Do Amex Centurion Lounges Require a Printed Boarding Pass?

Sep 13, 2015

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TPG reader Ben tweeted me with a question about lounge access:

@ThePointsGuy — “Do I need to print out my boarding pass to access a Centurion Lounge?”

The Amex Centurion Lounges are among my favorite recent developments in the travel world. While there are still only six locations across the country — with a seventh slated to open next year in Houston — I think they’re really changing the game when it comes to domestic airport lounges.

Access is complimentary to The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and Centurion cardholders, along with up to two guests or immediate family. Other Amex cardholders can purchase one-day passes for $50, except at the smaller Centurion Studio in Seattle. To enter the lounge, you’ll need to show your valid American Express card, a government-issued ID and (as written on the Amex website) “a boarding pass showing a confirmed reservation for same-day travel on any carrier.”

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If you plan to visit a Centurion Lounge upon landing, hang on to your boarding pass.

The short answer to Ben’s question is no, you don’t need to actually print your boarding pass. You can show an electronic version on your phone or other device, so long as it’s scannable. Also, while you should plan to have your boarding pass available, I’ve seen Centurion Lounge agents let it slide on occasion.

However, one thing to note in the verbiage is that you need to have a confirmed reservation, and unfortunately, this is open to some interpretation. I have heard accounts of cardholders being denied entry for not having a seat assignment; that means if your flight is delayed or canceled and you’re waiting for a seat on a later flight, your reservation might no longer qualify as “confirmed.” This will probably be at the discretion of the agent working the front desk, and your chances of getting in will decline sharply if the lounge is already close to full.

My advice is to play it safe: If you have a printed boarding pass, try to hang on to it even after your flight. If you’re using a mobile device to display your pass, make sure it’s charged, and consider loading it in advance in case you don’t have good service in the terminal (as is sometimes the case at LaGuardia). If I’m relying on lounge access before or after a flight, I’d rather have my entry squared away than leave it up to someone else!

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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