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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.

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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 info@thepointsguy.com.

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.

Apply Now
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.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.