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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.

  • MT says:

    There is the Mexico City Centurion Lounge which I have always thought the best in the network which doesn’t get a mention in the article!

    • Neil says:

      +1

      • Rob says:

        Didn’t want to muddy the water, that is NOT a Centurion lounge in Amex’s eyes as a quick look at their Centurion Lounge website will prove.

        • Ben says:

          But can Plat card holders use it?

        • MT says:

          That is odd as it is I believe the only lounge with a dedicated Centurion side which I must say is superb! Maybe this is why Amex doesn’t want to confuse things. If your a Cent card holder and go there the rest of the lounges seem pretty poor by comparison!

          Equally I think its worth pointing out these other lounges so people know about them if HfP is your main source of info on these things!

  • CV3V says:

    Slightly OT – in Jan i will have a long stopover in LHR T5, to ease the boredom i was wondering if its possible to terminal hop and go over to T3 and lounge hop? Is it possible? Not sure how you would get out of T5 departures. If not possible it means i will be stuck in the Concorde Lounge 😉

    • Heathrow Flyer says:

      You can go landslide at T5 no problem and take the tube/HEX for free to T3.

      You’d then need a ticket for T3 to go airside – I guess you’d have to ‘miss’ your T3 flight and be asked to be escorted back landslide – they also probably ask you to go through passport control again I imagine?

      Maybe someone on here will have experience of missing their T3 flight?

      • Toby says:

        No no no no no.

        I have done this many a time; never go landslide as it will cause many problems with ‘Ready to Fly’ later on. You will also not be allowed into T3 from landslide with a T5 boarding pass. The ‘shopping rule’ doesn’t apply when entering T3 you see from landslide (it only applies from airside). So seriously! Don’t do it!

        However, Simply during your stopover take the airside flight connections route to T3. When done, simply take the airside bus back to T5. You will have to clear security both times. On Saturday it took me 45 minutes to get from C gates T5 to the Cathay Lounge T3. It was only 30 minutes back but I’d leave an hour to be safe.

        • Shoestring says:

          Landslide is presumably better option than airslide, then? 🙂

          I can see why you might do this as a student but these days I think I’d stay in T5 Concorde.

          Why waste valuable time?

    • ChrisC says:

      How long is long?

      it is possible but you would have to go through security twice – once on entry into T3 and then again at T5 on the way back.

      There are threads about it on the BA flyer talk board if you google them that have more details in.

      Just remember to be back in T5 to comply with conformance etc.

      • CV3V says:

        7 hours! Due to no avios availability back to GLA, there is however lots of availability to EDI, but that’s a pain as car will be at GLA. Several hours in the Concorde Lounge sounded not too bad at the time of booking, but now as it draws closer i am going off the idea (although OH still thinks its a great plan). Getting airside at T3 doesnt seem doable.

        • Alan says:

          Yeah I had 4h in CCR – was fine, but very busy and wouldn’t want 7h! Worth Ix the Heathrow Shopping route I mentioned?

    • Alan says:

      Best method I can think of is the Heathrow Shopping route – find a store that’s only in T3 and say you want to visit. Never done it myself though so don’t know if they then just leave you in T3 or accompany you there and back again (which could be tricky unless they fancy a lounge visit too!)

      • Lyn says:

        Alan’s shopping route sounds like the best option. I’m not sure it even has to be a store that’s only in T3. I’ve never done this, but one of the stores actually suggested this to me when they were out of something, and thought their store in one of the other terminals might have it. Presumably you could then say you want to take your time shopping and use your onward boarding pass to get to T5 via the airside bus.

        On the other hand, someone at the Concorde room might just take pity on you and put you on an earlier flight back to GLA, but it could be a problem with luggage.

      • ankomonkey says:

        And when you get to T3 you tell your chaperone that you just need to use the bathroom and run for your life to where you wanted to go to in T3. Then repeat the request to shop in T5 to get back there.

  • Graham Walsh says:

    This will be a great addition to T3 for those not flying in business and no status. Another reason to keep the Platinum card to pair with PP in T5.

  • MDA says:

    Does anyone have an idea when this will be open?

    I would like to make some T3 plans for 2019

    • Shoestring says:

      Press release just says ‘in 2019’.

      But hey! I thought somebody said the pop up was only 1 day? Not according to PR:
      Platinum and Centurion Cardmembers can get a taste of the Centurion Lounge’s premium service and amenities at an exclusive pop-up at Unit 6, Langley Street, in London’s Covent Garden which will be open from 13 to 16 December from 11:00am to 6:00pm each day. A much needed sanctuary from the hustle and bustle, the pop-up Centurion Lounge will offer complimentary bites and beverages, gift wrapping services, charging stations and family programming. Platinum and Centurion Cardmembers are welcome to attend with up to two complimentary guests. More information about The Centurion Lounge pop up at Covent Garden can be found here.

      • Alan says:

        Don’t remember anything about it only being for a day, I think it’s earlier closing than last year though? Planning to be there on the Thurs, hopefully no pre-arranged events this time!

  • Alex W says:

    If it’s like the other centurion lounges it will become overcrowded very quickly. The main benefit of this could be a quieter clubhouse, Cathay lounge etc.

    • Alan says:

      Yep their overgenerous guesting policy has really caused issues in the US where folks were bringing their whole family in! (& of course Plat is much cheaper there given all the rebates on offer)

    • Scallder says:

      However surely part of the reason that they’re so overcrowded is lack of competition in the US. As pointed out some other very good lounges in T3, so hopefully won’t be such a problem as in the US…

  • Optimus Prime says:

    OT but lounge related – is there a lounge for those flying BA F out of LAS? I can find just Centurion, Club and United.

    • Lumma says:

      I think it’s just “the Club at LAS”, which is also the priority pass lounge

      • Optimus Prime says:

        Thanks. I guess it’ll be packed!

        • Alex W says:

          The club at LAS is pants. Centurion lounge is quite a long walk + shuttle, but it’s definitely worth it. Without a plat I think you can buy access for $50 if you have another amex card, unless the rules have changed.

        • thehornets says:

          The Club at LAS is incredibly poor. Don’t waste your time.

    • Mark says:

      I had the same question but couldn’t figure out if you can get to D gates where the amex lounge is if you are flying from E gates, flying BA F next may I’m still hoping they switch the plane as currently its the very old 747

      • Alex W says:

        Yes you can but it takes a while. Shuttle train saves a bit of time.

  • Oh Matron! says:

    What are “premium” showers? Do they rain unicorn tears?

    The showers in the VS lounge are good, but if it’s heat and volume you want, the shakers in the VS Revivals are excellent!

  • Timbo says:

    There is a ‘Pontus in the Air’ lounge at Stockholm Arlanda that is, to all intents and purposes, a Centurion Lounge. It only allows Platinum and Centurion cardholders in. It’s up on a mezzanine with a great view of the runway.

    • Simon says:

      excellent – will be there next spring so will take the advice on board!

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