Amex Centurion Peak Travel Entry Restrictions
The American Express Centurion lounges are among the best of their kind in the United States. As a Platinum or Centurion card member you get access to a full buffet, premium drinks, comfortable seating, showers and even a spa in a couple of locations. To say they are popular is an understatement.
This popularity has lead to overcrowding at many Centurion Lounge locations. Amex tried to fix this problem by restricting Platinum card member guest access, but that hasn’t helped a ton. My family and I were in the SFO Centurion Lounge a few weeks ago and it looked and felt like a warzone. It was far from the pleasant and comfortable experience many have come to expect from lounges.
Seattle Amex Centurion Peak Travel Restrictions
Considering the Centurion Lounges keep getting more crowded, it seems that Amex may be testing some policies to further restrict access during peak times. Yesterday at the Centurion Lounge in Seattle, they limited Platinum card members from accessing the lounge on arrival and restricted when they could come in during departure. (HT: Amex Platinum Card Aficionado Group)
A sign on the lounge’s door laid out these new peak travel period rules:
- Access is limited to 2 hours prior to the scheduled departure time of your flight
- Inbound boarding passes are not accepted for entry
Considering boarding begins about 30 minutes before departure, this is restricting card members to 1-1/2 hours of lounge use immediately before a flight. The Seattle Centurion Lounge is quite small and often fills up, but I could see this type of policy spreading to other locations as well.
Other Options in SEA
One thing to note is that Platinum card members do have quite a few choices of lounges in Seattle. When flying Delta they can access the incredibly nice and new Delta Sky Club and there are also 5 Priority Pass lounges which are accessible as well. A couple of years ago I actually left the Seattle Centurion Lounge and moved to another one because of overcrowding.
New Rules at Other Centurion Lounges?
Given some of the experiences I have had in Miami and San Francisco, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Amex move towards further restricting access to the Centurion Lounges during peak travel periods. Airport space costs a lot of money and I don’t see them expanding many of these lounges. They need to find another way to provide a great experience for card members and this might just be the best solution. Lounge space is a finite resource and there seems to be incredible demand.
While this was just a one-time (so far) thing at their smallest lounge, I suspect we will see peak travel restrictions at other overcrowded Centurion Lounges. As a long time Platinum card member I have seen the Centurion Lounge experience go from something that was unique and luxurious to something that is far from that. While I would miss access on arrival at my home airport, I think I would enjoy lounges that weren’t bursting at the seams even better.
What are your thoughts on these restrictions? Let us know in the comments!