underscored amex centurion lounge den main entrance
CNN  — 

CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value, but does not review all financial companies or all available financial offers. We may receive compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com, and this compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

For frequent travelers, there may be no greater airport oasis than an American Express Centurion Lounge. Centurion Lounge locations cover a number of hub cities for domestic US airlines, with some additional locations (Las Vegas) set in popular vacation spots. While business travelers have different needs from leisure travelers, the Centurion Lounges cater to both groups.

Of the 12 Centurion Lounges that existed before the pandemic, 10 are currently open. The Hong Kong location remains closed, and the lounge in Los Angeles is closed due to building repairs.

In addition to the 10 reopened lounges, three new lounges were added to the network in the last 18 months. A new lounge at New York’s JFK airport opened for the first time in October 2020, while the new Denver lounge is now also open to the public, and London’s Heathrow now has a Centurion Lounge as well. In addition, a brand-new location in New York’s LaGuardia airport was opened last June to replace the previous one in the now-demolished old Terminal B.

Amex is also rebranding its international lounges as Centurion Lounges, as well as several Escape Lounges as Centurion Lounge partners. However, that process is ongoing and those lounges may not yet reflect the full Centurion Lounge experience.

As a result of the pandemic, Amex has implemented a set of health and safety protocols and practices meant to protect travelers in its lounges. Called the “Centurion Lounge Commitment,” the procedures include the option for contactless mobile check-in, capacity restrictions and reconfigured seating to allow for social distancing. Guests and employees are also required to wear masks while in the lounge, and surfaces are cleaned more frequently.

Contactless mobile entry is used as part of the Amex Centurion Lounge safety protocols.

Many lounges already had issues with overcrowding before the pandemic, and while travel volume is still down significantly, reduced seating capacity may lead to some card members getting turned away. However, the issuer is utilizing a waiting list tool for customers who cannot be immediately accommodated due to capacity restrictions. Upon check-in, guests are given guidance on how long to expect to wait, and the tool notifies them via text as soon as there’s capacity in the lounge.

Under the current safety protocols, buffets in the Centurion Lounges are temporarily manned by lounge representatives who serve food from them to guests upon request. The famous Centurion Lounge bars are open but feature a shorter cocktail menu in order to reduce wait times and bar crowding.

When it comes to spa services and showers, it will still be a while before the full experience returns. The lounge spas are limited to services without person-to-person contact. Theragun massages are taking the place of traditional massages for now, and treatment areas are sanitized between appointments. Unfortunately, showers remain temporarily closed as well.

How to access the Amex Centurion Lounges

Access to the Centurion Lounges is one of the key benefits of both The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express as well as the invitation-only Amex Centurion cards. These personal and business luxury cards carry high annual fees and are geared toward road warriors and small-business owners.

Related: Increase your point balance with these American Express Platinum cards.

You can also access the Centurion Lounges with the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, but you must be traveling on a Delta flight on the same day you enter the lounge in order to be admitted with one of the Delta credit cards.

As a general rule, Amex Platinum and Delta Reserve cardmembers can access the Centurion Lounges up to three hours prior to departure of their first flight, and at any time between connecting flight itineraries of 24 hours or less. Only invite-only Centurion cardmembers can use Centurion Lounges upon arrival at their final destination.

You may find the enforcement of the 3-hour rule selective based on crowds. Smaller Centurion Lounges, such as Seattle, are frequently overcrowded and more restrictive on entry requirements, while bigger lounges with more space can be more generous with time.

Amex Platinum card members are currently entitled to bring two complimentary guests or immediate family (spouse or domestic partner, and children under 18) into a Centurion Lounge with them, and may purchase access for additional guests at a rate of $50 per guest, per visit (subject to capacity). Note that these rules are slated to change in February 2023, when the guest policy will become much more restrictive. Delta Reserve card members don’t have complimentary guest privileges, but may bring up to two guests at a rate of $50 per guest, per visit.

For large families, the best deal right now may be to get an Amex Platinum card and then add authorized user cards to the account. You’ll pay a fee of $175 to add up to three authorized users (see rates and fees), but each of those users not only get Centurion Lounge access of their own, but two additional complimentary guests as well. So if your family travels often, the cost could easily be worth it.

