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Amex Making Major Change to Centurion Lounge Guest Policy for Family Members

March 09, 2017
4 min read
Amex Making Major Change to Centurion Lounge Guest Policy for Family Members
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Update 3/9/17 11:05am: We have now officially confirmed with American Express that a total of two guests will be allowed in for each cardmember — regardless of whether they are family members or non-family members — and the policy will be in place starting March 30.

The American Express Centurion Lounge network features some of the best domestic airport lounges in the US, and access to the network has been one of the more popular features of The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and Centurion credit cards for the last several years. However, as a result, many lounges have experienced issues with overcrowding and it isn't unusual to have issues finding a place to sit at peak times.

Now, in an effort to alleviate the problem, American Express is making a significant change to its guest policy for access to Centurion Lounges. The previous policy provided access to either two guests or immediate family members — meaning spouse or domestic partner and children under 18. That meant more than two guests if you had a significant other and more than one child in your party. Going forward, Centurion Lounge access will be limited to two family members in total, including children.

Our contacts at American Express confirmed this change and explained the rationale behind it:

"As our Centurion Lounges have quickly become one of our Card Members’ favorite Card benefits and continue to increase in popularity, we have increasingly heard from our Card Members that our lounges are becoming overcrowded at times.
Our new guest policy is intended to help alleviate the overcrowding issues and ensure that more of our Card Members are able to continue to enjoy the great space and amenities that our Centurion Lounges have to offer.
Under the new policies, Platinum Card Members can enter our lounges with up to two family members for free, as well as continue to purchase day-passes for any additional guests or family members.
Please also note that the two family member policy applies to all our lounges (with the exception of Delta), so it's now consistent across most of our 1,000 plus global lounge collection."
Only two family members will be allowed into Centurion Lounges with the primary cardmember under the new guest access policy.

Obviously there will be two competing schools of thought on this change. If you regularly travel with your family, you will either have to forgo access to the Centurion Lounges for everyone or pay extra to bring in your additional family members. If, on the other hand, you usually travel solo or with no more than two family members, you should experience less overall crowding in the lounges.

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While some folks will not be happy with this new policy, there is no denying the overcrowding issues have become problematic and Amex needed to make some sort of change in order to maintain the quality of its lounge experience. Two free guests is still generous, especially when compared to the guest policy at the Delta SkyClub with the Platinum card (all guests are $29 each) and comparable to United Club guest access with the United MileagePlus Club card. The Citi Prestige Card provides access to unlimited immediate family members at Admirals Clubs when traveling on the same itinerary, but that benefit will be going away entirely on July 23. Also, the ability to purchase day passes will at least give an option to those who still want full access for their families, albeit at an increased cost.

A separate source told TPG that this policy change is expected to go into effect at the end of this month, but we have reached out to American Express for official clarification on when the new policy will be in effect.

Featured image by A sneak peek at the Centurion Lounge in Houston (IAH). Image by Zach Honig.