Posted by William Charles on March 9, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on March 9th, 2017 | by William Charles

29

American Express To Change Guest Access To Centurion Lounges (Max 2 Per Visit)

American Express lounges are exceedingly popular, so much so that overcrowding is very much a real issue. Currently the primary cardholder can access lounge along “…with either up to two guests or immediate family (spouse or domestic partner, and children under 18) at no additional charge”.

According to TPG starting March 30th, the guest access policy will change. The primary cardholder will be able to access the lounge along with two guests (regardless of whether they are immediate family or not). The difference is that you can’t bring two guests and immediate family.

This will effect families the most, if you’re a family of 4+ you won’t all be able to access the lounge with one platinum/centurion card. The work around would be to add an authorized user for $175, as they also get centurion lounge access. Keep in mind that additional guests currently cost $50 per visit.

This change now means American Express’ guest policy is the same across all lounges, as you can bring in two guests for free with priority pass as well now.

Overcrowding is a very real issue, but I feel like this punishes families that travel rarely compared to individuals (or groups under 3) that travel frequently. I would personally just limit the total number of times guests can freely access the lounge per year, regardless of how many are being brought in at a time (maybe cap it at primary cardholder + four guests to limit people bringing in 20 people once a year). I’d need to see hard numbers on how often lounges are typically used and guest numbers to suggest an annual cap.

How would you solve the overcrowding issues at Centurion lounges?



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DT
DT

Disagree with you on this. Far better to have unlimited visits for the primary cardholder with limited guests than to impose an overall cap on visits.

Centurion Lounges are plainly intended to build affinity for Amex among business and other frequent travelers, not to be yet another perk for churner types to maximize/abuse.

Jason

It’s not “abuse” for a cardholder who is a frequent solo business traveler, to bring his or her family of 2+ kids and spouse into the lounge a couple times a year during family trips.

VM
VM

Will Amex charge $50 If the 4th member of family is 1 year old infant?

CtownBin
CtownBin

I’m pretty sure that for most lounges, children under 2 are free. But it’s a lounge-by-lounge basis either way. I’ve been to a ton of lounges with my under-2 child and was never charged- no card was ever swiped for him.

grammar freak
grammar freak

mistake in the title is annoying 🙂 accesss

culinarykid92
culinarykid92

Maybe it is me, but maybe they should say 2 guests OR immediate fam (includes children UNDER 18 and spouse). If one has a 10 year old, a 2 year old, and spouse, all should be allowed in. Or they should have their lounges not accessible to people under the age of 18. After all, many in the lounges want to relax, rest, or work and young children interfere with that.

I don’t use lounges as I don’t travel a lot. So I don’t know much about what they have on offer over a normal airport area (other than comfy chairs and snacks. Not sure if the alcohol is free in them.)

farsighted99
farsighted99

Well, that just makes this Plat card look even less inviting.

They could send you a few Centurion cards every year for family members only. I usually only travel with my spouse, so it doesn’t really matter to me that much.

One of the other problems with the Centurion lounges: they are VERY SMALL in most cases. At least the one in LaGuardia and San Francisco. The one in Dallas is a pretty good size, but I think they misjudged how popular they would be after they took away all the airline lounges except Dallas.

I’m considering ditching one of our Plat cards once they go up to $550 (we bought have one each). And am getting rid of the Mercedes card for sure.

The airport lounges aren’t really that appealing anymore. The food is generally crummy, the atmosphere isn’t as nice as it used to be, and too many times I have short connections.

Too bad. I actually liked this card. Why did they have to do this? Personally, I think all these changes to this card are really sad, and makes the product very unappealing (unless you love Uber, fly Delta all the time and live near a Centurion airport).

farsighted99
farsighted99

meant to say “took away all the airline lounges except Delta”.

Matt
Matt

I was likely going to cancel with the price increase and worthless, to me, Uber benefit. But now I am definitely going to cancel. I have two kids and mainly travel with family.

Brad
Brad

Same here. I live in Oklahoma and fly through DFW and IAH somewhat regularly but have a big family and don’t use Uber. I liked the card a lot for the Centurion lounges in Texas and for Amex offers, but I can get the Amex offers on other cards. I have paid the annual fee the last few years and was planning to keep the card long-term, but not after the most recent changes. This just yells “big families not welcome” to me. The last time I took my family to the Amex studio in Seattle we were clearly not really welcome. Perhaps that’s exactly the message Amex is trying to send, but it’s certainly not one that appeals to me.

Occy
Occy

Same. Cancelling.

Tony
Tony

Music to my ears. Fewer kids in lounges is a big win in my books. I really hope this change drives cancellations from members who normally bring children in.

NinjaX
NinjaX

“I’d need to see hard numbers on how often lounges are typically used and guest numbers to suggest an annual cap.”

You really need to check out these lounges. Its a zoo. Also during peak season and at certain airports, you can smell the churners in the lounge with you. They dont hide it either. Very proud in fact.

TYRONE
TYRONE

If churners pay the same annual fee as you do then I believe they are entitle to the same benefits, no?

NinjaX
NinjaX

nothing about who belongs there or who has the privilege. i am simply stating a clear and observable fact which probably has contributed to the change in AMEX policy, RAT, claw backs, notice to investors, etc etc.

but just to play along, do churners always pay the same annual fees as everyone else? no. they dont.

TYRONE
TYRONE

Churners don’t pay the same annual fees? Please elaborate.

Mike
Mike

I’m guessing he’s referring either to the Ameriprise no AF first year card, or the fact that the churners are getting tens or hundreds of thousands of miles for being there, while the rest of us are not.

zmicer88
zmicer88

A disappointing change. Indeed, giving a primary cardholder 20 guest visits per year would have been a better way of dealing with overcrowding. The current change will not limit overcrowding but will alienate a group of customers. Apart from the Hilton/SPG/Marriott Gold status, CSR wins on most counts.

MH
MH

I’m happy with the change!

NinjaX
NinjaX

while Amex is at it, i REALLY wish Amex would change their Delta lounge policy. fukn suks balls dude. i guess people just hate on Delta too much and dont even care of this benefit, but you need same day ticket and gotta pay $29/guest. terrible. and guess what? Amex Delta Reserve at $450 is THE SAME. talk about WTF for a cobrand.

Matthew
Matthew

As an airline employee I access these lounges sometimes a few times a day. So for everyone who thinks restricting the total access won’t alienate clients it will. The purpose of the lounge is for clients to have a quiet place to relax prior to their flight. Possibly do some work in peace. Lately they have been overrun by families with kids screaming and running around everywhere. Hopefully these changes bring back a nice adult quiet enviroment.

RC
RC

This is a deal breaker for me. Being able to bring my wife and 2 kids along a couple times a year is one of the important benefits for me. Adding useless benefits and raising the price while ruining a current benefit is BAD MATH.

JR
JR

Without access to Amex data on usage, you’re only guessing what the solution is.

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