Centurion Lounge 3 hour policy doesn’t apply to layovers

Shown here is the Centurion Lounge DFW where I recently was admitted for 7 hours.

In March 2019, Amex added new restrictions for Platinum cardholders accessing Centurion Lounges:

  • You can no longer access the lounge upon arrival at the airport.  Lounge access is only for departing passengers.
  • You can’t access the lounge more than 3 hours before your flight.

The restriction against arriving passengers is unquestionably a bummer.  I’ve been known to time my flights into LaGuardia airport so that I can arrive and have lunch at the Centurion Lounge.  That won’t work anymore.

I also thought that the 3 hour policy would be a huge problem when connecting at an airport with a Centurion Lounge.  After all, it’s not unusual to have layovers longer than 3 hours.

It turns out, though, that there’s an exception for connecting passengers.  If you are connecting at an airport with a Centurion Lounge, you can access the lounge for your entire layover.

I discovered this exception thanks to a 7 hour layover in Dallas.  I knew about the 3 hour policy so I first went to a Priority Pass lounge (The Club) but was turned away due to their own 3 hour rule.  Then I tried the Centurion Lounge.  At first, the desk agent said no when I showed her my onward flight, but then she asked if that would be my first flight of the day.  “No, I’m connecting here.” I said.  She asked to see my earlier boarding pass (the one showing that I arrived earlier that day at DFW) and admitted me.  Yay!

Amex makes this exception kind-of clear on their website (found here) where they note “We will not admit Platinum Card Members more than 3 hours before the departure time on the Platinum Card Member’s same-day, confirmed boarding pass. This does not apply to Platinum Card Members with a connecting flight.

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Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Dustin Evans
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Dustin Evans

Well that’s what they have Southwest Airlines business tickets for. My partner was arriving in term 3 at sfo. I just went and met him at the gate. Had a nice lunch in the sfo centurion to. Just don’t make a habit out of it. Or do it in Hong Kong and pass passport control

SinoSoul
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SinoSoul

Stayed at a Centurion in Mexico upon arrival, for over 3 hours (after a red eye). No one bothered us.

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[…] 9/16/19: Frequent Miler points out that this does not apply to lay overs. This was something I was not aware of, so thought some […]

mojo
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mojo

How do they define “connecting flight” ?

If I fly into SFO on JAL, and fly out of SFO 5 hours later on Southwest, is that a connecting flight?

The Amex terms do not define this.

SkehGuy
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SkehGuy

Given the recent tightening trend in terms of lounge perks with Amex and in general I wonder which card (or card/airline combo) offers the best value in terms of access, availability, and quality at the moment.

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[…] it turns out, that last point isn’t quite as strict as it seems. As noted by Frequent Miler, the Centurion Lounge three hour restriction doesn’t apply to layovers. Here are the terms […]

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[…] American Express Centurion lounges no longer allow access more than 3 hours prior to departure – however this policy does not apply during layovers in a connecting city. […]

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[…] For those of you who still have an Amex Platinum card I guess: Centurion Lounge 3 hour policy doesn’t apply to layovers. […]