American Express sent out an email to Platinum cardmembers today indicating that they’d discontinue the lounge access benefit for American Airlines Admirals Clubs and US Airways Clubs as of March 22, 2014:

As of March 22, 2014, Platinum Card Members will no longer receive complimentary access to American Airlines® Admirals Club lounges and US Airways® Club locations.

American-Express-Platinum

This is of course hugely disappointing, though I really can’t say I’m surprised. Back in the day the American Express Platinum card gave you access to Continental Presidents Clubs as well, but when the merger with United happened they discontinued their relationship, since United wasn’t a partner of the American Express Platinum Card.

In this case it’s a bit different since both American and US Airways previously had lounge agreements with American Express.

So what prompted this change? My guess would be Citi placing pressure on American. I bet American loves partnering with American Express, since they’re getting paid by American Express for anyone that enters an Admirals Club with the card.

Meanwhile Citi probably feels otherwise, since that benefit is driving cardmembers to American Express (and as far as they’re concerned, away from Citi). Back in 2011 Citi introduced the Executive AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard, which was the first “premium” card they offered that actually gave you Admirals Club access. It sure seems to me like the card isn’t doing as well as they hoped, and my guess is that they largely blame that on the American Express Platinum Card, which has the same annual fee with a ton more benefits.

American Express has sent out emails to cardmembers offering an additional statement credit this year to ease the pain of the bad news, and based on what I’ve seen that credit seems to vary between $200 and $500.

Here’s an example of what a friend received:

Special Offer: Up to $200 in Statement Credits

We recognize the inconvenience this may cause you as someone who travels frequently, so we have included you in a special offer. You will receive up to $200 in statement credits toward American Airlines and US Airways incidental fees charged to your Card from March 22, 2014 to December 31, 2014.1 You can use these credits toward:

  • Membership fees in the Admirals Club program and US Airways Club
  • One-day passes to Admirals Club lounges and US Airways Clubs
  • Other American Airlines and US Airways incidental fees like baggage fees or flight change fees

There’s no enrollment required, and purchases made by both the Basic and Additional Card Members on the Card account are eligible for the promotion. These statement credits are in addition to the $200 Airline Fee Credit2 benefit already included in your Membership.*

My guess is we’ll see more long term benefits with the card beyond this, since this greatly decreases the value proposition of this card. At this point you only get access to Delta SkyClubs, select Priority Pass lounges, Airspace Lounges, and Centurion Lounges.

  1. December 4th, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Adam said,

    Of course… I literally just reactivated my Platinum charge last night.

    So basically its just Delta? If that goes away there’s almost no reason to keep the card unless they give $450 in airline reimbursements yearly.

  2. December 4th, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    raksiam said,

    The statement credit only applies to AA or US fees. So it’s not much of an incentive for some one like me who does fly either of them much.

  3. December 4th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    John K said,

    Would you be able to purchase AA gift cards with it?

  4. December 4th, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    AdamH said,

    Waiting for my email.

  5. December 4th, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    lucky said,

    @ raksiam — Well right, but if you don’t fly either carrier then you’re not really losing a whole lot by having lounge access with them go away, right? :p

  6. December 4th, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    lucky said,

    @ John K — In small increments I’d guess that would work.

  7. December 4th, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    lucky said,

    @ AdamH — If it makes you feel any better, I haven’t received an email yet either!

  8. December 4th, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Andrew yvR said,

    I have PLAT biz, and I am registered with AS for my yearly reimbursement.

    I have not yet been notified, but it sounds like more credits will only help.

    This year I am at $425 in credits of my $450 annual fee. Seems like a keeper. Too bad we can’t get the new Amazon Prime benefit added on.

  9. December 4th, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    DBest said,

    What’s the chances of using this to get them to waive the AF as a retention incentive?

  10. December 4th, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Justin said,

    HUGE bummer for DCA based pax… having US club in both B and C was great since you didn’t even need to be flying US to use it.

  11. December 4th, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    lucky said,

    @ DBest — Probably depends how good of a customer you are (how much you’ve spent on the card). Generally I don’t think they waive the annual fee on the card too often.

  12. December 4th, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Alan Rudnick (@alanrud) said,

    You still receive US Airways lounge access through Plat card with priority pass select. AMEX plat offered a double benefit in using either the card or priority select.

