American Express Centurion Lounges Now Offer Mobile Check-in. First Step Towards What? – View from the Wing

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American Express announced the acquisition of LoungeBuddy in March and it wasn’t super clear what that would mean. We were told only that there would be “additional [unspecified] ways” that American Express will “become an essential part of our…digital lives.”

Now we have the first way. American Express has rolled out mobile check-in for Centurion lounges.

Platinum and Centurion cardmembers can begin the check-in process up to 30 minutes prior to lounge arrival using the “Find a Lounge” tool in the American Express app. Cardmmebers still have to show their photo ID and boarding pass at the desk when they arrive.


Dallas Fort-Worth Centurion Lounge

Currently you show your eligible American Express card, ID, and boarding pass. So this just cuts out the step of scanning your card, which really doesn’t take any appreciable amount of time. Any bottleneck getting into a lounge comes from standing in line behind other guests, some of whom have questions or may be booking a spa time at the Dallas or Miami lounges.

Zach Honig points out that this will be useful to customers who don’t have their physical Amex cards with them, saving time getting looked up at the desk.

My hunch is it will take more time to pre-register than it will just to have your card swiped. I don’t really see this as a time saver. Instead I wonder if it’s a precursor to a new more aggressive crowding management solution.

Back in September Josh McKay, American Express Vice President of Global Premium Product Benefits, said they’d be rolling out a feature for cardmembers “to book lounge visits with the Amex app and allow the company to manage lounge demand in real time.”


Dallas Fort-Worth Centurion Lounge

At the time American Express walked back the statement, suggesting that booking via app is an example of something they’ll consider not something they planned to implement. However now it’s here. The question, I think, is whether the feature will be used in the future to pre-reserve a limited number of spaces in the lounge.