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American Express

What Does Everyone Think About New Three-Hour Amex Centurion Lounge Access Restriction?

What Does Everyone Think About New Three-Hour Amex Centurion Lounge Access Restriction?
Ryan Boyd

In another attempt to ameliorate guest crowding in their Centurion airport lounges, American Express has introduced a three-hour time limit on how long guests with Platinum Cards will be allowed to occupy the lounge prior to their departure from the airport, rather than an erstwhile policy of allowing guests full access to the lounge for the duration of their visit to the airport.

However, minors under the age of two years old will be allowed access without being counted as part of the two complimentary guests permitted in the lounge, which means that guests could conceivably bring an unlimited number of toddlers into the lounge as long as they are accompanied by parents with boarding passes or proof of age.

To read more on this story, go to One Mile at a Time.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (23)


  1. wesheltonj

    January 22, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Stupid rule.

  2. jacca83

    January 22, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    No matter how much they expand the lounges, they will never be able to provide a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. The only way to fix this is to increase the annual fee. I know many won’t like that, but with all the new lounges popping up, they really need to increase the fee to thin out the crowds.

  3. mvoight

    January 22, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    So, they are trying to further reduce the time people spend there by making it easier to bring in the screaming kids…….

  4. AsiaTravel2019

    January 22, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    The larger issue is the airlines and lounge companies have let too many people in. The lounges aren’t special anymore.

    There needs to be 3 type of lounges: Business Class, First Class and Everybody Else.

    If you are flying on a high-priced, premium ticket…you shouldn’t have to deal with a stampede of people using their credit cards or priority pass to get in.

  5. SFHokie

    January 22, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    Terrible business decision, same with not allowing members into the lounges upon reaching their final destinations.

    AMEX should’ve done a better job at the number of members they approved for the Platinum Card instead of approving so many people.

    This is clearly a devaluation of what used to be a great product and does not come close to supporting the annual membership fee!

  6. txirish

    January 23, 2019 at 4:26 am

    Got hit by this at SFO where I had a nearly 4 hour layover. To Amex’s credit, their staff was polite and pointed the way to two restaurants that were part of Priority Pass. I had a light meal and then returned to the Centurion lounge. All was good, and I didn’t feel overly inconvenienced.

    The bigger problem – I’m not sure if this is a permanent restriction – is that the sign said the lounge could only be used before departures. I’ve often used the SFO lounge as an arrival lounge where I could work for an hour or so, particularly if it was too early to check into my hotel. Far better than sitting in a hotel lobby or looking for a Starbucks. Being rejected then would be far more annoying.

  7. horseymike

    January 23, 2019 at 4:31 am

    what if your flight is deylayed or you have a long connection time ? you pay for this access. it is not like it is free.

  8. Danwriter

    January 23, 2019 at 4:37 am

    A deal is a deal. You cant change the rules in your favor later.

  9. rpaverd

    January 23, 2019 at 5:01 am

    I have experienced very full Centurion Clubs and I can understand that there has to be some constraint on the number of people abusing them by spending many hours there before or after flights… So, yes, in principle I think it is not a bad idea.

    From a practical aspect, however, on Sunday I was connecting through IAH to SJU. Because of the poor weather, United put me on an earlier flight to avoid stormy Chicago so I arrived at around 7:15pm.

    I headed to the Centurion Club where they looked at my connecting flight time 11:45pm (a red eye to San Juan) and stated that I had to come back at 8:45 before they could let me in – and – by the way – don’t forget that the club closes at 9pm! They didn’t state it, but on previous journeys when I have arrived at that club at 8:30pm on a Sunday, all of the staff were already clearing everything away… So eventually I had to settle for some mediocre cheese cubes and soup at the United Club.

    What really incensed me, however, was when i call the Platinum line to discuss. The representative confirmed that this was the rule and then had the gall to suggest two other Priority Pass lounges as being “very nice” and having all the facilities I would need. The problem being, the lounges suggested were KLM Crown Lounge in Terminal D which does NOT allow Priority Pass after 3:30pm and the Air France Lounge – which had closed at 5pm…. Hence the United Club To say that I was unimpressed with Amex is putting it mildly. I will be reviewing both my Platinum cards when renewal time comes up….

  10. tacostuff

    January 23, 2019 at 6:11 am

    I’d much rather see Amex limit the number of guests and eliminate the ability for people to buy additional guest passes. I’ve seen too many instances where an extended family of 6-8 people roll in and the cardholder buys extra day passes for the people over the guest limit. The cardholder plus one guest seems reasonable to me (though I’d support only the cardholder if it cut the crowding).

  11. Pete.Felten

    January 23, 2019 at 7:31 am

    A new rule meant to keep people like Justin Ross Lee from being able to hack the perks on a regular basis.

