Is There A Solution To Overcrowded Centurion Lounges?

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Over the past several years American Express has been expanding their network of airport lounges, called Centurion Lounges. In the US, there are now Centurion Lounges in Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, and San Francisco. There’s also a Centurion Studio in Seattle, which is basically a limited service version of the lounge, due to space constraints.

Amex-Centurion-Lounge-SFO - 2
Amex Centurion Lounge San Francisco exterior

These lounges are available to those with The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN,

A large motivator for building these lounges was the loss in lounge benefits on the above cards a while back. The cards no longer comes with access to American Admirals Clubs, or free guesting privileges at Delta SkyClubs. It’s awesome that American Express stepped up their game by introducing their own lounges, which was a great solution to the issues they faced with American and Delta.

What makes Centurion Lounges special

Most US airline lounges suck, plain and simple. The decor is typically a couple of decades past its prime, and the food looks like it’s intended for a petting zoo. Quality certainly does vary by airline and even specific lounge, with some being better than others.

For example, in general Delta SkyClubs have a better snack selection than the lounges of other US carriers, and in many cases the decor is quite nice, like in the SkyClub San Francisco.

Delta-SkyClub-San-Francisco - 4
Delta SkyClub San Francisco

Centurion Lounges are consistently excellent, and perhaps the main reason people love them so much is because of how much nicer they are than most other airline lounges.

The Centurion Lounges have beautiful decor and proper food and drinks.

AmEx-Centurion-Lounge-Miami-Airport-12
Amex Centurion Lounge Miami

You can have a hot meal during your layover, and they even have some pretty awesome cocktails as well, all of which are complimentary.

AmEx-Centurion-Lounge-Miami-Airport-21
Amex Centurion Lounge Miami food selection

The Centurion Lounges in Dallas and Miami even have spas. Who wouldn’t want to get a 15 minute back massage before a long flight?

Centurion-Lounge-Spa
Amex Centurion Lounge Dallas spa

So all things considered Centurion Lounges are significantly nicer than anything offered by US airlines. And perhaps that’s part of the problem.

Centurion Lounges are way overcrowded

Perhaps Centurion Lounges are a victim of their own success. The lounges are fantastic, and people make a point of visiting them. The lounges add a lot of value for cardmembers, but they’re also consistently overcrowded. For example, the last two times I’ve been to the Centurion Lounge Miami, they were standing room only.

In these instances you have to “hover” if you stand any chance of finding a seat. If you want a spa treatment, you better plan a layover of at least a few hours, because it’s often hours until a treatment is available.

Centurion-Lounge-LGA
Crowded Amex Centurion Lounge New York

While there’s great food, the good stuff is gone within minutes of being placed on the buffet. And you’ll know the good stuff is available when you see a dozen people lined up at the buffet.

While the Centurion Lounges have bathrooms, there’s often a line for them, as they have just one or two stalls for each gender.

What it comes down to for me is that the most basic amenity a lounge can offer is a quiet place from which to work or relax. It’s sort of similar to how a business class product is all about the seat — great food, service, entertainment, and wifi are fantastic, but if you can’t sleep, what’s the point?

So I’ve been finding myself using my Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® to use Admirals Clubs when flying American more often lately, rather than using the Centurion Lounges in Dallas, Miami, and New York, on my recent travels, because at least there are open seats there.

Admirals-Club-Dallas
American Admirals Club Dallas

Is there a solution to the problem?

To be clear, I don’t blame American Express for the above problem. They’ve built a fantastic network of lounges that people want to use, and should be commended for that. Finding available real estate in airports that’s practical for cardmembers isn’t easy, and they don’t have an unlimited amount of space (or presumably money) to work with.

The thing is, no one likes having their benefits cut. People are paying $550 per year for a Platinum Card, and have become accustomed to certain perks.

I figured it would be interesting to start a conversation about this, in hopes of genuinely being constructive and figuring out if there’s actually a solution (or for that matter if there’s even a problem, or if I’m just unlucky).

What could American Express do to address overcrowded Centurion Lounges?

