January 10th, 2014
Delta has just announced a few changes to their lounge access policy.
-Regular club members who shell out $450/year can no longer bring free guests, they will have to pay $29 per guest or upgrade to a $695/year “executive” membership that still allows guest access.
-Effective 05/01 American Express Platinum and Delta Reserve cardholders will have to pay $29 extra for each additional guest they bring into the lounge.
The hits don’t stop coming for the American Express Platinum card. 03/21 is the last day to get free access to American and USAirways lounges and now 04/30 is the last day to bring your entire family for free into a Delta lounge.
You can add 3 additional users onto a personal Platinum card for $175, so if you do want to bring family members into the lounge for free you can add them onto your account. Secondary users do get full lounge access. And Platinum cards still give access to Airspace and Delta lounges even if the card is no longer active until the card expires in 4 years from when you get it.
It’s a surprising move even though we’re so used to Delta devaluations that the frequent flyer community calls their miles SkyPesos. Delta is very close with American Express and for them to hurt American Express’ premium card like this right when American and USAirways did the same is almost shocking.
Perhaps the airlines are running scared of the Centurion lounge network that American Express is rolling out? The airline lounges simply pale in comparison to these lounge. These lounges are already open in Dallas and Las Vegas and lounges in LaGuardia and San Francisco are up next with more locations to follow. Centurion lounges have premium drinks, food, and in Dallas you can even get a 15 minute clothes-on massage.
People have even been able to call ahead and get free hot kosher meals in the lounges!
Now that American Express has a competing and far superior lounge product all of the airlines have really given them the cold shoulder.
I think if American Express wants to keep the Platinum card competitive they’re going to need to speed up their roll-out of these lounges nationwide or else they’re going to bleed customers.
What else does the Platinum card still get you?
-You still get free access (along with your entire family or 2 guests) to Airspace lounges in Baltimore, Cleveland, and JFK. More Airspace lounges are set to open as well. And each guest gets a gift card to spend on items sold in Airspace lounges with every access.
-You still get a free Priority Pass membership which for now gives free access to USAirways lounges. It also gives access to hundreds of other lounges worldwide. Priority pass only gives free access to the cardholder but additional cardholders also can get priority pass membership
Other card benefits remain in place:
-1 free year of Amazon Prime membership when you open a new Platinum card (This is actually a new benefit and also applies to the Blue Cash Everyday and Blue Cash Preferred cards)
-$200 of airline fee credits (or airline gift cards in $100 increments) per calendar year (PGGM continues to live on quite nicely for $400 cash back in your first cardmembership year which covers almost all of the $450 annual fee).
-$100 global entry expedited customs (5 year membership) refund.
-Other benefits include Starwood gold elite status (with a point rebate even on award stays), car rental perks at Avis, Hertz, and National, lost item refund protection (up to $10,000 per lost item), checked baggage protection, no foreign exchange fees, and more.
There is a $450 annual fee. As with all annual fees they are refundable if cancelled within 60 days, they are pro-rated if cancelled after 60 days and have another American Express card (i.e. if you have the card for 3 months and then cancel you would get a $337.50 refund), and they are pro-rated if you downgrade the card even if you have no other American Express card.