Bare necessities: A review of the Amex Centurion Lounge in Seattle

Feb 27, 2020

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When it opened, the American Express Centurion Lounge in Seattle was the smallest Centurion location. It wasn’t even called a lounge, but rather a “Studio.” And it was consistently crowded.

However, things have since changed. In 2017, Amex found a little more space and expanded the Studio to 4,500 square feet. Though still on the small side, it can now handle more flyers. Nonetheless, the lounge still feels like a studio since it only offers the bare necessities.

In This Post

Location

The lounge is located in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in the B Concourse across from Gate B3. All gates are connected airside at SeaTac, so you can visit the lounge without needing to re-clear security — regardless of what airline you’re flying.

This outpost is right next to the Delta Sky Club, so if you’re a Delta flyer, you may prefer the Sky Club to this small Centurion Lounge.

Access

The Amex Centurion Lounge in Seattle is open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Customers can enter a Centurion Lounge by presenting The Platinum Card® from American Express ($550 annual fee. See rates and fees), The Business Platinum Card® from American Express or The Centurion® Card. Visitors are entitled to bring two guests (or immediate family, if you carry a Centurion Card), and lap infants don’t count against the two-guest allotment.

The information for the Centurion Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Which card is right for you? Amex Platinum vs. Amex Business Platinum

Cardmembers with other versions of the Platinum card (e.g., Schwab, Ameriprise or international cards) also have access. Authorized users with Centurion or Platinum cards can also enter — you may add up to three authorized users to the personal Platinum card for a total of $175 per year (see rates and fees) — but those who have Platinum’s complimentary additional Gold card don’t have access. This is the best strategy if you need to get a family larger than three into the Centurion Lounge.

Related: How to get a family of 4 or more into an Amex Centurion Lounge

Platinum cardmembers only have access to Centurion lounges up to three hours before a departing flight. When connecting through the airport, Platinum cardmembers must have an onward boarding pass to enter the lounge.

RELATED: Maximizing benefits with the Amex Platinum card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express cardholders receive complimentary access to the Centurion Lounge when flying Delta with a ticket purchased on any American Express card issued in the U.S. You’ll be able to bring up to two guests for a fee of $50 each.

But Delta has that gorgeous Sky Club in Seattle nearby. I’d rather relax there than in the Centurion Lounge.

Layout

After entering the lounge, you’ll immediately find yourself in one of the main relaxation areas. There are a few chairs along the wall, as well as some freestanding couches.

Next to this area is the buffet, as well as a co-working table. Just past the buffet are four of Amex’s signature black solo seats.

Then, the room splits in two with one side dedicated to the library area and the other to a relaxation area.

There’s plenty of counter seating along the perimeter wall of this main room.

The dining area is just behind the room that’s adjacent to the lounge’s entrance. It features four high-top tables, twelve regular-size dining tables, counter seating and tables by the window. As a solo traveler, I love sitting at a bar, but sadly there weren’t any barstools here.

At least the dining room sports great views of the ramp between Concourses A and B.

Even after the expansion, this is still the smallest lounge in the network —  and it shows. It took me a while to find a seat, which is par for the course at the Seattle location. In fact, I’ve been placed on a waitlist for entry in some earlier visits.

Furthermore, because of the open layout, there’s no real privacy here.

Getting a seat isn’t hard if you have the Centurion Card because there are two black signature chairs and one dining table reserved for those cardholders.

Amex did a good job of expanding the space, but this lounge still suffers from overcrowding. If you can find somewhere to sit, you’ll enjoy your time here. If not, you’ll be begging Amex to expand it again.

Amenities

The most disappointing aspect of this lounge is the lack of amenities. There’s no family room, phone booth, spa or conference room.

The Seattle location also fails to deliver on one of a lounge’s single most important features — clean, plentiful and private restrooms.

There were just two individual-use bathrooms by the entrance and one more in the dining room. I consistently waited over 10 minutes to use one. During a previous visit, it got so bad that I left the lounge to use another restroom.

There is one average-size shower room that’s available on a first-come, first-served basis. It features L’Occitane amenities.

 

The good news is that AC power and USB ports are available at almost every seat.

And the password-protected Wi-Fi worked well with download and upload speeds averaging 50 Mbps.

Food and beverage

Centurion Lounges are known for above-average food and drink selection, and this location was no exception.

Though the lounge doesn’t have a full kitchen or partner with a local award-winning chef, the food was still much better than most domestic lounges.

Breakfast was served from lounge opening until 10:30 a.m. The selection was a bit more limited than other Centurion Lounges, consisting only of continental options.

There were cereals (granola, Fruit Loops and Cornflakes), pastries (apple danish, scones and lemon bread), charcuterie, tomato and mozzarella, oatmeal and a fruit and yogurt bar.

There was also a small bread bar with a choice of preserves.

There’s a Franke coffee machine behind the buffet that was kept quite busy during breakfast hours.

At 11 a.m., the buffet transitioned to ail-day dining fare, which was much closer to what you’d find in other Centurion Lounges.

There were two soups (chicken gumbo and corn chowder when I visited), a salad bar, rosemary chicken, green beans, potatoes, pasta, chips and salsa, chocolate caramel brownies and funfetti cookies.

Everything I tried was good and tasted fresh.

There’s a small hydration station near the entrance of the dining room with iced tea, lemon Fresca and fruit infused water. There were also two snack jars — one with Goldfish crackers and the other with dried apricots.

For more serious hydration, the bar offered a selection of cocktails curated by Jim Meehan from his bar, Please Don’t Tell, in New York City.

There was also an extensive wine menu hand-picked by Anthony Giglio.

And finally, there were two beers on tap — Mac and Jack’s African Amber and Bodhizafa IPA.

Overall impression

Even after an expansion, the Centurion Lounge in Seattle still offers a limited experience compared to Centurion’s other locations. There’s much less seating and many fewer amenities. Furthermore, there are just three single-use restrooms, so you often need to wait.

But the news isn’t all bad — the gastronomic experience rivals that of the other Centurion Lounges. The food is great, and the drink selection is top-notch. If you can find a seat, take it.

All photos by the author.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.

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