American Express offers some of the most diverse airport lounge benefits of any credit card issuer through its flagship Platinum Card. A complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select opens the door at over 600 clubs worldwide, and you can also flash your Platinum Card to gain access to other lounges operated by Airspace and Delta Air Lines. But not everyone knows that American Express operates its own airport lounges and is expanding that network within the U.S.
The most recent attention has been given to the American Express Centurion Lounges, beginning with Las Vegas (Concourse D, served by United Airlines), Dallas/Fort Worth (Terminal D, served by American Airlines and international departures), New York-LaGuardia (Terminal B, Landside), San Francisco (Terminal 3 Concourse F, served by United Airlines), Miami (North Terminal Concourse D, served by American Airlines), and most recently, Houston (Terminal D). The Centurion Studio, an extension of the Centurion Lounge network in a smaller setting, is available in Seattle (Concourse B, served by Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and Virgin America). All lounges are located airside and can be accessed from other terminals via inter-terminal trains or walkways, with the exception of the LaGuardia location, which is before security.
The Centurion Lounges are complimentary for guests with a Platinum Card or Centurion Card from American Express.
When it comes to the San Francisco location, SFO's inter-terminal train is located groundside and requires passengers to clear security again when moving between terminals. However, there is an airside corridor that connects Concourse F to some international departures in Concourse G. As for the LaGuardia lounge, it is located before security due to the absence of easy connections between gates.
Remember, passengers with a valid ticket may usually access other areas of the airport even if their flight uses a different terminal. Just be sure to leave time to exit and re-clear security before your departure!
The Centurion Lounges are truly a notch above most domestic U.S. lounges, which reflects their association with a premium card issuer like American Express. Guests can partake of a gourmet taco bar for breakfast and lunch at the 9,000-square-foot location in Dallas/Fort Worth as well as other rotating menu choices imagined by Chef Dean Fearing. Since the menus for each Centurion Lounge are designed by a different gourmet chef, guests will also be able to feast on the culinary delights of Scott Conant (in Las Vegas), Cedric Vongerichten (in New York-LaGuardia), Daniel Patterson (in San Francisco) and Michelle Bernstein (in Miami). Relax on one of the lounge chairs, catch up on work with the complimentary WiFi, or reserve the complimentary meeting room. A children's room with video games and other toys is also available.
Make your own taco for breakfast or lunch when passing through Dallas/Fort Worth, or try any of the other gourmet cuisine.
Relax in one of the leather wingback chairs at Dallas/Fort Worth.
Many of the same amenities are available at the original location in Las Vegas, with a separate menu by Chef Scott Conant. An early breakfast of brioche French toast with gianduja whipped cream may not cure your hangover, but it will be a sweet end to a weekend of partying before the trip home. The Centurion Lounges, with the exception of LaGuardia, also have shower suites if you need to refresh between connecting flights or if you just spent a day in the summer heat.
To find out more about the San Francisco location, be sure to check out our in-depth look here.
The most amazing thing about the Centurion Lounges is that all of these benefits are included in the entry fee, which is waived for Platinum and Centurion Cardholders. (Other American Express Cardholders must pay $50 per person.) Yes, that means even treatments at the Exhale Spa in Dallas/Fort Worth and Miami, providing chair massages, skin treatments, and manicures - all performed by excellent professionals.
Or get a massage and facial at the Exhale Spa.
No lounge visit would be complete without a drink, so each location also has its own menu of specialty cocktails designed by mixologist Jim Meehan. At Dallas-Fort Worth these include treats like Texas Toast (a mix of sparkling wine, Blancones True Blue whiskey, Palo Cortado sherry, maple syrup, and toasted pecan bitters) or Tex/Mex (Tito's Vodka, Cabeza Blanco tequila, corn, honey, lime, and jalapeno). You're more likely to find classic cocktails like the Paloma and Vestper in Las Vegas, which would surely make the Rat Pack proud.
