When it comes to airport lounges, Amex’s network of Centurion Lounges is probably regarded as one of the best out there. In this post I wanted to cover everything you need to know about these lounges, ranging from the basics of what they are, to who can access them, to where they’re located.
What are Amex Centurion Lounges?
Lounge access has become an extremely popular perk for premium credit cards. Not only does this come in the form of offering a Priority Pass membership, but credit card companies have also started to build networks of lounges as an exclusive perk for cardmembers.
Amex’s network of Centurion Lounges is the largest network of lounges run by a credit card company, and the lounges are also pretty high quality. Generally speaking, Amex Centurion Lounges feature hot food, complimentary beer, wine, and cocktails, and lots of other awesome amenities. It’s one of the perks of the Amex Platinum that people value most.
Amex Centurion Lounge access
Let’s start by talking about everything you need to know about Amex Centurion Lounge access. Which credit card do you need to access Amex Centurion Lounges, what are the restrictions on lounge entry, and how many guests can you bring with you?
Amex Centurion Lounge access credit cards
Amex Centurion Lounges can be accessed by those who have any of the following cards, with restrictions noted next to each card:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) — cardmembers can be flying any airline, no guests allowed unless you spend $75K per year on the card, in which case you can bring two guests or immediate family (spouse and children under 18)
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (review) — cardmembers can be flying any airline, no guests allowed unless you spend $75K per year on the card, in which case you can bring two guests or immediate family (spouse and children under 18)
- Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card (review) — cardmembers must be flying Delta same day, no guests allowed
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card (review) — cardmembers must be flying Delta same day, no guests allowed
- Amex Centurion Card — cardmembers can be flying any airline, and can bring two guests or immediate family (spouse and children under 18) with them at no extra cost
Those with Amex Platinum or Amex Centurion cards can purchase day passes for additional guests beyond their allowance for $50 each. Also note that Amex Platinum authorized users have the same lounge access perks as primary cardmembers, so they can access lounges and even bring guests.
Amex Centurion Lounge access restrictions
When it comes to accessing Amex Centurion Lounges, there are some terms to be aware of:
- You need a same day boarding pass to access Centurion Lounges, and in the case of Delta Reserve cardmembers, the boarding pass needs to be for travel on Delta
- You can access Centurion Lounges up to three hours before departure, unless you’re connecting, in which case you can access earlier
- You can’t access Centurion Lounges on arrival, or with a standby or non-revenue standby ticket
- If you’re guesting people into Centurion Lounges, you need to stay with them the entire time they’re in the lounge
Amex Centurion Lounge guesting restrictions
As of February 1, 2023, Amex has added new guesting restrictions for Centurion Lounge access, for those who have the Amex Platinum Card:
- Both primary and additional cardmembers on the Amex Platinum continue to receive lounge access
- Those with the Amex Platinum are charged a $50 fee for each guest they bring into Centurion Lounges (there’s a reduced fee of $30 for guests under the age of 18)
- Amex Platinum cardmembers who spend at least $75,000 per year on the card continue to receive complimentary lounge access for two guests
- The Centurion Lounge guesting policy remains unchanged for those with the Centurion Card, as well as those with the Amex Platinum issued outside of the United States
Amex Centurion Lounge locations
The network of Amex Centurion Lounges is quite big, and keeps growing. Let’s take a look at the current and future Amex Centurion Lounge locations.
Current Amex Centurion Lounge locations
Currently there are 15 purpose-built Amex Centurion Lounges, at the following airports (along with the locations and sizes):
- Charlotte (CLT) — 13,000 square feet, located between Concourses D & E
- Dallas (DFW) — 12,000 square feet, located in Terminal D
- Denver (DEN) — 14,500 square feet, located in Concourse C
- Hong Kong (HKG) — 8,000 square feet, located in Terminal 1
- Houston (IAH) — 8,500 square feet, located in Terminal D
- Las Vegas (LAS) — 13,000 square feet, located in Concourse D
- London (LHR) — 7,000 square feet, located in Terminal 3
- Los Angeles (LAX) — 14,000 square feet, located in Tom Bradley International Terminal
- Miami (MIA) — 12,000 square feet, located in Concourse D
- New York (JFK) — 15,000 square feet, located in Terminal 4
- New York (LGA) — 10,000 square feet, located in Terminal B
- Philadelphia (PHL) — 6,000 square feet, located in Terminal A
- Phoenix (PHX) — 5,000 square feet, located in Terminal 4
- San Francisco (SFO) — 16,000 square feet, located in Terminal 3
- Seattle (SEA) — 14,000 square feet, located in Central Terminal
As you can see, above I specifically mentioned how the above are the purpose-built Centurion Lounges. I say that because historically there has been a network of Amex International Lounges, though these have now largely been rebranded as Centurion Lounges. For example, Amex lounge locations in Melbourne and Sydney have recently been rebranded as Centurion Lounges. You can find the full network of international lounges here.
