Published on September 16th, 2019 | by William Charles83
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.