A guide to Amex Centurion Lounges
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the addition of the Phoenix (PHX) lounge and upcoming access for Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express cardholders. It was originally published on Nov. 3, 2018.
American Express offers excellent membership benefits on its premium credit cards. One of these benefits is access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes Amex’s own network of Centurion Lounges as well as Airspace Lounges, Escape Lounges, Priority Pass Select lounges (but not restaurants), Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta, international American Express Lounges and more.
Related reading: A guide to lounge access with the Amex Platinum Card
This guide focuses on the most exclusive lounge type in the Global Lounge Collection: Amex’s Centurion Lounges. Centurion Lounges outpace most of their competition in several ways, offering seasonally inspired food designed by renowned local chefs, signature cocktails, premium spirits and curated wines — all complimentary. Some Centurion Lounges even offer spa services, wine tasting areas, family rooms and shower suites — also all complimentary.
If you like the sound of Centurion Lounges, keep reading to learn more about these lounges and how to get access.
Current lounge locations
There are currently Centurion Lounges in the following airports:
- Charlotte (CLT)
- Dallas (DFW), includes spa services
- Hong Kong (HKG)
- Houston (IAH)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Los Angeles (LAX), includes spa services
- New York (LGA)
- Philadelphia (PHL)
- Phoenix (PHX)
- Miami (MIA), includes spa services
- Seattle (SEA)
- San Francisco (SFO), includes a wine-tasting area
The airport names above link to articles on each Centurion Lounge, but I’ll also discuss each of these lounges in more detail near the end of this guide.
Tip: Don’t see a Centurion Lounge in the airports you frequent? Check to see if another Global Lounge Collection lounge is available.
Upcoming opening dates
Amex will increase its Centurion Lounge network significantly in 2020 as it opens multiple new lounges. So far Amex has opened new locations in Phoenix, Charlotte and Los Angeles this year. And here are the most recent estimates of the opening dates for the three other Centurion Lounges coming in 2020:
- New York (JFK): Second half of 2020
- London (LHR): Second half of 2020
- Denver (DEN): Second half of 2020
Since access for American, United and Delta lounges is now more restricted, these Centurion Lounge openings will be welcome additions for passengers who use these airports.
Related reading: The best credit cards for airport lounge access
How to gain access
Access to Centurion Lounges is generally limited to American Express cardholders with a Centurion or Platinum-branded card such as The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. Cardholders with other flavors of the Platinum Card, such as the Schwab or Ameriprise version as well as international versions, also have access.
Authorized users with a Centurion or Platinum Card also have access — you can add up to three authorized users to the personal Platinum Card for a total of $175 per year (see rates & fees) — but those who have the Platinum’s complimentary additional Gold Card don’t have access. Likewise, Amex cardholders with cards that aren’t Centurion or Platinum charge cards, such as those with the American Express® Gold Card or the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, usually don’t have access.
However, starting Jan. 30, 2020 Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express and Delta Reserve® for Business Credit Card cardholders will have complimentary access to Centurion Lounges when flying on a Delta-marketed or Delta-operated ticket purchased with any U.S.-issued American Express card.
In order to enter a Centurion Lounge you must present your eligible card, a boarding pass showing a confirmed reservation for same-day travel (on any carrier, unless you are entering using a Delta Reserve or Delta Business Reserve, in which case you must be flying Delta and have paid for your fare with an eligible card) and your government-issued identification.
You can use the Amex mobile app instead of showing your physical card — but since this isn’t offered at every location yet, it’s still best to bring your card with you. Regardless of whether you use the app or show a physical card — or perhaps a virtual card, if you’ve just been accepted — the name on the card must match the name on your ID.
The access regulations also vary based on the type of card you carry. Centurion cardholders may use Centurion Lounges as long as they have access to the terminal and a confirmed reservation for same-day travel.