  • Keep the status quo. Continue operating fantastic lounges with great amenities, which will continue to be overcrowded.
  • Change the guesting policy. Right now you can bring in two guests, which I find most people take advantage of. Then they could either give a certain number of guesting passes for cardmembers to bring in others, or otherwise charge a reasonable premium for guests (maybe $10-20 per guest)
  • No longer allow authorized users in. While the card’s annual fee is $550, on the Platinum Card you can add three additional cardmembers for a total of $175. In turn they can use the lounges and also guest in people. Lounge access could be limited to primary cardmembers, which would presumably decrease the number of people who have access to these lounges.
  • Limit the number of free visits. Maybe those with the Platinum Card could be limited to a certain number of lounge visits per year, making it “fairer” for all cardmembers (I assume there are some people who use the lounges 100+ times per year, while others use them maybe a few times)

Bottom line

The Centurion Lounges are fantastic, and I commend American Express for offering these. They beat the competition by a long shot, to the point that everyone wants to use the lounges.

Hopefully American Express continues to expand the lounge network over the years and also picks up additional real estate when the opportunity arises, but I’m curious how you guys feel about the situation. Presumably no one wants a reduction in benefits (including me!), but I also assume most would rather not have to fight to get a seat in what’s supposed to be a relaxing airport lounge.

How do you guys feel?

  • Have you experienced issues with overcrowding at American Express Centurion Lounges?
  • Is there a solution, and if so, what do you think it is?

I’m curious to hear what you guys think!

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. The “bonus once in your lifetime” will certainly help this crowded situation. It may take closer to a year to see the result.

  2. Maybe a reservation type system? Or maybe setting crowd controls and having people wait – like a restaurant. Possibly an app to put your name on a list to get in.

  3. I used to love the Centurion lounges when they first opened, but the overcrowding is just one of the issues. The Dallas lounge in particular has been a disaster the last few months. Dirty bathrooms, with no paper towels. Torn off luggage/coat hooks in the stall with nowhere to hang anything up. Wear and tear. Really the food and bar is the only reason to visit.

    My partner actually refuses to visit now, and like you prefers the Admirals club, so that’s where I find myself most of the time.

    I think limiting access is a good idea and might cut down on some of the issues. Or those of us with somewhere better to be may avoid it entirely (which actually helps crowding, too).

  4. “So I’ve been finding myself using my Citi Prestige® Card to use Admirals Clubs when flying American more often lately,”

    You have status with American and can get into clubs with status, why do you have to use a Citi Prestige? Sorry…Citi Prestige®

    Or just pumping the card?

  5. My impression is that a lot of people are gaining access with basic cards and paying the $50 fee. It seems like every time I check in at one of these lounges, the agents are tied up processing $50 fee entrants and explaining the lounge to these first-timers. In addition to causing lines at the desk, you can be confident that someone who parts with $50 for lounge access is going to want to get their $50 out of the place. I would guess that paid guests are staying a longer time and putting a bigger dent in the food and beverage options than those with no limit on their access. Amex should bump the paid entry to $100. That will cut the crowds and take the pressure off the check-in and dining staff. Amex won’t like this suggestion, of course, because they’re probably offsetting a big chunk of lounge costs with access fees.

  6. Miami is always a zoo and the food is lacking ..I’ve given up going there . The others I haven’t had issues with.

  7. America the third world country.

    Used to be that Americans were “polite”. But when faced with a shortage or good odds of scoring a great bargain Americans show a propensity to devolve into simians. But they can’t let go of the tendency of judging other cultures.

  8. You’re not blaming AMEX? Who else would you blame? They oversold a product to too many people. The whole point is exclusivity, peace and quiet, otherwise it’s no better than being out in the airport.

    I’ve found Admirals clubs to generally be good in every way except food selection but considering the cost of having the AMEX card to use the overcrowded lounge, just for a chance at slightly better but still mediocre food, I’d rather just pay $10 for a sandwich.

  9. “You have status with American and can get into clubs with status, why do you have to use a Citi Prestige? Sorry…Citi Prestige®

    Or just pumping the card?”

    I’ve noticed we’ve been seeing more card pimping…er, pumping in more and more posts lately (even in trip reports and hotel reviews). I guess it’s become more and more lucrative for Lucky to do so, especially with more and more people visiting his site each month?

