One of the best perks of The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (review) is access to Centurion Lounges. These lounges are for the most part significantly better than what’s offered by US airlines, as the lounges offer complimentary cocktails, hot food, and a couple of them even have spas.
The problem is that these lounges have faced serious crowding issues, so over the past couple of years American Express has tried to add some restrictions to limit crowding. For example:
- reduced the number of free guests each card member can bring into the lounge to two
- In October 2017 they stopped selling access to Centurion Lounges for those who don’t have a Platinum or Centurion Card (previously other Amex card members could buy a day pass for $50)
- In March 2019 they limited Centurion Lounge access to those with flights departing within three hours, and restricted access to those using the lounge upon arrival
As it turns out, that last point isn’t quite as strict as it seems. As noted by Frequent Miler, the Centurion Lounge three hour restriction doesn’t apply to layovers. Here are the terms (bolding mine):
NOTE: FOR PLATINUM CARD MEMBERS ONLY
The Centurion Lounge is a day of departure lounge. We will not admit arriving Platinum Card Members with boarding passes for flights that have just landed. We will admit Platinum Card Members with layovers or connecting flights who produce proof of confirmed connecting flight (connections pertain to same airport).
I actually wasn’t aware of that prior to now. So you can only access a Centurion Lounge within three hours of departure at your origin airport. However, if you’re connecting then you can access a Centurion Lounge more than three hours before departure.
My guess is that it’s fine if you’re on separate tickets — presumably all that matters is that you can provide both an inbound and outbound boarding pass.
Admittedly this is a nuanced point, though I imagine there are people who would benefit from this.
Has anyone noticed a decrease in crowding since the new Centurion Lounge access policies were put into place?