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.”