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

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.

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

Getting airport lounge access via a UK credit card

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

Two free Priority Pass cards (one for you, one for your supplementary Platinum cardholder, each admitting two – so a family of four gets in free) giving access to every lounge 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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

You get a Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club network lounge – see the list here.  The list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list, but not by much.  Additional visits are charged at £20 per person.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  No annual fee in Year 1.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

You get a free LoungeKey card allowing you access to any property in the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although regular travellers will find it cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card (adults only, of course).  The card has an annual 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.

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Comments

  1. I thought there was an AMEX lounge in Sydney?

  2. OT any opening dates for the Manchester clubhouse?

  3. These are some of the best lounges around from my experience – especially in the US. I’ve visited the Seattle, San Francisco, Houston and Hong Kong ones and they’re great.

    • +1 for Houston lounge, a real oasis, especially nice to use before flying back home to Blighty.

      They served Botanist G&T, made at Bruichladdich, Islay

    • I am flying BA out of SFO in the summer. This seems to go from T1 rather than T3 where the lounge is. Any idea whether I can access it.

      • I was just walking around the terminals the other day when I accidently ran across it, it’s at terminal 3 (the United airline terminal) which Is theoretically walkable from the BA gates in A, but it is literally as far away from you as it’s possible to get

  4. Anthony Edwards says:

    There is definitely at least two at Mexico City – both before and after security. Better than the BA Lounge or the (award winning!) priority pass lounges

    • This lounge also has a dedicated Centurion only lounge which is superb, I believe it is the only lounge in the network that has this.

  5. The one in Miami was disappointing – I went with high expectations but was no better than an average Priority Pass Lounge in Europe. Luckily I had access to AA Flagship First Lounge which was substantially better (even without access to Flagship Dinning as I wasn’t flying AA First). I would expect the one at T3 to be similar to Plaza Premium at T5, which is decent enough but nothing to get too excited about.

    • Thought similar of the LAS one to be honest, been around 4 years since I was there though to be fair.

      Maybe I just expected more, and as Rob says comparatively, they’re a lot better than some of the AA lounges

  6. Concerto says:

    What about Diners Club lounges? I have got a brand new Swiss Diners card which apparently offers me access to their lounges.

    • https://www.dinersclub.com/clubmembers/airport-lounges#! is a list of lounges run by other people (Plaza, Aspire, No1)
      How many accesses one gets per year vary by country of issue, and in some countries by the bewildering variety of different Diners Cards.

      P.S. The equivalent of Amex FHR for hotels gives good benefits, but for much higher room rate – I can see it being worthwhile if dining in on a one-night stay, but otherwise not.
      On my computer the website works with Firefox and IE, but not Chrome, although that could be due to particular settings in my Chrome.

  7. Visited the Hong Kong lounge last summer.

    A great lounge, fantastic quality food and drink and nice environment. Was a bit small.

    Will be nice to see it expand in the UK.

    • I also used the HKG lounge last summer. Was late on a Sunday afternoon and the place was mobbed. Don’t get me wrong – a welcome break from the main terminal, but was a struggle to find seats for the 5 of us.

      • Not so much a problem on our recent visits, for obvious reasons!

        On our last visit their showers weren’t working (but neither were the ones in the Singapore Airlines lounge and our next port of call, the United lounge, was closed due to United having suspended all their flights to HK), so they arranged for us to shower in the Refreshhh by Aerotel next door.

        A fairly limited selection of food though good quality and a decent drinks selection including a cocktail menu. Quite a pleasant place to wait as well when it’s not rammed – we had the entirety of the bar area overlooking the airfield to ourselves!

  8. I used the Amex lounge in the Mumbai domestic terminal a couple of weeks ago. The space is partitioned into two adjoining rooms. The left side is self-service and is, I was told, reserved for selected Amex corporate cardholders. The right side is for Platinum/Centurion cardholders with very slow waiter service, but the quality of the food was high for a lounge. Both spaces are small with probably about 20 seats each.

    • In my experience, the Amex Platinum lounges in DEL and BOM served good Indian food, especially South Indian savoury pancakes and rice-based snacks. It has been almost 10 years since I last went to either of the lounges. Now that they have new terminals at each airport, they should have expanded the seating area and the food selection. But I will not bet on it.

    • Jordan D says:

      I too was going to chime in with the fact that the BOM Domestic area of T2 has a Centurion space inside the Amex Lounge there. I will however say the waiter service was excellent, and the food very good too – the western breakfast included proper, crispy hash browns that would put BA Galleries First to shame.

    • Jordan D says:

      https://livefromalounge.boardingarea.com/2020/02/25/amex-lounge-access-mumbai/ – it seems there are updated rules on the Amex Mumbai lounge, with a clear Centurion / Platinum split. A shame, really.

  9. 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

  10. 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 ?

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

  11. Have they closed the one in Buenos Aires?

    • 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 ….

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