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Update 26 October: The Miami Centurion Lounge reopened today
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 five lounges have opened or reopened their doors:
- The Charlotte Centurion Lounge reopened on 12 October
- The Dallas Ft. Worth Centurion Lounge reopened on 21 October
- The Houston Centurion Lounge reopened on 19 October
- The Miami Centurion Lounge reopened on 26 October (today!)
- The New York (JFK) Centurion Lounge opened on 8 October (new lounge)
- The San Francisco Centurion Lounge reopened on 12 October
For the time being, Amex isn’t saying what other lounges are set to reopen in the next few weeks so there’s still no news about the Los Angeles Centurion Lounge which must hold some kind of record for the shortest period of time between opening and closing – it opened its doors on 9 March and it was closed less than two weeks later.
The Centurion Lounges are being reopened following a review into how they can be made safer for guests and staff alike so anyone visiting the lounges in the next few months (possibly longer) 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.
Right now this almost certainly isn’t a big issue as the number of people traveling is significantly less than it would be under normal conditions, but expect this to become a little more contentious as the number of travelers gradually increases and capacity limits, quite rightly, are not revised upwards.
Guests to be guided to available seating – Amex has reconfigured all of its Centurion Lounges for social distancing so lounge staff will be 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.
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 following cardholders:
- Platinum Cardholders
- Business Platinum Cardholders
- Centurion Members
- Delta Skymiles Reserve Cardholders
- Delta Skymiles Reserve Business Cardholders
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.
At the time of writing, five of Amex’s Centurion Lounges have reopened and two are scheduled to reopen before the end of the month. Further reopenings are likely in November and December but Amex appears reluctant to share any further details. All 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.