Amex Centurion Lounge locations

American Express Centurion Lounges can cover you in some of the largest international airports in the world, though the Centurion Lounge footprint itself is focused in the United States. Here’s the list of full-fledged current Centurion Lounges and announced future locations, not including the international Amex lounges that are in the process of being rebranded as Centurion Lounges:

Centurion Lounges that are currently open
Charlotte (CLT)
Dallas (DFW)
Denver (DEN)
Houston (IAH)
Las Vegas (LAS)
London Heathrow (LHR)
Miami (MIA)
New York (JFK)
New York (LGA)
Philadelphia (PHL)
Phoenix (PHX)
San Francisco (SFO)
Seattle (SEA)
New lounges scheduled to open in 2022
Washington, DC (DCA)
New lounges scheduled to open in 2023
Atlanta (ATL)
No reopening information currently available
Hong Kong (HKG)
Los Angeles (LAX)

Here’s a detailed look at each Centurion Lounge, including where you can find them in each airport and the current status and pandemic restrictions for each location.

Charlotte (CLT)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in Charlotte features over 13,000 square feet of space.

Lounge status: Open — click here for current operating hours.

Where to find it: Between concourses D and E on the Mezzanine level.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is a major domestic hub for American Airlines. There are some international flights, but the airport serves primarily to move tens of thousands of passengers around the US for American.

So aside from the Centurion Lounge, you won’t find much in the way of premium lounges in Charlotte. American’s own Admirals Clubs, while sizable, tend to be crowded, making the Centurion Lounge at Charlotte by far the most upscale option for travelers.

The Charlotte Centurion Lounge originally opened for the first time in February 2020, so crowds were a bit hard to gauge before the pandemic temporarily closed everything down. But this is one of the larger Centurion Lounges at more than 13,000 square feet.

Still, many of the seating options in the lounge aren’t suited for long stretches with a laptop. There’s a large common table if driving a desk is on your list, though you may find the seating in the cafe a bit more conducive to working. Phone rooms can provide privacy and a quiet place to dial into a conference call.

Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in DFW has plenty of food and drink options.

Lounge status: Open — click here for current operating hours.

Where to find it: Terminal D, across from gate D12 on the Mezzanine level.

The Dallas/Fort Worth airport housed the largest Centurion Lounge for quite some time, and while it can no longer lay claim to that title, it’s still one of the bigger lounges at over 12,000 square feet. There are plenty of semi-private seating options with small desks and power sources if you need a place to work in between flights.

The DFW lounge has one of the largest dining and bar areas amongst the Centurion Lounges with plenty of food and drink options, and you should be able to find a seat even when it’s busy. (Don’t forget about upgraded complimentary champagne if you hold the Amex Centurion Card.)

There are normally multiple showers in the Dallas Centurion Lounge to help feel refreshed after a long flight, but they’re currently closed due to the pandemic. And DFW is also one of the Centurion Lounges that normally offers complimentary spa services, but lounge spas are currently limited to services without person-to-person contact. Theragun massages take the place of traditional massages for now, and treatment areas are sanitized between appointments.

Denver (DEN)

The Denver Centurion Lounge has games and a craft beer bar with local brews.

Lounge status: Open — click here for current operating hours.

Where to find it: Concourse C, just past gate C46 on the Mezzanine level.

The Denver location was the first brand-new Centurion Lounge opened in 2021, and it’s the second-largest Centurion Lounge location to date, covering more than 14,000 square feet. Features include geometric ceiling installations that mimic the mountainous Denver area, a mural of the Rocky Mountains and a two-sided living wall visible from within the lounge and from the concourse below.

According to the issuer, this lounge is the first in the network to include a live-action cooking station with a daily rotating menu of breakfast and lunch items, where guests can get dishes prepared à la carte and customize them to their personal preferences.

The lounge also hosts a variety of locally inspired amenities, including American Express’ first-ever Craft Beer Bar, which offers rotating selections of some of Colorado’s best local brews, a locally-sourced Italian-inspired menu curated by award-winning Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson and more.

