American Express is well known for its network of Centurion Lounges. The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (review) have great airport lounge access benefits, and the Centurion Lounges are probably the most popular aspect of that.
One major issues with these lounges is crowding. Amex is now rolling out a feature that at least makes it easier to manage expectations.
Amex Centurion Lounge capacity indicators
With a new feature that has just been rolled out, cardmembers with Centurion Lounge access can get a live look at how full lounges are. Lounges will fit into one of the following categories:
- Not busy
- A little busy
- Very busy
- Almost full
To access this information, cardmembers can log into the Amex mobile app. When logged in with your eligible card, go to the “Membership” section. There you should see a section for “Find an Airport Lounge.”
Then enter the airport you want to check. The closest airport should automatically populate (assuming Amex can track your location), but you can search any airport you’d like at the top. Then simply select the Centurion Lounge you want to check on.
On a particular Centurion Lounge’s page you’ll see a red button that says “LIVE,” along with the crowding level.
One thing I’m not sure of is how exactly Amex decides the crowding level of a lounge. Is it based on the number of people who entered the lounge in the previous couple of hours? Is a count of empty seats taken every so often? Is there some other metric?
Amex Centurion Lounge crowding remains an issue
Amex Centurion Lounges are superior to those operated by major airlines in the United States. They’re usually nicely furnished, and have hot food and excellent cocktails. That’s both a blessing and a curse, though. In my experience Centurion Lounges are also consistently packed, more so than virtually any other airport lounge.
I get that some people value food and good drinks in airport lounges, though personally what I care most about is a quiet and calm environment from which to work… and that’s something that Centurion Lounges typically don’t offer, in my experience.
This is why I’ve largely started to avoid Centurion Lounges altogether. For example, the Centurion Lounge at my home airport of Miami? Every time I’ve visited it has felt so crowded that it made the terminal look peaceful by comparison. While the American Admirals Club is far inferior, personally I usually visit that, since I prefer a quieter environment.
Admittedly the crowding isn’t really Amex’s fault. These lounges are extremely popular, and Amex has added all kinds of restrictions to limit entry to the lounges, from limiting when you can visit them, to raising the annual fee of the card. As of 2023, guesting privileges will even be cut significantly. Furthermore, airport space can be really hard to come by, and Amex has done everything it can to even expand existing lounges.
I’m not sure what else Amex can do. The lounges seem to work for enough people, based on the fact that they’re typically close to capacity.
Amex now lets cardmembers see how crowded a Centurion Lounge is at the moment, and that’s a fantastic feature. Lounge crowding is the biggest downside to Centurion Lounges, and it’s a reason I typically choose to skip these lounges when at the airport, instead using other, quieter (but inferior) lounges.
I’ll absolutely be using this new feature to try to find a Centurion Lounge that’s not overcrowded for once. In the event that I’m at an airport with a Centurion Lounge that doesn’t show as “very busy” or “almost full,” I can finally look forward to a visit.
What do you make of this new Amex Centurion Lounge crowding tracker? Will you use it?
(Tip of the hat to Zach Griff)