Phoenix Likely Getting An Amex Centurion Lounge

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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 US Centurion Lounge locations include DallasHoustonLas VegasMiamiNew York LaGuardiaPhiladelphiaSan Francisco, and Seattle.

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

We’ve heard all kinds of rumors about other airports that are in the running for a Centurion Lounge, though it looks like we now know the next airport where Amex is actively working on securing space and finalizing a contract.

An Amex Centurion Lounge may be coming to Phoenix

Right now Phoenix Airport has “The Club,” which is a lounge that you can buy access to, and it’s also used by British Airways for their premium passengers. Until recently it was also a Priority Pass lounge.

The airport has informed The Club that they’ll have to close, though no exact timeline has been given. The airport was seeking bids for new lounge operators, so what does the airport plan on doing with the space instead?

As reported by AZ Central, the space that they were seeking bids for is in Terminal 4, and is a redesigned 9,532 square foot space. They requested that the new lounge operator provide “access to customers belonging to partner organizations (airlines, credit-card companies, etc.) with complimentary lounge membership benefits.”

The airport has allegedly reviewed proposals from three companies, and has selected MAG USA Lounge Management, which is a subsidiary of Manchester Airport Group.

Tonight the city council will vote on a proposal to split the area into two lounges:

  • One area would be an Amex Centurion Lounge
  • The other area would be an Escape Lounge

We’ll have to see if this is ultimately approved, but they’re aiming for a December 2019 or January 2020 opening date, so it’s potentially about a year away.

The other side would be the Escape lounge for customers of partner airlines and credit cards and those willing to pay the daily fee. The presentation suggested a December 2019 or January 2020 opening date.

Bottom line

I suspect this is likely to be approved, though I guess we’ll find out for sure later today. It would be great to see Phoenix get a Centurion Lounge, though at the same time this would be the smallest one yet. If they spilt the space evenly, we’re talking about under 5,000 square feet per lounge.

Those with the Amex Platinum Card also get access to Escape Lounges, so it’s funny that they’d create two lounges that those with the card have access to. Escape Lounges are actually fairly nice, so I’d almost rather they just create one lounge that’s bigger and nicer.

Regardless, this seems like a positive development, and this continues to show Amex’s focus on opening Centurion Lounges in American’s hubs.

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Comments

  1. Let’s see how long it’ll be until ORD gets a Centurion lounge. Pretty sure that every AA and UA hub except EWR have one or is getting one at this point.

  2. Is there an update on the opening dates for the previously announced Centurian Lounges? Specifically, JFK and DIA should be opening soon based on the initial timelines.

  3. @Matt – I’ve been wondering too, and asked on the AskLucky forum with no responses. I have a fair amount of travel through JFK T4 this spring and was hoping that the Centurion would be ready.

  4. This is going to be rough being pointless during construction 🙁 . The space is way too small to encompass both lounges – hardly big enough for a proper Amex lounge if they took the whole space. There’s a wasted “landing” area at the top of the elevator which could be utilized, along with the bathrooms which are currently outside of the lounges (there’s actually a family restroom here with a SHOWER that can be used by anyone in the terminal – crazy huh?). On the plus side the space has tarmac views.

    @travel4b – if you connect on AA you could potentially land and depart at a gate right next to the lounge, as I did on Monday.

  5. @chub – With the upcoming Global Terminal project, not sure if we will see much investment into O’Hare.

    On the other hand, I think there is still space at the former Flagship Lounge at the end of K, and it will still be about 10 years for the Global Terminal to be completed.

  6. @Lucky – While on the subject of Escape Lounges, it looks like they opened a new one at Greenville-Spartanburg in October.

  7. @lucky — Further to @chub’s comment, it would be interesting if you considered doing a post about which big airports in the U.S. do *not* have Centurion Lounges and where we might see them added. Of the top 25 airports by passenger boarding, it looks like the only places that don’t have AmEx lounges are: ATL, ORD, EWR, MCO, BOS, MSP, DTW, FLL, BWI, SLC, IAD, DCA.