  12. MitchR

    January 23, 2019 at 8:13 am

    They are jam packed crowded and abuse seems to be widespread. I usually get to the airport 2 – 3 hours before a flight so this shouldn’t be a problem. If I had a long layover I would probably get some food at Centurian and then camp out at the airline club.

  13. rubystone

    January 23, 2019 at 8:38 am


  14. laperk1028

    January 23, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Hilarious. They are so overcrowded, I quit even trying to use them. Nothing special there. I’m sure they are trying to solve the overcrowding problem, but this isn’t the way to do it. I’m now supposed to be penalized for my airline cancelling flights & making me hang around the airport longer. Not customer friendly.

  15. pslacey

    January 23, 2019 at 9:44 am

    I was in the MIA lounge over Christmas and it was a nightmare. I realize that this is the busiest time and it was a holiday. However, Seats were scarce, lots of families. Clearly something needs to be done. The options seem to be to restrict access or enlarge the lounges. What else can you do? My experience made me rethink whether I want to keep the AX Platinum card when renewal comes around.

  16. Occupationalhazard

    January 23, 2019 at 10:07 am

    I rarely spend more than an hour in any lounge, so no worries from me. Not sure how they’d enforce it, at least consistently. And really, if you need more than 3 hours *and* you have a Plat/Centurion care you are also going to have access to Delta’s SkyClubs – the overlap 100% but it is substantial, plus Plats/Cents have will also have PriorityPass. So yeah, not much to see here, move along.

  17. shadesofgrey1x

    January 23, 2019 at 10:40 am

    So we get less lounge access and a whopping fee increase. Seems to be a no brainer cancel the card. I only keep the card for the lounge access I don’t appreciate waiting to use the lounge because I arrived early , that defeats the luxury of having a lounge to use. 3 hours ,means really two hours because you have to allow to time to transit from the lounge to the gate and in some airports that can be considerable (IAH to domestic AA gates for example)

  18. sokolov

    January 23, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    The only time I’m willing to spend $50 is when i want to sit there and work for several hours. A 3 hour limit makes it a bad deal to me.

  19. flying_geek

    January 25, 2019 at 9:41 am

    So – can one be there for 3 hours ore are they not allowing you in more than 3 hours before the flight?

  20. MrGood

    January 25, 2019 at 11:10 am

    Still worth getting AX Platinum. No SkyClub if not flying Delta however, which doesn’t matter to me since I fly UA. But there’s no way they’re turning me away for 3hrs or more stay. That’s what MY $550 ANNUAL FEE covers!

    AX should make the membership more exclusive or be forced to expand to the respective capacity. It’s not like they didn’t expect see this coming!

  21. guesswho2000

    January 28, 2019 at 12:24 am

    I can see why, not that I’d be thrilled about it. I remember when they allowed access to any Amex cardmember for a ($50?) fee, which is obviously long gone due to overcrowding.
    As long as they don’t restrict it to Centurion cardmembers only, then it’s still better than nothing, but with the Platinum fees increasing with no discernible, additional benefits, it makes me wonder what the point of continuing to hold one is (not that I’ll make that decision based on whether I can spend 4 vs 3 hours in a Centurion lounge).

  22. vonsnooks

    February 4, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    I found more value in this when using the lounge on arrival, so count me among those who don’t like the new rule. Elimination of that is a big deal for me. Seems needlessly punitive when desk agents could be empowered to exercise discretion by more active enforcement when the lounge is busy, and more flexibility when the lounge is not busy. I agree when using it for outbound or connections, a 3 hour to boarding time limit doesn’t seem particularly unreasonable.

  23. radonc1

    February 5, 2019 at 5:07 am

    The lounges have become so crowded that, unless it is during off hours (such as Sat. AM), I rarely go to them anymore. However, with that being said, I thoroughly understand AMEX’s concern for their product, many Plat/Centurion customers were behaving as I do, just bypassing their lounges.

    One issue I have is that many clubs are out of the way, and a 3 hour restriction is really 2 hours use at best if you are going to get to the gate at the 30 minute time point and allow for travel to the gate (think DFW for instance). I might have added one additional hour onto the limit.

    On the other hand, I wonder just how much this will alleviate overcrowding? Maybe AMEX did a survey and discovered that a good chunk of people were abusing the lounge (overstaying many hours or using it as an arrivals lounge).. It will be interesting to see if the lounges actually become less crowded.

    One final issue I just thought about. I hope that the admissions personnel aren’t so restrictive that there will be a line of people outside the doors waiting for their 3 hour admission time to pop up. I think that would make AMEX’s appearance look even trashier than the current state of affairs the lounges are experiencing.

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