Next American Express Centurion Lounge To Open At Houston Airport

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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.

Centurion Lounge Las Vegas
Centurion Lounge Las Vegas

American Express currently has six Centurion Lounges in the US:

Via View from the Wing, the next Amex Centurion Lounge will be at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. From recent meeting minutes of the Houston City Council:

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

Bottom line

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?

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  1. Pretty disappointed to hear that this is going to be Terminal D. That’s the international terminal for everyone but United, meaning for domestic flyers you’re going to have to have a pretty massive layover for it to make sense to go there. Would have much rather seen A (domestic non-United, no lounge options at all) or C/D (better option than United Club for United flyers).

  2. @Lucky, Did you really call the FF execs “idiots?” Just doesn’t sound like you. Any relationships that needed smoothing over after that?

  3. Lucky,

    Wouldn’t the irony be, at least in theory, that a large majority of Amex holders would be in DL hubs?

    Also, You may of mentioned this before, but its inherently obvious they are targeting AA/UA hubs.

  4. @Zach
    Are you joking? From C/E it’s a 3-10 minute walk depending on where you are. Sure, it’s a 10-15 minute ride on the tram from A/B/C, but to say you need a massive layover shows your complete lack of experience transiting IAH.

  5. @ Mike from DC — Certainly a lot of Delta AmEx members are in Delta hubs, but I don’t necessarily think AmEx’s non co-branded cards are more popular with Delta flyers than others.

  6. @ Daniel — Unfortunately was taken out of context while referencing one industry executive. Certainly wasn’t talking about industry execs as a whole, as there are plenty of great programs run by brilliant people. I certainly regret saying anything that could be interpreted to suggest otherwise. But I guess that’s what happens when you’re interviewed for over a hundred hours and then they cherry-pick what goes in the article.

  7. I agree with @Kris that from Terminal E and Terminal C north that this lounge will easily be accessible. For Terminals A and B just take the tram – it’s really not that bad. This has been an exciting two years for IAH and I recon you will find me in this lounge when it opens up while I wait for my UA and/or NH flight to NRT.

  8. keep up the good work Lucky! I read and adored the Rolling Stone piece. I thought you came across as smart, funny and looking out for both airlines and passengers. Don’t let the bastards get you down!

  9. So they that are opening one in Houston, I certainly hope they open one in Atlanta. More choices for those that don’t have access to the Sky Clubs.

  10. Yes! So happy about this. Being placed in D isn’t the best for United travelers out of E, but probably the best they could do as a temporary solution.

    No spa kind of sucks but I hope it’s because they took into consideration the lessons of Miami and are focused on more space. I’ve read some not-so-glowing reviews of the Miami lounge which seems to be overcrowded.

    @ Jordan – in the linked post, Gary says that Amex looks to be concentrating on non-DL hubs as Amex Platinum/Centurion already grants access to SkyClubs while tranisting through United & AA hubs (and other airports like LAX) is trickier.

  11. Based on the criteria you list, I’d have thought that ATL was top of the list. I sure wish they’d open one here, but it would have to be about 12,000 s.ft. to handle all those who would have access. Come to think of it, that may be the hold up.

  12. I hope AmEx puts a Centurion Lounge in Denver. It is a major hub in cross country travel that handles over 50 million passengers a year, has lots of space on the upper levels, and all three concourses are connected airside. Despite all that, the lounge situation there is somewhat lacking. As far as I know there are only two United Clubs and an Admiral’s Club.

  13. Called AmEx Platinum Service tonight, and they have absolutely no idea on when the IAH Centurion Lounge might be opening. Your article was written 7/2015, and now it is almost 2/2016. Do you or anyone else have an update on the opening date? I have used the one at SFO on two occasions, and it is fabulous. Traveling through IAH in late March 2016, and hope it will be opened by then. Thanks.

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