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American Express to open its first Centurion Lounge in Europe – at Heathrow Terminal 3

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American Express has just announced that it is opening a new Centurion lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 in 2019. This will be their first European location and the second non-US lounge, after Hong Kong.

Amex launched their Centurion lounge network in 2014 but there are still only a handful around. Currently they are operating at:

New York’s LaGuardia Airport
Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
San Francisco International Airport
Miami International Airport
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Houston’s George Bush International Airport
Philadelphia International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport

New York JFK (Terminal 4, covering Asiana, Avianca, China Airlines, Copa, El Al, Emirates, Etihad, KLM, Singapore, South African, SWISS and Virgin Atlantic), Los Angeles, Charlotte and Denver International Airport are all in development.

Note that, confusingly, these lounges are not related to the ‘Centurion Lounges’ that Amex runs in Latin and South America and which are not of the same standard.

The new breed of Centurion Lounges are a premium offering compared to American Express’ current Global Lounge Collection.  They are only open to Platinum and Centurion cardholders.  You may take two guests at no extra charge or, if you are a Centurion member, your full immediate family.

As is usual for Centurion Lounges, it will come with the usual

“complimentary food and beverage from top chefs and mixologists, premium showers, access to high speed wi-fi and private noise-buffering work stations”

as well as the more ambiguous

“specially curated amenities influenced by British hospitality, culture and style”

…. whatever that means. Amex sent us some photos of green walls from their current Centurion lounges, so we assume it will be a big feature:

Amex centurion lounge living wall

andAmex centurion lounge

….. as well as a rendering of the entrance, which looks quite cold and sterile compared to the warmth of the green walls. With the tiling and blue doors it looks like a cross between a tube station and the TARDIS:

Amex heathrow centurion lounge entrance

Conclusion

The Centurion lounges opened to date have an excellent reputation, especially by US standards where lounges tend to be less premium than their counterparts in Europe and Asia.  The biggest problem is overcrowding caused by their popularity.

However, Heathrow Terminal 3 is already inundated with excellent lounge options including the Virgin Clubhouse, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Emirates lounges, plus the more tired British Airways and American Airlines facilities.  There are also two excellent Priority Pass options – Club Aspire (reviewed here) and No 1 Lounges (reviewed here). Adding another, albeit excellent, option will not have quite the same impact as it might at another terminal where premium passengers are less catered for.

The lounge is to span approximately 7000 square feet, which is equal to one floor of the current Qantas two floor lounge or the Club Aspire lounge, and bigger than the 5000 square foot Plaza Premium lounge at Terminal 5.

It may be a relief for those flying Virgin Atlantic and Delta. When Delta moved its operations from Terminal 4 to Terminal 3 after its joint venture with Virgin launched, its Clubhouse lounge had to cater for a greatly increased number of departures. 

The new Centurion Lounge may relieve some of the capacity issues and appeal to American Express Platinum cardholders looking for an alternative.  It may also free up some capacity in the Club Aspire and No 1 Lounges sites as Priority Pass holders who receive it via Amex Platinum move across.

Added to the two new sites opening in Gatwick South in the next few weeks, it looks like we are in for another promising period for new London lounges.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (May 2022)

As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (132)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Kevin says:

    Unless the rules have changed again, only one guest is allowed per card holder. I believe it was two originally but it’s was dropped to one.

  • Shoestring says:

    How do you get to be a Centurion cardholder?

    • Andrew says:

      Await an invitation from Amex.

    • Tom H says:

      Over to Nigel…..

    • Thomas Howard says:

      According to wikipedia you need annual spend of $250k, income of $1.3m and network of $16m. I don’t think its a card I need to worry about.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centurion_Card

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Centurion is a bit devalued ever since Medallion came in though.

      • Voltron says:

        What are the benefits of Centurion?

        • Peter K says:

          As far at as I can tell it gives you access to what are basically “fixers”.
          I read (on here I think) of someone who had the centurion card and couldn’t fly to South America due to the ash from the Icelandic volcano. At the time Eurotunnel/ferry route tickets were like gold dust. The centurion team worked out and booked a route for them to get there.

          Apart from that I think they are just nice to have if you like staying at the Sofitel Heathrow and eating at their restaurant 😁

        • Anna says:

          No wonder the Sofitel can get away with charging £300 per night! I think I’d want an actual Centurion assigned to do my every bidding for that kind of dosh lol.

        • Anna says:

          Actually I would love to be a “fixer”, I wonder how you get to work for them? My career to date has involved solving so many people’s “issues” I think finding Eurotunnel tickets in an ash cloud crisis would be a lot of fun.

        • Chris says:

          Wots the Sofitel reference? Right over my head…

        • Lady London says:

          @Chris on a recent post @Nigel the Pensioner was mentioning a fondness for the Sofitel and its Belle Epoque restaurant.

