Which Amex Centurion Lounges Have Reopened?

Filed Under: American Express

American Express shut down its popular Centurion Lounges back in mid-March. This was presumably done due to a combination of lack of demand, as well as a need for updated procedures. Well, after a closure of over six months, Centurion Lounges started to reopen in a phased approach as of October, and that trend is continuing, as nearly all Centurion Lounges are now open.

Amex Centurion Lounges reopening

The following 10 American Express Centurion Lounge locations have now reopened:

  • Charlotte (CLT) as of October 12
  • Dallas (DFW) as of October 21
  • Houston (IAH) as of October 19
  • Las Vegas (LAS) as of December 7
  • Los Angeles (LAX) as of November 2
  • Miami (MIA) as of October 26
  • Philadelphia (PHL) as of October 5
  • Phoenix (PHX) as of November 23
  • San Francisco (SFO) as of October 12
  • Seattle (SEA) as of October 5

In addition to the lounges that have reopened, the new Centurion Lounge New York JFK also opened in October, for a total of 11 open Centurion Lounges

At this point the following Centurion Lounges aren’t yet open, and there’s no timeline yet for them reopening:

  • Hong Kong (HKG)
  • New York (LGA)

10 US Centurion Lounge locations are now open

How have Amex Centurion Lounges changed?

Amex Centurion Lounges are known for buffets with hot food, excellent drinks, and spas, so how has service change in light of coronavirus?

  • Guests have to wear face coverings when entering Centurion Lounges
  • Seating has been spaced out to provide additional distancing, and there are plexiglass shields in serving areas
  • Hot food is pre-portioned and served by American Express staff, rather than from buffets
  • Drinks continue to be served at the bar — the full wine selection is still available, along with a shorter cocktail list, to minimize wait times for drinks
  • For Centurion Lounges with spas, services are limited to Theragun massages and digital meditations
  • Practices will be re-evaluated on an ongoing basis, so could be modified as time goes on

It sounds to me like Amex is taking the right approach to reopening lounges (I mean, as much as you can while offering indoor drinking and dining), and that the lounge experience should still be significantly more elevated than most other US lounges.

Here are some pictures American Express shared of the updated lounge protocols:

Updated Centurion Lounge procedures


Updated Centurion Lounge procedures


Updated Centurion Lounge procedures


Updated Centurion Lounge procedures

New & expanded Centurion Lounges coming

In addition to lounges that are reopening, here are the latest updates about new and expanded Centurion Lounges:

  • Centurion Lounges at Denver International Airport and London Heathrow Airport are on track to open later this year
  • The Centurion Lounge Las Vegas will be expanded from 9,000 square feet to over 13,400 square feet, and the expanded space should be ready in 2021
  • The Centurion Lounge New York LaGuardia will double in size and relocate to a new space post-security in Terminal B, and should open in 2021

Rendering of the new Centurion Lounge LaGuardia

Bottom line

It’s great to see that Centurion Lounges are reopening — 11 US Centurion Lounges are now open in some capacity, with 10 having been reopened, and one having had its grand opening.

I know many were curious to see when Centurion Lounges would reopen given that other lounges have started to reopen, and all things considered I’d say Amex has done a good job over the past couple of months.

It sounds like Amex is taking good precautions and will still offer a solid experience, with hot food, wine, and (limited) cocktails.

Anyone plan on visiting a Centurion Lounge anytime soon? If you’ve visited a Centurion Lounge since reopenings started, what was your experience like?

Comments
  1. This is essentially reopening a large indoor restaurant, which, per the CDC, is the number one spreader of virus. Shame on AMEX. Just show up to your flight a few minutes before boarding… there is little reason to get to an airport early anymore.

  2. Highly doubt it’ll happen, but would be interesting to see an advanced reservation system. In all my visits, I’ve never not seen the SFO lounge completely full. Obviously could change now with a huge drop in business travel, especially SFO – Asia on United.

  3. Have buffets shown to be a spread of the virus? Based on what I read and what View From The Wing noted this isn’t the case. Buffets have other things that make them gross for sure. However, the virus doesn’t seem to spread on surfaces compares to respiratory droplets in the air.

  4. What’s up with the LAX Centurion club plans. Have they given up? It wsa supposed to be this year I thought.

  5. It was nearly impossible to enter the Seattle lounge pre-COVID without being placed on an interminable wait list. I imagine even with fewer travelers the COVID-reduced capacity of the walk-in closet sized lounge will exacerbate the issue. Kudos to AMEX for the effort, but you have to wonder if its really even worth it quite yet…

  6. @stvr:

    “This is essentially reopening a large indoor restaurant, which, per the CDC, is the number one spreader of virus.”

