Amex Centurion Lounge Coming To London Heathrow

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One of the best perks of The Platinum Card® from American Express ($550 annual fee) and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express ($450 annual fee) is access to Centurion Lounges.

These lounges are for the most part significantly better than what’s offered by US airlines, as the lounges have complimentary cocktails, hot food, and a couple of them even have spas.

As of now Amex’s Centurion Lounge locations include Dallas, Hong KongHoustonLas VegasMiamiNew York LaGuardiaPhiladelphiaSan Francisco, and Seattle.

American Express also plans to open Centurion Lounges in Los AngelesNew York JFKDenver, and Charlotte.

American Express has now announced their next Centurion Lounge location, and it’s not where I was expecting.

American Express will be opening a Centurion Lounge in London Heathrow in 2019. The lounge is expected to be around 7,000 square feet, and will be in Terminal 3. This will be the first Centurion Lounge in Europe, and only the second Centurion Lounge outside the US, after the one in Hong Kong.


The Amex Centurion Lounge Hong Kong

Here’s how the new lounge is described:

Opening in 2019, the new Centurion Lounge at Heathrow will be located post-security in Terminal 3 and span 7,000 square feet. In addition to the amenities found across other Centurion Lounge locations – such as premium showers and private noise-buffering work stations – the Centurion Lounge at Heathrow Airport will feature specially curated amenities influenced by London’s distinctive food, drinks, and design.

This is a very interesting choice. Terminal 3 at Heathrow is the terminal used by American Airlines, British Airways (for select flights), Virgin Atlantic, and more. Terminal 3 is also home to some phenomenal lounges, including the Cathay Pacific Lounge, Qantas Lounge, and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is also at LHR Terminal 3

I find the concept of opening Centurion Lounges at non-US airports to be interesting for a couple of reasons:

  • In the US, many people use Centurion Lounges because they’re superior to the lounges available directly from US airlines, while internationally that’s not the case
  • Internationally just about all first and business class passengers, as well as all status passengers, receive lounge access, while that’s not the case when traveling domestically within the US

Sure, there are definitely some Amex Platinum cardmembers flying economy out of Terminal 3, but for those who otherwise have access to a lounge, chances are that the Centurion Lounge won’t actually be better, unlike in the US.

Based on the fact that it will only be 7,000 square feet, I’d also guess it won’t have a spa or any other major frills.

What do you make of the Centurion Lounge coming to London Heathrow? Do you see as much value in international Centurion Lounge locations?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing, featured image courtesy of American Express)

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Comments

  1. There are other airports in far more need of a decent lounge than LHR (same goes for HKG). Maybe thats AMEX’s strategy to avoid overcrowding…..only build them where there are already excellent lounges.

  2. Ben. Haven’t you previously reviewed the centurion lounge in Sydney ?? If so this can’t be the second outside the US ??

  3. The Sydney lounge isn’t a Centurion Lounge, it’s just an ‘American Express Lounge’. And I agree, it’s nothing special.

  4. This seems like a wasted move on the part of Amex particularly since there are some excellent Priority Pass lounges at every terminal at LHR. the fantastic Skyteam lounge at T4 and the Plaza Premium lounges over Centurion Lounge.

  5. I really appreciate the one at HKG now. The priority pass lounge aka plaza premium is an absolute zoo at all times of the day. Both of them since they closed the 3rd to make way for their “first” concept lounge.

  6. I think it would probably be good practice in posts referencing the Business Plat to note that the annual fee will be $450 for only a couple more months.

  7. Good for those that for whatever reason are flying American Airlines economy back to the US and don’t have American status

  8. @James, exactly, was hoping this would be T5 instead of T3. BA’s business class lounges there are deeply disappointing. As a Oneworld Sapphire, about to hit Emerald this year, there’s absolutely no way the Centurion lounge would be nicer than the CX lounge.

  9. @Aaron and @Peter, its not a Centurion Lounge, but one of American Express’ lower end “International Lounges” The name is confusing, sure, but the only real international Centurion Lounge is in Hong Kong. You can check them on Amex’ website.

    Overall, I think the LHR choice is more about prestige and brand awareness than anything else. Like when a brand puts up a billboard or opens a store front in Times Square. They’ll likely see little true benefit from the physical location itself, but they’re hoping it offers a boost in terms of advertising and brand awareness.

  10. Lucky, AussieSteve, and GuruJanitor are absolutely correct. Besides being reminded on OMATT or looking it up on AMEX webpage, there is a much easier way. All locations in the US are Centurion Lounges and so far the only finished international Centurion Lounge is in HK. Not hard to see the difference either. Decent (Centurion) versus somewhat kind of crappy (AMEX International lounges, but still better than quite a few of the US based lounges).

  11. To those saying this lounge should be in T5 instead, where exactly are they going to put it? T5 is already maxed out in terms of available lounge space unless you are going to convince Heathrow Airport Holdings to reallocate some of their extremely high grossing shopping space to more lounges (unlikely). Additionally, the Plaza Premium Lounge in T5 already has an arrangement with Amex so that anyone can access it with a Platinum or Centurion Charge Card, so what would be the point? It is also probably a better lounge than this Centurion Lounge will be when it opens. There is an Aspire Lounge accessible with Priority Pass on top of that (which is somewhat less impressive, but for the usual moaners about BA appearing above you might want to try that instead of the BA Galleries).

  12. What is the difference from a Lounge to a “Club”?,

    Centurion “Club” locations: MEX (x3, 2 in T1, 1 in T2), TLC, MTY (x2, T1 and T2), EZE, DEL, SYD and MEL; GDL used to have one, closed due to airport remodelling, CUN might get Centurion Club.

  13. This will be interesting. I fly to LHR many times per year and always use the Virgin Clubhouse which is fantastic. Amex will have to go above and beyond to deliver a lounge that makes sense for me to switch from the Clubhouse.

  14. “specially curated amenities” = whatever the marketing and buying department got for free or cheap”

    People really do come up with some rubbish in their publicity.

  15. @Lucky

    I feel like It’s gonna be packed. I mean I hope it wont, but I feel like you might’ve underestimated the demand for this one. I’m willing to wager that there are plenty of Plat card holders who don’t travel enough to be brass or fly J (and enough that don’t even realize they get PP membership). I’m gonna go out on a limb and say the US Open this year was a good indicator. Figure Aces, Champions, Hospitality, and Overlook, are J, F, and Brass lounge equivs. AMEX Centurion Lounge in Armstrong was consistently packed. I think the demand from US-based AA and DL loyal-but-not-quite-loyal-enough Plat holders will be more than substantial.

  16. T3 is the last place this lounge is needed – especially if you fly oneworld and access to the amazing lounges on offer already. T4 or even T2 would have been a better option – T5 was never going to work as it’s only BA and the odd Iberia flight and these are about maximum opportunity of usage for Amex customers so they wouldn’t want to restrict people to a single airline…

  17. In my opinion the only different between Centurion and AMEX lounge (non Centurion) is access policy. I have both personal & business platinum. I thought I can bring up to 4 guests (or even 5) for free by having 2 platinum. Well I got success at SYD & MEL. The agency told me I can bring up to 5 guests for free by having 2 platinum. But that not the case at HKG, SFO, LAS. Agency mention that 2 free guests policy is for per “cardmember” and not per “cardholder”.

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