high-end cards that get you complimentary access, you can even buy your way in at a somewhat-reasonable charge of $40 when pre-booking online – or for $45 at the door. This could easily be worth it if you don't have another lounge option and you're stuck somewhere with a long layover or delay.
Here's a look at all the Escape Lounges – The Centurion Studio Partner locations:
|Escape Lounge Locations|
|Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky (CVG)|
|Fort Lauderdale (FLL)|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP)|
|Palm Beach (PBI)|
|Phoenix-Sky Harbor T3 (PHX)|
|Phoenix-Sky Harbor T4 (PHX)|
|Rhode Island (PVD)|
|Sacramento Terminal A (SMF)|
|Sacramento Terminal B (SMF)|
Amex Lounges Abroad
Amex is best known for its lounge offerings in the U.S. – not shocking for a bank with “American” in its name – but there are also a handful of Centurion Lounge locations around the globe. And many of these lounges still allow Platinum Cardholders to bring in a complimentary guest … or guests, plural.
Exactly how many free guests you'll get will vary from location to location but you can typically expect to bring at least one additional person in with you and in some cases, you can even bring in the whole family.
International Amex Centurion Lounge locations and guest access policies:
|Centurion Lounge Location||Guest Policy|
|Buenos Aires (EZE)||1 Complimentary Guest & Children Under 16|
|Delhi (DEL)||1 Complimentary Guest & Children Under 12|
|Hong Kong (HKG)||$50 Per Guest (or $30 for Children 2 - 17)|
|London (LHR)||$50 Per Guest (or $30 for Children 2 - 17)|
|Melbourne (MEL)||2 Complimentary Guests or Spouse & Children Under 17|
|Mexico City (MEX)||2 Complimentary Guests or Immediate Family|
|Monterrey (MTY)||2 Complimentary Guests or Immediate Family|
|Mumbai (BOM)||1 Complimentary Guest & Children Under 12|
|São Paulo (GRU)||1 Complimentary Guest|
|Stockholm (ARN)||1 Complimentary Guest|
|Sydney (SYD)||2 Complimentary Guests or Spouse & Children Under 17|
Centurion Lounge locations in London (LHR) and Hong Kong (HKG) are the only international outposts that adhere to the same guest access policy as the U.S. lounges.
How to Access Amex Lounges
These are premium airport lounges. To get in, you'll need a premium travel credit card in your wallet.
Learn more about *amex platinum*.
Learn more about *biz platinum*
You can also get in with the American Express Centurion Card, commonly referred to as “The Black Card.” This invite-only card is reserved for Amex’s top spenders but if that's you, not only do you get unlimited access to the lounge, but you can also bring in two guests for free.
Head to the lounge and simply present your Platinum or Centurion card along with a same-day boarding pass on any airline. There is no requirement that you purchase the flight with your Amex Platinum card. You can also now “check-in” ahead of time using the Amex app and simply show your ID and boarding pass upon arrival.
Finally, you can get in with the *delta reserve card* or the *delta reserve business* – Delta's top-tier co-branded cards. But there's a catch: You have to be flying Delta that day, and you must have paid for your ticket with your Reserve card.
Learn more about the *delta reserve card*.
Learn more about the *delta reserve business*.
With so many cards that get you into Centurion Lounges – and with more and more travelers adding them to their wallets – crowding has become a serious problem. In addition to limiting guests, Amex has also repeatedly tightened up how early you can get into Centurion lounges to deal with crowding and long lines.
These days, you can only get into a Centurion Lounge within three hours of your scheduled departure. Luckily, that time limit doesn't apply to connecting itineraries – meaning you can get into the Centurion Lounge at any time during a layover. If you were planning to pop into a lounge at your final destination, you're out of luck. Amex eliminated lounge access on arrival a few years back in – you guessed it – another effort to combat overcrowding.
Getting free guest access at most Amex Centurion Lounges is a thing of the past … but not everywhere. If you're traveling internationally, most Amex Centurion Lounges still allow you to bring in at least one guest for free – and in some cases, you can even bring the whole family with you.
If you're sticking closer to home, Amex also operates several Escape Lounges – The Centurion Studio Partner, that still allow free guest access.