Can you trust American Express?

Old May 22, 19, 7:07 am
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Can you trust American Express?

After 39 years of having an American Express Platinum Card - a card I trusted for all sorts of international travel - I was not allowed into a relatively empty La Guardia Centurian Lounge to use the bathroom because I was on an incoming flight. If American Express will not allow me to use the bathroom in one of their lounges, how can I count on them to help me out in a medical emergency or if I'm having trouble in a foreign country?

I sent a letter Amex's CEO Stephen Squeri and his office did not see anything wrong or the irony (a company who sells trust and customer service) with the new policy of not allowing incoming passengers to use Centurian Lounges. His office went further and said that I should have gone online and read the new rule changes (blame the customer). BTW, card members were not informed by email or in billing.

Is it worth keeping my American Express Card?
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Old May 22, 19, 7:20 am
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I guess if they're enforcing their own rules, I suppose I can trust them.

Is there something special about the bathrooms at the lounge that you couldn't use one at the terminal?
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Old May 22, 19, 7:21 am
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You can and should trust Amex to the same extent that you did before your incident at LGA.

You sought to use a lounge when your membership did not provide it and you were properly denied entry. Period. That was neither poor customer service nor an issue of trust.

If you have a medical emergency or have "trouble" in a foreign country, you should expect the assistance Amex offers.

Your request seems unreasonable. LGA is an enormous airport, it has many bathrooms accessible to arriving passengers and using the facilities in the Lounge serves no apparent purpose.
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Old May 22, 19, 7:37 am
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Okay. Interesting point-of-view. To me, American Express has always sold trust, and the issue is much larger than me wanting to use their restroom. The reason we pay high annual fees is for customer service and some of the travel perks like medical insurance that come with the card. The reason for the Centuran Lounges is to serve their best customers, not reject them. Cardholders were not informed of the policy change.
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Old May 22, 19, 7:38 am
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no, not really. it was on my way out the door
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Old May 22, 19, 7:48 am
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Originally Posted by Rich Melcombe View Post
no, not really. it was on my way out the door
Is OP for real? Did you also use the bathroom excuse when trying to sneak in to the lounge? "No, no. I'm not here for free food and booze: I just need to use the bathroom."

oh, and I especially liked how you lumped laguardia and international travel together.
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Old May 22, 19, 7:56 am
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Originally Posted by flyershmlyer View Post
Is OP for real?
I think the OP might be playing a role here for giggles. "Rich" from Beverly Hills is bent out of shape because he couldn't use a bathroom at the LGA Centurion Lounge? Sure.
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Old May 22, 19, 8:13 am
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I think there are three issues here:

Communication. The lounge access policy change has been prominently featured on americanexpress.com. However, as long as American Express continues to offer the option of mailed statements they should not assume that every cardholder visits the site frequently. This change should have been mentioned in a paper statement, and I do not see that this was done (yet). It may have been mentioned in a separate mailer, I do not recall.

Enforcement. It's not poor customer service to enforce the access rules as published, even if a cardholder is not aware. It is a sad commentary that American Express does not empower agents to make exceptions, even for such a basic biological need, but this is typical of our era.

Trust. I have been a cardholder since 1977. I find American Express "reliable", but they are a mass market company. I "trust" individuals, not companies.

Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
....bent out of shape because he couldn't use a bathroom at the LGA Centurion Lounge?
As the owner operator of an aged urinary tract I can assure this is entirely plausible .
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Old May 22, 19, 8:29 am
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I was recently at a carrier's lounge at another airport where it was overcrowded and the only available space was additional temporary seating within earshot of the reception area. I was surprised that what seemed to be more than half of the people who showed up at the counter were ineligible for entry.

Before I left, I asked one of the agents if this was common and she told me that not only was it common, but that the excuses were constant from people who clearly had no right to enter.

No one exception ever matters. In fact, had the agent OP encountered allowed him full access for the entire day it would not have mattered. The problem is that if one gives in to one request, what about the next one and the one after that? Maybe the rule ought to be that one has arrivals access for bathroom use only. But, it is not.
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Old May 22, 19, 8:38 am
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Why didn't you just go to literally any other bathroom which doesn't require verifying membership credentials? What a strange post. How could you trust them? I don't think you'll have to trust the lounge administration or staff to handle your insurance claims, unless Amex has had some extremely interesting restructuring.
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Old May 22, 19, 8:39 am
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Originally Posted by Rich Melcombe View Post
Is it worth keeping my American Express Card?
Nope! Take care!
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Old May 22, 19, 9:01 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I....The problem is that if one gives in to one request, what about the next one and the one after that?....
This is precisely the cost cutting mindset that has guided enterprise decision making for a generation. I fully understand it, but it that doesn't mean there is not a better way.
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Old May 22, 19, 9:06 am
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Originally Posted by Rich Melcombe View Post
no, not really. it was on my way out the door
It's actually up the elevator, on your way out the door. There is also a public men's bathroom immediately to the right of the elevator that you'd have to have taken up to the Centurian [sic] lounge.

But thanks for this thread, I needed a laugh this morning. Much appreciated!
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Old May 22, 19, 9:08 am
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Originally Posted by mia View Post


As the owner operator of an aged urinary tract I can assure this is entirely plausible .
Did OP really set up his travel itinerary on the expectation of using centurion lounge bathroom upon arrival? If not (which is my hunch as well), this point is moot. go use ANY of the other 150 airport bathrooms.
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Old May 22, 19, 9:22 am
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Originally Posted by flyershmlyer View Post
Did OP really set up his travel itinerary on the expectation of using centurion lounge bathroom upon arrival?....
No. Is it difficult to understand that a person may have an unanticipated need to use a restroom -and- the expectation that the facilities in a Centurion lounge are nicer than those in the public areas of an airport?
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