There’s no denying that American Express is making a “splash” in the US airport lounge market with their Centurion Lounges.
Centurion Lounge LGA
One of the biggest perks of the Platinum Card® from American Express has long been lounge access, though over the years that benefit has been eroded somewhat:
- First American Express discontinued their partnership with Continental Presidents Clubs (presumably due to the merger with United, and their relationship with Chase)
- Then American Express discontinued their partnerships with American Admirals Clubs and US Airways Clubs (presumably Citi prompted this, as they issue American’s co-branded credit card)
- Lastly guesting privileges were cut for Delta SkyClubs, which applies both to club members and those entering through credit cards
Fortunately American Express hasn’t been playing the victim card here, but rather has actually been innovating by building their own airport lounges.
American Express now has three lounges in the US, all of which blow away the lounges of virtually all other US airlines. These include the:
- American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas LAS
- American Express Centurion Lounge Dallas DFW
- American Express Centurion Lounge New York LGA
These lounges have real food, great (complimentary) cocktails, enthusiastic and friendly staff, and furniture that doesn’t look like it was bought at a thrift shop.
Centurion Lounge DFW seating
Centurion Lounge LAS bar
The lounge in Dallas even has a spa, where you can receive a complimentary 15 minute treatment.
Centurion Lounge DFW spa
American Express has announced two more Centurion Lounges on the way, in San Francisco and Miami. The one in San Francisco is scheduled to open this year, while the one in Miami is supposed to open next year.
I’ve had a ton of people ask me when the San Francisco Centurion Lounge is scheduled to open. I’ve reached out to American Express to ask, and they’ve been tight-lipped, which I can appreciate. They want to be sure they’re managing expectations well, and want to release that information all at once, rather than “leaking” stuff.
Of course that won’t stop me from trying to find the answer to something a lot of us are wondering about. And fortunately I have another source that had some information. I’m being told (unofficially) that the American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco is scheduled to open November 6, 2014. That’s right, just over two weeks from now. Of course that’s subject to change and this isn’t officially from American Express, but based on what I’m being told that’s the plan as of now.
The one downside to the San Francisco AmEx lounge is that it’s located airside in Terminal 3. That’s the United terminal, and it’s not connected airside to most of the other terminals, including Terminal 1 or Terminal 2. This means it won’t be practical to use the lounge if flying American, Delta, Southwest, US Airways, Virgin America, etc.
Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe at SFO you are technically allowed to pass security for a terminal you’re not flying out of, as long as you have a same day boarding pass. So in theory I guess if flying out of another terminal you could go through security at Terminal 3 to use the lounge, and then leave security and go to the terminal from which you’re departing.
It goes without saying that American Express can’t win with everyone when it comes to lounge location. A lot of people complain that the New York Centurion Lounge is landside. Given how small the airside concourses are at LaGuardia, if that weren’t the case the lounge would be accessible to those flying out of a dozen gates at most.
Are you excited about the Centurion Lounge SFO? Have these lounges changed your perception of the value of the American Express Platinum Card?
Cocktails with a view at the Centurion Lounge LGA