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Priority Pass benefit rapidly deteriorating

Priority Pass benefit rapidly deteriorating

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Old Jul 26, 17, 11:50 am
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Priority Pass benefit rapidly deteriorating

I have Priority Pass from my AMEX Plat, which I have held for several years. Ever since the introduction of the CSR to the market, I have noticed the PP benefit deteriorate. In just the past few months I have, at four separate airports, been: a) kicked out of a lounge after being admitted because it was getting too crowded b) turned away due to crowding c) turned away due to the lounge saving seats for customers of a particular airline and d) admitted to lounges that were filthy and overcrowded (I was in a lounge last week with a group of 10-15 college kids admitted on one card, all doing shots)

This is a benefit that AMEX advertises yet I feel like I can rarely take advantage of. It’s especially frustrating because PP lounges are often the only choice at smaller airports, in smaller terminals, etc. I have made my frustration known to AMEX but this has been met with a “OK, sorry”, “Thanks for the feedback” sort of reply.

Has anyone else had this problem, and has anyone else addressed it with AMEX directly?
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Old Jul 26, 17, 11:52 am
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Where are you based and what airports/lounges are you referring to. I rarely use PP but when I do it works perfectly fine for me, whether in Europe, Asia, or North America.
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Old Jul 26, 17, 12:10 pm
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Nearly all lounges which accept Priority Pass use it to monetize excess capacity. They have other visitors who are more important. Many are contract lounges that serve specific airlines with only a few flights per day. If Priority Pass members interfere with the lounges' ability to accommodate their contract customers, the Priority Pass members will be declined or asked to leave.

Demand for lounge visits apparently exceeds capacity. What, specifically, would you have American Express do?

Last edited by mia; Jul 26, 17 at 12:19 pm
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Old Jul 26, 17, 12:50 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Demand for lounge visits apparently exceeds capacity. What, specifically, would you have American Express do?
Open more centurion lounges, which is what they are doing.
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Old Jul 26, 17, 12:55 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Nearly all lounges which accept Priority Pass use it to monetize excess capacity. They have other visitors who are more important. Many are contract lounges that serve specific airlines with only a few flights per day. If Priority Pass members interfere with the lounges' ability to accommodate their contract customers, the Priority Pass members will be declined or asked to leave.

Demand for lounge visits apparently exceeds capacity. What, specifically, would you have American Express do?
The bottom line is that if it's an advertised benefit on one of the most expensive AF cards on the market, it needs to be usable. I have little interest or knowledge in how the model works..AMEX has plenty of smart people to manage this and to mitigate any complications with the Priority Pass team.

Off the top of my head, some things AMEX could do: provide a more premium level membership which does not allow for entry to be declined, offer a credit or voucher for F&B in the terminal when denied access, penalize PP for each time a member is declined so they will better manage their capacity/demand
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Old Jul 26, 17, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
Where are you based and what airports/lounges are you referring to. I rarely use PP but when I do it works perfectly fine for me, whether in Europe, Asia, or North America.
I am based in the US, and have had this problem occur in the US, Europe and South America
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Old Jul 26, 17, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by woodford02A View Post
Ever since the introduction of the CSR to the market, I have noticed the PP benefit deteriorate.
Datapoint - this starts with Citi Prestige. But CSR makes it even worse.

Originally Posted by woodford02A View Post
Has anyone else had this problem, and has anyone else addressed it with AMEX directly?
The golden rule for lounge access is the lounge operators always have the final say on admission, even the lounges interpret the rule incorrectly.

This is a PP problem, not AMEX.
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Old Jul 26, 17, 1:14 pm
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Originally Posted by woodford02A View Post
(I was in a lounge last week with a group of 10-15 college kids admitted on one card, all doing shots)
That had to be expensive for someone. AFAIK, there's no PP card that allows unlimited guests at no extra charge. Some allow zero, one, or two guests without extra charge, but beyond that, the cardholder was likely charged $27 for the additional guests.
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Old Jul 26, 17, 1:16 pm
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
.there's no PP card that allows unlimited guests at no extra charge. ...
Chase (Sapphire Reserve, JPM Reserve, Ritz) charges no guests fees, but the lounge can still set a guesting limit.
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Old Jul 26, 17, 1:18 pm
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Originally Posted by woodford02A View Post
The bottom line is that if it's an advertised benefit on one of the most expensive AF cards on the market, it needs to be usable. I have little interest or knowledge in how the model works..AMEX has plenty of smart people to manage this and to mitigate any complications with the Priority Pass team.

Off the top of my head, some things AMEX could do: provide a more premium level membership which does not allow for entry to be declined, offer a credit or voucher for F&B in the terminal when denied access, penalize PP for each time a member is declined so they will better manage their capacity/demand
You the nail on the head. With the increased number of people accessing the PP lounges due to things like the new mass of CSR holders there needs to be some sort of quality control in place.

My main issue is with some of the smaller lounges (The Club at... Lounges for example). They exist to serve an airline or two that typically have only evening departures. They open the rest of the day to make some money off PP swipes. But then they completely under-staff and under-stock the lounges at those times. My last time at The Club at ATL (wasn't flying DL) the place was packed, there were dirty dishes and trash everywhere, the food was picked over, and I couldn't even get a soda because there were no clean glasses. I left to go sit in the F atrium because it was more relaxing out there.
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Old Jul 26, 17, 1:19 pm
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Originally Posted by slutide View Post
... some of the smaller lounges (The Club at... Lounges for example). They exist to serve an airline or two that typically have only evening departures..
Ironically, The Club at lounges are the only ones operated directly by the company which owns Priority Pass.

Last edited by mia; Jul 26, 17 at 1:36 pm
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Old Jul 26, 17, 1:23 pm
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Currently in the CUN business lounge through PP. Extreme overcrowding. Absolutely no seats available, tables are dirty, and food is being snatched as soon as it's placed on the bar. One family has five children and many families of 4-5. People sitting on side tables. Should have been shut down for entry 15 people ago. Thx Chase. I'm sure that's the explanation for families of 5+
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Old Jul 26, 17, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Chase (Sapphire Reserve, JPM Reserve, Ritz) charges no guests fees, but the lounge can still set a guesting limit.
Correct. The bloggers picked up on this during the CSR promotions and spread the word: http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.c...ounge-benefit/
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Old Jul 26, 17, 1:42 pm
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Once upon a time, briefly, American Express was the exclusive USA sponsor of Priority Pass memberships. Other banks were forced into Lounge Club, which is operated by the same company (Collinson). Lounge Club had access to only a subset of the Priority Pass network.

I have no information about why this arrangement ended, but most of the former Lounge Club sponsors are now handing out Priority Pass, and Collinson has lost one tool that could have provided a method to limit or prioritize access.

However, with Citi, Chase, US Bank etc etc all issuing ~$450 cards I doubt Collinson could roll this back simply by raising their price.
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Old Jul 26, 17, 1:49 pm
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Originally Posted by hi55us View Post
Open more centurion lounges, which is what they are doing.
Isn't there another thread complaining Centurion lounges being overcrowded?

Originally Posted by woodford02A View Post
Correct. The bloggers picked up on this during the CSR promotions and spread the word: http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.c...ounge-benefit/
Well, first wave of renewals and annual fees is coming due this August. Will be interesting how many stick around, and how it affects number of PP holders.
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