Visitors to the lounge will find a game room with a variety of options, including pool and shuffleboard tables, as well as custom, large-scale classics such as Connect Four and Checkers. As part of the Centurion Lounge Commitment, games are cleaned and sanitized after each use.

Hong Kong (HKG)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong has a "lounge within a lounge" for Centurion card members.

Lounge status: Closed — no reopening information currently available.

Where to find it: Terminal 1, near gate 60.

The Hong Kong Centurion Lounge is the first Amex Centurion Lounge outside the United States, and it faces a lot of competition from Cathay Pacific’s world-renowned Hong Kong lounges (most of which are currently closed due to decreasing travel demand from the coronavirus). It’s also currently the only Centurion Lounge to feature a “lounge within a lounge” exclusively for Amex Centurion card members.

Before the pandemic, this lounge got crowded quickly, so when it reopens, be prepared to table stalk a bit to find the right spot, as the space is less geared toward the business traveler who needs a desk to get some work done. A massive bar welcomes weary travelers in need of a drink, as well as a substantial buffet. Shower services are limited when they’re available, so put your name on the list early.

Houston (IAH)

It's not hard to find a seat at the Amex Centurion Lounge in Houston.

Lounge status: Open — click here for current operating hours.

Where to find it: Terminal D, elevators near gate D6.

The Houston Centurion Lounge is generally on the quieter side. While the airport normally hosts plenty of international flights, the spread-out nature of the terminals probably dissuades some travelers from making the hike over to the D Terminal to visit this lounge, and with the current dropoff in travel, finding a seat here shouldn’t be difficult once it reopens.

You can usually find a quiet place to work in this lounge, and food and beverage offerings are solid, on par with the rest of the Centurion Lounges (it’s an area where they consistently shine). There’s normally no wait to grab one of the showers, but they’re currently closed due to the pandemic.

Even outside of the pandemic, you won’t find spa services here, but you’ll find pretty much everything else you’re hoping for in a lounge experience. With the possible exception of United’s Polaris Lounge, this is the best lounge at IAH.

Las Vegas (LAS)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas is easily the best lounge in the airport.

Lounge status: Open — click here for current operating hours.

Where to find it: Concourse D, opposite gate D1.

While Vegas may be filled with every VIP experience imaginable, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas isn’t exactly swimming in upscale lounges. In fact, you won’t find many lounges at all. That means the Centurion Lounge here is easily the best option.

This Centurion Lounge location features some semi-private workspaces, but you may have trouble finding a seat during peak times. The bar is also on the smaller side, as is the dining area.

Amex recently announced plans to expand the Las Vegas Centurion Lounge from its current size of nearly 9,000 square feet to over 13,400 square feet, an almost 50% increase. The expansion, which is scheduled to be completed in 2021, will also feature additional multi-purpose areas, new private telephone rooms, newly-designed workspace areas and a new reception.

For now, the only sure way to get a seat here is to carry the Centurion Card, as a section in the quietest part of the lounge is reserved exclusively for these elite members.

London Heathrow (LHR)

The bar and dining area.

Lounge status: Open — click here for operating hours.

Where to find it: Terminal 3, post-security, first floor.

American Express opened its newest international Centurion Lounge in October 2021 inside of London Heathrow’s Terminal 3. At just over 7,000 square feet, it’s on the smaller side, but it feels spacious enough, with seating areas split across several rooms, including a dedicated dining space, lounge area and work area.

There are power outlets at just about every seat in the lounge, so your devices will stay connected (just note that these are U.K.-style outlets, meaning you’ll want a power adapter).

As far as food options in the lounge, you can expect the standard Centurion Lounge-style buffet with rotating seasonal options. The menu is curated by Michelin-starred chef Assaf Granit of the restaurant Coal Office in London. According to Amex, “Granit’s menu ties back to London’s rich multicultural heritage through signature dishes from his top restaurants across the globe.”