However, non-Centurion cardholders have two additional access restrictions. First, they can’t enter with a boarding pass for a flight that has just landed unless they can produce proof of a confirmed connecting flight departing from the same airport. Second, they can’t enter more than three hours before the departure time on their same-day, confirmed boarding pass unless they can provide proof of a connecting flight.
Access is only for Platinum and Centurion members, Delta Reserve and Delta Business Reserve cardholders (starting Jan. 30, 2020, and only when flying Delta on a ticket paid for with an eligible Amex card) and invited guests of these members and cardholders. You can’t purchase access even if you carry another American Express card.
Related reading: Best American Express Credit Cards
Platinum cardholders may enter with up to two guests at no additional charge and Centurion cardholders may enter with up to two guests or immediate family — defined as a spouse or domestic partner and children under 18 — at no additional charge. Delta Reserve and Delta Business Reserve cardholders aren’t allowed any complimentary guests.
Guest access is per cardmember, not per card. So you’ll still only get two guests, even if you have the personal and business versions of the Platinum Card. If you want to bring additional guests over the complimentary-guest limit, you can purchase day passes for $50 per person at the time of entry. These one-day passes can be used at multiple Centurion Lounges on the same day, as long as the guest is still accompanied by the cardmember. Eligible Delta Reserve and Delta Business Reserve cardholders may purchase access for up to two guests per location.
Children under two years old may enter free of charge as long as the cardmember travelling with them is able to produce a lap-infant boarding pass or proof of age. You can show a passport, birth certificate, infant boarding pass or immunization record to prove that a child is under age two.
Extra benefits for Centurion cardholders
The American Express Centurion Card is an invitation-only card that requires high levels of annual spending to be invited, a hefty initiation fee and a high annual fee. But along with many other benefits, Centurion cardholders receive some extra benefits at Centurion lounges. These benefits aren’t widely publicized, but the benefits that we’re aware of for Centurion Lounges are:
- Access is virtually guaranteed, even when Platinum cardholders might be turned away because of capacity restrictions
- Reserved seating for Centurion cardholders (sometimes in a special area)
- Complimentary upgraded champagne
- Complimentary premium drink selection (only available at some lounges)
Related reading: Unadvertised perks of the invite-only Amex Centurion Card
Overview of each Centurion Lounge
Each Centurion Lounge is different. All provide a wide variety of drinks, quality dining, high-speed Wi-Fi and a mixture of seating for relaxation and work. But each Centurion Lounge provides different amenities and excels in different areas. Here’s what to expect at the lounges that are currently open.
The Dallas Centurion Lounge is open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Terminal D across from Gate D12 on the mezzanine level and can be reached from any other terminal via the Skylink train.
Cuisine at this lounge is designed by James Beard Award-winning chef Dean Fearing and includes locally inspired dishes such as Texas Migas with chorizo and sweet onions. Lounge amenities include spa therapies from Exhale, a shower suite, large flat-screen televisions, conference space, a family room, semi-private work spaces and a computer bar.
Review: Dallas Centurion Lounge
Hong Kong (HKG)
The Hong Kong Centurion Lounge is open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. in Terminal 1 on Level 7 and can be reached by taking the escalator just before Gate 60. This lounge offers locally inspired cuisine as well as a phone room, computer bar, shower suite and dedicated work area.
Review: Hong Kong Centurion Lounge
The Houston Centurion Lounge is open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Terminal D and is can be reached via the elevator located in the duty-free shop near Gate D6. You can get to Terminal D from other terminals inside the secure area via the Skyway train.
Locally inspired cuisine at this lounge is designed by James Beard Award-winning chef Justin Yu, chef and owner of Houston restaurant Theodore Rex. Lounge amenities include a tranquility area, phone room, dedicated work area, computer bar, family room and shower suite.
Review: Houston Centurion Lounge
Las Vegas (LAS)
The Las Vegas Centurion Lounge is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in Concourse D across from Gate D1. Concourse D can be reached from Terminal 1 or Terminal 3 via the transit system. Once you pass security, follow signs to D gates.
