Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

Are Amex Centurion Lounges Worth a Detour?

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

TPG reader Ian writes via twitter:

@thepointsguy — “is it worth going out of your way to get to a Centurion Lounge?”

The state of domestic airline lounges isn’t all that great. While a lot of airlines are upgrading lounges, they’ve also increased the cost of admission, as well as prices for premium drinks and food. However, in the last few years, American Express started launching its own network of Centurion Lounges, and in my opinion, they’ve changed the game and the way I think about lounge access.

In my opinion, these lounges are worth the visit. I often get to LaGuardia earlier because I actually want to eat in the Centurion Lounge. The food is high quality (the lemongrass fried chicken is amazing!), and if you have The Platinum Card from American Express or the Centurion Card from American Express, access is free for you and up to two guests. Compare that to Delta’s new stingy guest policy and the Amex lounges come out looking even better.

The Amex Centurion Lounges offer a nice, quiet place to relax, with good food, drinks and more. They’re well worth a visit if you’re passing by.

If you don’t have the Platinum or Centurion card, but you do have another American Express card, you can pay $50 for entry (except at the new Centurion Studio in Seattle). I think you could easily get that value back at these lounges; they have a top-shelf bar, so you can do the math there. Even the worst airport food is expensive, so to eat a decent meal, get some good cocktails and free Wi-Fi, and maybe even enjoy a spa treatment is well worth $50 in my opinion.

All that said, the food is good and the cocktails are nice, but your time is valuable. I wouldn’t build in a 5-hour layover just to hang out in the lounge. Generally, with TSA Precheck I try to get through the airport as quickly as possible unless there’s a Centurion Lounge, which (fortunately for me) is often the case, since I routinely fly from Miami and LaGuardia.

I’m a big fan of what Amex is doing with these lounges, and I’m excited for the new one to open up in Houston. We haven’t found out precisely when that will happen, but you’ll know as soon as I do.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Apply Now
  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year for baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
  • Enroll to enjoy the benefits of complimentary Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status with your Platinum Card.®
  • No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A N/A $450 0% Excellent Credit