Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Credit, Debit and Prepaid Card Programs > American Express | Membership Rewards
Reload this Page >

Centurion Lounge crowding (access limited to 3 hours before flight departure)

Centurion Lounge crowding (access limited to 3 hours before flight departure)

    Hide Wikipost
Old May 27, 19, 12:45 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: mia
Wiki Link
Policy Changes effective March 22, 2019

NOTE: FOR PLATINUM CARD MEMBERS ONLY

The Centurion Lounge is a day of departure lounge. We will not admit arriving Platinum Card Members with boarding passes for flights that have just landed. We will admit Platinum Card Members with layovers or connecting flights who produce proof of connecting flight.

We will not admit Platinum Card Members more than 3 hours before the departure time on the Platinum Card Member’s same-day, confirmed boarding pass. This does not apply to Platinum Card Members with a connecting flight.

We will admit children under 2 years of age free of charge, provided an accompanying parent or guardian is able to produce a “lap infant” boarding pass or proof of age
Source: https://thecenturionlounge.com/info/access/
Print Wikipost

Old Nov 6, 19, 8:57 am
  #2056  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,422
I don’t favor an increase and can’t imagine how big it would need to be to have any meaningful impact on the issue.

All blame rests with Amex as they sure should have known this before the first club was opened. While the 3 hour rule sounds reasonable I have yet to see it have any serious impact on crowding.

As it stands now, during peak hours we use the club for a quick meal & drink then move on to less crowded airline clubs for the wait.
QtownDave is offline  
Old Nov 6, 19, 9:16 am
  #2057  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: SFO/SJC, BWI
Programs: :rolleyes:, DL DM, Mlife Plat, TR 7*, SPG/MR Plat, UA 1K
Posts: 10,689
I wouldn't be optimistic either. It seems to me that from a business standpoint the optimal price point is the one where everyone is annoyed by the level of crowding, but not annoyed enough to drop their memberships -- with more crowding they'll lose customers, but with less crowding they're leaving revenue on the table.

Sure, there could have a product that actually provides a truly exclusive experience (as opposed to being marketed as an exclusive experience) but that doesn't seem to be the part of the curve that they're targeting.
GUWonder and cuthroat like this.
Zorak is offline  
Old Nov 6, 19, 9:29 am
  #2058  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: San Francisco, California
Programs: Amex Centurion, United Global Services
Posts: 641
I like how the article essentially says that when Chase took away customers because of their rich benefit offering, amex responded by spending more money on marketing, not creating new and popular benefits.

So it's not like they stepped up, they just marketed harder in response.
DMSFCA is offline  
Old Nov 6, 19, 9:35 am
  #2059  
mia
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Moderator: American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Signatures
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA & Marriott Perpetual Platinum; HH Gold
Posts: 38,925
Originally Posted by DMSFCA View Post
So it's not like they stepped up, they just marketed harder in response.
That's not my read:

60% increase in growth in Platinum accounts after it added new benefits and perks ....responded by spending more on marketing and refreshing many of its most popular cards.
mia is offline  
Old Nov 6, 19, 7:19 pm
  #2060  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: AUS
Programs: AA PLT, Amex Plat
Posts: 4,230
Originally Posted by Adelphos View Post
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...apphire-attack

Amex says Platinum card accounts increased 60% after they refreshed the card. At the end of the day, crowding will not subside given the popularity of the card and higher travel demand generally
Ummm... of course crowding won't subside. Think about it, this very thread started 4 years ago and crowding only gets worse. Anyone in this forum that believes crowding of Cent Lounges will get fixed "someday" likely also believes wishes can be ponies.

The only way crowding goes down is if card members have to pay a substantial annual fee, and I mean an actual annual fee, not an "effective" annual fee reduced by countless credits that offset the fee. This is simple supply and demand. Because of all the various airline credits, Ubers credits, Saks credits, Charles Schwab credits, etc. there are many people that are able/willing to carry this card, but they would not be able to do so if they truly had to pay an actual, un-subsidized annual fee of $550.

This used to be a somewhat exclusive/affluent card, but now it's just become a mass market card.

When everyone is special, nobody is special...

