Umroh Travel

Umroh Tour and Travel

The Essential Guide To American Express Centurion Lounges – Forbes Advisor

The Essential Guide To American Express Centurion Lounges – Forbes Advisor

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.

From long lines at security to weather delays to staff-related cancellations, airports can be chaotic. Crowded restaurants or standing-room-only space at the airport bar certainly leaves much to be desired when you are trying to get into “vacation mode” or finish up some last minute work.

The American Express Centurion Lounges are a welcome respite from the typical airport hubbub. The exclusive spaces are only accessible by eligible card members and each one is curated to provide a space to eat, drink, relax or work before boarding your flight. Here’s what you need to know about the upscale Centurion Lounge network.

Find The Best American Express Credit Cards Of 2022

What Are American Express Centurion Lounges?

American Express Centurion Lounges are a global network of high-end airport lounges with 12 locations in the U.S. and 11 international locations. Centurion Lounges are departure lounges, meaning admission is only allowed for eligible cardholders on a departing flight three hours or less before departure or during a layover of any length for a connecting flight.

Since the launch of the first Centurion Lounge location in 2013 in Las Vegas’ Harry Reid Airport, American Express has steadily expanded their footprint of these upscale lounges across the United States and globally. These lounges have consistently received high marks from travelers and offer an enjoyable alternative to passing time in the main terminal.

All Centurion Lounges feature fine dining and specially crafted beverages, often locally inspired and regionally sourced in consultation with award-winning area chefs and mixologists. While the offerings can vary between locations, the quality and variety of food and beverage options at American Express Centurion Lounges generally surpass that of typical airline lounges. This is not a grab-and-go buffet kind of place. Think of Centurion Lounges as first class lounges and most other airport lounges as premium economy or business class, depending on the airline and the location.

Along with upscale meals, Centurion Lounges feature free Wi-Fi and a variety of seating options for work, eating or relaxing. Lounges also offer restrooms and showering rooms that allow you to refresh before or between flights. Depending on location, Centurion Lounges may also feature specialty spaces, such as the craft beer bar at Denver International Airport or Exhale-branded spa therapies at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

Where Are American Express Centurion Lounges Located?

Most Centurion Lounges are located in the terminals near the gates, so lounge users will have to clear through security prior to accessing the lounge. Many airports have terminals that are connected airside, which allows access to the lounge from any terminal.

Notably, at Miami International Airport and San Francisco International Airport, the terminals are not connected airside. A user would be able to access the lounge by clearing security at the terminal of the Centurion Lounge, but they would have to exit security, transit to their departure terminal and then re-clear security to get to their flight terminal. For those who have a long layover or enjoy getting to the airport very early, the inconvenience of changing terminals and going through security twice to experience the Centurion Lounge may be worth their time.

You can find American Express Centurion lounges at the following airports in the United States. Note that the hours are subject to change.

American Express Centurion lounges are located in the following international airports:

Who Can Use American Express Centurion Lounges?

Access to American Express Centurion lounges is granted to eligible Platinum and Centurion consumer and business cardholders including the following cards:

To enter, a cardholder needs to present their valid card, government issued photo-ID and a boarding pass with a confirmed reservation for same-day travel. The term “confirmed boarding pass” means that you must have a seat assignment, so standby or non-revenue/employee discounted ticket holders would not have lounge access while they wait for departure.

Cardholders of the following American Express cards also have access to the Centurion Lounge:

The conditions for entry are slightly different for these cardholders than for American Express Platinum or Centurion cardholders. To access the Centurion lounge using a Delta SkyMiles co-branded card, a cardholder must purchase their ticket using an eligible U.S.-issued card and the flight must be marketed or operated by Delta Airlines.

Additionally, Delta Reserve personal or business card holders do not have access to the entirety of the Centurion Lounge network. Eligible lounges include locations in the United States, Hong Kong and London. The other international locations would not be accessible to Delta Reserve card holders.

Delta Reserve personal and business card holders do not receive any complimentary guests, but are able to purchase day-passes at a rate of $50 per guest. The guests must be traveling on a same-day Delta marketed or operated flight, however it does not have to be the same flight as the primary card holder.

The Centurion Lounge network is extremely popular with travelers and the lounges can get crowded. Since lounges have capacity restrictions, that can sometimes cause lengthy wait times during busy travel periods. Cardholders are able to generate an access code through the American Express app, however, having a check-in code does not guarantee access if the lounge is close to or at capacity.

It’s not uncommon to hear travelers speak about 30 to 45 minute wait times to enter a Centurion Lounge. This makes Centurion Lounge access a misnomer if you have less than a 90 minute layover at peak times in many markets.

Until Jan. 31, 2023 cardholders will receive access for themselves and up to two guests with no additional charge. Additional guests can receive access by purchasing a day-pass at a rate of $50 or the foreign currency equivalent, not to exceed $50. Children ages two to seventeen can get guest passes for $30.

As of Feb. 1, 2023, complimentary guest access will no longer be a standard benefit for Platinum Card holders. After that date, complimentary guest access is a benefit for those who spend $75,000 in eligible purchases in the preceding calendar year. For example, a user that spends $100,000 on their American Express card between Jan. 1, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2022 would have their complimentary guest access extended to Jan. 31, 2024. To retain guest access through the entirety of 2024, the user would have to spend over $75,000 in the 2023 calendar year.

Purportedly, the spending requirement of $75,000 for complimentary guest access is designed to reduce the total number of users in the lounge. Only time will tell if the change will make a significant impact on capacity and wait times.

Do You Need American Express Centurion Lounge Access?

As American Express Centurion Lounge access is only available for cardholders of a select number of credit cards, what should you do if you don’t have one of those cards? The answer isn’t completely straightforward, but there are a few factors an individual traveler should consider based on their personal travel style.

A traveler should consider the cost of holding a credit card that provides Centurion Lounge access. The American Express cards that provide access do have higher annual fees, so it’s important to consider the cost of the annual fee against the benefit of lounge access. Many premium credit cards offer lounge access through an airline affiliation or Priority Pass; if a traveler already has access through another credit card, a card that offers Centurion Lounge access might be duplicitous.

For those that are looking for a comfortable place to sit and grab a small snack, most airline-associated lounges or those offered by Priority Pass will fit the bill. However, for those that are looking for unique food offerings and speciality cocktails, Centurion Lounge access is worth investigating.

Each traveler should also evaluate their travel patterns. Centurion Lounges are at select airports domestically and abroad and may not be at airports along their commonly traveled routes. A benefit is only a benefit if it is able to be used, so passengers that don’t often pass through airports that have Centurion Lounges should not feel compelled to gain access.

The most intangible factor to consider is if Centurion Lounges provide a better overall lounge experience than other airport lounges. That’s definitely at the discretion of each individual traveler, and can only be made by a personal evaluation. The overcrowding issues make the calculation more difficult, especially if you are someone who values the guest access that is going away next year.

Bottom Line

American Express Centurion Lounges offer a respite from bustling airport terminals, providing an upscale food, beverage and seating experience that can actually make air travel feel pleasant. If you own an eligible credit card, access is complimentary and unlimited, provided you follow the terms and conditions for entry. Access to the Centurion Lounges can significantly enhance your airport experience, but the access is only meaningful if there’s a Centurion Lounge at your most frequently-used airports.