Cuisine at this lounge is designed by James Beard Award-nominated chef Kim Canteenwalla. Lounge amenities include a shower suite, large flat-screen televisions, conference space, family room, semi-private work spaces and a computer bar.
Review: Las Vegas Centurion Lounge
New York LaGuardia (LGA)
The New York LaGuardia Centurion Lounge is open from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. It’s located outside security in Central Terminal B, on the third floor between Concourses B and C. If your flight departs from another terminal, you can take the purple, red or blue airport shuttle on the departures level to travel between terminals.
Cuisine at this lounge is designed by one of Zagat’s “top 30 under 30” chefs, Cédric Vongerichten. Lounge amenities include large flat-screen televisions, semi-private work space and a computer bar.
Review: New York (LGA) Centurion Lounge
The Philadelphia Centurion Lounge is open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Terminal A West near Gate A14, and can be reached from any other terminal by walking or via shuttle bus.
Cuisine at this lounge is designed by chef Michael Solomonov, a pioneer in Israeli cuisine and four-time winner of James Beard Awards. Lounge amenities include a phone room, a shower suite and work spaces.
Review: Philadelphia Centurion Lounge
The Phoenix Centurion Lounge, which opened on Jan. 6, 2020, after a delay, is open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m in Terminal 4 across from Gate B22 on the upper level.
Cuisine at this lounge is designed by popular local Chef Doug Robson and features exquisite Mexican dishes like Pollo Asado with a tamarind glaze. Lounge amenities include shower suites and work spaces.
Review: Phoenix Centurion Lounge
The Miami Centurion Lounge is open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m and features floor-to-ceiling windows with expansive views of the runway. It’s in Concourse D on the fourth floor near Gate D12. The lounge is accessible via the SkyTrain within the D Concourse, but if you’re coming from another terminal you’ll need to re-enter through security with either a connecting or onward boarding pass.
Locally inspired cuisine is designed by James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein. Lounge amenities include spa therapies from Exhale, a shower suite, large flat-screen televisions, a family room, semi-private work spaces and a computer bar.
Review: Miami Centurion Lounge
The Seattle Centurion Lounge is open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Concourse B opposite Gate B3, and is accessible from any security checkpoint.
Unlike most Centurion Lounges, this lounge offers locally inspired light bites instead of meal-worthy cuisine. The amenities at this lounge are also more limited, likely because it was originally a Centurion Studio before it eventually expanded by about 50% to become a Centurion Lounge. Amenities include large flat-screen televisions and a shower suite.
Review: Seattle Centurion Lounge
San Francisco (SFO)
The San Francisco Centurion Lounge is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in Terminal 3 near Gate F1/F2 and can be reached post-security from Terminal 3 or from International Terminal G. If you are departing from a different terminal, you may be able to use your boarding pass to enter through Terminal 3 security to visit the lounge, but then you will need to exit security, take the AirTrain or walk to your terminal and then re-enter through security before your flight.
A locally inspired menu features a selection of freshly-made, hot and cold items available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lounge amenities include a wine-tasting area, shower suite, large flat-screen televisions, family room, semi-private work spaces and a computer bar.
Review: San Francisco Centurion Lounge
American Express’ premium credit cards that provide access to Centurion Lounges — the Platinum Card, Business Platinum Card and the invitation-only Centurion Card — are all cards that you carry for their membership benefits. One of the top benefits is use of the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes Centurion Lounges. These lounges can provide fabulous value for frequent domestic and international travelers and can help justify having one of these premium cards in your wallet.
And, starting Jan. 30, 2020, Delta Reserve and Delta Business Reserve cardholders can get a taste of Centurion Lounges on select trips. In particular, these cardholders will get complimentary access to Centurion Lounges when flying on Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flights if they pay their fare with any U.S.-issued American Express credit card.
Featured image of the Centurion Lounge in Miami (MIA) by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.
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