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American Express Centurion Lounges are some of the best airline lounges found across the country. But one of the major issues with these lounges is overcrowding. Amex has tried to make some changes to fix this issue. Most notably they limited the number of family members that one could bring in to two. This was a controversial decision that many doubted would have a significant impact on crowding but Amex just announced a new change to its admission policy that should help thin out the crowds.
Starting on October 2, 2017, only Centurion and Platinum Cardholders (including business versions) will be allowed access to Centurion Lounges. Amex cardholders who do not have one of those cards will no longer be able to purchase a day pass to get in.
As TPG reports, Amex stated:
As part of an ongoing commitment to giving Card Members the best experience while in the lounges, American Express is actually making changes to its Centurion Lounge access policy. Starting Monday, October 2, access to the Centurion Lounges will be an exclusive benefit for our premium customers – Platinum Card and Centurion Members. Other American Express Card Members will no longer be able to purchase day passes for the lounges.
The guest policy for Platinum Card and Centurion Members remains the same. Platinum Card Members can enter any Centurion Lounge with up to two guests, and Centurion Members may enter with up to two guests or immediate family at no additional charge. Platinum and Centurion Card Members can continue to purchase day passes for any additional guests.
We understand having a place to relax and recharge in the airport is essential to our Card Members, and we continue to evaluate ways to address any crowding concerns and provide a best in class experience for our Card Members.
For this reason, we are continuously exploring opportunities to expand upon our Centurion Lounge offerings to accommodate more Card Members, including the introduction of new locations, such as the upcoming Hong Kong and Philadelphia locations, and the expansion of our existing spaces, as we plan to do in Dallas.
So everything else remains the same. It’s just that if you hold a non-Centurion or non-Platinum American Express card (e.g., the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express), you can no longer buy your entry into the lounge.
I’ve always been curious as to how many people actually paid the $50 to enter the Centurion Lounge, so I’m not sure how big of an impact this will have on crowding. (My guess is not a tremendous impact.) I’m not opposed to this change, however, as it adds more value to the The Platinum Card® from American Express and adds more exclusivity to the experience.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.