Amex Centurion Lounges Finally Reopening (With New Procedures)

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 will finally start to reopen.

Amex Centurion Lounges reopening

It has been announced that American Centurion Lounges will start to reopen as of October 5, 2020. Specifically, the lounges in Philadelphia and Seattle will open as of those dates, with other lounges expected to follow soon (though no exact dates have been given beyond that).

How will Amex Centurion Lounges change?

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

  • Guests will have to wear face coverings when entering Centurion Lounges
  • Seating has been spaced out to provide additional distancing, and there will be plexiglass shields in serving areas
  • Hot food will be pre-portioned and served by American Express staff, rather than from buffets
  • Drinks will continue to be served at the bar — the full wine selection will still be available, along with a shorter cocktail list, to minimize wait times for drinks
  • For Centurion Lounges with spas, services will be 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, 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

American Express also shares some updates regarding new and expanded Centurion Lounges, which are coming soon:

  • Centurion Lounges at Denver International Airport, New York JFK 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 will slowly start to reopen as of October. Virtually all other lounge groups in the US have already started to reopen, and many people were wondering how much longer it would take Amex.

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

  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.

  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.

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