  10. @lopere – Even top-level status with American doesn’t get you lounge access on domestic flights in any class. You have to have a membership or the Citi Prestige.

  11. I’ve given up going to the Miami lounge, it’s consistently overcrowded. The question is whether Amex sees this as a problem. Are they losing more card members due to overcrowding than they’re gaining because people want the lounge access? I doubt it. Until that changes, I would expect the current situation to continue, or even get a little worse.

  12. The picture if the buffet us from last year. They have cut back on the protein, now it’s just two or three bites of protein (chicken/beef) on a starch in a tiny cup.

    Of course, you can take multiple cups (and I do, but it’s wasteful as I don’t eat the starch) and not as elegant.

  13. I do wish something must be done. Many times, the Vegas location is super busy as well as DFW, where I was this morning today. Other times, it has been dead. I am currently at The Club DFW which only has a dozen people here with lots of seats and quiet. I do think if the children can’t behavior property in Amex lounges or run freely without their adults. Thankfully, I have both access to Admirals Club (which gets busy too), Amex Clubs and Priority Pass. The lines today at Priority check in and TSA pre check was more than 15 minutes long as the agent told me it’s Spring Break.

  14. @Aaron, it’s Lucky’s site and we are all free to read the posts or go elsewhere. For the more experienced, it may seem like cards are mentioned a lot but I don’t think Lucky over does it. I’m a year and a half into this hobby and remember when I got started, the information I needed to learn almost seemed overwhelming. Reading an article like this and seeing how a certain card could provide a benefit was helpful as I ramped up my knowledge. Remember that some people reading these posts are just getting in the game. If Lucky gets a referral for providing information, good for him. At least he isn’t like TPG is today who wants you to get every card instead of choosing what benefits you the most a sLucky has done in several of his posts.

  15. Lucky the Miami lounge has a very nice and quite area next to the entrance with chairs and desk that I have always found empty. Much better than AA lounge

  16. One of the solutions is to make the platinum card less attractive than its competitors. I canceled mine versus the prestige so I’m one less person to take up room. I just couldn’t justify keeping it.

    Fdw

  17. @DW Yes and we’re all just as free to read and offer our comments and opinions. I’ve been reading this site for more than a year and half, and I’ve noticed the card pimping happening more and more.

    “remember when I got started, the information I needed to learn almost seemed overwhelming”

    I’m not really sure what this has to do with the issue?

    Lucky can offer tips about which cards are useful, but not everything needs a link, I guess. To me (and I’m sure to others) it seems like more posts and trip reports are based on what kind of link to referral cards Lucky can offer. And just because TPG is worse…so what?

    Mileage varies, I suppose (no pun intended).

  18. @Aaron

    What I meant by “remember when I got started, the information I needed to learn almost seemed overwhelming” was that when starting out, I had no idea what card might get me a certain benefit. So if this article mentions what lounge access the Prestige card gives, someone new to the game either may not have known that, or may have just encountered this experience and this serves as a good reminder of an alternate path.

    I totally agree with you, mileage varies:). Safe travels

  19. I’m just now leaving the Centurion lounge at DFW and must admit overcrowding is definitely an issue more than it used to be. The food options are taken within minutes of being set out. I also have a Citi Prestige card and visited the Admirals club in terminal D, which was empty. I personally would still rather visit the Centurion lounge, even with the overcrowding. Food alone makes the hassle worth it for me. I personally think the solution is to either limit guest access to 1 guest per platinum card and 2 per centurion or to just eliminate paid access to the lounge. The wait for a massage was an hour and 40 minutes today.

  20. The fact is that these lounges are overrated. And the reason that they are overcrowded is also due to so many people getting the card thanks to certain sites telling them they should get the card. Isn’t hard to put two and two together.

  21. I don’t think sites are pushing the amex platinum that hard. Once per lifetime cuts out churning, but by definition they’re not frequent flyers, and once per year flyers aren’t the ones crowding the lounges.

    Make more efficient use of space. A row of chairs with high dividers are still relatively private.

  22. Once-per-lifetime is for the signup bonus points only. You can still get the card many times for the ongoing Lounge benefits.

