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Last night, I had the opportunity to attend a preview of the Amex Centurion Lounge at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), which officially opens tomorrow morning and will be the fourth Centurion lounge in the U.S. and the first location on the West Coast, which is located in Terminal 3 past security, and open daily from 5am to 11 pm.

The new American Express Centurion lounge at SFO.
The new American Express Centurion lounge at SFO.

The other three Centurion lounges can be found at New York’s LaGuardia (LGA)Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport (LAS), and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), while a fifth is set to open in Miami (MIA) early in 2015.

Map of San Francisco Airport.
The Centurion lounge is located inside Terminal 3.

Admission

Both Amex Centurion and The Platinum Card from American Express cardholders as well as their spouse or domestic partner, children under 18, or up to two companions receive complimentary access to the lounge. Occasionally, American Express sends promotional mailings or emails to its other cardholders to offer them complimentary access to Centurion lounges, but in general, these Amex cardholders can purchase a one-day lounge pass for $50, which also grants admission.

Christopher Kostow, chef at The Restaurant at Meadowood
Christopher Kostow, chef at The Restaurant at Meadowood

The 8,200 square-foot space, which is located just past security in Terminal 3 near Gates 74/75, makes it a lot larger than the LaGuardia location. Overall the food last night was delicious and the tasting menu that I tried was flavorful and healthy, and it felt very San Francisco/Sonoma and Farm to Table inspired dining.

Spacious bar area at the new Centurion lounge.
Spacious bar area at the new Centurion lounge.

One of my favorite parts of the lounge is the bar with complete with Brew Free! or Die IPA, Anchor Steam and Sierra Nevada on tap. Another cool feature about the lounge is the wine machine, which is taster where you can scan you sheet and get to try 5 different wines per visit.

The seasonal, Napa Valley-inspired menu here was designed by Christopher Kostow, chef at The Restaurant at Meadowood, a luxury resort in St. Helena, California. As at all of the other Centurion lounges, the cocktail list here was crafted by mixologist/author Jim Meehan and the wine list of Napa Valley pours, served in a dedicated wine tasting area, was chosen by wine consultant Anthony Giglio.

The food at the Centurion lounge was great- very healthy options!
The food at the Centurion lounge was great- several healthy options!

Amenities:

In addition to the complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the lounge, there are power outlets near each seat, and there’s a Centurion concierge available to answer questions about your credit card(s) or your travel plans and/or logistics. A sound-proof family room provides a separate place for kids to play, out of earshot of adults who – like me – may be trying to either work, relax, or do a little of both. The shower rooms weren’t quite finished yet, and I don’t know if they will be ready for the grand opening tomorrow morning.

Is it uncouth to drink champagne in the family room?!
Is it uncouth to drink champagne in the family room?!

Free Uber Rides Tomorrow

To celebrate the opening of the new SFO lounge, for one day only (Thursday, November 6, 2014), ride-share service Uber is offering Amex cardmembers complimentary Black Car rides from San Francisco to SFO. To take advantage of this one-day offer, just make sure you’re using one of these two cards as your method of payment on Uber app, and enter the promo code CENTURIONSFO into the app when you request your ride to the airport.

Spacious seating area at the new centurion lounge.
Spacious seating area at the new centurion lounge.

For those who have yet to visit a Centurion lounge, they’re worth the trip. Even though Amex lost American lounge access, these lounges are definitely a way for American Express to rebuild their brand for their cardholders and enhance their overall travel experience and I look forward to many more opening.

I’ll be at the American Express Centurion lounge tomorrow morning before my flight, so if you happen to be at the airport in the morning, stop by and say hello! It seems that Amex is slowly repairing the damage done by the loss of other lounge benefits from the Platinum cards, and while there’s still work to be done, the expanding network of Centurion lounges is a great start!

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
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Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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