Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site. Traveling For Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling For Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities. For more details please see the disclosures found at the bottom of every page.
Update 8 June 2021: The Los Angeles Centurion Lounge is now closed.
One of the nicer benefits that are offered by the Platinum Card and the Business Platinum Card from American Express is entry into the Centurion Lounges that Amex has been opening up around the United States and in select countries around the world. Covid-19 has seen all of these lounges closed for much of this year but a few lounges have now reopened and, with a bit of luck, more reopenings may be on the way.
The Centurion Lounge in Seattle was the first to reopen when it opened its doors at the very beginning of October, and that was quickly followed by the reopening of the Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia a few days later. Since then a further nine lounges have opened or reopened their doors. Here’s the full list of open lounges:
- The Charlotte Centurion Lounge reopened on 12 October 2020
- The Dallas Ft. Worth Centurion Lounge reopened on 21 October 2020
- The Houston Centurion Lounge reopened on 19 October 2020
- The Las Vegas Centurion Lounge reopened on 7 December 2020
- The Miami Centurion Lounge reopened on 26 October 2020
- The New York (JFK) Centurion Lounge opened on 8 October 2020 (new lounge)
- The Philadelphia Centurion Lounge reopened on 5 October 2020
- The Phoenix Centurion Lounge reopened on 23 November 2020
- The San Francisco Centurion Lounge reopened on 12 October 2020
- The Seattle Centurion Lounge reopened on 5 October 2020
Up until a few days ago, the New York LaGuardia Centurion Lounge was the only US lounge that was still closed (it’s going to be reopened in a larger space in LaGuardia’s new Terminal B) but now the lounge in Los Angeles has been closed too.
The Los Angeles Centurion Lounge reopened with limited services on 2 November 2020 but it has now been “closed due to construction”. This is what the Amex Centurion Lounge website currently shows:
As far as I know, Amex has not said whether the works that have seen the lounge closed are to the lounge itself or as part of the neverending works being done to the Tom Bradley International Terminal in which it is housed. Hopefully, we’ll find out which it is in due course, and hopefully, we’ll be given a slightly more accurate reopening date than “sometime later this year” (which is what Amex told me when I asked).
Most of the Centurion Lounges have been reopened following a review into how they can be made safer for guests and staff alike so anyone visiting the lounges will see quite a few significant changes that have been made.
Contactless check-in – guests can now check-in to a Centurion Lounge through the American Express Mobile App by tapping on “membership” at the bottom of the app screen…
…and then taping on “find an airport lounge”…
…before selecting the lounge and then tapping”begin check-in”.
Capacity changes – Amex says that it is being guided by state and local governments when it comes to deciding what a safe number of guests is, and capacities are being limited at noticeably lower levels than they were before the pandemic.
Up until recently, this hasn’t been a big issue as the number of people traveling has been significantly less than under normal conditions, but with domestic travel getting busier by the day, some lounges are now operating a one in, one out policy during busier times.
Guests to be guided to available seating – Amex has reconfigured all of its Centurion Lounges for social distancing so lounge staff are often guiding guests to available seats in an attempt to ensure that measures aren’t in vain and that guests make an effort to give each other space.
Also, at peak times, some lounges are now reserving some of their bigger tables for larger parties so there may be times where couples and solo travelers may find it harder to find somewhere to sit.
The buffet is gone – If you’ve ever visited a Centurion Lounge in the past you’ll know that food is normally served via a buffet, but those days are now behind us..at least for now. All the food served in the Centurion Lounges is now pre-plated and will be served to guests by members of the lounge team.
The bars have survived – The bars in the Centurion Lounges are open and Amex says that the usual full wine offering will be available to guests. The cocktail menu has been shortened to reduce wait times and, by extension, to allow social distancing (fewer people waiting near the bar).
Spa services slimmed-down – The Exhale spas available in select lounges are open but the services on offer are being limited to “non-practitioner treatments” (do you really want to be in close contact with a stranger right now?). Amex says that all equipment and treatment areas are being sanitized before every appointment but hopefully that’s not so much a change as something that was always being done!
Face coverings are mandatory – Guests who want to be allowed to visit a Centurion Lounge have to wear a face covering when they’re not eating or drinking (hopefully staff have been given instructions to deal swiftly with any idiots who deliberately take an hour to drink a single glass of coke). All staff are now expected to wear face coverings too.
Helpfully, Amex has put all of these new changes into a pictorial diagram:
Who Can Access Amex Centurion Lounges?
Access is restricted to the holders of the following cards:
- Platinum Card (review)
- Business Platinum Card (review)
- Centurion Card
- Delta Skymiles Reserve Card (review)
- Delta Skymiles Reserve Business Card
Holders of various American Express Platinum Cards and Centurion Members can access the lounges together with up to two guests regardless of what airline they’re flying with*.
Delta Skymiles Reserve Cardholders (both varieties) can only access the Centurion Lounges when flying with Delta.
For flyers originating at an airport with a Centurion Lounge, access is granted a maximum of 3 hours before their scheduled departure time. For flyers connecting at an airport with a Centurion Lounge, that limitation is waived.
*From 1 February 2023, Amex Platinum cardholders will be charged $50 for each guest they bring into a Centurion Lounge unless they spend at least $75,000 per year on their card in which case they will continue to receive complimentary lounge access for two guests. There is no proposed change to the Centurion Card’s guess access privileges.
At the time of writing, all but two of Amex’s domestic Centurion lounges are open. All open lounges now have new procedures in place to take account of the pandemic, so anyone planning on visiting a Centurion Lounge in the near future should probably make themselves aware of these changes before they visit.