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The Amex Platinum Conundrum (for @Lucky & others)
As “primary use” Credit Cards, I currently carry Chase Sapphire Reserve & Amex Gold (which was called Premier Rewards Gold when I got at after Amex lost their catfight with CostCo and my Amex/Costco Gold card vaporized). Despite an 820+ FICO score, I’ve never tried to apply for an Amex Platinum. Considering its $450 (or now higher?) Annual Fee, the only Platinum-specific benefit that caught my eye was “access to (airport) Centurion Lounges.”
Lately, there have been several mentions here on OMAAT that, in the U.S. at least, the Centurion Lounges are often so crowded that they are Standing Room Only. In fact, Amex has apparently started explicitly reserving seating space for Centurion Cardholders only. Since that customer demographic is who these lounges were designed for, this is not surprising. I’m sure that the Centurion cardholders either appreciate it or are at least somewhat less annoyed by the overcrowding in the Lounges.
So, I can’t help but wonder: Has Amex really oversold the Centurion lounges by permitting their use to Platinum cardholders. If you use the lounges, do you often encounter Standing Room Only-level overcrowding?
I’ve used Centurion Lounges probably 15-20 times in the past couple years. Never once had standing room only. However, I usually am traveling solo, so I just need one seat (not a family looking for four, for instance). I also rarely travel on Monday mornings and Thursday/Friday evenings when most business travelers are at the airport.
Also, for reference, the AMEX Platinum is $550 a year now.
[QUOTE=”Keyser Soze, post: 66248″] […] So, I can’t help but wonder: Has Amex really oversold the Centurion lounges by permitting their use to Platinum cardholders. If you use the lounges, do you often encounter Standing Room Only-level overcrowding?[/QUOTE]
+1 w/ [USER=1436]@rickyw[/USER] – I’ve had the card since March, and have used the lounges in LGA, SEA and PHL(many times).
I used LGA’s lounge at 8 am on a Thursday. It was crowded, but I had no problem finding a stool at the counter overlooking the tarmac. I’ve used PHL’s many times, at different times. It is most crowded (in my experience) in the evenings with domestic travelers heading home and the 20 or so international departures. But again, never had a problem finding a seat at the bar or a chair to sit in. Finally, I was in SEA’s lounge this past week – twice. Saturday afternoon was moderately crowded, but there were plenty of seats. Not overlooking the tarmac – those were in high demand. On my return on Sunday evening there was a wait-list to enter. I didn’t even have time to make it to the SubPop store before I received a text that I could enter. 10 minutes max. And I was number 7 on the list.
Are they crowded – sure. Because they are nice. I also went to the vaunted Alaska lounge between B – C at SEA. It was dead. No food (at 2 in the afternoon) other than some snacks and fruit. The bar is nowhere near as nice or well-stocked. But it was empty. The SRO at Centurion Lounges is exaggerated. But if you would rather not sit next to someone then hey, use AA’s Admiral Clubs or Alaska’s lounges.