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Following delay after delay during this week’s round of winter storms, my colleague Joel S. ended up getting stuck at New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) Airport. Sadly, he didn’t have lounge access, so he initially endured the main terminal area — before giving up and searching for a Plan B.
Fortunately, there’s an Amex Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia — after a decent dinner and a few speciality cocktails, it’s easy to forget that you’re stuck in an airport, let alone in the middle of a perpetual delay.
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Joel had one issue, though: He didn’t have a card that would get him in. Given that he planned to add The Platinum Card from American Express — and the fact that he was stuck at LGA indefinitely without lounge access — he decided to try his luck with a mobile application, hoping that one way or another he’d be able to get into the Centurion Lounge.
As it turns out, Joel was instantly approved, and was presented with the option to view his card number right away.
Joel took a screenshot of his new account number and headed to the lounge. The staff had apparently never seen an instant temporary card like the one Joel received, but they verified his account and let him in nonetheless.
It worked the next day as well — Joel’s flight ended up getting canceled, forcing an overnight stay near LGA, and when Joel returned to the lounge the next morning, he was already known to the morning crew, who had received a memo covering his virtual card visit the evening before. So it should be smooth sailing if you visit with a virtual card of your own — at the LaGuardia location, at the very least.
While you’re certainly not guaranteed an instant approval — or a temporary card even if you are approved on the spot — this is definitely an option to consider if you find yourself in need of access to a Centurion Lounge. Also note that I’ve successfully entered Centurion Lounges several times just by providing my social security number, and if your account is approved and active right away, an agent may be able to confirm your eligibility without the need to display a card at all.
Know before you go.
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