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.
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.