    It just so happens that with the imminent demise of SPG, and Delta f*cking their award program, these premium biz cards are just about the only worthwhile cards left from AMEX so people hold them for the lounges. Enough get them for 1-2 years on advice of bloggers that the crowding becomes apparent.

  23. @DW except all of that is already mentioned at the top right of the page, with links, of course…so it will usually be one of the first things people will read/see on this site.

  24. @ NickN949

    No area set aside for Centurion card holders, but, if you call the # on the back of the card and let them know your travel plans, they will def put a reserved sign at a dining table, also, make a spa treatment available and the staff are on point. ( off topic, but I always tip a few dollars )

  25. @TravelinWilly – Not sure what’s so funny…I’m 100% sure they’ve contributed to the overcrowding.

  26. They should get rid of the pay to enter option. I’ve seen the stack of receipts they have from daily pay to enter and it has been 100+ each time I’ve seen it. Or they can just change entry rules to those of the Centurion Studio, which would go a bit further.

  27. For AMEX the lounge over crowding is not a bug, it’s a feature. Some of it is apparently caused by people paying $50 to enter. Some of it is caused by people paying $450 for a card for access, along with fees for any spend they do with it. Some of it is certainly folks being brought in a guests, but the ability to bring your family or travel companions in with you is one of the features of the card.

    One way or another, every person there is a profit center for AMEX. What reason would AMEX, which is a business rather than a charity, have to want to cut those numbers down?

    Of course, there is a limit, and if things get too bad, people will stop paying to enter, and/or not renew the card. But we aren’t there yet. I know if I have a lay over at DFW, which was very crowded when we used the lounge there last Summer, we are still heading for the Centurion lounge not the Admirals Club. I understand that bloggers, who need to work virtually non-stop, may need more peace and quiet. But I’m on vacation, and I really appreciate complimentary adult beverages. 🙂

    As for this blogs affiliate links, I too have noticed an increase in card pumping. But compared to other blogs, cough VFTW cough, it’s done in a subtle and tasteful way. And given the choice of affiliate links in posts, or paying a hefty membership fee to read it, I’ll take the affiliate links any day. I’m curious if the people who complain about ALs yell at their TV whenever a commercial comes on? 🙂

    Also, between once in a lifetime with AMEX, 18 months with Citi, and 5/24 with Chase, it’s getting harder and harder to churn cards. Resulting no doubt in reduced affiliate income per long term reader. The logical way to keep this blog profitable is to make sure that people new to the game, who may have just learned about this blog, have an easy way to sign up for cards. Which has always been the best way to quickly accumulate miles/points, so it’s actually a valuable service for new readers.

  28. I do think it’s the folks that pay to get in that take up the most resources. A few weeks ago it took 10 minutes to check in to the DFW lounge because the agents were processing payments. A new batch of food came out from the kitchen and while waiting patiently for my turn, the last of EVERYTHING was gone! And then there are selfish people that take up additional seats with their stuff. I did end up leaving the lounge and eating in the terminal. No more pay ins: Platinums with one guest and Centurions with two, only!

  29. AMEX designed the lounges to attract credit card customers and fees. This is a different model than the airlines, who use the lounges to attract premium fliers. Amex is incentivized to use the lounges to attract customers, especially since other positive aspects of AMEX cards have been lost, and as Amex has lost cards to other companies (Coscto and likely Starwood soon). You won’t see a change. I’ll stick with Delta and American lounges.

  30. @Aaron

    Did you miss the tiny fact that American Elite members can’t access AA clubs on domestic flight?

    I believe somebody else pointed this out just before you posted your first complaint to another user that had the same complaint as you? Lounge access rules on domestic flights in the US is different from the rest of the world.

    And yes Lucky pumps credit cards, it’s what pays for the content on this site. If TV stations have ads to make money, what makes you think a professional blog should be different?

    It’s not like you paid for the entertainment, so it’s either credit cards link or you have to start paying.

  31. At DFW, I’d rather hang out in the lounge at the Grand Hyatt DFW. Yes, it’s before you get through security, but it’s very quiet. Yes, you have to pay for (any) food & drinks, but you can hang out there for an hour, nursing one soft drink.

  32. Its called the Centurion Lounge, not the Platinum lounge. As suggested earlier make a special area for Centurion members. $2500 a year is a lot more than the $450 a year for platinum. 5 x so. WHat about 5-10 visits a year max for platinum members, including guests.

