Posted by William Charles on September 16, 2019
Misc

Published on September 16th, 2019 | by William Charles

83

American Express Adds Permanent Centurion Lounge Restrictions – 3 Hours Prior To Departure & No Access On Arrival (No Restriction On Layovers)

Update 9/16/19: Frequent Miler points out that this does not apply to lay overs. This was something I was not aware of, so thought some readers wouldn’t know either. Terms clearly state (emphasis mine):

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.

I don’t actually mind this change nearly as much now. Fairly odd to get to your flight more than 3 hours beforehand if it’s not a layover.

Original post: American Express has announced that starting March 22nd, 2019 they will be adding two new permanent restrictions to accessing centurion lounges:

  • Access will no longer be granted upon arrival
  • Access will only be granted three hours or less prior to the original scheduled departure time

These new changes will affect Platinum cardholders, Centurion cardholders will remain unaffected. In addition children under 2 years of age will receive free access and not count towards the limit of two guests. American Express has tried to put other measures in place to reduce lounge congestion, day passes were eliminated for non premium cardholders & guests were limited to two (previously immediate family members were also allowed) but obviously this hasn’t done enough to curb lounge use especially in locations with smaller lounges.

I think American Express has gone about lounge number reduction in the wrong way, I talked about other ways to reduce overcrowding here. I would have personally preferred to have a set limit of ‘guaranteed entries’ annually and then additional access based on space. This new change favors regular (business) travelers over people that might only use the lounge a handful of times a year. Although I can’t see business travelers loving losing access on arrival, I know I’ve taken advantage of being able to have a quick shower before.

I’m not even sure these new permanent restrictions will help, American Express was already limiting access to 2 hours prior to departure and no arrival access at some lounges at an increasingly frequent rate and overcrowding as still occurring. At the end of the day these lounges are a victim of their own success and it’s difficult for American Express to increase the size of these lounges as airport space is extremely limited. My guess is that these new changes are only the beginning and we will soon see the restriction reduced to 2 hours prior to departure.



83
Leave a Reply

avatar
 

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Jack
Jack

No arrival access totally negates the point of having showers

HaveMiles
HaveMiles

Not really. Many folks (well, okay, at least I do) arrive on a long-haul, catch a quick shower and then fly on to their final destination.

dan
dan

of course, if one has a connecting flight; but no more for those who want to stop by for a quick bite or drink at final destination

Charlie
Charlie

I can’t believe there are many people who want to do that. When most travelers arrive at their final destination, they want to head to their hotel or their home as fast as possible.

JL
JL

That assumes your final destination is home (or arriving after your hotel check-in time). I just got done with a long trans-Pacific flight. 14 hours or however long. When I arrived it was super early (hours before the hotel check-in time) and I wanted nothing more than to shower.

Don
Don

If you didn’t have a layover, how would you have gotten back airside to visit the lounge after clearing immigration?

JL
JL

What do you mean? You just go after clearing immigration. This being Japan and Haneda Airport. Arrival lobby. Second floor. Super convenient.

Unbelievable
Unbelievable

Once you get to your final destination, go home. Don’t hang at the airport for free stuff.

MSer
MSer

Exactly. Lounges aren’t meant to be hotel replacements.

Matt
Matt

MSer

Except, of course, for the lounges that are meant for exactly that reason. Obviously that’s not the Centurion Lounges anymore, but there are other lounges elsewhere where the intended purpose is to cleanup and relax after you arrive at your destination.

dan
dan

book a same day award flight then cancel for access on arrival; an extra step but could still work

Reza

won’t work if they ask for boarding passes!

Josh
Josh

Why wouldn’t it work. You’d check in, get a boarding pass, then after gaining access, check out and refund.

Rob
Rob

Can one cancel their ticket once boarding pass has been issued?

calwatch
calwatch

Of course. You see this all the time on Southwest. Folks book non-overlapping flights (the reservation system cancels if flights overlap), have their assistant check them in for all, then cancel the one they don’t use.

Unbelievable
Unbelievable

Why do you want to jump through all these hoops when you get to your final destination? Just for some free stuff? Wouldn’t you want to just get home?

JL
JL

That assumes your final destination is home (or arriving after your hotel check-in time). I just got done with a long trans-Pacific flight. 14 hours or however long. When I arrived it was super early (hours before the hotel check-in time) and I wanted nothing more than to shower.

Wes
Wes

Sure, it works in the states. Just don’t do it in Singapore.

MSer
MSer

Or China…

Brandon Lee
Brandon Lee

The “no access on arrival” is probably enough to make me cancel Amex Plat. Super unfortunate change.

HaveMiles
HaveMiles

We’ll have to see the impact onovercrowding, but fewer people is probably enough to make me keep the Plat. I don’t recall ever using a CL upon arrival. Connection…sure.

Brandon Lee
Brandon Lee

True, maybe the marginal benefit of a less crowded Centurion Lounge is higher than the marginal cost of access only on departure. When I visited the Centurion at LAS during Thanksgiving, it was not that crowded.

When I flew into LAS, I arrived around 11:45am and got lunch before checking into my hotel. For me, there is some value in access upon arrival. But I definitely understand those that want to leave the airport as soon as possible ha

MSer
MSer

Great news! Hope thousands do like you say you’ll do. Tens of thousands will be glad you’re gone…

Churnie Els
Churnie Els

They should implement a booking system.