Specialty cocktails are designed by LTD mixologist Jim Meehan and prepared using fresh fruit juices.
Individuals traveling with a larger family or group may want to consider adding an authorized chardholder to their account before leaving home. The consumer version of the Platinum Card allows up to three additional cardholders for a flat fee of $175 - less than $60 per person - which includes many of the same benefits provided to the primary cardholder, including airport lounge access. (Adding additional cardholders to a Business Platinum Card is significantly more expensive.)
American Express has also operated international lounges for several years. These include the Centurion Clubs at international airports located in Mexico City (MEX) (T1, T1 Platinum, T2), Buenos Aires (EZE), Rio De Janeiro (SDU), and Sao Paulo (CGH) as well as the Platinum Lounges in Mumbai (BOM) and Delhi (DEL). Simply present your Platinum Card and a ticket for same-day travel along with a photo ID.
Cardholders are permitted to bring two guests to the Centurion Clubs, while access to the Platinum Lounges is limited to one companion. Additional guests may be permitted for a fee.
The Centurion Club at Buenos Aires was recently expanded to 8,600 square feet (800 square meters) and is open 24 hours every day. Guests have access to a wide range of benefits include an upgraded buffet; beer, wine, and cocktails; semi-private workspaces; and a family room.
Guests can chat in a relaxing, modern atmosphere while waiting for their flights.
While children have their own dedicated playroom to keep them entertained.
Seating is available for 149 guests and include several distinct formats that allow close conversation or more open mingling. Computer stations let guests check their email or upcoming flight information if they don't have personal computers with them. Or, entertain yourself watching one of the large screen televisions.
Watch a movie on the television, or read a magazine next to the living green wall.
Although these international locations may not have all amenities of the Centurion Lounges in the United States - e.g., some provide freshly prepared hot food, but at an additional charge - they remain a valuable alternative for customers who lack access to traditional airline lounges, which may be restricted to passengers in premium cabins or with elite status.
American Express has been in the business of meeting travelers' needs for over 100 years, and by bringing its network of airport lounges back to the U.S. market where the company was founded it demonstrates that it continues to find new ways of assisting its cardholders. More people are traveling by air than ever before, connecting at busy hubs and - hopefully not too often - waiting out delays.
The next time you're at the airport, be sure to check if one of these American Express lounges is located near you. Download the LoungeBuddy mobile app for iOS or Android to stay informed with pictures, amenities, access rules, and new locations as they're announced.
U.S. Locations and Operating Hours
- Location: Concourse D, opposite Gate D1
- Hours: 5:00 AM to 12:00 AM
- Location: Terminal D, opposite Gate D17 on the upper level
- Hours: 5:30 AM to 10:00 PM
- Location: Terminal 3, Boarding Area F, opposite Gate 75 on the mezzanine level
- Hours: 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM
- Location: Terminal B, pre-security, third level
- Hours: 6:00 am to 8:00 pm
- Location: North Terminal, Concourse B, 4th floor, across from Gate D14
- Hours: 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM
- Location: Terminal D, near Gate D6
- Hours: 5:30 AM to 9:00 PM
- Location: Concourse B, near Gate B3
- Hours: 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Centurion Lounges in the United States are complimentary for those with the Platinum Charge Card or Centurion Card from American Express. Cardholders may bring two guests (one guest at the Centurion Studio). Guests with any other American Express card may enter any of the US Centurion Lounge locations, excluding the Centurion Studio, for a $50 fee.
Centurion Clubs in Latin America are complimentary for those with the Platinum Charge Card or Centurion Card from American Express. Complimentary access for other American Express cardholders may be available at some locations. Cardholders may bring two guests or a spouse and two children. Platinum Lounges in India are complimentary for those with the Platinum Charge Card or Centurion Card from American Express. Cardholders may bring one guest.
This is a guest post by Scott Mackenzie who writes the blog Travel Codex.