17 Aug Guesting Amex Centurion Lounge Access to Strangers – Your Thoughts?
During a recent trip with friends to Napa, California (via San Francisco), I had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite airport lounges – the American Express Centurion Lounge at SFO!
The lounge is located in Terminal 3 near Gate 74, which happened to be just across from our departure gate – perfect.
I love American Express Centurion Lounges.
And if you’ve ever visited one, I bet that you love them too!
Cuisine designed by James Beard Award-winning chefs, cocktails developed by the nation’s top mixologists, wines handpicked by renowned wine authorities, and spa therapies by Exhale!?
Yes, please! I mean, what’s not to love?
Well, I can think of one thing in particular…
The whole point of an exclusive airport lounge is to escape from the cramped craziness that is the airport terminal, and yet, that is exactly how the Amex Centurion Lounges feel during peak travel times! And this guy’s generosity, while good intended, was NOT helping the problem!
While I have only visited 4 of the 7, I have seen enough of these lounges to know overcrowding is an issue.
Amex knows that the overcrowding is an issue, and has taken action to bring the # of guests down…
As of March 30, 2017, Amex Platinum members were limited to bringing two guests into Centurion Lounges. Each additional guest will run you $50 per person.
Prior to this policy change, members could bring in two guests or immediate family members, meaning a large family (2 adults and 3 kids) could enjoy the lounge together without any additional charge.
This change upset a some folks, but selfishly, I was OK with the change, since it didn’t affect me directly and would hopefully result in a fewer loungers. We have no kids, and even if we did my wife and I both have Amex Platinum cards so I wasn’t too worried about the whole thing…
Enough about overcrowding though, and back to my actual experience at the American Express Centurion Lounge at SFO…
Guesting Amex Centurion Access to Strangers
As we made our way up the staircase and to the front check-in desk, my wife and I observed an interesting human interaction between the woman working the front desk, a group of 5 adults traveling together and a complete stranger.
The front desk agent explained to the group that guesting privileges were limited to 2 guests per Cardmenber. The group was bummed that they had to split up and leave a couple friends outside the lounge, but accepted the policy.
That’s when 2 people turned around to make their way back out of the lounge. It was just as they turned that another Cardmember, whom they have never met before, offered to include the strangers as his guests during his visit.
“Are you sure?” they asked.
And the stranger came back with, “No problem at all… enjoy!”
With all of the crazy things that have been happening in and around airplanes this year, it was refreshing to see some empathy and generosity for a change.
Yes, the Centurion lounge is overcrowded.
Yes, these 2 additional guests would be taking up space and using up amenities, possibly impacting the experience of other Cardmembers, and contributing to my biggest Centurion Lounge complaint…
But, a little kindness goes a long way… right?
American Express did it right when it comes to the Centurion Lounge. It’s no wonder these things are always packed to the brim with air travelers.
Selfishly, I would love to experience an empty Centurion Lounge, hogging all food, drank and amenities to myself, but there is enough selfishness in the world of air travel… it’s refreshing to see an act of kindness every once in awhile!
Seriously though, let’s really keep this to “once in awhile” so the lounge is spoiled for the people who actually pay an annual membership fee on the Amex Platinum to use it!
What are your thoughts on Centurion Lounge overcrowding? Would you provide guest privileges to a stranger? Or would you be a selfish jerk laughing at others dejection on your way to herb crusted chicken and a martini (kidding, of course)?