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Review: American Express Centurion Lounge at Heathrow T3

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This is our review of the American Express Centurion Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 3.

This lounge opened in late 2021 and was the first Centurion Lounge in Europe. I hadn’t actually been back since the opening party – if I’m flying BA from Terminal 3 I use the Cathay Pacific lounges, if I’m flying Virgin Atlantic I use the Clubhouse – but I thought it was about time to revisit.

The lounge is on a par with the Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 2 in terms of the money and effort that has been put into its design. Perhaps not coincidentally, The Centurion Lounge – like Plaza Premium – has no natural light and has had to work harder to make an impression.

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow Airport

Some pictures below are re-used from 2021’s press launch, because it was easier then to get shots without any people in them. I have used new photos where there has been an obvious change.

The lounge is open from 5.30am to 9pm daily. You can get access from three hours before the departure time of your flight.

Where is the American Express Centurion Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3?

The majority of the Terminal 3 lounges are grouped together near the gates, at the rear of the shopping area. This is not the case here.

You need to head to the far right of the shopping area, following signs to ‘Lounge A’. You will see an Amex banner above a door which leads to a rickety lift and stairs. You need to head to the second floor.

Who can get access to The Centurion Lounge at Heathrow?

You need to hold The Platinum Card, or invite-only The Centurion Card (our HfP guide to The Centurion Card is here). US residents can also get access with the Delta Reserve SkyMiles credit card.

For UK cardholders, each Platinum cardholder is allowed to bring two guests. If you have issued a supplementary Platinum Card to your partner, they can also bring in two guests. In theory a family or group of up to six can enter via one account.

The lounge has a capacity of 110 so you can do the maths.

What’s inside?

This is a big lounge, comprising 650 square metres.

Here is the reception area. You can immediately see the money that has been put into this facility:

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow Airport reception

(Why, what’s that I see proudly displayed on the table to the right?!)

…. which leads into a corridor where you can immediately see the strong investment in artwork:

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow Airport artwork

The first room is on your left – a small office area, with a hot desking table. The one-person desks to the left have built in wireless charging, and as you can see the main table also has in-built charging:

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow Airport

There are some snazzy private working booths:

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

The photo below doesn’t really do this back wall justice. It is rammed with luggage, classic novels and other bits and pieces, all in the same deep shade of blue.

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

This one is taken from elsewhere in the lounge and gives you a better feel:

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow Terminal 3

The bar and dining area

Continuing down the corridor, which is so classy it was worth a photograph:

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow

…. it opens out into a large bar and dining area.

Whilst the seating is functional, the bar itself is beautiful and the photo doesn’t do it justice. (This is a 2021 picture, hence the masks.)

All drinks are free, but I was there at 5.30am when it opened and I wasn’t keen to try anything.

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow bar

Off to the side, at 90 degrees to the bar, is the buffet.

The breakfast spread was impressive. Plenty of fresh fruit, cereals, pastries, cheese, yoghurts, muffins, granola bites, porridge, muesli etc and the standard cooked items – scrambled egg, beans, bacon, Cumberland sausage, mushrooms and potato rosti.

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow Airport buffet

The quality was uniformly high. It may have been the first time that I’ve seen pastel de nata on a UK buffet, either in a hotel or airport lounge. You also don’t see French toast very often:

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow breakfast buffet

Do you have a Centurion Card? If you do, there is a small area with around seven seats just past the buffet which is reserved exclusively for you. You are requested to make yourself known to the staff before sitting here. Here is part of it:

American Express London Heathrow Airport Centurion Lounge

Here is another eye-catching piece of artwork at the rear of the dining area:

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow airport

The lounging area

Following on from the dining and bar area, and separated from that by a partition wall, is this seating area:

American Express Centurion Lounge seating Heathrow

See the blue rollers? They contain USB charging sockets!

American Express Centurion Lounge

Here are some of the booths around the edge of this area:

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow

…. and here is a view of the seating area from the back, with the bathroom and showers behind me:

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow Airport London

Bathrooms and showers

Finally, at the back of the lounge, are the loos and the showers. I have to be honest – I forgot they existed and I didn’t check the current 2024 situation. This is how they looked in 2021:

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow

There was also this impressive nappy changing room:

American Express Centurion Lounge London Heathrow Airport

Conclusion

The American Express Centurion Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 is a very accomplished space.

Whilst the lack of natural light and aircraft views will put some off, it has forced the team to invest in interior design and the result is stunning. The quality of everything, from the soft furnishings to the lighting and artwork, is second to none.

I accept that I haven’t seen the lounge in ‘busy’ mode, since it wasn’t exactly heaving at 5.30am on Thursday. What I can say, at least based on the breakfast service, is that there has been no obvious drop in food standards since it opened.