          Remember HM the Queen’s a pensioner too 🙂

  • Mike says:

    Whilst on the subject of Amex, does anyone else get absolutely no targeted offers? I have a Platinum charge card and BAPP, and never get any offers, except ones like Shop Small. Amex just say “offers are targeted and you haven’t qualified this time”. Others seem to have lots of offers all the time.

    • meta says:

      Same here. I stopped receiving any offers in August. Before that, I used to get every single offer mentioned here. I currently have 0 offers across all of my cards as does my partner. Between us that’s Platinum, Gold, BAPP and SPG cards. I made two complaints to Amex, including formal one. First they said that I wasn’t signed up due to GDPR which was total nonsense and the formal complaint resulted in them saying that offers are not part of card member agreeement. They also went on that I should contact customer service if I have trouble saving offers. Totally missing the point of my complaint. On top of that everytime I call Amex, the automated system asks me to activate a new card that has been sent to me (it hasn’t and I’ve been using some cards for over two years!). I alerted Amex about it and they said that you don’t need to activate the card to use it and it’s probably just a glitch in automated phone system! Normally, I wasn’t a big churner, but I will be cancelling some of the cards today. I think that’s the only way to maybe start getting offers again.

      • Bonglim says:

        Did you have a card(s) replaced at some stage, because of fraud or lost or similar?

        If so I suspect offers might be being placed on your old card number rather than your new one.

        • meta says:

          No, not at all. Same card numbers. I find it all very strange and it’s poor form from Amex that they are not willing to look into this properly.

      • Heathrow Flyer says:

        I had this issue.

        Basically it was explained to me as an IT glitch – as it sounds like you have lots of supps and main cards across your Online Service Account(s).

        I think you may have been barking up the wrong tree with the escalation route you went down.

        Try removing any supps from your online services account (can be done in Card Management) leaving just the main cards. Once they’ve been removed you can ‘re-activate’ them (you’re not actually reactivating them but that’s what Amex call it) and create a new online services account for them – be sure to choose that option rather than logging into your existing account and adding them to that (as you’ll be back to square one).

        That worked for me and all my offers returned. Took a few hours and they came back first on the desktop site (strangely)..

        • Mike says:

          Heather Flyer – thanks, I’ll give that a go. On my main account I have a Platinum Charge card and my BAPP card. My supplementary Platinum card that I’ve given a friend doesn’t show up.

          I’ll try removing/adding each one over the next few days and see if that help! Cheers!

        • meta says:

          @Heathrow Flyer I actually did what you suggested before and it didn’t work. I also removed all cards and added them again. No luck. For supp cards, we actually have separate accounts.

    • Mike says:

      Same here meta, no offers, but for as long as I remember, only the ones like shop small appear. Also, I have never had a credit limit increase on my BAPP card, it’s an instant no when I have tried. I have had Amex look into it and they email back office and marketing and just get back that I haven’t qualified “this time”. They aren’t interested in the fact I get no offers at all.

      So a few weeks ago I applied for a Gold Rewards card. It has a much larger credit limit (Despite not even wanting to add £1k to my BAPP card). I did have to create a new sign in as it wouldn’t let me add it to my existing account but it’s still linked to my Platinum charge card membership rewards points, so they know it’s me.

      On my new Gold card I now am getting offers, I have 13 today. I find this so bizarre. They are willing to give me a large credit limit but refuse to increase my BAPP. Something must be wrong on my original account buyt Amex refuse to accept that, just saying “we can’t comment” and “offers are targeted”. I’ve got nowhere with my calls to them.

  • Andrew says:

    Surely you mean “when Delta moves its operations from Terminal 4 to Terminal 3”? Virgin have always been at T3.

    • ChrisC says:

      Basic errors such as this start to make you doubt what other errors there are that may not be as minor.

      Also to address the crowding issue (which only really happened after DL switched all its flight to
      T3 as for a while only some switched then some switched back until they all switched) some DL elites are shunted off to one of the commercial longes. Also VS has a ‘guest must be on the same VS flight’ rule.

      • Rob says:

        Apologies, both Rhys and I know what should have been written there. We are running a tight ship at the moment with the normal content, the party (we have got a sponsor over the line now) and the interviews for the full time HFP job, which are 2 hours each including an exam.

        • Alan says:

          Not sure you mean ‘running at tight ship’ as a phrase? Would mean everything was spot on without any mistakes rather than very busy (as sounds to be the case!) 😛

          • Rob says:

            I was meant to have a 7.30am meeting with Virgin this morning, luckily it got cancelled! At a lunch with Craig Kreeger, the Virgin Atlantic CEO, at noon. Meant to be getting the details on the new VS Upper Class seat on the A332s within the hour. Rhys down in Crawley discussing the party. No peace today!

