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In recent years, Capital One, Chase, and American Express have invested heavily in proprietary lounges to provide cardholders with premium airport experiences beyond airline-branded lounges and the Priority Pass network. While Capital One and Chase are relatively new to the proprietary lounge world with only two apiece each currently, American Express opened its first lounge in 2013 at the Las Vegas airport. Ten years later, the signature, state-of-the-art lounge collection of American Express—the Centurion Lounge network—has redefined airport lounging in 24 airports worldwide, with more on the way. Here, all you need to know about AmEx’s snazzy Centurion lounges, including what they’re like inside and how to access them.
What are Centurion lounges?
Centurion Lounges are the signature airport lounges of American Express, accessible to those with select premium American Express cards. They’re highly coveted as they bring a lot of glamour to the airport experience. Inside these prized establishments, you’ll find noteworthy food and beverage programs, often created by local celebrity chefs and mixologists. (For example, James Beard Award–winner Michelle Bernstein worked on the menu in Miami, and fellow recipient Nancy Silverton has dishes at the Los Angeles outpost.) There’s also thoughtfully designed work and relaxation spaces, and sometimes salons and spas, where complimentary treatments are given. In short, they’ll make you want to linger in the airport and even arrive a few hours before departure.
Centurion lounges are the heart of AmEx’s Centurion Network, which currently includes 24 Centurion lounge locations plus 21 smaller (and less over-the-top) Escape Lounges – The Centurion Studio Partner.
Which airports have Centurion lounges?
At press time, there are 13 domestic American Express Centurion lounges and 11 international ones.
In the United States, you’ll find them in the following airports:
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), North Carolina
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
- Denver International Airport (DEN), Colorado
- George Bush Intercontinental (IAH), Houston, Texas
- Harry Reid International Airport (LAS), Las Vegas, Nevada
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York City
- LaGuardia Airport (LGA), New York City
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), California
- Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
- Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Pennsylvania
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Arizona
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
- Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
New outposts are currently underway at Atlanta Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) airports.
Internationally, Centurion lounges are located in:
- Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX), Mexico City, Mexico
- Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM), Mumbai, India
- Ezeiza International Airport (EZE), Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), China
- Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), Delhi, India
- London Heathrow Airport (LHR), United Kingdom
- Melbourne Airport (MEL), Australia
- Monterrey International Airport (MTY), Mexico
- São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), Brazil
- Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN), Sweden
- Sydney Airport (SYD), Australia
Who can access Centurion lounges?
The Centurion Lounge is complimentary for those carrying the following cards on the day of travel, regardless of airline—or class—flown. Tickets can be purchased by any means, including an American Express credit card or even a competing credit card. Award travel tickets are also fair game for lounge entry:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express ($695 annual fee, see rates and fees)
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express ($695 annual fee, see rates and fees)
- The American Express Corporate Platinum Card®
- Centurion® Card from American Express (by invite only)
Those with a Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card ($550 annual fee, see rates and fees) or a Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card ($550 annual fee, see rates and fees) can visit Centurion lounges domestically, in Hong Kong or London, too, but with more restrictions. They must be flying on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight. The flight must be booked on a U.S.-issued American Express charge or credit card. Delta award tickets also count.
Note that once upon a time, American Express allowed entrance to Gold and Green card members for a $50 fee. This is no longer the case—and hasn’t been for years. So unless you have one of the cards mentioned above, don’t bother trying to enter a Centurion lounge.
Are guests allowed at Centurion lounges?
In early 2023, American Express revised its generous Centurion Lounge guest policy, which had stood at two guests per visit, free of charge since 2013. Nowadays, each guest will cost $50 per person (or $30 for children age 2 through 17, $0 for those under 2, with proof of age) when entering with an eligible cardholder. Those with a Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card or a Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card are limited to two guests max.
On the other hand, the policy at Escape Lounges – The Centurion Studio Partner, remains two guests free of charge for American Express Platinum card members and Centurion card members while Delta SkyMiles Reserve cardholders must pay $30 for guests.
Is there a time limit at Centurion lounges?
Card member visits are officially limited to three hours prior to departure, which is checked upon entry to the lounge. We have not seen this strictly enforced, but it can be, especially when overcrowding is an issue. That said, if you are already in the lounge and your flight gets delayed, you will not be found and asked to leave.
Cardholders can enter before an initial flight as well as during a layover. So, say, I am flying from Miami to Los Angeles via Dallas one morning, I can arrive early for mimosas at the Miami Centurion Lounge and then have a Tex-Mex lunch at the Dallas Centurion Lounge. However, upon landing I can’t run into the LAX Centurion outpost for more goodies. Passengers arriving at their final destination and without an onward same-day ticket will not be admitted.
What’s the easiest way to obtain Centurion Lounge access?
The Platinum Card from American Express offers access to the most extensive network of airport lounges of any credit card, the highlight of which is the Centurion Lounge network. The card also grants access to Escape Lounges, the 1,300+ lounges of the Priority Pass network, Plaza Premium lounges, Lufthansa lounges, and more. Family members can avoid guest fees at Centurion lounges by becoming additional Platinum cardholders, each of whom gets his or her own entry fee (when entering with or without the primary cardholder). The cost of additional cardholders is $195 each.
Beyond the promise of unapologetic preflight lingering and escaping the airport crowds, the Platinum Card from American Express is offering up to 80,000 bonus points after spending $8,000 in the first six months of card membership. (Terms apply.) Also far outweighing an annual fee of $695 are annual statement credits per calendar year (that can reach up to $2,000!), including up to $200 per calendar year on airline incidentals, up to $200 annually for Uber/UberEats (given in Uber Cash), and up to $240 annually on digital entertainment, applicable toward charges on Hulu, Disney+, SiriusXM, and the New York Times. Personally, in 2022, I amassed $1,934 in statement credits on my AmEx Platinum—and enjoyed countless mornings, afternoons, and evenings, living the airport good life at Centurion lounges across the globe.
While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.