Regards
friedablass likes this.
scubadu is online now  
Old Nov 6, 19, 7:30 pm
  #2061  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MCO
Programs: AA, B6, DL, EK, EY, QR, SQ, UA, Amex Plat, RC/MR/SPG Plat, HHonors Gold
Posts: 6,374
Originally Posted by scubadu View Post
Ummm... of course crowding won't subside. Think about it, this very thread started 4 years ago and crowding only gets worse. Anyone in this forum that believes crowding of Cent Lounges will get fixed "someday" likely also believes wishes can be ponies.

The only way crowding goes down is if card members have to pay a substantial annual fee, and I mean an actual annual fee, not an "effective" annual fee reduced by countless credits that offset the fee. This is simple supply and demand. Because of all the various airline credits, Ubers credits, Saks credits, Charles Schwab credits, etc. there are many people that are able/willing to carry this card, but they would not be able to do so if they truly had to pay an actual, un-subsidized annual fee of $550.

This used to be a somewhat exclusive/affluent card, but now it's just become a mass market card.

When everyone is special, nobody is special...

Regards
Then what would be the benefits of actually having the card? Lounge access? One can buy a lounge membership at an airline of choice if that were the case, no need to hold a credit card with a high annual fee.

More square footage, more lounges at each airport, no more guests. Those are solutions.
cmd320 is offline  
Old Nov 6, 19, 7:32 pm
  #2062  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Watchlisted by the prejudiced, en route to purgatory
Programs: Just Say No to Fleecing and Blacklisting
Posts: 88,696
Originally Posted by scubadu View Post
Ummm... of course crowding won't subside. Think about it, this very thread started 4 years ago and crowding only gets worse. Anyone in this forum that believes crowding of Cent Lounges will get fixed "someday" likely also believes wishes can be ponies.

The only way crowding goes down is if card members have to pay a substantial annual fee, and I mean an actual annual fee, not an "effective" annual fee reduced by countless credits that offset the fee. This is simple supply and demand. Because of all the various airline credits, Ubers credits, Saks credits, Charles Schwab credits, etc. there are many people that are able/willing to carry this card, but they would not be able to do so if they truly had to pay an actual, un-subsidized annual fee of $550.

This used to be a somewhat exclusive/affluent card, but now it's just become a mass market card.

When everyone is special, nobody is special...

Regards
It has made Amex special. Their business wasn’t going anywhere fast otherwise. They needed the revenue growth, and actually they still need more of it. They also need to manage for credit risk and the potential of receivables becoming non-performing assets as and when recession approaches and hits hard.

Even if the card included no credits for Uber, airline fees, Saks and other selected spending offers giving a rebate in cash/points, my bet is the airport-related travel benefits’ heaviest users would still be packing the lounges under the current circumstances. Unless and until a major recession hits, the lounges will probably continue to often be packed .... even if the card fee were to be bumped up a couple hundred dollars.
GUWonder is offline  
Old Nov 6, 19, 7:39 pm
  #2063  
mia
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Moderator: American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Signatures
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA & Marriott Perpetual Platinum; HH Gold
Posts: 38,925
Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
.... One can buy a lounge membership at an airline of choice....
Indeed, but it's only valid when flying that airline (and perhaps some partners). Lounge crowding is universal. It's not a problem that American Express created, nor one that that it can solve.

