American Express has a real problem on its hands: lounge crowding. The network of Centurion Lounges in the USA are routinely so full that it is difficult to find a seat. But new access restrictions American Express is testing are the WRONG way to handle them.
Miles to Memories reports that American Express is adding the following two lounge access restrictions during peak hours in Seattle. Other reports indicate the same restrictions are in place in Miami.
- Access is limited to 2 hours prior to the scheduled departure time of your flight
- Inbound boarding passes are not accepted for entry
First, I was against the initial guest access restrictions added last year. At the time, I argued that nickel and diming children was a ridiculous move.
> Read More: Another Attempt to Control Crowding in American Express Lounges
> Read More: A Warning to American Express
In one sense, I still feel that way. On the other hand, I continue to observe very crowded Centurion Lounges and have become more accepting of these restrictions. While I’d never pay $50 to bring a young child in, the lounges are simply and constantly too full.
However, I think the card member herself or himself should be sacrosanct. In other words, sometimes I like arriving at the airport early in order to work. Sometimes my connection is longer than two hours. And sometimes, often actually, I like to use the Centurion Lounge upon arrival. For example, several times I have taken an early flight from Burbank to San Francisco and enjoyed breakfast in the lounge after landing, before I went into the city.
I would rather have American Express eliminate the second guest or eliminate guests all together before limiting when/how cardholders can use the lounges. I would also rather see American Express raise the annual fee again before imposing these restrictions.
I view my Platinum Card as a lounge membership card. It is hardly that if access is restricted to departures only and even then only two hours before my flight. What do you think about the new access restrictions American Express is trialing in its Centurion Lounges?