  13. December 4th, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Angel said,

    @John K Yes, no problems. I’ve done it in the past and it worked like a charm…

  14. December 4th, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Eric said,

    Any idea as to why different people are getting different credit amounts?

  15. December 4th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Tim said,

    There appears to be a metric by which cardmembers are being contacted. I have been lucky enough to use clubs based on class of service even more than with the card, but still expressed displeasure with the seemingly continuous benefit dilution of this card, the price tag of which is far less justifiable.

  16. December 4th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    beachfan said,

    Is that on top of the $200 they already offer, or just a reminder of the current benefit.

    I’m sort of happy, as I’m a lounge member, just took out the Amex for the points. The lounges will be much less crowded.

  17. December 4th, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    lucky said,

    @ beachfan — Correct, that’s on top of what they usually offer.

  18. December 4th, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    beachfan said,

    Sorry, my question is answered in Lucky’s post right at the end.

  19. December 4th, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    jimltravels said,

    I haven’t received an email yet. I use the lounges occasionally on us air, as I have admirals lounge access. I have the business amex plat. Let’s see what happens. The game changes

  20. December 4th, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Santastico said,

    Hate Citi!!! Knew this was coming after they launched the AA Executive card. So, will people switch from Amex Platinum to Citi Executive AAdvantage?

  21. December 4th, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Brian said,

    Switch? Hell no . . . I’ll take the $500 in gift-cards, sell them, and use the money for booze at Chili’s when I’m kicking it at the airport. No more living like wannabe royals for my friends and I while we’re waiting for our flights.

  22. December 4th, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Andrew B said,

    Glad you posted about this — I had read about it elsewhere and was devastated. I’m still kind of devastated, but I guess the $200 credit might be good. And hopefully they’ll add something to make up for this.

  23. December 4th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

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  24. December 4th, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Donn said,

    Maybe a better offer coming from Citi Executive Card to get some unhappy Amex holders?

  25. December 4th, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Paul said,

    4 Plat cards – no emails…not happy. Time to cancel as soon as Jan 1 hits and get the $200 annual airline rebate.

  26. December 4th, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Robert said,

    The Platinum AmEx comes with Priority Pass, which can be used at US Airways lounges (in addition to being able to use your platinum card at the lounge). So even though they are discontinuing access with the credit card, can you still get in with the Priority Pass? card

  27. December 4th, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Robert — It’s anyone’s guess. If I had to speculate I’d guess that US Airways Clubs will leave the Priority Pass Select program once the merger goes through. But in the short term that should work.

  28. December 4th, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Ivan Y said,

    No emails on our MB Plat cards (1 main + 1 add’l user) yet. But even a $200 credit would probably be okay for us since we’re in Houston and we got a card recently so, potentially, it’s $600+ in gift cards ($200 for 2013, $200 for 2014, and $200+ for AA/US) while having to pay just one annual fee.

  29. December 4th, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Angel said,

    I have the MB Amex Plat and got the email with the $200 offer. My boss has the regular Amex Plat and got $500. I called Amex and they said MB vs Reg Plat could be the reason along with longevity of the account and spending. Not sure if the rep was making it up or not, but that was his story. I’ll cash in those $200 and cancel the card after that.

  30. December 4th, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Mike said,

    Wow…definitely canceling come early January. This is ridiculous!!!

  31. December 4th, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    a a said,

    Yeah, I’m out too. Just planning on buying gas for all of December at BP with $5 off $25 per pump transaction.

  32. December 4th, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Ryan said,

    I have the Mercedes and I received $500.

    Found the email from 11 am – looks like Amex is offering me $500 in credits. My details: Mercedes Platinum member since November 2011. Last year received 50k Amex MR points to renew (on about $160k spend in 2012). Only $42k spend in 2013 and I stopped using the card in June – only use it for Costco since and Chase gets all my spend now). I live in Pittsburgh and used the US Air club in Pitt about 15 times in 2013 and maybe 10 times in Charlotte. Never used a Centurion Lounge. Never put any airline tickets or travel spend on my Platinum card. Used AA Lounge once since 2011.