American Express Centurion Lounge Heathrow Airport Terminal 3

Should I come here or should I visit another lounge?

If you don’t have lounge access via your flight ticket, you will – by virtue of having The Platinum Card – also have a Priority Pass card which can access the No1 Lounge. The No1 Lounge is larger but The Centurion Lounge is far classier. You can also access the Club Aspire lounge (review) which I would also rate below The Centurion Lounge.

If you have oneworld Sapphire or British Airways Silver status or a oneworld Business Class ticket, the Qantas London Lounge (review) and Cathay Pacific business lounges (review) are equal to The Centurion Lounge. The British Airways and American Airlines business class lounges are poorer.

If you have oneworld Emerald or British Airways Gold status or a oneworld First Class ticket, go to the Cathay Pacific First Class lounge (review). You have access to a (free) proper restaurant and high-end drinks.

If you have Emirates status or are flying in Emirates business or First Class, you will probably find The Centurion Lounge better than the Emirates lounge. However, the Emirates lounge offers direct boarding and it is a bit of a walk from The Centurion Lounge. I should also be honest and say that neither Rhys or I have been in the Emirates lounge since the pandemic, although I’ve not heard of any major changes.

If you can access the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, stay there. It is one of world’s most impressive lounges. Here’s our last Virgin Atlantic Heathrow Clubhouse review.

The Centurion Lounge has better guesting rules than many lounges, of course. If you are a family of three with only one British Airways status card between you, you won’t be getting into the BA lounge unless you are flying in Business. The Centurion Lounge will let you bring in two guests for each Platinum card you have.

The Centurion Lounge also has the best bar of any of the Terminal 3 lounges, if that’s your goal!


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (June 2024)

Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK credit card.

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 Eurostar, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

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

Additional lounge visits are charged at £24.  You get four 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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free Priority Pass card, allowing you access to the Priority Pass network.  Guests are charged at £24 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.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

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

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

Comments (77)

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

  • TooPoorToBeHere says:

    Was in there before an evening departure a few weeks ago. Almost completely empty at perhaps 1930.

    Impressed with food – several high-quality options, plenty of cheese/pickles/cold cuts type stuff to pick at, all seemed very good. Perhaps it’s gone downhill over time but I was pleased with what I found.

    They don’t look like much in the pictures – particularly the rather unfortunate Basil Fawlty trough of baked beans – but the quality was great. Definitely a cut above the BA/Priority Pass fare. There is good quantity of actual meat/fish/chicken in the dishes – they are not just BA-esque school dinner troughs of sauce with occasional hard-to-identify solids.

    The spiced shredded lamb thing was particularly tasty and very welcome. The olives, salads, pickles, and cheese were well-selected and clearly of good quality.

    Admittedly it was empty but there seemed to be a good number of staff and stuff was being cleared/cleaned/tidied actively.

    https://i.ibb.co/ypZ0VF9/IMG-8257.jpg
    https://i.ibb.co/8BPzhnT/IMG-8258.jpg

  • Martin says:

    I thought they changed the access rules due to over crowding.
    I thought you could only guest if you had a centurion card..

    • Rob says:

      If you’re American, yes.

      • His Holyness says:

        If you spend more than $75k in a year you get 2 guests on Plat.

        • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

          Which for Americans is not the barrier it might be in the UK. The main concern my US acquaintances have is segmenting their spend across their abundant rewards cards.

      • Jonathan says:

        Soo if you’re British and you hold a Centurion card issued in the U.S., you can have two guests ?

  • John says:

    Is there convenient list of BA destinations from T3 some place?

  • Finn says:

    Nice write up and great timing. I’m a fan of the Centurion lounge – the IAH one is a favourite – but haven’t tried this one. I’m going through T3 next weekend so will give this a try.

  • Whistler says:

    Nice review thank you.
    So, am I to understand that the BA “American Express” Platinum credit card does not gain entry?
    Thanks

  • A says:

    You can gain access more than 3 hours before your flight if you are connecting and show them your boarding pass…

    I like this lounge. Never stupidly busy, food is great. The only thing it lacks is natural light.

  • Graeme says:

    Sadly I downgraded my amex platinum card recently as twice I’ve tried to get into the centurion lounge and been turned away. My partner works for an airline so always on a standby ticket that gets allocated at the gate. Despite having a valid live card on me they said no. It was one of the main perks of the ever hard to justify fee. Did they really think I’d sneak in with a case just to use the lounge then head home? Shame.

    • Rob says:

      They insist on seeing your boarding pass to ensure you’re not breaching the 3 hour rule, I imagine.

      • Graeme says:

        You would think so but not for me both times. Flight was due to take off in 2 hours both times and it was a no as there was no confirmed seat number. Would have thought/hoped the paid for card acts as your membership card.

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

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