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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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!