    Really? When did CDC make such a determination?

    I believe you are seriously in error.

  7. @1kbrad The CDC released the results of a study a couple days ago showing that for the population tracked as part of this study infections were more than twice as likely in those who had visited a restaurant in the prior 14 days. It isn’t perfect data, but it closely mirrors previous findings that proximity to asymptomatic spreaders in an indoor environment where food and beverages are consumed and masks aren’t consistently worn 100% of the time increases the risk of transmission significantly. A lounge in the airport without open windows and where people can eat and drink without masks, even if spaced apart, will increase the risk of transmission. Whether it’s the number one way the virus is transmitted or not is irrelevant. Indoor dining increases the risk of contracting covid. It’ll be up to you on whether lounge food and a free drink is worth the risk. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6936a5.htm?s_cid=mm6936a5_x

  8. @ jack – That may be an accurate claim, but I don’t have a lot of trust in that source. VFTW also says that they don’t spread on planes, which is interesting because the mutations show it came to the US from two continents.

    He also further elaborates that you aren’t likely to catch it *while on a plane* because Health Officials don’t put transmission location on the Google for him to search.

    Despite this, he has zero trip reports in the last 6 months. I would watch what he does rather than what he says.

  9. Unless I’m mistaken, the LHR lounge is set for Terminal 3 which is currently mothballed. I’d be very surprised if the terminal, let alone the Centurion Lounge, opens later this year.

  10. Doesn’t make sense. Bar service as usual but no hot food buffet.
    Also the Amex lounges tended to be overcrowded beforehand an about the same quality as most airline lounges.

  11. Theragun massages are a welcome change. Has anyone actually had a pleasant massage experience at any of the Centurion Lounges? Every time I have had one I question why I put myself through that torture.

  12. >> Leo says:
    >> September 16, 2020 at 5:48 pm
    >> @strv
    >> Just don’t go there. Don’t fly. Mask up at home works best for you

    You mean that works best for EVERYONE.

    Stay the F home and wear a mask!

  13. I’ll be shocked if the DEN lounge opens this year. There is still a lot of visible construction happening and none of it is finishing touches.

  14. At Andrew “don’t spread on planes, which is interesting because the mutations show it came to the US from two continents.”

    Right. People traveled from Italy to New York or China to the West Coast. On an airplane. Carrying the virus. Then spread the virus once off the plane.

    Transmission/infection risk while on the actual plane is low. Doesn’t mean that the virus doesn’t travel by plane…

  15. If I have a Jetblue flight departing T5 can I access T4? Understanding that I will have to clear security at T4 and then again at T5. Thanks everyone.

  16. How does having a shorter cocktail menu minimize the wait time for drinks? The bartender spends the same amount of time making the drink regardless of how long/short the cocktail menu is.

  17. As others have noted the CDC star that a higher percentage of people that tested positive went to a restaurant is meaningless (and I have a degree in statistics). You would expect people who are more social (ones that likely go to restaurants) to have a higher infection rate than those that hunker down at home. Also the report doesn’t say it was transmitted at a restaurant just that people went to them.

    The restaurant itself (provided they require masks when not at the table and socially distance tables) isn’t the problem – it is human interaction among groups that is which could happen anywhere / it is just that restaurants provide a place this could happen.

    Personally I go to restaurants all the time and have no problem doing so. I will also be in the CLT Centurion lounge as soon as it opens. For those afraid to go fine – more room for me!

  18. @ Bob.
    There is a report of very likely transmission aboard a long flight London to Vietnam. The flight was prior to mask rules although some might have worn masks. It is likely that this happens often and is not researched to the same extent.
    This negates all the chatter about aircraft having great filtration, air exchange and airflow that makes it impossible to catch Covid19. Of note, neither Boeing not Airbus ever made such a statement.

  19. Comments by Stvr are typical of those who think they know what’s better for me than myself. I agree with Leo for Stvr to stay home, wear your mask, including while you shower if that makes you feel better.

    It will be interesting to see how the new guidelines will affect or add to the already difficult rules in place to access the lounge.

  20. Finishing up a 4 hour stay at the PHL lounge right now (flight is delayed).

    There are more folks in here cleaning and making sure everyone is safe than there are guests. Food is still incredible; someone walks through the buffet with your plate and makes it for you. Same bartenders from before (Camille and Michael at PHL are such amazing people, glad they’re back!)

    Very impressed with the care taken by everyone. I feel safer here than I do eating outdoors in Miami

  21. @Bob – I don’t know what to say. Other than I don’t think people understand how air filtration works, or what the limitations are.