  33. From spending a couple times in the SFO lounge I think if they dropped or charged for immediate family (and guests) you’d see a reduction. The SFO one is small (which makes me wonder how small SEA must be). Last couple times I was there it seemed like there were a lot of families using the benefit. You have two adults and 2-3 kids. Everyone has their own roller and a carry on. A group that size tends to sprawl and take up more space. It’s not their fault and if I had a family I would take advantage of the perk but it definitely makes the Centurion Lounges less of an escape from the craziness of the airport.

  34. Any lounge is overrated. So is the Amex platinum card. All of you fools are wasting your money, thinking that you are somehow making your life better. What a ridiculous thing to worry about. Serves you right for chasing these ridiculous benefits. Have fun!

  35. The AL have become a lot less subtle. New people have a way to “get into the game” without a referral link in so many articles. A few, actually. The link to “Start Here”, the monthly Hot Deals, all the links under the advertising disclosure at the top right…we get enough articles as it is about all the benefits of each card, no need to have them throughout trip reports and what not. Bringing up other sites as worse examples doesn’t help, it just subtly suggests that this site is morphing closer and closer to those other sites.

    @No Name

    Actually, if you look at the time stamp, you can see there is a few minutes between the comments, so a reasonable person might assume that the comment I made while I was busy typing my own. A reasonable person might…

    “it’s what pays for the content on this site”

    I’d have thought all the comments and views from +1 million people would be paying for this site enough on their own.

    As for comparing commercials here to commercials on TV, that is like comparing apples to rocks. At least I can FF through commercials on TV.

  36. Agree, The SFO CL is packed most times i have visited, some fixes could be…

    1. offer a beer /wine bar only station, usually they have one bartender and he is over whelmed making ‘craft cocktails’ for techies..very complicated/time consuming

    2. near water/coffee station add some snacks/pretzels/nuts

    3. increase pour at automated wine machine
    4. remove the individual pods that people sleep in and add more setting/communal work tables

    5. add a one pot food item so when the ‘buffet’ is short on designer food, the folks in a hurry can fill a bowl w hearty soup/heathy stew/chili/bean cassoulet,sometime that they can refill quickly and feed a large group

  37. Simple solution:

    Only make it accessible to Platinum and Centurion cardholders. Do not allow regular \ Green and Gold cardholders like the Seattle Studio.

    This would take a good portion of the overcrowding out. Don’t penalize the Platinum cardholders for the lounges’ popularity.

  38. Change the guest access – either charge per guest, or have a limited number of guest entries per year.

    At LaGuardia one day I was sitting near the check in desk. About half the people using the clubs actually had flights out of the Delta terminal, which is a pretty long haul.

    So people are going out of their way to get into these clubs.

    Frankly they are terribly overrated.

  39. It seems like a good start would be to 1) kill guesting privileges for authorized users (i.e. only the authorized user is granted access), and 2) allow “$50 Day Pass” access only if space is available. If that doesn’t noticeably improve things, then maybe go to only one free guest, with additional guests at $25 each or something. They can always hand out a few guesting coupons as a sign-up or retention incentive.

  40. I’ve solved the overcrowding problem for myself by no longer visiting the Amex lounges in DFW…

    I too have been using the Admirals Lounges at DFW over the last year due to the crowding issue at the Dallas lounge – The last three or four times there was literally no where to sit – even the business center table was full.

    Someone mentioned above – only allowing the primary card member access to the lounges might show some improvement, I have seen them turning away the “any Amex cardholder for $50” users in the past as well.

    @RobertHanson – “I’m curious if the people who complain about ALs yell at their TV whenever a commercial comes on? :)” — While I don’t complain about the AL’s – I do yell at TV commercials and then hit the mute button 😀

  41. The reason Amex created these lounges in the first place was they were loosing lounge access with many other airlines – as a result of their very anti-comptetive practices a la Costco. The thought was they don’t need a relationship with United or American when they can just have lounges all on their own. Of course they have no clue how to run a lounge or how to make them work and the result is a complete hot mess. It would be prudent if Amex wants to continue this benefit that they begin to set up some sort of restriction. There is no reason why any member should be allowed to bring in multiple people – either your a member or your not. I still prefer the domestic experience at Delta Clubs. Clean, efficient, just enough to tide me over.