    Although they have a lot of passengers, MCO, BOS, FLL, BWI are not really major hubs (and I would think MCO/FLL are mostly low-yield markets, probably with a lower percentage of passengers with AmEx Platinum). AmEx seems mostly focused on hubs, so those might be less likely.

    Obviously, ATL, DTW, MSP, and SLC are Delta hubs; while AmEx might put lounges in those locations like it’s doing as JFK Terminal 4, you’d sort of expect them to feel less of a need because cardholders in those cities are probably loyal Delta flies and they could get Delta club access with their card.

    EWR is huge, but mostly in Terminal C, which is owned and controlled by United. The terminals are not connected airside there, so there’s no way for AmEx to offer a lounge that would actually be useful to the vast majority of the fliers at EWR, since most fliers will be at Terminal C.

    So is ORD the next most logical destination? Do United and American control the space there, or can a third party pick up lounge space that would be convenient for their passengers? Would be interesting to see @lucky’s thoughts on this.

  8. @John : regarding ORD, if they can find space at T-2 right past TSA security that’ll be most ideal to serve both AA customers (T3) and UA ones (T1 and partially T2), not to mention most other domestic pax in T2. The absolute worst case would be placing it in T5, and benefiting no one.

    DCA’s layout makes it a huge challenge to put any meaningful lounge. As for MCO, it’s not inconceivable for Amex to put one there considering there’s one in LAS.

  9. @lucky – maybe a follow up post on what the difference is between Centurion Lounges and “other” Amex lounges?

    There seems to be a lot of confusion in what’s normally a very sophisticated comment section, certain posters excluded…

    I was in MEX two months ago and could have sworn it was a Centurion lounge. I definitely didn’t notice any big differences between that one and other centurion Lounges. Other commenters are correct that it is in fact an “other” lounge. I found the map of Amex lounges but couldn’t find what the actual difference is. Some insight would be much appreciated!

  10. This is incredible news! As Lucky said, I actually wouldn’t mind if it was just a large Escape lounge… anytime I’m flying out of the Bay Area I actually try to fly out of OAK because it’s *never as crowded*, I don’t have to clear security twice, and the food is still decent enough to substitute a meal for.

    AND if Priority Pass gets shut out of the lounge scene at PHX T4, it’s more and more likely that we’ll get a restaurant or two instead… and I sure wouldn’t mind if PP paid for my tab at Four Peaks haha

  11. Just passing thru the centurion lounge yesterday for breakfast. It was very nice. Fair amount of people having breakfast. Staff was very attentive.

  12. Stoked. However its great for AA and if you want to walk for SWA. Next to the Club PHX there is a Huge room that is not being used. As one reader stated there is gobs of wasted space. Not sure why that can’t be used as lounge space?
    I was there about a month ago and The Club is actually two lounges. One is used by BA for their flight, the other for the rest. With a Skyclub coming in T3 and a Centurian lounge this makes life easier.

  13. @dan, actually that’s been a lounge this year since around March, and is now part of the Club at PHX. It was used for the Condor flights to FRA and during the BA hours it’s available with priority pass (previously the lounge stopped accepting passengers after 15:00 unless on the BA flights).

    The estimates of the total square footage though include this new lounge space as well as the existing Club with the two rooms (former BA club and first lounges) that are still used exclusively by BA from 15:30 until close.

  14. My guess is it will be a Centurion Studio like Seattle if approved, given the size constraints. As to the other posts about the difference between Amex and Centurion lounges, it is driven by how AXP structures their business lines. The Centurion lounges (as we know them in the USA) are an initiative driven out of the U.S. card business. The non-US markets are their own P&Ls (with some centralized international support), so they would build their own lounges. That’s what we often see quality differences outside the US or there is more nuance in the standards (e.g. HKG lounge is different from US ones). Obviously the US business unit doesn’t have a monopoly on call them “Centurion Lounges” so the international business units do what they want. (And probably some of the international business units think its a confusing name since their Centurion Cardmembers are not the only ones that can access.)

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