American Express Has Officially Reopened All U.S. Centurion Lounges Except NY LaGuardia

Yesterday the American Express Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas opened it’s doors again, concluding the re-opening all domestic clubs with the only execption of New York LaGuardia.

American Express will re-open their first Centurion Lounge locations in Seattle and Philadelphia on October 5, 2020 while the remainder of their lounge portfolio was kept on the back burner.

It became increasingly hard to justify keeping these lounges closed citing Covid restrictions while other lounges of airlines and those run independently were already open for weeks and months.

Amex has since kept these lounges closed and is reasoning it with Covid-19 and lack of demand yet the fact that most of the other lounges operated by airlines were open leads one to believe this is all about cost cutting.

With this newest measure as announced on their specially designed re-opening page from now on  again to members.

As we begin the process of reopening, your health and safety continue to be our top priority. That’s why we’re committed to providing a reimagined experience that still offers comfort while you wait. We’ve implemented additional procedures so our lounges serve as safe, clean, and welcoming spaces for you as you start traveling again. Learn more about The Centurion® Lounge Commitment below.

CLT, DFW, IAH, JFK, LAS, LAX, MIA, PHL, PHX, SEA, and SFO locations are currently open.

So now eleven out of twelve Centurion Lounge locations are open again, although the opening hours may vary so check beforehand to manage expectations.

These are the now operational locations:

  • Charlotte
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • New York JFK
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Seattle
  • San Francisco

Card members visiting the locations will realize that some things have change in terms of offering and service protocol, differing from the past.

Amex outlines the various changes as follows:

  • Check into The Centurion® Lounge through the American Express Mobile App in a few simple steps. After completing Mobile Check-In, please show your ID and boarding pass at reception.
  • We’ll adhere to guidance from state and local governments and health authorities and limit the capacity within each lounge.
  • With our new policy, we have configured our seating arrangements to allow for social distancing in the lounge. Our Membership Services Professionals will help guide you to available seating.
  • Our premium food offerings will still be available, but in pre-portioned plates at food areas throughout the lounge, served by American Express Representatives.
  • Our premium bar experience will be available with our full wine offering. A shorter cocktail menu featuring each location’s most popular drinks will be available to reduce wait times and allow social distancing.
  • Exhale spa services will be available in select lounges. Offerings will be limited to non-practitioner treatments, including Theragun massages and digital meditations. Equipment and treatment areas will be sanitized between every appointment.
  • The showers are currently closed until further notice.
  • Wearing a face covering is required to enter the lounge. Our employees will wear face coverings at all times. Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout each lounge.

The mobile check-in should in the very least allow to guarantee a spot at the lounge (Seattle has been piloting this option for quite some time as the lineup has always been a disaster there). Of course those who don’t carry the Amex mobile app can gain access by simply presenting their card, boarding pass and ID.

This setup resembles much of a bank teller rather than an airport lounge but at least they’re making an effort here.

I’m surprised that the bar service will remain as it is although it’s not mentioned if this includes the seating arrangements as well.

There has been no word about the other Centurion Lounge at New York LaGuardia reopening.

Hong Kong remains closed as well for the time being.

Amex policy of keeping these lounges closed since March has been absolutely ridiculous. The C-19 excuse simply didn’t stick anymore when the airlines themselves are operating their lounges for several months already with slight modification. Many customers were upset about this and more than a few have communicated to us in emails that they have downgraded or cancelled their Platinum card.

Conclusion

Centurion Lounges are a big part of the Amex Platinum/Centurion benefit portfolio so I can see why those who have picked up traveling again were severely annoyed about the ongoing closure.

Time will tell what American Express will do for cardmembers in 2021. This year Platinum cardholders in the U.S. received generous travel and streaming credits as Centurion Lounges and most travel related benefits were moot. With the lounges back in operation this argument is no longer there, however many states have imposed strict orders limited movements of personal and business nature.

When I logged into my Amex account yesterday I saw an offer to upgrade my charge card to Platinum for 25,000 points. I just downgraded the card to Green in May after they wouldn’t offer me any retention bonus. This begs the question if they are losing too many members paying for their pricey $550 Platinum charge card. While in theory you can get a lot of back in the form of various credits it’s still money out the door. Have you thought about dropping the Platinum card?

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