  33. December 4th, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Jorge said,

    I blame the bloggers for taking pictures of the astonishingly quiet and superbly decorated AA lounges. I will miss the free pretzels, mini-sandwiches and mixed (peanut) nuts. :-O

    I have not gotten any emails referring to this issue. However, got this one “Jorge New Improvements to Your Account Are Here”

  34. December 4th, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    John said,

    I got the email today. Was offered $500. This is still going to do it for me. They have been pulling benefits away each year. Actually needed concert tix for the first time and found out Citi had the presale deal- so Amex isn’t even exclusive for that anymore. Called concierge for high end dinner reservations and they were no more helpful than the open table app on my phone. There are still about 5-10 merchants a month that do not take Amex so there is that burden too. Priority Pass doesn’t honor domestic airlines like united if it is issued through Amex so AA/USAir will probably be the same way. At one time this was a great card, not so much anymore in my opinion. I guess I will check out CitiAA.

  35. December 5th, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Jason said,

    I wonder if Amex is planning further Centurion Clubs and it wasn’t more of Amex not willing to pay AA’s price anymore. Maybe I’m spoiled by Delta Skyclubs but I’ve never been impressed by my stays in Admirals Clubs.

  36. December 11th, 2013 at 11:48 am

    yybug said,

    Personal Amex PLT card here. Got an email titled ‘Important information about your Platinum Card(R) Account’ with Nothing offered…:(

  37. December 14th, 2013 at 6:31 am

    Andyandy said,

    Count me in with yybug. Amex business and my “offer” was a reminder about the existing credit. http://thepointsninja.blogspot.com/2013/12/amex-platinum-downgrades-its-benefits.html I’ll be downgrading my card as soon as my airline credit renews in January.

  38. December 15th, 2013 at 9:20 am

    kevin parmenter said,

    Just got off the phone with Amex customer service who just gave me the patronizing corporate speak response. I have not found a Centurion lounge or been able to find a lounge that takes the priority pass card. The reason I signed up for the Amex Platinum was so I could get into the combined lounges. Amex has taken away the reason I signed up for the card in the first place so by March if they dont have a plan in place to add value I am not going to waste 450 dollars on them. I also submitted a complaint into US Airways. I am not happy about this because the main reason I got it is when the merger was done I could get into the lounges. I have found that Delta and United typically have a reason not to accept the platinum card so… Amex better think fast about how to provide value -i.e.. what are they replacing it with? Otherwise its a waste of money.

  39. December 23rd, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Tony said,

    Cheesy Citi Bank wants to get its vampiric squid tentacles over everything that moves. Just wait til they plunge the economy into another near-depression

  40. December 24th, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Chris said,

    I got my email a few days ago, no credits offered. I have about $2k/yr in spend on this card.

  41. January 1st, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Whatif said,

    Is there not a way to get Cathay Gold card with AMEX Platinum. One could use this card to enter AA lounges and also US Airways when merger completes

  42. January 10th, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Eric said,

    This morning, I received an email from Delta noting that their annual Sky Club fee is not $95 for executive members, and that the Sky Club will not longer be available to any user who has a credit or charge card with this privilege. The change will happen May 2, 2014. I am unclear if American Express will offset the loss of American, US Air, and now Delta, club privileges. Any help appreciated to a newbie to this informative blog.

  43. January 10th, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Eric said,

    Oops – my post should have read “Sky Club fee is now $695″ Sorry.

  44. January 18th, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Rex said,

    Just to clarify…. As I understand it, the American Express Platinum Card will still get you access to the Delta Sky Club, but any accompanying guest(s) will each incur a fee of $29. As the following pertinent excerpt from an e-mail message sent by Delta announcing changes in options for Sky Club access states:

    “Beginning May 1, 2014, all customers who receive complimentary Delta Sky Club access as a benefit of their eligible credit or charge card will no longer receive complimentary guest access. A $29 fee per guest will apply.”

  45. January 18th, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Rex — That’s correct.

  46. February 12th, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Harriet said,

    One more reason that American Airlines will seldom get my business.

  47. March 31st, 2014 at 7:06 am

    10 best credit cards for military members | Military Finance said,

    […] is the best you can get. Amex Platinum cards offer free lounge access (although they’ve recently lost access to US Airways and American lounges, and does not give access to United lounges) through their membership with PriorityPass […]

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