The Centurion Lounge Guide

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The Centurion Lounges are airport lounges operated by American Express for their cardholders. An assortment of amenities from food & drink to showers can be found inside. This guide will discuss about how to get in and share what’s behind those doors.

Locations

There are currently 6 locations, with one on the way some time in 2016.

  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Las Vegas (LAS)
  • La Guardia (LGA)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • Seattle (SEA) – technically a “Centurion Studio” location, which is smaller and exclusively for Platinum and Centurion cardholders.
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Houston (IAH) – coming soon in 2016.
How to Get In

All Centurion Lounges are accessible to any American Express cardholder for $50 per day and subject to capacity.

However, if you hold any variation of the American Express Platinum (or Centurion) card (personal, business or corporate), you will receive complimentary access. You are also allowed to bring in two guests or immediate family (spouse and children under 18) for free. The Platinum card carries a $450 annual fee, but this perk alone can be worthwhile if you travel often. The card also comes with Priority Pass, which gets you access into hundreds of airport lounges around the world.

What’s Inside

The lounges are a step above regular lounges and more comparable to first-class lounges. Amenities vary from location to location (e.g., not all have showers), but the lounges will typically feature Wi-Fi, private working spaces, and various food & drink.

The food is prepared under the direction of highly-skilled chefs and the cocktails are prepared by skilled bartenders.

This is a sample food menu:

I have not been disappointed in any of the food that has been served. The lounge is a nice break from airport offerings, which are typically lacking decent meals and comfortable seats.

As for the cocktails, this a sample of the offerings:

  • Manhattan Beach | Tuthilltown Manhattan Rye Whiskey, Greenhook Ginsmiths Beach Plum, Gin Liqueur, Grapefruit Juice.
  • Tomcat Collins | Barr Hill Reserve Tomcat Gin, Lemon Juice, Honey Syrup, Champagne
  • Big Apple | Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka, Doc’s Draft Hard Apple Cider, Yellow Chartreuse, Miracle Mile Celery Bitters

If you’re flying out of La Guardia (LGA), one downside is the location of the lounge is before security; therefore, you would have to leave the lounge with ample time to get through security and then wait at the gate area to board. If your flight gets delayed, you would have to leave security to get back into the lounge.

Is It Worth It?

Paying $50 to get into the lounge would be worthwhile if you were stuck on a long layover or needed to get some work done in peace.

For many, it is hard to justify getting the Platinum card solely for access to the Centurion Lounge. However, combined with all the other perks of the card and my frequency of travel it is well worth it for me. If you travel often and the airports you pass through have Centurion or Priority Pass lounges, it is definitely worth it.

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