Should American Express Centurion Lounges Make Guests Wait to Enter

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Last weekend, I was departing Las Vegas and arrived to the airport just over an hour before my flight. I made it through security with Pre-Check in about 5 minutes, and made it to the Las Vegas Centurion Lounge an hour before my flight. However, I would never actually make it into the lounge.

When I approached the lounge, there was a line of about 20 people waiting to put their name on the list. 10 minutes later, I made it to the front and was added to the list.

I was told the wait would be 15-20 minutes. Sure enough 20 minutes later, I received a text that I would be able to enter the lounge.

The only thing is boarding already started for my flight as it was 30 minutes later, so I wasn’t able to even use the lounge to grab a quick snack or drink, which begs the question should the Centurion Lounges make guests wait to enter.

a group of people in a terminal

In all my times accessing Delta Sky Clubs, I’ve never been turned away despite sometimes the lounges being packed. I can still come in and grab something to eat.

This isn’t the first time the Las Vegas Centurion Lounge had a long wait to enter, as back in May Outrageous: Centurion Lounges 45+ Minute Wait Times

a group of people standing in a line in front of a wall with luggage

So despite arriving to the lounge an hour before my flight, I was never able to actually use the lounge, which seems like that could be the intent of American Express. It’s quite frustrating to pay $550 (soon to be $695) not to be able to enter airport lounges that American Express runs.

Hopefully the Delta Sky Club Planned for Las Vegas (LAS) Airport helps with the crowds at the Centurion Lounge once it opens next year.

Do you think the Centurion Lounges should make folks wait to enter or should they just let everyone in regardless of how busy the lounge is? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

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  1. You are Paying fees for a service and value you expect. If you can’t use it when you need it, then what is the purpose? you should get refund for annual fees for that year. Period.

  2. Ahhh the one thing the credit card shill bloggers fail to tell their readers when pimping those AmEx Plat cards for their fat referral commissions….

  3. I am fine with the wait. And as @Ron points out the waits should disappear next year when the guest charge kicks in for everyone but Centurion card holders. We all know the majority eat for free, fly for free, stay for free crowd won’t pay the $50 guest fee (and I expect that to go up with inflation).

  4. There are no doubt occupancy limits on how many people are allowed to use the lounge at any given time. So, by law they would be required to limit the number of guests to the maximum allowable occupancy.

    Incidentally, last Friday ATL ATC issued a two hour ground stop at about 10:30am due to weather. There were plenty of lines forming outside the Sky Clubs that day due to – you guessed it – occupancy limits. I ended up with an 8 hour layover due to missed and cancelled flights. I used the clubs in F, C, and B in that order. As I was leaving F there was a line forming to enter. I had no problem entering C but it took me a while to find an unoccupied seat. When I got to B, I had to wait in line for 15 minutes at Gate 18. So, yes, people have had to wait to use Delta Sky Clubs.

  5. Not being able to use the lounge is a significant problem. Using the Delta and Centurion lounge are the primary reason I keep my platinum card. Otherwise, it’s just another premium card. As more of us traveI I see the problem getting worse.

  6. @roberto garcia – do you have the black card? In my time working an airport lounge, I saw 3 black Amex cards. If a customer has a black card, I would say – they’re probably in a class of svc that offers a dept lounge at the carrier they’re flying, or they are flying privately.

  7. Every time this has happened to me I’ve called the number on the back of the card and they’ve given me a $25 credit so I can get a snack and drink elsewhere.

  8. I am extremely frustrated by long lines in Las Vegas and Miami. My home town Lounge of Los Angeles has been closed for over a year and when I received a standby ticket for a delayed flight in DFW, the AMEX lounge would not even let me in. I feel taken advantage of. I really do.

  9. The quality at that lounge has gone downhill anyway (as have most). I find the lounges a dirty, crowded place to be these days.

  10. I think The Amex Lounges and their process are ridiculous. I have three Amex cards including a Platinum card… but find that they are creating their own complexity. By comparison, the Delta lounges are equally as good and there is never an issue with getting in. I give whoever leads this for Amex wry low marks for operational effectiveness.

  11. Finding an unused gate and sitting in peace is still free. That’s Plan B for me when SFO’s Centurion lounge is packed to the gills.

  12. Sometimes at the SFO version of this lounge, whatever virus one person has, we all get too that’s how packed out it is.
    Of course this was before the plague.

  13. This was our experience at SFO last week. Otis outrageous that platinum card holders are told to wait or denied entrance. There are many cards with many benefits and will be reconsidering our Amex renewal.

  14. The greatest moment of my life was closing all my American Express accounts a few years ago and tearing the cards into pieces after 30 years and millions spent .
    For many decades they were a role model in the industry
    For sometime now Amex has damaged its reputation and customer service
    I am free from all their corrupt business behavior some of which they have been sued for in the past in class action suits.Never again not even for a 100k sign up offer
    Done!Burned by them one to many times
    To the corrupt crooks at at executive headquarters at American Express
    Don’t promote a credit card with a benefit you can’t reasonably deliver on in or out of lounge
    Or refund the outrageous obscene annual fee or reduce it with an apology
    But of course they won’t as they can shoot fish in a barrel like cowards and get away with it

    Did I say most of their travel partners suck in Membership Rewards?
    They let Chase eat their lunch with superior transfer partners long ago and lost Costco too to the customers advantage which went to Citibank.Why?because of their greed and arrogance
    Bottom line
    Btw The lounge was to small from day one!

  15. The overcrowding at Centurion Lounges has been a problem for years. I downgraded to the Gold card several years ago because club access was the main benefit I wanted from Platinum, and the clubs were usually unusable. Even when you get in, there’s often no place to sit.

    The Centurion Lounges are a victim of their own success, made worse by the people who drag huge parties (kids, etc.) into a lounge where they don’t belong, in my opinion. So I was happy to hear about the guest charge and perhaps after it’s implemented I’ll reconsider the Platinum or Black card.

  16. Keep in mind that there are many who receive the benefits for the lounge for free. Military members who have the cards get the same benefits at no annual cost

  17. People vote with their feet. Don’t like it, don’t belong. There are other options.

  18. I think they should institute different rules for peak times like weekends. Or maybe they should divide up their platinum cardholders and charge an opt in fee for really frequent travelers at renewal time for lounge access, otherwise you pay retail at the door per visit. They have to find a way to thin the herd.

  19. The Skyclub at LAX was full and closed to entry when I was there last Sunday. Fortunately there was a second Skyclub in the terminal which was not full.

  20. I only get to airports with the Centurion lounge a few times a year and it is disappointing to not be able to get a seat.. That said I was able to get into the Denver Lounge with no line until 10 minutes after we got into the lounge… What I saw were single people sitting in an area for 4 people!! and families wandering around to try to find seats together,,, not nice also some families with adequate seating were letting their kids throw food everywhere,,The clean-up was going to be major and the parents got them more food when it was thrown on the floor nuts

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