  42. @Aaron

    Comments don’t pay diddly squat. Now clicks on banners ads on the other hand.

    See a lot of banner ads on this site? No? I see 1 with ad blocking turned off, how about you?

    You should also note the part of the link that says boardingarea in onemileatatime.boardingarea.com, they are the ones that run the content platform Lucky blogs on.

    And from what I have read the banner ads is theirs, not Lucky’s. There might be some revenue sharing with the bloggers that use the platform, but probably most of the revenue goes to boardingarea for running the platform. You do know that the people behind boardingarea is also behind Flyertalk right?

  43. I just picked up the Platinum Card to give the lounges a try. I fly through Houston often and they are going to open a lounge in the D terminal at Houston Interconinental in the not too distant future. I am a lifetime member of the United Club. They have generally gone downhill in the last few years and are consistently overcrowded with mediocre food at best. The problem with United Clubs, they opened access to Chase United Club credit card owners which put a huge strain on an already bad situation. If the Centurion Lounges turn out to be a disappointment I will drop the Platinum Card and just tough it out at the United Club.

  44. I think the lounge access should be limited to the primary cardholder and one guest and then additional guests for a fee. I don’t think lounge access should be extended to AUs as well. While it wouldn’t matter to me since I only travel a few times a year I think it would be absurd to limit the number of times someone could visit a lounge. The amex plat card isn’t that special and the lounge access is one of the few highlights. I wouldn’t be opposed to limiting the number of guest passes you could have in a given year. So unlimited lounge visits for primary card holder and then they can have a guest in the lounge 6 times a year.

  45. I like the idea of each member having a limited # of guest admissions per membership year. Visits by authorized users as well as family members should be counted against this guest allowance. I will not renew my Platinum card as access to the Centurion lounges was the only perk to this card that I assumed to be of any value to me. Should the overcrowding issue get resolved, I would reapply.

  46. Why not charge the green/gold roaches $100/entry? Lets keep Platinum an exclusive aspirational product.

  47. Pretty easy to cut in my opinion. No additional guest. Our whole family has additional cards so no issues.

  48. When it gets crowded ask the staff where you can go that is quiet and appropriate to get some work done. The message will soon get through and hopefully they will open a business lounge. This is a problem of supply and demand that any company wants to have.

  49. They should tie the entry to spend. How many people have the card but never spend on it? Every $5,000 spent gets you one visit.

  50. @ No Name

    You’d be surprised how much comments can pay for, since that matters to how much advertisers are willing to pay.

    “probably most of the revenue goes to boardingarea for running the platform”

    So if the site is run and paid for by boardingarea/Flyertalk…then they are ones paying to keep this site up, not Lucky. Which means the revenue made from referrals is for Lucky’s own profit, not for the upkeep of this site, and for keeping it free.

  51. @Aaron

    Did you notice my first message to you? Did I say anything about revenue made from referrals paying for the site?

    “And yes Lucky pumps credit cards, it’s what pays for the content on this site. If TV stations have ads to make money, what makes you think a professional blog should be different?”

    I said content and content costs money to produce, flying around the world and living in hotels is not free you know? No matter how many credit cards points you earn you would still have to pay for the food you eat and local transportation at a minimum.

    And hey sometimes paying for flights, and then sometimes upgrading true instruments or avios on BA also can make more sense than using points outright. And this is without getting into things like hotels where points is not also the best option. All of which costs money.

    You do know that this is Lucky full time job right? Personally I compare it to looking at a TV show I like where the cast is payed from the money they make on product placements (credit cards) and just ignore the most blatant of them.

  52. I don’t have a stake in the situation but I am thinking that if you cut “guesting” privileges (or maybe just to 1 guest every month to let the business traveler show it off to a client), except for minor children, that would be a reasonable and logical solution since authorized users (thus a spouse/family member or business partner) have their own access via the authorized card. I know initially there will be an uproar over the loss of guesting privileges, like there was for the Delta Reserve Card, but the fact that authorized users (3 for $175) would be a great counterpoint to the disappointment.