Future Amex Centurion Lounge locations
In addition to the 15 current Amex Centurion Lounges, there are some more lounges planned for the following airports:
- Atlanta (ATL) — while details are very limited in terms of the size or timeline, a Centurion Lounge is planned for Atlanta
- Newark (EWR) — an 18,000 square foot lounge is planned for Terminal A, and it’s expected that this could be opened around August 2023, give or take
- Washington (DCA) — a lounge is planned for Terminal B, though the timeline remains to be seen
Amex Centurion Lounge food, drinks, and amenities
Amex Centurion Lounges have a pretty consistent food & beverage offering. While they each have their own flair with a local celebrity chef, the general offerings are similar. The good news is that food & drinks are complimentary in Centurion Lounges.
As far as drinks go, Centurion Lounges have the following:
- There’s a selection of complimentary alcoholic drinks, including signature cocktails, beer, and wine
- There are also soft drinks, coffee, and water; for those who are coffee snobs, unfortunately there’s no cold brew or barista-made espresso drinks (unlike at the Capital One Lounge DFW)
As far as food goes, Centurion Lounges have the following:
- First breakfast is served; often around opening time there’s first a continental breakfast, and then a warm breakfast is usually served around 30-60 minutes after opening, give or take
- For the remainder of the day there’s a lunch & dinner menu, including several hot options
- Food is typically served from a buffet, so there’s no a la carte dining
- Centurion Lounge menus are different at each location, though menus at a particular lounge don’t tend to rotate a whole lot
In addition the food & drink selection, some Centurion Lounges feature unique amenities. For example:
- The Dallas (DFW) Centurion Lounge has an Exhale Spa, though that has been closed for much of the pandemic
- The Houston (IAH) Centurion Lounge has a wellness area in partnership with Calm, offering Calm content, neck warmers, and a health and wellness cart with healthy beverage choices
- The New York (JFK) Centurion Lounge has a speakeasy, where you can enjoy your favorite cocktail
- The Seattle (SEA) Centurion Lounge has a barista coffee station and wellness cafe
Amex Centurion Lounge crowding
Amex Centurion Lounges are on the surface far superior to what you’d typically find in a US airline lounge, and as a result they’re quite popular, especially with so many travelers having the Amex Platinum. If you ask me, Centurion Lounges are largely a victim of their own success, in the sense that they’re consistently quite crowded.
Personally I often avoid Amex Centurion Lounges, even though I’m eligible for entry. That’s simply because I value a quiet environment from which to work over a superior food & drink selection (I don’t really drink alcohol when flying domestically, and for that matter I usually bring snacks with me when traveling as well).
Amex has done what it can to control crowding, including having new guesting policies. However, it seems that crowding hasn’t improved much with the new policy.
On the plus side, Amex has introduced a Centurion Lounge crowding tracker. With this, you can get a live look at how busy a lounge is, with one of the following descriptions being displayed:
- Not busy
- A little busy
- Very busy
- Almost full
This tracker can be accessed through the Amex app, and you can find out how to check crowding here.
Amex Centurion Lounges are extremely popular with travelers, given that they offer great food and drinks, as well as some awesome amenities. These lounges are currently located at 15 airports, and can primarily be accessed by those with the Amex Platinum Card. Hopefully the above is a useful rundown of the access requirements, locations, and amenities of these lounges. If I missed anything, please let me know.
What’s your take on Amex Centurion Lounges? Do you love them, or avoid them due to crowding?