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If you’ve read any articles about the The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ve probably heard about Centurion Lounge access, which is one of the most valuable benefits of the Platinum Card. But what exactly are Amex Centurion Lounges and why should you care about them?
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What are Amex Centurion Lounges?
Amex Centurion Lounges are relatively new airport lounges created by American Express beginning in 2013 with the opening of the lounge in Las Vegas. They are some of the nicest lounges found in the US, especially when compared to the lounges offered by the major domestic carriers.
What airports have Amex Centurion Lounges?
Currently, you can find Amex Centurion Lounges at the following locations below. As you can see, they typically open around 5am and stay open until late but none of them are open 24 hours.
Almost all lounges are located after security, but keep in mind that if you’re coming from another terminal like at MIA, you might have to re-enter security to get back to your terminal after accessing the lounge.
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
- Location: Terminal D, opposite Gate D17 on the mezzanine
- Hours: 5:30am to 10pm
- Intercontinental Houston Airport (IAH)
- Location: Terminal D, access via elevators near Gate D6
- Hours: 5:30am to 9pm
- Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS)
- Location: Concourse D, opposite Gate D1)
- Hours: 5am to 11 pm
- Miami International Airport (MIA)
- Location: Concourse D, near Gate D12)
- Hours: 5am to 11 pm
- New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
- Location: Terminal B, pre-security, on the upper level),
- Hours: Sunday – Friday 5:30 am to 8 pm, Saturday 5:30 am to 6:30 pm
- Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
- Location: second level at Terminal A-West, near gate A14)
- Hours: 5am to 9pm
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- Location: Terminal 3, near Gate 74
- Hours: 5am to 11pm
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
- Location: Concourse B, opposite Gate B3
- Hours: 5am to 10pm
- Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
- Location: Terminal 1; take the escalator just before Gate 60
- Hours: 5:30am – 12:30am
How can I get access to Amex Centurion Lounges?
In order to gain access, you’ll need to be an American Express cardmember.
Access to The Centurion Lounge is complimentary for Platinum Card and Centurion® Members.
However, all other Card Members with a valid American Express Credit or Charge Card are eligible to purchase access to the Lounge for $50 per day, subject to capacity. Update: Non-platinum cardholders can no longer purchase day passes. If you want to bring in more than one guest, you can still pay $50 for their access.
Once you show up to The Centurion Lounge, you must present The Centurion agent with your American Express card, a boarding pass showing a confirmed reservation for same-day travel on any carrier and a government-issued ID.
So it doesn’t matter what carrier you are flying with or if you’re flying first class or basic economy, as long as you have your American Express card with you and your boarding pass and ID, you can get access to the lounge.
Does Priority Pass get me access to Amex Centurion Lounges?
While Priority Pass is a valuable benefit of the Platinum Card, it will not get you access into the Centurion Lounge.
What’s so special about Amex Centurion Lounges?
Aside from the perks discussed below, I think the Centurion Lounges are bit unique because they’re just simply nicer than a lot of other domestic lounges. Aesthetically speaking, I find the design, decor, and furniture more visually appealing and often times more comfortable than other standard airport lounges in the US.
The service in Centurion Lounges is also great, too. The staff members are usually exceptionally friendly, enthusiastic, and professional and will attentively serve you drinks and take requests. That’s definitely not something you get in every lounge.
There’s also a certain “exclusivity factor” since you need to hold a Platinum Card or Centurion Card to get in for free. (Although with the crowding issues at some of these Centurion Lounges, you may not necessarily feel so “exclusive.”)
Can I bring guests with me into The Centurion Lounge?
Yes. American Express used to allow Platinum Card members to bring in two guests or an unlimited number of immediate family members. However, they recently changed this policy and now only allow a total of two guests, regardless of familial status.
Centurion cardholders can also bring in their immediate family, however.
Can I get free food and drinks in Centurion Lounges?
Yes. One of the great perks about the lounge is that you are offered free hot meals and free drinks, including alcoholic beverages. In fact, each Amex Centurion Lounge has its own specialty cocktails you can request. For example, almost every time I visit the lounge at IAH, I make sure to try my favorite, The Chinese New Year.
As for the dining, Amex teams up with renowned local chefs to deliver its cuisine. However, if I’m being honest, the food in the Centurion Lounge can be a bit hit or miss for me. There’s usually some decent options to choose from, but sometimes there’s just not too much food that I care for.
They often have healthy dining options but I’ve even seen things like fried chicken being served up, so it definitely varies. Overall, the food is usually acceptable and beyond the finger food or snacks that you often find in some other US lounges but just not always knock-it-out-of-the-park delicious.
You can usually get tea and coffee, too. Also, they usually have a container of some kind of infused water which is very tasty to me.
Do Centurion Lounges have free wifi and work stations?
American Express Centurion Lounges are one of the best places to get work done. They provide high speed wifi on a complimentary basis and usually have tables and other work stations that you can take advantage of. They also typically have a computer bar area equipped with printer, fax, and copier.
If you’re just looking to pass the time you should be able to find a collection of find magazines to keep you occupied for a while.
Do Centurion Lounges have showers and spas?
Many of the Centurion Lounges have showers and a couple of them like the ones in DFW and Miami do have spas. I haven’t tried out the spas so I can’t comment on them personally, but I’ve read reports of others having good experiences.
Another nice perk that some lounges like the one in Houston have is a place to rest and take a nap on comfy chase lounge chairs.
If you’re in the mood to just sit in a comfortable chair, you’ll be able to find those in the lounge, too. Many of the lounges also have cubbies as seen below that offer you a semi-private experience. In addition, you can usually find monitors displaying flight information in various parts of the lounge so you can stay updated on your flight status.
Do Centurion Lounges have family/kid rooms?
Some of the Centurion Lounges offer special rooms filled with things to keep your kids occupied. They usually have a transparent wall so you can keep an eye on them from the outside.
American Express Centurion Lounges are some of the nicest domestic lounges that you’ll probably come across. There are more popping up each year and now it looks like they are expanding overseas, which is great to see. I personally put a lot of value in my frequent visits to The Centurion Lounge at IAH, since it gives me a comfortable working space, quality wifi, and complimentary drinks and food.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the digital smart wallet, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.