Good And Bad Changes To Lounge Access With American Express Platinum Cards

Access to airport lounges is one of the big draws of keeping an American Express Platinum Card. Besides providing access to Priority Pass lounges, the card also gets you into many other lounges worldwide, including their own Centurion Lounges.

There have been two changes to the lounge program in the last few weeks. I’ll go over the good news first: 

As of June 1, 2018, American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders can access Lufthansa lounges at Frankfurt and Munich airports when flying on Lufthansa, SWISS or Austrian airlines

The type of lounge you have access to will depend on what class of ticket you have purchased and which American Express Card you hold. In summary, If you’re flying on a business class ticket or have the Centurion card, you’ll have access to the better lounges. You can check out the locations of the lounges included and all the restrictions at the American Express website

Only the American Express cardholder will get free access; guests will need to purchase entry for a fee that will vary depending on which club you want to enter.

While this is a welcome addition, there were no shortage of Priority Pass lounges at these airports. The other change American Express is making will have an effect on many more cardholders.

The American Express Centurion Lounges in the US are undoubtedly the best airport lounges available. Their popularity has led to a big problem of lounge overcrowding. American Express has already tried to address the problem by restricting access to the cardholder and two guests as well as stopping the sale of day passes to people who do not have a Platinum or Centurion card.

However, the lounges are still jam packed during peak hours. Without notice, American Express began to deny entry to certain lounges until two hours before your flight. They have also denied entry to people who go to the lounge upon arrival. Reports of this have come from the lounges in Seattle, Miami and Las Vegas.

Now, I’m not one who takes advantage of things. However, both of these changes might affect me. I’ve already gone to the lounge when arriving to grab an afternoon snack and spend some time so we could miss the rush hour traffic. After all, why not get some food, a drink or two and get some work done instead of sitting in traffic in a taxi?

I’ve also spent five hours in a lounge when Sharon’s flight left the airport before mine. Instead of staying at the hotel, we shared a ride to the airport and I walked her to security before going to the Centurion lounge. I set up a small corner overlooking the tarmac and spent the day working and snacking while listening to my music. Not a great day but it was definitely the best scenario I could think of. Under the new rules, I wouldn’t be able to do either of these.

For a card that costs $550 a year, cutting back access to the club that’s the main reason people have the card seems to be a losing proposition. Also saying you can’t enter the club until two hours before a flight is really no good at all. Oftentimes the club is not even in the same terminal as your flight. You have to leave at least 30-40 minutes before your departure time just so you make it to the gate on time. I could see saying maybe 3-4 hours as a reasonable compromise.

I guess we’ll see what happens.

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