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TPG’s Sneak Peek Behind the Scenes of the New DFW Centurion Lounge

Sept. 27, 2018
15 min read
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The new 12,500-square-foot Centurion Lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) makes great use of a previously vacant upper wing of Terminal D, utilizing the space with both taste and efficiency. This lounge is family-friendly, with a sound-proof children's room and changing facilities in the bathrooms.

The lounge opens Thursday, September 27, a tiny bit ahead of its anticipated October debut. The facility is open every day and features an all-new menu inspired by fresh ingredients and local products. The full bar menu includes a number of local wine, beer and spirit selections amongst its offerings, while the dishes feature Texas-inspired names such as the I-35 Truck Stop and the Dallas Pancake Series.


Although Platinum card holders have access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection's suite of more than 1,100 lounges worldwide, Amex currently only has nine Centurion Lounges around the world. These represents the crème de la crème of the Amex brand. Each lounge's unique decor reflects the culture of the city in which it is located, while food and beverage menus are crafted by top chefs and sommeliers using locally sourced products and ingredients wherever possible.

American Express will open three new Centurion Lounges in 2019, in New York's JFK, Denver and Los Angeles. In the meantime, only one of the nine Centurion Lounges (Hong Kong) is not located in the US. The other eight locations are:

The Centurion Lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth

The Dallas-Fort Worth airport is no stranger to the Centurion Lounge program. TPG reviewed the old Centurion Lounge last August, earning our reviewer Lan's vote for "best amenities" out of the seven US lounges. However, that lounge has been closed for two months in anticipation of this newly-built space adjacent to Gate D12.

Located in Terminal D between the D18 regular checkpoint and the TSA Pre-Check checkpoint, the new and improved location brings over the best of the old lounge and expounds upon it.

Our previous TPG reviewer reported that DFW was the busiest Centurion Lounge location he visited, and that the 9,000-square-foot space often felt crowded. The new 12,500-square-foot Centurion Lounge, with almost 40% more space and 150% more seats than the previous location, makes great use of a previously underused upper wing of Terminal D, utilizing the space with both taste and efficiency.

The long railway apartment layout allows travelers to spread out, with generalized work and dining stations distributed toward one end of the lounge and relax areas for napping, spa treatments, showers and a conference room situated at the other end.

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Unfortunately, the DFW Centurion Lounge doesn't offer any views of the tarmac – but neither did the previous location, so there's no particular loss to AvGeeks there. Instead, the lounge overlooks Terminal D's busiest areas, including the security checkpoints.

Travelers with young children will particularly appreciate a dedicated family room replete with bright decor, video games, books, toys and other child-friendly amenities. Travelers without children will be very pleased with the sound-proof room: we asked a staff member to stand inside and yell, but could barely hear her from the outside.

Check-In and Entry

Photo courtesy of American Express.

To get to the new lounge, travelers will enter the elevator banks located adjacent to Gate D12 and across from what will soon be a Pinkberry, according to airport teaser signs. The check-in area looks pretty standard for American Express Centurion Lounges, with the ubiquitous signature green plant wall to the left of the customer service desks.

A bank of sleek lockers is located right behind the desk. Each locker is activated by a personalized passcode, very similar to those found in high-end gyms and spas. Travelers can use these to store unnecessary carry-ons, coats and other miscellaneous items.

The lounge is shaped like a long "T", with the left arm leading toward work and dining stations and the right arm leading toward shower, spa and nap facilities.

Crisp monitors display current travel information so passengers don't have to worry about missing their onward flight.

A little automated information nook allows customers to look up quick details on their own without bothering the Amex concierges.

The Facilities

The restrooms are located toward the far left of the lounge, past the dining area. While this isn't a major inconvenience, making a last-minute bathroom run in this lounge during busy hours could mean the difference between catching or missing a flight during busy times.

The facilities are spacious, bright and cheerful, with thoughtful touches in both men's and women's rooms, such as a shoe polisher in the men's room and toiletries and other amenities available in the women's room. The changing table area includes a diaper disposal station underneath.

Individual stalls are wide enough to easily accommodate a carry-on suitcase.

The shower facilities are located on the other end of the lounge, toward the right of the space.

Each room includes a toilet and a vanity area.

Of course we had to check, and yes, the shower does pass the TPG Shower Test, which is an unofficial metric by which 6'7" TPG founder Brian Kelly checks to see if he can comfortably fit underneath a facility's shower head. If not, it's no bueno and fails the TPG Shower Test!

Fortunately, the DFW Centurion Lounge facilities pass with flying colors. In fact, team members specifically mentioned keeping elite customers like Brian in mind when designing this space. Now that's good customer service.

