American Express is doing something really innovative by opening up their own lounges at airports which their cardmembers frequent most. The footprint is small, but the lounges they do have blow the ones run by US airlines out of the water. They definitely rank as some of my favorite lounges in the US.
American Express has started opening up more of their own airport lounges in part because quite a bit of value has been lost in terms of the lounge privileges of The Platinum Card® from American Express. The card used to get you access to American Admirals Clubs and US Airways Clubs, though that was discontinued last March. Furthermore, guesting privileges have been reduced at Delta SkyClubs.
American Express currently has six Centurion Lounges in the US:
- The Centurion Lounge Las Vegas LAS Airport
- The Centurion Lounge Dallas DFW Airport
- The Centurion Lounge New York LGA Airport
- The Centurion Lounge San Francisco SFO Airport
- The Centurion Lounge Miami MIA Airport
- The Centurion Studio at Seattle SEA Aiport
ORDINANCE approving and authorizing Lease and Development Agreement for a Terminal D Lounge between the City of Houston and AMERICAN EXPRESS TRAVEL RELATED SERVICES COMPANY, INC at George Bush Intercontinental Airport/Houston – Revenue DISTRICT B – DAVIS- was presented, all voting aye, nays none. ORDINANCE 2015-0564 ADOPTED
The Houston Centurion Lounge is slated to open in early 2016, though an exact timeframe hasn’t been announced.
According to the lease, the lounge will have:
Approximately 8,596 square feet of exclusive space in Terminal D, post-security, on the former Customs and Immigration level, which is currently unused.
That’s a decent-sized space. For context, the Centurion Lounge Miami is ~8,000 square feet while the Centurion Lounge Dallas/Ft. Worth is ~9,000 square feet, so this lounge will be inbetween size wise, and the second largest one yet.
Centurion Lounge Miami
Amex will be spending ~$7 million to construct the lounge, but will also have the option to relocate to a ~10,000 square foot space as part of the renovations of the international terminal.
As a reminder, there are a few ways to access the American Express Centurion Lounge:
- Those with the The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express Centurion Card receive complimentary access
- Those with either of the above cards may bring their spouse and children under the age of 18, or two travel companions as guests
- If you have an American Express Card other than the ones listed above, you can purchase a day pass at the entrance for $50
This is great news for United flyers, and those transiting Houston in general. It is interesting to see the airports American Express seem to be targeting. My guess is that the decision making process is based mostly on three things:
- Airports with available lounge space
- Airports where a lot of terminals are connected airside, so that it can serve as many passengers as possible
- Airports most transited by AmEx cardmembers — this is something they have lots of data on, both in terms of which airports most tickets are purchased to using AmEx cards, as well as which airports passengers use partner lounges at most
When you factor all that in, Houston seems like a perfectly logical airport to expand to.
Will you get use out of the American Express Centurion Lounge Houston?