        • CV3V says:

          After the appointment can you publish the ‘exam’, think we would all love a go!

          • Rob says:

            You get 20 (real) random reader emails to reply to.

          • Alan says:

            Fantastic idea for an exam, love it 😀 Is it open book (HfP website) for them? 😉

          • Rob says:

            Doesn’t matter because it is impossible to answer all the questions in the time allowed if you don’t know the answers off the top of your head.

            Sample questions (all of which I actually took out because it got too long):

            “Hi Rob

            Just a small technical question. Are Avios points allocated according to the tier when you book or when you travel?

            Wanting to book a flight, currently bronze, but awaiting tier points from recent Qatar flight which will take me to silver.”

            and

            “Hi rob,

            Just a quick question, if I have the Amex platinum and book a hotel via the fhr program but decide the downgrade to green or cancel the card. Does that invalidate my booking? What would likely happen?”

            and

            “Dear Rob

            I have Silver status with BA. My Tier points collection year ends July 2019.
            My card expiry however is more than a year later, August 31 2020.

            I assume this is to do with the two year extension granted last June to compensate for the disrupted flights weekend (I did fly that weekend). I can’t remember receiving the email but it’s quite likely I did..

            My question is this – if my silver card status lasts until August 2020, what happens to the tier points I earn in this current year (until July 2019)? If I hit 600 points (very likely), will that qualify to extend my silver status a year further on than August 2020 – taking me to August 2021?

            Or is it a waste of time flying BA this current year – may as well collect miles/status with a different airline Partnership/group?

            If that’s so, then the BA status give-away last June wouldn’t have helped their sales this year..!”

          • Alan says:

            Nice – wish exams at school & uni had been like that!

            Really excellent idea for getting someone who’s already up to speed.

        • ankomonkey says:

          Q1. What is the link to upgrade Amex Gold charge card to Plat? (although with the demise of the Gold charge card this question will disappear)

          Q2. I’ve earned a 241 from my BA Amex. If I cancel the card will it disappear from my BAEC account?

          Q3. Which Tesco branches have 3V cards?

          Q4. If I withdraw cash with my Curve linked to Virgin Money card, will it get charged as a purchase or cash advance?

          Q5. If I use Amex Travel to exchange currency, will it get charged as a purchase or a cash advance, and does it count towards welcome bonus and/or 241 spending?

          Q6. Where is the legendary ‘place in the sun’?

          Q7. Name at least 4 of Harry’s aliases.

        • Shoestring says:

          Actually 3 of my posts figure in the stretch task for candidates who finish with time to spare. They are gradations of ‘where exactly would you wield the big red pen?’ judgement calls.

          🙂

    • Rob says:

      Yes we do 🙂

    • jc says:

      Also Delta appears to be missing from the list of airlines at JFK T4

  • Rob says:

    How can I get a centurion card?

    Any tips?

    • David says:

      Push a shed load of money through your Platinum?

      • Big Dave says:

        and by shed he means litterally fill a shed up with money, count it and thats how much spend you need to put through – and then you need to be invited

    • Tom C says:

      I was putting through 6 figures annually on my Platinum, soo just phoned them to ask one day. They played it all cool, told me how they couldn’t do anything other than pass a note on, yet then about 2 months later I received the invite in the post. Then I read said invite, realised it offered me nothing of use – other than a drain on my bank account for the high fees they charge – and never went ahead.

      • Rob says:

        Best option is to find a mate with one and give him the £500 fee for an extra supp card. He is not out of pocket and you get all the benefits inc Hilton Diamond etc.

        I was offered the ICC version and, like Tom, refused because under no scenario can it offer value for money, unlike Platinum. Despite common opinion, people who have made their own money after many years of hard work do not suddenly forget how hard it was to get it and suddenly start throwing thousands around willy nilly.

        • Alex W says:

          Unlike Nigel the pensioner who prefers to boast about wasting his money willy nilly!

        • Anna says:

          Absolutely, wealthy people are often precisely that because they are extremely prudent! And the kind of person who values things like the 2 4 1 voucher and free breakfast will generally want a lot of value out of any credit card fees they pay.

        • Evan says:

          Alex W +1!!! Amen brother.

        • Alan says:

          Hence the Aldi offers from Amex 😀

        • Anna says:

          Aldi offers on 3 cards – it was like Christmas come early!

      • Lady London says:

        I’ll take a bet some are ‘comped’.

  • Nigel says:

    Re list of current Centurion lounges – I think you missed out Buenos Aires.

  • mradey says:

    “Centurion” lounges – infested with platinum card holders 🙂

  • filipino_chino says:

    only been in one amex lounge back in DFW and i have to say i was impressed… hope they open more!

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