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The new Centurion Lounges, are they really all that?

American Express in the last few years has been losing some of the best benefits of their Platinum cards. In times past, the card would get you and a guest into the US Airways clubs, until the merger with American took that away. You can still get into the Delta lounge when flying with that airline on the same day but now only you can go in, no other guest or family. Amex has lost access to other lounges from other airlines too. So what did they do?  They decided to open up their own lounges at airports across the US. Here is where they are located: 


Dallas Fort Worth

Las Vegas

La Guardia NY

San Francisco

And a small one in Seattle.

I’ve been in the Dallas Fort Worth lounge and the one in Miami. Other people that blog about travel have been gushing over these lounges like they’re the bee’s knees. I, on the other hand, find them nice enough. They are well appointed, they offer complementary hot food that is ok-to-good and free drinks (high end wines and booze) along with lots of non-alcoholic beverages. 

The seating is comfy and aesthetically pleasing. Some of them have complementary Spas.  I only have one problem with them and it’s a pretty big problem. They are super-crowded, like “no seats for anyone” crowded. People poach seats from different areas so that their family might be able to sit together. I have been to the lounges at different times of the day and they seem to always be at capacity. And just try to get a Spa appointment, they are always booked up. They are not necessarily small lounges either. To get in you need either a Platinum card or a Centurion Card from Amex for free access for you and your family or up to two guest, anyone else with an Amex card can get in for $50. I had no idea that so many people had Platinum cards.

Here are some pictures of the Miami Centurion lounge. Click on image to enlarge.

Seating area before it fills up


Coffee and juice options.

The hot food buffet, it’s kind of limited really.

And a view of the tarmac.

I also have access to One World lounges in the US because of my Silver status on British Airways. This means that if I’m flying same day on a One World carrier I get into the lounges for free. This is especially helpful for me in the Miami airport where I’m spending a great amount of time lately. American has two lounges in the D terminal one at D30 and the other at D15. They offer plenty of space with lots of seating which is important to me. They also offer free house wine and booze and small nibbles. Because I have a non-US-based carrier’s status I also get two premium drink chits. It doesn’t offer the free hot buffet that the Centurion lounges offer but they do have good food-for-purchase options: Cheaper then eating in the terminal and it’s very good, about $10 for a yummy sandwich or a salad. If you have any trouble with your American flight you also have the lounge agents who can sometimes do miracles in fixing issues.

I guess what I’m saying is that the Centurion lounge is nice but it isn’t really all that much better than other lounges in the US. I think if it wasn’t so crowded I would like it more. It’s still not on par with international lounges like:

Lufthansa’s First class Terminal in Frankfurt: http://www.lufthansa.com/us/en/First-Class-Terminal-Frankfurt 

Cathay Pacific’s Lounges in HKG: http://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_US/travel-information/airport/lounges.html

Qantas Lounges: http://www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/qantas-club-lounge-locations/global/en 

British Airways Lounges: http://www.britishairways.com/en-us/information/lounges 

…to name just a few.  All have a much better experience then most US-based carrier’s lounges.

Bottom Line. 

The Centurion lounge is nice but too crowded for my liking. It offers better drinks and food with a Spa (if you can get an appointment). It’s better than most of its US counterparts but still not as good as many foreign airlines’ lounges.


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