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Amex 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, writes Rhys. 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.

$30 off a $40 'experience' via Expedia - good for restaurants, airport lounges etc, including your home town
Bits: Plaza Premium loses Cathay T3 management, LOT launches City to Vilnius, BA launching Islamabad?
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Comments

  1. I was chatting to Amex today, and one of the agents had cause to copy a line from a previous conversation, the operator was called Daniel as I recall… but the copy paste shows a three named Indian name Jagdish Singh Bhati (not his real name but along the lines).

    I’m really surprised Amex are using fake names in chat! Is that common practice?

    • Every single one I’ve ever spoken with has an Anglicised name which I presume to be a pseudonym. I can’t decide whether they think we can’t cope with Asian names or that Amex want us to think we are speaking to someone in the UK as it’s well known that overseas call centres get a bad reputation (though I have found Amex chat agents to rarely be anything other than charming and helpful, BA could do with hiring a few of them).

      • Who remembers bmi Dennis??? “I know what I’m talking about Sir” and then would proceed to never charge your credit card and/or never take the miles. “YO MAN PAX”.

        I just didn’t expect Amex to do it. Considering we have millions of immigrant names in the UK, does Amex expect an Indian named employee to call him or herself Daniel & Phyllis

    • Yes, they are India based but the ‘English’ names are to suggest they are Brighton based.

      BT do the same.

      Its really obvious.

      • Shoestring says:

        Don’t assume so much when you don’t know the culture. For example, In Hong Kong, all the HK Chinese have their Chinese names but they also adopt a European (used to be British) sounding first name as well, for work purposes.

        It’s just pragmatic – they know that if they get a job working in English language, foreigners won’t be able to pronounce the Cantonese name. So they also get called adopted typical names such as Agnes, James, Charlie etc.

        • RussellH says:

          This happens much closer to home!

          Barra usually gets mentioned here just for the plane landings on the Traigh Mhor (means big beach), but when I was working there (many years ago now) all the people with Gaelic as their first language had both Gaelic and English first names. What was a little odd was that while most of the time the English name was a translation of the Gaelic name, this was not always the case. There did seem to be a thing against lowland Scots names. Thus Seumas called himself James, not Hamish; and Mórag called herself Marion, not Morag.

          I have had the same experience as Shoestring, when meeting Chinese travels professionals. I recall one woman whose pinyin name was Li Zhu; she introduced herself as Julie.

      • I used to work for Amex and phone names then were common place. The reason being you couldn’t have 2 people answering to the same name in the same department. Cue far out names like Delilah, Tallulah, Roxy and Trent. Those are ones I remember vividly. There were many others.

      • Lady London says:

        Everyone does. Amazon, every other chat seems to provide Anglicized names. Sometimes the operator doesn’t actually write any English that looks like English. It’s painfully obvious and I really wish they would use real names. We already know when we’re dealing with an overseas outsourced call centre. It’;s usually painfully obvious by the poor service this often gives (not always, but very often). Just be honest about it folks and don;t deny your people’s identity by making them use “fake” names.

    • Froggitt says:

      I once chatted with David Bekkam.

    • All customer service businesses do this.

  2. Are you sure it’s only platinum and centurion card holders. In us any amex card holder can get in for $50. Or at least used to

  3. OT, Any suggestions for Milan Hotel near City centre preferably. Have Hilton, IHG status and points and Marriott, Club Carlson points.

    Next stop would be Emir if there are great options there….Please advise folks.

    • We stayed (but didn’t review) at Excelsior Hotel Gallia next to Central Station which has been exceptionally well refurbished very recently. 15 minute walk down to Duomo from Central Station. Hilton is almost next door but was a dump years ago when I stayed.

      • Thanks Rob. I was looking at Hilton but would leave it out now. Excelsior sounds good, also looking at Westin Palace, which is thereabouts….

        • Yes, about 90 seconds away as you head in.

        • Lady London says:

          Westin Palance did not use to get good reviews. Principe de Savoia is practically opposite and was much favoured by a number of people I worked with. I dont have up to date feedback on Principe de S but would defo choose something other than the Westin Palace.

          I stay outside Milan mostly now and very driven by hotel programs and the odd luxury venue so my knowledge is not totally up to date.

    • Lady London says:

      There’s a nice boutique one in Via Spadari but I can’t remember it’s name. It’s right next to the best food shop in Milan! I stayed at the Michelangelo a few years back and it was OK. Principe de Savoia used to be much liked by those who were less price sensitive, but I don’t have recent info on if it’s still that good.

      It depends which hotel program you want to earn in… but I’ve found that other than the Park Hyatt Milan, which is perfectly located for shopping and truly superb (according to those I know who did make stays there) price should never be taken as a guide to quality in Milan.

    • Star hotels Rosa Grand … ok no good if you want to use points but a great location and really smart rooms … stayed there last Feb 18

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