(Not too unlike your x amount of guaranteed accesses/year Doc)

Evan
Evan

William Charles

*departure time

Paul
Paul

People hang out in the airport after arrival? I usually can’t wait to get out ASAP

Cliftonmcdnl

I’m always down for a celebratory drink after a successful flight. Or two if I’m beside a crying baby.

Dan
Dan

Just used a lounge for dinner upon arrival

Justin

Yeah, if it’s convenient it’s an easy way to eat/drink for free. We have 3 kids so it’s a nice cost saver too. And the kids feel like, well, kids in a candy shop because they have candy, snacks, hot chocolate, etc (my kids have simple tastes… 🙂 ). Also, kids MUST eat every 2-3 hours or they turn into Gremlins so it’s an easy way to get them fed before moving on to the next thing of the day.

Also nice if you arrive at an odd hour and don’t/can’t go to check in to your airbnb/hotel yet or you have an appointment at a certain time for a meeting or tour later in the afternoon.

Dick Bupkiss
Dick Bupkiss

You are why we can’t have nice things.

professional traveler
professional traveler

Go to the lounge, bring in 2 guests to the bar and gotten multiple drinks for free and food. I cant even blame Amex. sorry.

Justin

It’s okay, I don’t even have a Platinum and this devaluation knocks it down the ranking even more.

MSer
MSer

Lounges aren’t meant to be daycare centers.

John
John

No shit. What sort of cretin wants to spend an iota more time at an airport than necessary?

Charlie
Charlie

Wise words by John,.

Sa
Sa

You folks with the plat, does this change anything for you in evaluating if it is worth keeping?

HaveMiles
HaveMiles

It might be a positive if the CL is less packed. Certainly not a negative for me personally.

AnameOfaguy
AnameOfaguy

At $550/yr and finding the uber credit generally useless (I take Uber maybe once a year and the new UberEats fees stacked with overpriced food make the ‘benefit’ loser), I’ll probably just dump it when the fee comes due. If they were to ever add trip insurance competitive with the CSR it would make me reconsider but otherwise the fee is excessive.

Matt
Matt

Yeah. The breakage on these rewards suck. The uber credit is like the one benefit I find on the Plat that’s actually worth face value. (Saks lol).

Justin

I’ve never had it but the attractiveness is certainly diminished. We fly through Miami before/after cruises a fair bit and often arrive very early (like 8:30 am) or leave very late (9 pm) and I was hoping to get it at some point and be able to hang out in the lounge for an extended duration if necessary.

jol
jol

For me, the Centurion lounge access is a primary motivator to keep the Platinum card. I’d say it’s doubtful that I’ll renew it with the cost increase for the card and the lounge restrictions.

Mike
Mike

Yes, another nail in the coffin. I will be dumping the card on renewal.

Dan
Dan

This sucks…

Josh
Josh

Three hours before departure? That’s reasonable. No access on arrival is ridiculous. They have great food so it’s a good lunch alternative, and as Jack pointed out, why even have showers?

Frogger
Frogger

Not that reasonable to me. I only use for international flights and I get there early to avoid rush hour traffic. If I am only getting there 3 hours early I can go to restaurant and spend hour or so there. I only use Centurian lounge twice a year. If I only get 2 hours use twice a year might as well not even bother.

Dan
Dan

Limited to 3 hours prior to departure? Looks like I won’t be renewing my Plat.

Dawg
Dawg

Positive change as I personally know few co-workers who use SFO lounge with spouses and kids all the time upon arrival. Should help with overcrowding if this sort of behavior is exhibited across the board by others.

Chaser123
Chaser123

I like it. Positive for me if its less crowded. I have started avoiding the lounge in LGA.

Sooch
Sooch

I always visit lounges on arrival. I prefer it to leaving since I don’t like to drink much before a flight, but I love to have one on arrival. This cuts the value of the card in half for me, and I can no longer justify it.

John
John

Excellent. You’re exactly the type of person they want to get rid of. Looks like the new restrictions might work.

Dave C
Dave C

One single person popping in for a quick drink and occupying a seat for probably 15 mins? How are they the person they’re trying to get rid?

AnameOfaguy
AnameOfaguy

Lounge on arrival denial is a big deal for me… I generally avoid lounges prior to departure (I don’t like arriving that early for a flight and certainly don’t go out of my way to enter one) and layovers generally aren’t long enough to warrant a stop or I’d be trying to find a better connection in the first place. On the other hand, there are plenty of instances where lounges on arrival are advantageous:

– After longer flights that arrive in the evening. Having a bite to eat in the airport makes a lot more sense than waiting until even later and having to locate a decent place once out of the airport.
– Have some time between arrival and a meeting and want to kick your feet up.
– Want to shower after being on a nasty plane.
– Grab a bite to eat after an awkwardly-timed flight.

Refundable tickets are an easy enough way around this stupid rule, but generally more effort than it’s worth.

Unbelievable
Unbelievable

Tough.. too many people exploited this and now it is shut down for those reasonable uses.

Ctguy102
Ctguy102

What about just allowing one travel person or taking the guest access away and only allowing people with a platinum card.

Ctguy102
Ctguy102

I know give us 4 guest passes a year for non amex plat members

FreeIsGood
FreeIsGood

Yeah, these lounges are just too crowded to even bother sometimes. Not relaxing. Limiting guests big time would be good (like X number per year) – unless AMEX has data that guests aren’t the problem.

Frank Reynolds
Frank Reynolds

Then you are all but making the lounge exclusive to business travelers. Most casual travelers have a companion.

Back to Top ↑