In March 2019, Amex added new restrictions for Platinum cardholders accessing Centurion Lounges:
- You can no longer access the lounge upon arrival at the airport. Lounge access is only for departing passengers.
- You can’t access the lounge more than 3 hours before your flight.
The restriction against arriving passengers is unquestionably a bummer. I’ve been known to time my flights into LaGuardia airport so that I can arrive and have lunch at the Centurion Lounge. That won’t work anymore.
I also thought that the 3 hour policy would be a huge problem when connecting at an airport with a Centurion Lounge. After all, it’s not unusual to have layovers longer than 3 hours.
It turns out, though, that there’s an exception for connecting passengers. If you are connecting at an airport with a Centurion Lounge, you can access the lounge for your entire layover.
I discovered this exception thanks to a 7 hour layover in Dallas. I knew about the 3 hour policy so I first went to a Priority Pass lounge (The Club) but was turned away due to their own 3 hour rule. Then I tried the Centurion Lounge. At first, the desk agent said no when I showed her my onward flight, but then she asked if that would be my first flight of the day. “No, I’m connecting here.” I said. She asked to see my earlier boarding pass (the one showing that I arrived earlier that day at DFW) and admitted me. Yay!
Amex makes this exception kind-of clear on their website (found here) where they note “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.”
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Given the recent tightening trend in terms of lounge perks with Amex and in general I wonder which card (or card/airline combo) offers the best value in terms of access, availability, and quality at the moment.
I still love the domestic options available with Amex: Centurion Lounges, Airspace Lounges, Escape Lounges, and Delta (when flying Delta). I don’t like that their Priority Pass doesn’t include restaurants
How do they define “connecting flight” ?
If I fly into SFO on JAL, and fly out of SFO 5 hours later on Southwest, is that a connecting flight?
The Amex terms do not define this.
I think that would count, yes.
[…] 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 […]
Stayed at a Centurion in Mexico upon arrival, for over 3 hours (after a red eye). No one bothered us.
Well that’s what they have Southwest Airlines business tickets for. My partner was arriving in term 3 at sfo. I just went and met him at the gate. Had a nice lunch in the sfo centurion to. Just don’t make a habit out of it. Or do it in Hong Kong and pass passport control