Crowding IS demand exceeding supply, and that's ideal. American Express has just doubled the annual fee for the USA-issued Centurion cards. This creates marketing space to raise the Platinum fee to ~$1,200 -or- to insert a card at that price point and restrict lounge access for Platinum.
Adelphos, cuthroat and IndyHoosier like this.
mia is offline  
Old Nov 6, 19, 7:41 pm
  #2064  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 43
Was at SEA 4hrs before my flight yesterday and was reminded of the 3hr rule when trying to access the Centurion lounge, which didn't look too busy at the time. The front desk attendent suggested I try the Delta lounge and come back in an hour. I reminded him of the irony of not being able to use an Amex product at a Centurion lounge but being able to use it at a 3rd party lounge instead. Would have been nice for him to exercise some discression, especially since the lounge wasn't full.
xychromosome is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 3:17 am
  #2065  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,659
Originally Posted by xychromosome View Post
Was at SEA 4hrs before my flight yesterday and was reminded of the 3hr rule when trying to access the Centurion lounge, which didn't look too busy at the time. The front desk attendent suggested I try the Delta lounge and come back in an hour. I reminded him of the irony of not being able to use an Amex product at a Centurion lounge but being able to use it at a 3rd party lounge instead. Would have been nice for him to exercise some discression, especially since the lounge wasn't full.
I’m sure the front desk clerk appreciated your “reminder” and was on the phone to the CEO immediately to sort it out. Why do you deserve to have different rules than all other card holders?
ijgordon, Statman and dpb132 like this.
travelinmanS is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 7:22 am
  #2066  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 43
Originally Posted by travelinmanS View Post
I’m sure the front desk clerk appreciated your “reminder” and was on the phone to the CEO immediately to sort it out. Why do you deserve to have different rules than all other card holders?
Yep, That's what I was expecting, a call to the CEO, a different set of rules, and a special area set up for me in the lounge. Or maybe, I was just expressing my displeasure at the 3hr rule?
xychromosome is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 8:20 am
  #2067  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MCO
Programs: AA, B6, DL, EK, EY, QR, SQ, UA, Amex Plat, RC/MR/SPG Plat, HHonors Gold
Posts: 6,374
Originally Posted by mia View Post
Indeed, but it's only valid when flying that airline (and perhaps some partners). Lounge crowding is universal. It's not a problem that American Express created, nor one that that it can solve.

Crowding IS demand exceeding supply, and that's ideal. American Express has just doubled the annual fee for the USA-issued Centurion cards. This creates marketing space to raise the Platinum fee to ~$1,200 -or- to insert a card at that price point and restrict lounge access for Platinum.
The Centurion Lounge is basically a lounge for AA and UA customers being that Amex lost lounge access with AA and CO. With an AF of $1200, one would be better off buying an Admirals Club or United Club membership and getting a Chase Sapphire Preferred card and still have money left over. The Amex Plat just doesn't bring $1200 worth of benefits to the table. The card is arguably considerably worse than it was a decade ago.
cmd320 is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 8:33 am
  #2068  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: NYC (LGA, JFK, EWR)
Programs: Delta Silver, AAdvantage Gold, SPG/Marriott/Hilton Gold, AMEX Membership Rewards
Posts: 1,346
Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
The Centurion Lounge is basically a lounge for AA and UA customers being that Amex lost lounge access with AA and CO. With an AF of $1200, one would be better off buying an Admirals Club or United Club membership and getting a Chase Sapphire Preferred card and still have money left over. The Amex Plat just doesn't bring $1200 worth of benefits to the table. The card is arguably considerably worse than it was a decade ago.
Lounge access credit cards cost anywhere from $450 to $550 (AA Executive, United Club, Amex Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Aspire, Bonvoy, etc). Of these cards, Amex Platinum provides the most extensive coverage, with three networks (Centurion, Delta, Priority Pass). Club memberships cost $450 to $550 when purchased outright from the airlines, and now for the most part are only accessible when you are flying that airline. Objectively, the Amex Platinum seems to provide the most comprehensive lounge access as the fairest price, which is probably one of the reasons why its popularity has increased. I don't know why Amex would drastically alter that equation. Maybe they offer a platinum plus card or something with better earnings and more credits
Adelphos is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 8:36 am
  #2069  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,422
Not pushing for a increase but IAP alone brings me well over $1K worth of benefits per year.
Statman likes this.
QtownDave is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 8:59 am
  #2070  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: Hilton Diamond, IHG Spire Ambassador, Global Entry
Posts: 458
Originally Posted by xychromosome View Post
Yep, That's what I was expecting, a call to the CEO, a different set of rules, and a special area set up for me in the lounge. Or maybe, I was just expressing my displeasure at the 3hr rule?
I'm sure they understand that the 3 hour rule is not going to have everyone smiling from ear to ear. I don't see it changing though. You don't need to be there that early, and you don't need to make wise cracks to the rep working there either.


The writing on the wall for me says an AF increase is on the way. Centurion being doubled, lounges crowded, growth up. But I think doubling the Platinum's AF is suicide to that product. Sure there is a small subset that will tell you they're keeping it, but that destroys the upscale millennial business UNLESS the goal is to push them into the Gold instead. Maybe there's a reason the cards have some overlapping features.
Statman, Adelphos and IndyHoosier like this.
Super Mario is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread