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What you need to know about American Express Centurion airport lounges in the US, HK and UK!

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If you are heading to the USA or Hong Kong soon and hold an American Express Platinum charge card, you may be able to visit one of the new airport lounges commissioned by American Express.

The latest of these lounges opens in Charlotte tomorrow.  This seemed like a good excuse to have another look at the full network.

A few years ago, American Express started to lose its contracts with the major US airlines which allowed Platinum cardholders to use their lounges.  The only arrangement that is still in place is with Delta and is now restricted to the Platinum cardholder only, with guests for an additional fee.

American Express decided to launch its own proprietary airport lounge network.  They have been seen as a welcome breath of fresh air in the US, where airport lounges are substantially lower in quality than those in Europe and Asia.

US airport lounges tend to operate on a ‘club’ system with paid memberships – having status is not enough to get you access. You have the odd situation where a British Airways Executive Club Gold or Silver member can use their card to access an American Airlines lounge but an AA top-tier flyer cannot.  You are also expected to pay for food and some drinks in US lounges.

Amex has branded its lounge network as ‘Centurion Lounge’.  This causes some confusion because many believe that you need an American Express Centurion card to enter, which is not true.  Access is gained via a Platinum (or Centurion) charge card, issued in any country.

At present, there are Centurion lounges at:

Charlotte (as of tomorrow!)

Dallas / Fort Worth

Hong Kong

Houston

Las Vegas

LaGuardia, New York

Miami

Philadelphia

Phoenix

Seattle

San Francisco

The first overseas lounge was Hong Kong, as we covered here.

Numerous additional lounges were supposed to open in 2019 but have been delayed to this year.  This includes a 15,000 square foot lounge in Terminal 4 at New York JFK, which is the terminal that Virgin Atlantic and Delta use.

Heathrow Terminal 3 was also supposed to open late last year, but is now opening in the next few months.  Possibly.  Los Angeles and Denver are all due to open later this year.

Amex has now set up a special site where you can find all the details of each lounge, including opening times and facilities, here.

Depending on the airport, you will find a cocktail bar, premium wines, hot and cold food, a family room, a computer bar, a spa suite offering free 15-minute treatments and shower suites.

Just because you are using a particular airport does not mean that you can get to the lounge, of course.  It depends on what terminal you are in and how international and domestic passengers are segregated.

Unfortunately, the Centurion Lounges have been a victim of their own success and now suffer from overcrowding at peak times.  The entry requirements have been tightened up over the years and you can no longer bring in unlimited children or spend the whole day there.  Platinum Card members are now restricted to two guests, although additional day passes can be purchased.

Under US law, you must be 21 years old to enter – unsupervised – a lounge with a self-service bar.  Lounges with a staffed bar accept unaccompanied guests from age 18.

Amex Centurion airport lounges in the US, HK and soon UK

The photographs in the this article are of the new Charlotte Centurion lounge. We are looking forward to seeing the Heathrow lounge when it opens – hopefully very soon – although it’s not as if Terminal 3 is short of excellent airport lounges.

You can find out more at the dedicated Centurion Lounge website here.

PS.  If you missed it, take a look at our recent article on 10 good reasons why you should get the American Express Platinum card.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (November 2020)

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points 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. The card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

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 Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club lounge – see the list here

The Lounge Club list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list.  Additional visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  There is no annual fee in Year 1 and 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 HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to almost all of them – indexed here.

Comments (30)

  • A says:

    Also one at staples centre in Los Angeles, and there was one at Barclays center in Brooklyn which closed for some reason last summer….which is annoying as I made regular use of it

  • Yorkieflyer says:

    Didn’t realise their was an Amex lounge in Phoenix, it doesn’t seem clear from the Amex link whether it can be accessed on a domestic flight ?

    • Liam says:

      It’s only recently been opened. It shares some space with an Escape lounge. No problem using it as part of a domestic itinerary.

  • Layerden says:

    Have they closed the one in Buenos Aires?

    • Rob says:

      Still there, as are the Mexico ones, BUT they are not ‘official’ Centurion Lounges for the purposes of Amex which is why they are not on the Centurion Lounges website. Confusing but ….