The one major drawback to the lounge is that there is no natural light. Don’t expect sweeping views of the tarmac, but instead, just the artificial light from within the lounge. That being said, the designers of the lounge worked to ensure the space is welcoming and bright. It’s a good space to spend some time before your next Heathrow Terminal 3 flight.

Los Angeles (LAX)

underscored amex centurion lounge lax main bar reverse

Lounge status: Closed — no reopening information currently available.

Where to find it: Tom Bradley International Terminal, entrance on the departures level right after security, then take the elevators two floors down.

At nearly 14,000 square feet, this is a spacious lounge, but in person, it doesn’t feel huge because the space is cut into many smaller rooms, which may make finding a seat easier. As with other Centurion Lounges, the LAX location features private workspaces for business travelers who need a spot to put down their laptop and get some work done before their flight.

Premium wine selections at the LAX Centurion are curated by wine director Anthony Giglio, and specialty cocktails partially inspired by L.A.’s cocktail culture by Centurion Lounge mixologist Jim Meehan.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given its location, the LAX Centurion Lounge focuses on wellness, with two tranquility rooms to assist travelers arriving in a new time zone. The location also normally features spa services by Exhale, but they’re currently suspended due to pandemic restrictions.

Miami (MIA)

A recent expansion of the Amex Centurion Lounge in Miami has helped with overcrowding.`

Lounge status: Open — click here for current operating hours.

Where to find it: In Concourse D, elevator near gate D12.

American Express completed an expansion of this lounge in 2019, which was incredibly welcome, as the Miami lounge has notoriously struggled with overcrowding.

However, the vast majority of added space is in bar seating and the dining room. While sitting in the bar area and watching the planes taxi back and forth is a relaxing way to kill some time, you may have to settle for a chair in the dining room if you need to get work done.

Outside of the pandemic restrictions, showers are available, which is especially handy if you just got off a long flight from South America (though that’s also less likely right now during the pandemic). And if you’re stressed from a long flight, the complimentary spa service should be your first stop once spa services resume.

New York/John F. Kennedy (JFK)

The Amex Centurion Lounge at New York's JFK is the only one that spans two full floors.

Lounge status: Open — click here for current operating hours.

Where to find it: Terminal 4, Departures level, to the far left of the TSA checkpoint past the escalators.

At over 15,000 square feet, the JFK location is the largest Centurion Lounge in the world, and it’s also the first one that has two complete floors open to guests. The main seating areas are relatively narrow but very long, with all types of different seats, couches and tables available.

There are two bars in the JFK Centurion Lounge — one on each floor — and two buffet areas as well, though typically only the upper floor one is currently fully stocked due to capacity restrictions. You’ll also find a large number of individual rooms here — six in total — that provide private space for solo travelers or a couple on a first-come, first served basis.

But the lounge’s biggest New York-style surprise is hidden behind the copper-paneled wall at the far end of the bottom floor. The lounge’s “1850” speakeasy is now easier to find since a large metal handle was installed to better reveal its previously concealed door — inside, you’ll discover a third bar and seating area that serve a rotating set of cocktails created as a nod to some of the city’s greatest bars.

Related: Read CNN Underscored’s review of the Amex Centurion Lounge at JFK.

New York/LaGuardia (LGA)

The new Amex Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia is a major improvement over the previous space.

Lounge status: Open — click here for current operating hours.

Where to find it: Terminal B, Level 4, just before the pedestrian bridge to Gates 40-59.

Located beyond security in the airport’s newly-rebuilt Terminal B, the relocated LaGuardia lounge is double the size of the old one, adding much-needed workstations, a multipurpose room and bright natural-light views from its perch up on the departure gates level of the terminal below.

Unique to this location is a small study space designed in partnership with New York City independent bookstore McNally Jackson, who curated the lounge’s collection of New York City-inspired books. The books are also available for purchase at McNally Jackson Books in Terminal B.

The executive chef and mixologist have been retained from the old LaGuardia lounge, so you can still enjoy french toast with market strawberry jam and fried chicken with honey lemongrass glaze in the new location. There’s no spa in the new LaGuardia Centurion Lounge, but there is one shower room, though it’s currently unavailable due to pandemic restrictions.

