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Is it time for Amex to extend Centurion Lounge opening hours?

March 14, 2021
6 min read
Is it time for Amex to extend Centurion Lounge opening hours?
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In March 2020, American Express shuttered the entire Centurion Lounge network.

The issuer took roughly seven months to announce a phased reopening plan — the outposts in Philadelphia and Seattle were the first to welcome cardmembers once again on Oct. 5, 2020. Since then, all domestic Centurion Lounges have reopened.

But there's one issue. The new hours of operation are significantly scaled back from those before the pandemic.

Readers have reached out to TPG to express their disappointment, so let's take a look at whether Amex should extend the hours of the Centurion Lounge.

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Amex's current line-up

All domestic Centurion Lounges have reopened, with the following hours.

AirportHours
Charlotte (CLT)7 a.m. — 7 p.m.
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)7 a.m. — 7 p.m.
Denver (DEN)7 a.m. — 7 p.m.
Houston (IAH)7 a.m. — 5 p.m
Las Vegas (LAS)7 a.m. — 3 p.m.
Los Angeles (LAX)7 a.m. — 3 p.m.
Miami (MIA)7 a.m. — 7 p.m.
New York-JFK6 a.m. — 8 p.m.
Philadelphia (PHL)5:30 a.m. — 4:30 p.m.
Phoenix (PHX)9 a.m. — 5 p.m.
Seattle (SEA)7 a.m. — 8 p.m.
San Francisco (SFO)8 a.m. — 6 p.m.

Note that the LaGuardia location remains closed since the old Central Terminal has been demolished and the airport's new Centurion Lounge hasn't yet opened in the new Terminal B.

Take a look at some of those hours, especially in the late afternoon. Lounges in Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Philly all close before 5 p.m.

We reached out to the issuer, which shared that:

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We are constantly assessing and updating the hours of operation in each Centurion Lounge location based on need and Card Member feedback. For more up-to-date information, Card Members can check the Global Lounge Collection website or by using the American Express App.

Nevertheless, the data is clear. It's time for Amex to extend the Centurion Lounge hours. Here's why.

Related: Latest details on the upcoming new and expanded Amex Centurion Lounges

More and more travelers are taking to the skies

For October 2020 — when Amex reopened its first lounges — daily TSA checkpoint throughput was averaging roughly 827,000 passengers.

With the vaccine rollout well underway, and President Biden promising that every American will have access to a shot by the end of May, pandemic-weary travelers are waking up from a slumber.

In the 30-day period from Feb. 10 to March 11, TSA screened, on average, 977,000 passengers — a roughly 18% increase from October 2020.

Entrance to the Amex Centurion Lounge in Los Angeles (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

More and more people are getting vaccinated, and some have already taken to the skies. Other newly inoculated travelers are gearing up to book trips.

Related: Why you should get The Platinum Card® from American Express

Airlines are extended schedules

Just because there are more flyers passing through U.S. airports doesn't necessarily mean that Amex should extend the Centurion Lounge hours.

Extending the hours depends on when they're flying.

Well, if you take a look at flight timetables, you'll notice that some Centurion Lounges are closed for a significant portion of a given airport's departures.

Using Cirium schedule data for April 2021, here's a look at the percentage of an airport's departures that fall outside of Centurion Lounge hours.

(For simplicity, I assumed that if the lounge opens at 5 a.m., it could cover all flights departing after 6 a.m. Likewise, if the lounge closes at 7 p.m., I assumed that the lounge covered all flights until 8 p.m.)

AirportPercent of flights outside of Centurion Lounge hours
Charlotte (CLT)21%
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)5%
Denver (DEN)13%
Houston (IAH)8%
Las Vegas (LAS)35%
Los Angeles (LAX)39%
Miami (MIA)26%
New York-JFK33%
Philadelphia (PHL)28%
Phoenix (PHX)20%
Seattle (SEA)32%
San Francisco (SFO)28%

Take a look at that. Amex is letting down a good chunk of cardmembers!

The Los Angeles Centurion Lounge is only open from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., and nearly 40% of flyers passing through there in April won't be able to enter the lounge based on how lounge's hours of operations matches that month's flight schedules. A similar story holds true in Las Vegas, New York and Seattle.

Related: Your complete guide to Amex Centurion Lounges

Other lounges are open

This trend of closing too early is seemingly limited to Centurion Lounges.

For example, here are the hours for the lounges operated by the Big 3 U.S. airlines in Los Angeles.

LoungeHours
American Airlines Admirals Club
4:30 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Delta Sky Club5 a.m. — 12 a.m.
United Club5:45 a.m. — 11:30 p.m.

All the aforementioned clubs are open significantly later than the Centurion Lounge. The same story holds true at other airports across the country, too.

If U.S. airlines can extend their hours, then American Express should do so as well.

Bottom line

Not only are more people traveling these days, but airlines are scheduling a significant percentage of flights outside of the hours of operation for the Centurion Lounge network.

While it's great that all domestic Amex lounges have reopened, it's time for the issuer to reevaluate the hours of operation. Until then, American Express is letting down a good chunk of its premium cardmembers.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
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5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023