Amex has reopened all but 2 Centurion Lounges and more
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Our favorite blue doors are opening once again.
Nearly seven months ago, American Express shuttered all 12 of its Centurion Lounges due to the pandemic. Now, the issuer is reopening its top-notch airport hangouts across the country.
On Monday, Oct. 5, the Philadelphia and Seattle locations reopened, once again welcoming eligible Platinum Card® from American Express and Centurion cardmembers. Within a month, Amex reopened six other locations.
Amex is taking a phased approach to the reopenings. The company is weighing multiple factors on a local and state level, including COVID-19 case counts and local hospital capacity, in determining whether or not to reopen a given lounge. In Los Angeles, the lounge will remain closed for seating due to local government restrictions. Instead, Amex will offer grab-and-go food and beverage options.
Below you’ll find a list of the Centurion Lounge locations, along with their reopening dates. We’ll keep this information updated as we hear more from Amex.
- Charlotte (CLT) — reopened (7 a.m. – 7 p.m.)
- Dallas (DFW) — reopened (7 a.m. – 7 p.m.)
- Hong Kong (HKG)
- Houston (IAH) — reopened (5:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Los Angeles (LAX) — reopened for grab-and-go food and beverage options; no in-lounge seating (7 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
- Miami (MIA) — reopened (7 a.m. – 7 p.m.)
- New York (JFK) — opened (6 a.m. – 8 p.m.)
- New York (LGA) — the new lounge is slated to open in 2021
- Philadelphia (PHL) — reopened (8 a.m. – 7 p.m.)
- Phoenix (PHX) — reopened (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
- Seattle (SEA) — reopened (7 a.m. – 8 p.m.)
- San Francisco (SFO) — reopened (8 a.m. – 6 p.m., wine-tasting area remains closed)
In an interview with TPG, Alexander Lee, Amex’s vice president for travel experiences and benefits, said “we are ready to open in the right environment. Even though the demand for travel is suppressed, we want to be there to greet our cardmembers.”
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Many airline and third-party lounges reopened months ago. The lounge experience during the pandemic is noticeably different from before, and that’s the case at Centurion Lounges too.
All Amex outposts now adhere to the new “Centurion Lounge Commitment,” designed to ensure the health and safety of flyers and staff.
As part of this plan, lounge guests can expect socially distant seating arrangements, reduced capacity, increased frequency of cleanings, hand sanitizing stations and more. Masks are required to enter the lounge and can only be removed when eating or drinking. As government regulations and cardmembers’ needs evolve, so will the Centurion Lounge Commitment.
Amex lounges are some of the best in the world thanks to chef-inspired food, premium liquor and special amenities like showers, spas and family rooms. Most of these offerings remain available — but they’ve been modified to promote health and safety.
Buffets are closed. Instead, food is served in pre-portioned, individually-wrapped plates by Amex representatives. The bar is open with a full wine list, but the cocktail menus, designed by Jim Meehan, are abridged. This way, guests aren’t congregating around the bar while waiting for the mixologist to prepare drinks.
Shower rooms across the network are closed, and family rooms are limited to one family or group at a time, on a first-come, first-serve basis. The wine tasting area at the San Francisco lounge remains closed even though the lounge has reopened.
Cardmembers shouldn’t worry about overcrowding as lounges reopen. Lee is “confident that we’ll be able to accommodate all of our cardmembers. There’s no change to how we manage capacity — we operate on a first-come, first-serve basis.”
Amex was already hard at work at implementing a seamless, contactless check-in experience before the pandemic hit. In 2019, the issuer piloted a QR code-based check-in experience through the Amex mobile app. Lee confirmed with TPG that this technology is now available at all lounges, minimizing the number of touchpoints between cardmembers and staff.
Despite a pandemic, 2020 has been a big year for the Centurion Lounge network. In the first quarter, Amex opened brand-new locations in Phoenix, Charlotte and Los Angeles. Also, following a short coronavirus-related delay, the flagship New York-JFK has opened. Two more lounges — at Denver and London Heathrow — are on track to open by the end of the year. Finally, Amex has confirmed that an overhauled Las Vegas lounge and new LaGuardia location are coming in 2021.
More than ever, Amex is doubling down on its lounge network. Though demand for travel will likely remain at historic lows for quite some time, the issuer isn’t taking any breaks. Platinum and Centurion cardmembers can rest assured that once travel resumes, the Centurion Lounge network will be bigger and better than ever.
Related: Why you should get the Amex Platinum
And in the meantime, Amex has sweetened the deal for would-be travelers currently stuck at home. Updates to The Platinum Card® from American Express include added credits for streaming and wireless telephone carriers for the rest of the year.
With the Centurion Lounges reopening and limited-time benefits added to the card, there’s no better time to have the Platinum in your wallet.
Featured image by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
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