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American, US Air to Strip Amex Cards of Lounge Access

American, US Air to Strip Amex Cards of Lounge Access

In coordinated announcements, American and American Express this morning disclosed upcoming changes to their credit-card relationship, and to the relationship between American Express and US Airways.

American announced that, beginning on March 22, 2014, complimentary access to its Admirals Club airport lounges will be a perk bundled with just a single credit card, the pricey Citi Executive/AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard. Annual fee: $450.

And American Express confirmed that access to American’s lounges will no longer be among the perks offered with its Platinum and Centurion cards. Also being discontinued: access to US Airways’ lounges.

The move will be a significant loss for American Express, whose Platinum and Centurion cards currently feature complimentary access to a number of lounge networks, including those of American and US Airways. Likely to preemptively take some of the sting out of the downgrade, American Express recently expanded access to its Centurion lounges to Platinum cardholders. But there are only two Centurion lounges in operation, with two more set to open in 2014.

In a brief phone conversation with the president of AAdvantage, Suzanne Rubin, the change was explained as “another step forward in our relationship with Citi… It’s a natural progression, insuring exclusivity for the Citi Executive/AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard.” She also confirmed that American will continue its relationship with American Express with the co-branded AAdvantage Select cards. However, the American Express-issued cards are now nowhere to be seen on the airline’s credit-card webpage.

Reader Reality Check

Are you a Platinum or Centurion cardholder? How will the loss of American and US Airways lounge benefits affect your willingness to keep such expensive cards in your wallet?

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  • Giulia Sforza

    sad =_(

  • vsevolod4

    This mirrors what happened to Amex Platinum after the Continental-United merger; United was tied in deeply with Chase, and here American is responding with Citi.
    What Amex did to counter was to add the PriorityPass (useful primarily if traveling overseas), expand the number of (primarily overseas) lounges where the Amex Platinum gains you access, and implementing a $200 credit/rebate for airline related charges on one airline (in flight meals, baggage fees, change of service fees, upgrade fees, etc.), fee rebate for GlobalEntry, etc. This took the sting out but now with US and AA gone, the card is simply an overpriced green card with some rebates, but nothing close to $400 value for most of us.

  • drcbis

    As a Cent in Canada, one of the benefits is status with Cathay which gives me One World Emerald….which gives me access to AA Lounges. Nothing lost, nothing gained!

  • TheAncientAviator

    It’s not surprising, but disappointing. My Platinum Card main attraction was club access. I won’t renew.

  • Giulia Sforza

    It seems ridiculous as American Airlines/American Express by name alone sounds like a great partnership. I keep reading it because of a squabble over the Las Vegas Centurion Club, but it must be more to AA/US Air copying United/Continental. Sad for Amex and a loss for Amex Platinum holders. I for one do not want a $450.00 AA Citicard just for lounge access.

  • Nevsky2

    At a minimum, Amex should give rights with the Priority Club to take a guest at no charge to the lounges that will still grant access.

  • Judy Jones

    Next will be dropping AA from the $200 annual credit on the Plat card. I really liked buying those gift cards for free each year…..

  • Steve Wilhide

    I dropped my card. In addition to the airline lounge policy, AmEx dropped the $300 onboard credit for cruises unless booked through AmEx Travel; an agency I tried but had so many problems with mistakes that I would never use them again. AmEx is losing its customer base rapidly.

  • Marty Yawnick

    I’m sure the timing of this announcement is just coincidental, but the way this is perceived by this AMEX (and AA) Plat is that AA’s new management team is not as committed to offering the perks to its frequent flyers as previous American management teams were. Regardless of the reasoning of this move or how long it’s been in the works, it comes off to me as an indication that the old US Airways management team won’t be embracing the perks and standards that American had for its elites. This, to me, is perceived as a devaluation of the premium travel experience on American. Without a Priority Pass substitute, this move eliminates a convenient and valuable travel tool for me. What a good way to start this new era for American Airlines — by hacking off frequent flyers with purchasing power. =M=