    Put it this way: most airlines have stopped blocking seats. The 6 foot rule is clearly gone. Many airlines serve food or beverages. So masks are off.

    Do you really think the presence of a HEPA system will somehow make that all right? Don’t you think the CDC would just say “HEPA up!” If that was all it took?

  22. Had a great visit at the PHL lounge last week. Food is better than before, though it can take a while because the buffet is served. Definitely the emptiest it’s ever felt and this was at around noon on a Thursday.

  23. Living life entails risks. Unavoidable.

    There is a risk driving to and from the airport and there is a risk when flying.

    People make individual choices in their lives every day. Many make poor decisions, but that’s their right in this country. I don’t think it’s the role of any level of government in this country to mandate what I can drive, what I can fly, what I can eat or drink and in what quantity, etc…

    Personally, I’m happy to see the Centurion Lounges reopening. Yet, there is no law or rule mandating that anyone who is eligible to do so to visit the lounge.

    For those who are afraid or just think it unwise, just don’t go.

  24. @Andrew and Donato:

    I think you miss my point. Numerous studies showing airplanes are LOW (not NO) risk COVID-transmission environments. Less about the HEPA filter itself, more about the frequent exchange rate of outside air and the direction of airflow.

    But the point was: COVID is not likely to spread ON the plane. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t spread from place to place BY plane. E.g. – some hypothetical asymptomatic person gets on plane from Italy or China in February, and lands in New York. They probably did not infect anyone on the plane. They probably did spread infection around after getting off the plane (restaurants, bars, gathering, etc…). COVID spreading BY plane, not ON the plane

  25. Bob – You may be right. I’m not discounting that. I do know it hasn’t been studied very closely, so I don’t think it’s appropriate to assert it’s not likely.

    Anecdotal data point: I took a flight from IAD -> LAX in early February 2020. The guy behind me (in first) was wearing a mask most of the time but had a very familiar cough that me and my wife shared for 4+ weeks after that. We weren’t wearing masks, and he would routinely take it off when he went to the restroom.

    So, that may not seem not a great example because the mask usage was inconsistent, but I believe in the real-world, that’s not unusual. If I’m going to take a 5 hours transcon (or longer), chances are I’m going to eat and/or at least drink water with my mask off. Seems like a risk and I don’t think it’s appropriate to say it’s ‘probably’ not going to happen.

    PS – When I went to the doctor afterwards, he told me it was probably the flu and that I couldn’t get tested because I hadn’t been to China (that was their screening question at the time.) It turns out that I would not have received the test anyways because only 16 of them had been administered in the entire US at that point. Naturally, I can tell you what contact tracing didn’t happen… 😛

  26. Any news on Miami? I have a 3+ hour early morning layover next month, would be good to grab some food & drink.
    Cheers.

  27. I’ve had the chance to visit each one including JFK. My work schedule didn’t stop, will never stop flying.
    Clean, helpful and friendly as always.

    Cheers to those who never stop.

    Charlotte (as of October 12)
    Houston (as of October 19)
    Philadelphia (as of October 5)
    San Francisco (as of October 12)
    Seattle (as of October 5)

  28. Which Amex Centurion lounges have never opened? Denver.

    It was originally scheduled to open summer of 2019 and still isn’t open. I’m on the verge of cancelling the Platinum.

  29. Re the LAX situation – there is no indoor dining permitted in Los Angeles and hasn’t been since March save a couple weeks earlier this year. My guess is the lounge’s food service falls under that rule.

  30. @ max — Yep, fair enough, though there’s nothing preventing people from actually sitting inside, right? Because the Alaska Lounge, Admirals Club, etc., are open, but just don’t allow eating or drinking, as far as I know.

  31. Leadership in the US in general during the pandemic has been awful. Between the president,
    Congress and CDC we are lucky to be alive. I’m so frustrated with the fighting and with the lack of personal responsibility. Sorry for venting but honestly where are the people who actually want to fix the situation we are in? Also applauding opening airport lounges when we are seeing the highest ever numbers in the US is bizarre. Stay safe everyone.

  32. Glad to see the lounges opening again. I thought I would share a story though at what happened whilst I was at the SFO lounge last Thursday whilst on a business trip with a young colleague of mine. (I am out of So Cal – we were in N Cal and Portland).

    It was early evening and my colleague asked one of the servers to switch the channel from ESPN to Fox as there was a Thursday night football game he wanted to watch. The reply we got was really strange. The server told us that they were not allowed Fox to be broadcast in the lounge but we could have the TV switched to CNN.

