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

Mar 14, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Amex’s current line-up

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

Airport Hours
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-JFK 6 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:

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.)

Airport Percent 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-JFK 33%
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.

Lounge Hours
American Airlines Admirals Club
4:30 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Delta Sky Club 5 a.m. — 12 a.m.
United Club 5:45 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 photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.