I’m a huge fan of the American Express Business Platinum Card. Though it comes with a jaw-dropping $450 annual fee, it also brings a $200 travel credit. For the net-$250 cost, I received 100,000 bonus sign-up American Express points, I’ve been able to take advantage of American Express’ pre-sales to get tickets to see Hamilton, I enjoy 10 free Gogo passes per year, and more.
But my 100% favorite benefit of the card is that it gives me access to American Express’ network of Centurion Lounges.
I’ve had the chance to try out a handful of Centurion Lounges over the last few months, in Miami, Dallas, Seattle and Las Vegas. It’s time for the first review!
As far as I’m concerned, nothing is more important than the opportunity to find some quiet, comfortable space to relax or work while at the airport. International airlines invest heavily in their lounges as over-the-top experiences in luxury, as I recently found in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. On the other hand, domestic lounges here in the U.S. can leave you wanting. American Airlines, United and Delta have all invested in updating their lounge networks recently, but even at their best, they still offer house drinks and a few snacks in a moderately sterile environment.
American Express blows the national carriers to bits with the Centurion Lounges. They are over the top in terms of style and architecture, offer top-notch food and an open bar with serious mixology. In Miami and Dallas, they even have a spa, offering complementary 15-minute services when you visit!
I recently found myself in Las Vegas, and was excited to check out the Centurion Lounge there. Located in Concourse D, the lounge is extremely convenient unless you fly Southwest, which I was; this meant taking an extra train to get there and then back to my gate, but the travel was well worth it.
Even from the terminal, the lounge makes a statement. This is consistent in all Centurion Lounge locations. Once inside, it gets even better.
The architecture inside mixes warm woods with modern furniture and funky lighting. The plant wall is a staple of every lobby. A receptionist ran my Platinum Card and boarding pass, and then welcomed me inside.
As you can see, there is nothing sterile about the environment in these lounges. With plenty of different seating options, there’s something for everyone.
The bar serves just about every alcohol imaginable, and it’s all free. Each lounge even has a menu with special mixed drinks specific to the culture of its host city. Opposite the bar is a self-serve buffet with interesting small plates and bites, as well as a full salad bar.
When I say “small plates” I don’t mean to undersell the quality of the food in the slightest. The day I visited, the chef was serving up braised short ribs over a bed of roasted squash mash. Yum!
The single draw back of the Centurion Lounge, and a common problem across the network, is overcrowding. Every lounge I have visited (and I’ve now visited four in the last five months) is packed at all times. This is a clear testament to the fact that the Centurion Lounge is leaps and bounds better than any domestic Admirals Club, United Club or Sky Club. But it means finding a seat can be a little difficult.
I secured one of the awesome black cubicle/couches you can see on the left of the photo above, and settled in to get some work done for a few hours.
This is the life!