Related: Read CNN Underscored’s review of the new Amex Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia.

Philadelphia (PHL)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia is the place to be while waiting for your flight.

Lounge status: Open — click here for current operating hours.

Where to find it: Terminal A West, near gate A14.

The Philadelphia Centurion Lounge is a bit on the smaller side, but there’s still a good chance you’ll be able to find a workspace on your next layover. As with all the other Centurion Lounge locations, the bar and signature food items really do shine, along with some comfortable couches in the dining area.

There are no spa services at this location and the showers are currently closed due to the pandemic, but there are phone rooms if you need a quiet place for a conference call. Unless you have access to the British Airways First Class Lounge at PHL, the Centurion Lounge is the place to be while waiting for your flight.

Phoenix (PHX)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in Phoenix shares space with the also-new Escape Lounge.

Lounge status: Open — click here for current operating hours.

Where to find it: Terminal 4 across from gate B22 on upper level.

The Phoenix lounge is a small haven in a large airport. While not the smallest Centurion Lounge, you won’t find tons of space to spread out. That being said, as one of the newer lounges (it opened on Jan. 6, 2020), it’s just as enjoyable as the others.

The signature bar area has plenty of room to go along with its great libations. But in a bit of an odd twist, there’s a shared space of sorts with the also brand-new Escape Lounge, which is used when the Centurion Lounge gets crowded. There are no spa services and only one shower shared between the two lounges, which is currently closed due to the pandemic.

The good news is that seats are plentiful, and the layout lends itself to people being able to find a quiet place to work. You won’t find a phone room for quiet calls, but one of the nooks near the front of the lounge may suffice. The Phoenix Centurion Lounge clearly leads the way for premium lounges at PHX.

San Francisco (SFO)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in San Francisco features a wine tasting area.

Lounge status: Open — click here for current operating hours.

Where to find it: Terminal 3, near gate F1.

There are plenty of premium lounge offerings at SFO, and the Centurion Lounge holds its own. As is typical with the rest of the Centurion Lounges, you’ll find a great food and wine spread at the SFO lounge, including a wine wall in the dining area and an open kitchen alongside the buffet.

What truly sets the SFO Centurion Lounge apart is the variety of high-quality food and wine offerings, frequently rotated through the seasons. Also unique to the SFO lounge is a wine tasting area that you should definitely block some time for.

There are plenty of areas in this lounge to find a place to work, and you won’t suffer from a lack of comfortable chairs, workspaces or power outlets. And while there’s normally a shower available if you need to refresh, it remains temporarily closed due to pandemic restrictions.

Seattle (SEA)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in Seattle is the smallest of the Centurion Lounges.

Lounge status: Open — click here for current operating hours.

Where to find it: Concourse B, opposite gate B3.

Seattle’s Centurion Lounge is tiny. In fact, it’s so small that it used to be referred to as the “Centurion Studio.” A small expansion a few years ago helped, but this lounge is extremely prone to overcrowding.

There are no spa services in such a small space, and the one shower is currently closed due to the pandemic. But you’ll find the food and beverage options totally up to par with Centurion Lounge standards.

The one upside is that a handful of smaller areas that may make it easier to find a quiet spot to work. But with just over 100 seats, don’t be surprised to find the Seattle lounge full during peak business hours, especially with the current capacity restrictions.

Upcoming Centurion Lounge expansions

American Express expects to open a new lounge at Washington, DC’s Reagan National Airport later this year, and a new lounge is also planned for Atlanta and scheduled to open to the public in the second half of 2023.

The issuer has also announced several upcoming Centurion Lounge expansions, encompassing the current locations in Seattle, San Francisco and Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport. The Centurion Lounges in those cities will remain open while the expansions are underway, though there may be some brief closure periods.

Want to access the Centurion Lounges? Use one of these Amex cards:

Learn more about The Platinum Card from American Express.
Learn more about The Business Platinum Card from American Express.
Learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card.
Learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card.

For more information on the reopening of the Amex Centurion Lounges, visit thecenturionlounge.com/reopening.

Get all the latest personal finance deals, news and advice at CNN Underscored Money.