    I asked for a reason and the server said he did not know and that he was only relaying what he had been told. I asked if there was a supervisor or manager on duty we could talk to and was told there was not. I then asked for the business card of the Lounge GM so I could email for an explanation. The server told me he did not have a card or email address. I dropped it at that point.

    A few minutes later the server came back and said he had called the lounge GM who had told him that it was official American Express policy not to allow Fox in the lounges and only to allow CNN and that if I had any further questions I should call the 800 number on the back of my card.

    Ben – do you have any contacts at American Express you could contact for a comment ??

  33. I have flown a few times since the pandemic has been upon us and can say that having lounge access is more important than ever if you have a layover. The terminals and even worse the public bathrooms in the terminals have to be some of the worst places to be during the pandemic. It is impossible to social distance in these busy hub terminals. Mask compliance is no where near as good in the terminal as it is in on the plane. Food options are limited and finding a place to eat the food where you are properly distanced is impossible. The lounges on the other hand are great. So few people are traveling for business that the lounges I have been in have no trouble providing social distance. They are cleaning often and have employees to hand you food. The bathrooms are much cleaner and less crowded.

  34. arrived to SFO CENT Lounge on Nov 21 at 9am. seated immediately, but was busy. when we left around 1030am there was a waitlist to enter. I was told that they haven’t even decided on the floor plan for the expansion…so don’t hold your breath!

  35. I passed through the Dallas Centurion lounge last Sunday, 15 November at about 10am. A few comments:

    – The restaurant setup with somewhat strange, as the blocked off all tables for parties of 3 or more. Solo/couple travelers ended up on the barstools or the chairs by the TVs.

    – If you are worried about social distancing or lack of mask wearing, DO NOT COME HERE. Many people without masks, in the process of eating/drinking, finishing eating/drinking, or maybe eventually thinking about eating/drinking.

    – The food was the same, only this time you had to wait in line and tell the poor worker what you wanted, or possibly “give me triple the amount of what you just put on there.” The worker then put the food on your plate, and off you went.

    Anecdotally, I was appalled that someone thought it was OK to wear their mask on their chin when ordering their food, 2 feet away from the worker.

    I am a Covid survivor so was not sooo concerned, but if I were worried about personal contact/non mask compliance, I would avoid avoid avoid. Also, the mask compliance in Dallas was generally terrible. Lots of people sitting in those chairs without any sort of masks or drinks. Following the rules is hard!!!

  36. @Robert
    Server and staff probably didn’t realize that Fox local broadcasting of a sporting event is not the same channel as Fox national news 24/7. I don’t ever recall the national 24/7 station ever breaking away for a football game.

  37. I visited the SEA Centurion location last Wednesday (11/18). They have had to significantly pull back their services since indoor dining is no longer permitted in WA state. No hot food or drinks. You can go into the lounge and sit down. As you leave you can pick up a grab and go bag, but you are not allowed to eat it in the lounge. For reference, the options were a wrap or quinoa salad, both served with a side salad, bag of chips, gluten friendly brownie, and drink.

    It is sort of weird that you cannot eat it in the lounge, but can take it to your gate (or on your plane) and eat it there. All the open restaurants in the airport were doing the same thing.

  38. I just read on their website that the Seattle and LAX lounges are only open for “ grab and go “. No seating You just pick up food and eat outside the lounge
    So customers would simply approach the reception

  39. @Icarus SEA had said Grab and Go last week on the website too, but as mentioned in my reply above, you could sit in the lounge when I went. You just could not eat the grab and go item in the lounge.

  40. We are in the Phx lounge as I write this. Quiet and a handful of people. The staff seems happy to be at work. The food although portioned small is amazing

  41. I’ll be in PHX on Wed – glad to see it opened.

    I wonder if they will let me put on Newsmax lol ??

    Seriously – disappointing that AMEX are censuring the news as well regardless of anyone’s point of view / political slant.

  42. @Lucky you’re missing the reduced hours. DFW shuts at 7pm. SFO at 6pm. Others reduced as well – this has impacted me twice now.

  43. Passed through CLT 3 weeks ago, had a nice breakfast, plenty of distancing, far better food than the Admirals Club. Hours are 7 until 7, so we couldn’t visit on our return.

    Note the location is rather difficult to find, tucked away where the corridors to D and E split. You gave to take an elevator to access it. Poor signage and not really clear on the posted terminal maps. If flying on most AA flights, you’d need a 1.5 hour layover unless you’re going through D.

  44. It was announced a couple weeks back that DEN’s Centurion Lounge would not be opening this year (as predicted in my earlier comment). There is active work visible but for one reason or another, the date has been pushed back yet again.

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