American Express Centurion lounges are one of the best benefits for American Express Platinum and Business Platinum card holders. These lounges are located in major hubs across the United States. There is also a location in Hong Kong. Personally, I have been to Centurion lounges in San Francisco(SFO), Houston(IAH), Las Vegas(LAS), and Miami(MIA).
Centurion lounges are a great place to unwind during a layover. They are also a great place to catch a bite and relax on departure day, especially if you have a late departure. The problem is, lounges aren’t always easily accessible when terminals are not interconnected. In Las Vegas, you take a train to other terminals making accessibility a little more time consuming but managable. In SFO, fliers in terminal 1(Southwest and a couple other flights) do not have access to the other terminals making Centurion access impossible. As a former Southwest flyer, I could not enjoy the lounge whenever I flew out of SFO. While this isn’t always the case, just remember, getting to a lounge could take a good amount time as you may have to cross terminals.
Centurion lounges are a great upgrade over lounges run by domestic airlines in the U.S.. While United Club lounges Delta Sky Lounges offer snacks and small bites, Centurion lounges offer meals. For breakfast you can find eggs, bacon, and potatoes at Centurion lounges. The lounges aren’t extremely large so seating capacity gets extremely limited during the middle of the day. I find that since most lounge access is offered as a credit card perk, they tend to be packed for most of the day. Finding a seat at an Amex lounge in the morning or later in the evening shouldn’t be a problem for solo travelers or small groups. I think Amex Centurion lounges serve decent food and offers a wonderful place to unwind before your next flight. Although it does get crowded, it is still better than most domestic airline lounges.
Is it Really Worth It?
For the frequent traveler, Amex lounges are an extremely valuable perk, but for the normal traveler who makes less than a handful of trips a year the cost just isn’t worth it. This benefit only comes with Platinum and higher cards with annual fees starting in the 500 dollar range. While the lounge does provide a nice place to settle down, overcrowding has become relatively common. I personally enjoy the Centurion lounges, but wish they expanded their space at SFO to accommodate the ever growing number of travelers. I think lounge access is a great perk since my home hub SFO has one and I happen to fly Star Alliance which flies from terminals 2 and 3. I typically fly United on domestic routes and the lounge is located in United’s terminal. For other flyers, this should be evaluated on a case by case basis.
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