  53. @No Name

    Wow, you really feel the need to defend Lucky’s honor don’t you?

    That’s great that referrals pay for Lucky’s trip. That still doesn’t change the fact that is doesn’t need to be pimped out in so many articles when there are various links to the referrals already at the top of the page.

    He also has his lucrative consulting business, but why let facts get in the way of you defending his honor.

  54. Lol- lots of crazy comments on this thread, but most of them are misplaced. It’s hard to slam Lucky for pimping when he’s writing an article highlighting one of the limitations of signing up for a Platinum AMEX (overcrowded lounges). It’s also crazy to slam VFTW when Gary happily shares his secret quiet place in the comments!

    My favorite comments are all of those whining about how publicity of a great perk has let to overuse- I mean, how did they find out about the perk in the first place?! I’m sure they also fume when sitting in a full airplane- damn W&K for writing such a catchy jingle!

    Back to the original topic- it’s pretty clear its got to be a range of policy changes, that allows AMEX to limit access while still generating incremental revenue. Between the crazies, some pretty good advice for AMEX in the comments above. The additional 3 cards for $175, all giving access to 1 +2 doesn’t work and is a money loser- cut that perk first. Put in capacity controls on buy-in option for Green & Gold. If all those changes aren’t enough to reduce the overcrowding, then change the guest policy to +1, or even a limited number per year. Probably the last to get reduced is the number of times a Platinum or Centurion card holder gets access a year.

  55. If you reduce the perks of the complimentary cards your are reducing the value added for the cardholders. Less value added for cardholders equals less cards demanded, les cards demanded equals less purchases made and less profits for AMEX and then less perks. Most heads of family pay for a Platinum, or a Centurion card because they can share the perks, no questions asked with their families (with its few exceptions like the car service to the plan when you fly Swiss for Swiss Centurions).
    Probably the solution would be to define sectors depending on the type of card. A small area for Centurions, a bigger area for Platinum and an area for those 50 dollar entries.
    Amex lounges are a clear evidence that user demand good quality food and drinks. Probably US Airlines should look into partnering with AMEX to have better lounges and act as if they care a bit for their customers (specially AA).

  56. The day passes are what’s most profitable.

    They should charge platinum card holders a day rate fee (maybe something less, like $35.00), and maybe give them 4 free passes a year.

  57. The main issue with the clubs is that they allow a valid card holder to bring in a guest and up to 4 children under 16 for free. Vegas is the worst with this, followed by DFW in my opinion. I avoid the Miami club at all costs, and as soon as the admiral clubs are finished renovation I will head over there.

  58. They remind me of the buffet at a trailer park restaurant in Texas……….Solution #5: Sharpen your elbows and go in early with the arms guarding the food and drink…………and then give the jerking elbow to anyone coming in on the flanks………..chaos demands brute force and put an image on Donald Trump about your eyesight to fire you up and get you properly motivated to throw these foreigners out……….Fascism and evil will never be totally eradicated…….that is a pollyanna dream of sorts……..what it requires of us is constant situational awareness that nurtures our be in the now………or not……….

  59. I know I’m late on the comments, but I’m an American currently living in Hong Kong, and to combat over- crowding at our airport lounge here and a few other places we have been in Asia, they simply limit the number of guests at one time and allow more in as people leave. There is almost always a line, but the longest we’ve waited is 15 minutes, and knowing the lounge won’t be crazy is worth the wait. I can imagine though, that the general American public would not wait quietly/patiently like our Asian friends and would get all in a snit and start huffing and puffing if they had to wait 5 minutes.

  60. The food in the American Express Centurion lounge has gone down hill including the food at the Miami airport. Last time the ran out of deserts and it was so over crowded you did not want to be there. I prefer the American Airlines lounge at the Miami airport. They are four times larger than the Centurion lounges and were renovated. The Centurion Lounge also only has one shower while American Airlines has several.
    The Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas is awesome. The food selections are 1000% better than Miami and the lounge has adequate space.
    I have the Amex Platinum card and the Citi Prestige card that allowed me to the American airlines lounge. Most likely, after July when the Prestige card no longer gives me access to the American Airlines lounge, I will have to get the Citi Executive card.

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