Food and Beverage

The dining area is probably the most visually appealing section of the entire lounge. The Centurion signature overhead lighting is present, but other recessed fixtures contribute to the overall bright, airy vibe of the space.

The dining options were plentiful, colorful and beautifully designed and displayed. Even the dishes had local-inspired names, such as the I-35 Truck Stop, a queso enchilada casserole. Waitstaff also distributed passed appetizers throughout the lounge.

While everything was extremely fresh, I found the flavors to be a little bit on the bland side. I tend to enjoy heavy seasonings – the spicier the better – so I could easily see the fare appealing to a more delicate palate.

The bar features vintage-inspired decor unique to the DFW location. I was pleased to notice that the bar offerings also include a selection of local liquors and wines.

Both food and beverage menus will rotate seasonally. For the upcoming months, the wine menu includes a selection of sparkling, white, rosè and red wines from Italy, South Africa, New Zealand, France, Spain, Argentina and California.

Cocktails are served between 10:30am – 9:30pm and were created exclusively for American Express by Jim Meehan, managing partner of James Beard Winner PDT and Contributing Editor of FOOD & WINE. The fall seasonal menu includes a series of drinks featuring Texas spirits, amongst others.

The standard hot and cold beverages are also available at three drink stations located throughout the lounge. Fruit-garnished water is available in the dining section, while the other two stations offer still and sparkling water from a dispenser. Hot drinks include a selection of coffees and teas.

Relax: Spa, Chaise Lounges, Showers and More

Once you enter the DFW Centurion Lounge, the relaxation areas are located toward the right. This includes three shower rooms, the signature spa, which offers complimentary manicures and chair massages, and three chaise lounges for catching a few winks as well as some scattered seating.

The spa technicians are veterans from the previous Centurion Lounge, so you don't have to worry about a drop in quality of service.

The spa is softly aromatic with essential oils and yummy massage oil scents.

The spa uses SpaRitual Gold polishes, which the spa director touted would dry in 30-60 seconds without requiring gel curing or any other voodoo magic.

As far as my own nails went, I found this statement to be true: nary a chip, scratch or smudge even when I slipped my hand into my bag to grab my phone a couple minutes later.

Most of the seating areas were very similar, but a few unique spots stood out.

The children's room in particular will be popular with parents and childless travelers alike, since the room is very well sound-proofed. (TPG coaxed an unnamed Amex staff member into a sound test by having her yell inside the room with the door closed; success!) Amex spared no expense on acquiring designer wallpaper for the room, as well as state-of-the-art video game facilities including a Kinect to help kids get the travel wiggles out of their system. The Lounge will receive a shipment of toys and books before the official opening date. The general manager assured me that Dr. Seuss is a standard part of the Lounge library repertoire. Oh, the places you'll go, indeed.

Work Zones

The space overall is fairly versatile, but there are a few features that may especially stand out to road warriors. First of all, there are ample outlets everywhere, including a number of charging stations built into tables and discreetly along the floor facing the airport. Some of the outlets also include USB ports for additional charging options. The signature cube-shaped soft-sided seats give introverts a sense of peaceful coziness amidst a busy environment. As an added bonus, the padded sides absorb a little bit of ambient sound as well.

On the business side of the lounge, travelers will find a large conference desk tucked away behind the reading materials divider. Passengers who need a bit more privacy can duck into one of three phone rooms located in this section.

The Centurion Lounge also boasts a smaller private conference room, on the other side of the lounge, next to the shower rooms. This room is on a first-come, first-serve basis.


All in all, the new DFW Centurion Lounge is an excellent addition to Amex's signature lounge portfolio. Previously, our biggest complaint was that the DFW Lounge felt crowded, and the additional space should resolve some of those woes at least for a while. As previously mentioned, the Amex team seems to have done a really great job of bringing over the best features of the previous location, so it just remains to be seen how well everything functions tomorrow when business resumes as usual.

Interested in exploring the new DFW Centurion Lounge yourself? Here's how to do it: Access to the Centurion Lounge is complimentary and exclusive to cardholders of the American Express Centurion Card, The Platinum Card® from American Express, or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. All eligible cardholders are allowed to bring in two guests; alternatively, Centurion members can invite immediate family members into the lounge instead. Additional day passes can be purchased for $50 apiece by Centurion or Platinum cardmembers.

Not passing through DFW? No worries. Remember that American Express has several other Centurion Lounges located across the US and around the world, with JFK, DEN and LAX Lounges set to open in 2019. Current locations include:

All photos except for Amex Centurion Lounge concourse entrance by Katherine Fan for The Points Guy.

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