Finally, a UK rewards card benefit that beats the US

Apr 18, 2021

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The Platinum Card from American Express and its business version, the Platinum Business Card from American Express, are two of the most premium cards on offer in the United Kingdom. Between high welcome bonuses, extremely lucrative card perks and access to savings through American Express Offers, for those who travel frequently, they offer great value.

One of the perks that makes them the most valuable is lounge access. Marketed as premium travel cards, both the personal Platinum and Business Platinum offer cardholders access to American Express’ own network of Centurion Lounges, allowing them to bring up to two guests free of charge. Additionally, cardholders have access to a complimentary Priority Pass membership and access to Delta Sky Clubs when flying with Delta Air Lines.

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But arguably, the best benefit is access to Centurion Lounges. For those not familiar, they’re Amex’s own branded lounges and generally some of the best non-airline branded lounges out there — especially in the United States. Currently, the following airports have Centurion Lounges: Charlotte (CLT), Dallas (DFW), Denver (DEN), Hong Kong (HKG), Houston (IAH), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), New York (LGA), Philadelphia (PHL), Phoenix (PHX), San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle (SEA). Additionally, American Express has plans to open a new lounge at London Heathrow (LHR) later this year.

Related: Your complete guide to Amex Centurion Lounges

Last week, the issuer made waves with an announcement in the United States that cardholders of the American version of the two cards would be seeing their Centurion Lounge access devalued. Amex in the U.S. announced that effective 1 February 2023, all U.S. Platinum and U.S. Business Platinum cardholders would be charged $50 (about £36) for each guest they wanted to bring into a Centurion Lounge. To avoid the added charge, cardholders can spend $75,000 (about £54,275) annually to continue to bring in guests for free.

However, this new charge won’t apply to cardholders of the U.K. Platinum and Business Platinum Cards.

The Centurion Lounge at JFK. (Photo courtesy of Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

American Express U.K. confirmed to TPG that the new charge on guest access to Centurion Lounges applies only to U.S. Platinium and Business Platinium Cards. Cardholders of the U.K. Platinum and Business Platinum Cards will continue to be able to access Centurion Lounges for themself and up to two guests free of charge.

“This change only applies to U.S. Platinum Card and U.S. Business Platinum Card Members,” American Express said in a statement.

This is great news for cardholders of both Platinum cards in the U.K. Credit cards in the U.S. are widely known to offer greater benefits and perks than their counterparts available in Great Britain. But with this change, the U.K. credit card market finally has a benefit that our friends across the Atlantic have to pay extra for.

The Platinum Card from American Express currently comes with a welcome bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points after spending £4,000 in the first three months of holding the card. Along with being able to get you and two guests into Amex Centurion Lounges for free, cardholders also get complimentary hotel status with four brands and earn 1 Membership Rewards point for every pound spent and 2 Membership Rewards points for every pound spent with Amex Travel. The card comes with an annual fee of £575.

The Business Platinum Card from American Express, meanwhile, comes with a welcome bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending £6,000 in the first three months. The card comes with lounge access for the primary cardholder and two guests, as well as a complimentary annual digital subscription to The Times and The Sunday Times, worth £312 per year. The card comes with an annual fee of £595.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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