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Amex Centurion Lounge: The Airport Oasis That Makes Domestic Flying Comfortable

Personal Link: The Platinum Card from American Express

Business Link: The Business Platinum Card from American Express

A couple of years ago, American Express made an unexpected move: they decided to create their own series of domestic airline lounges that are actually nice.

See, most lounges in the U.S. (and Canada, and honestly much of Europe as well) feature lounges that are better than being stuck in the terminal when your flight is delayed, but not by much. You often have a choice of stale cookies (American Airlines) or stale pretzels (United Airlines).

It wasn’t until I started travel hacking overseas that I discovered the lounges that are truly noteworthy, like the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in Heathrow, and others.

Some of these lounges are destinations, in the same way that Bora Bora is a dream trip. You’d go well out of your way to spend a morning or afternoon in one of these spots.

The new Centurion lounges by American Express aren’t quite that nice. There’s no car service that delivers you to your gate in a Porsche (Lufthansa) or pool table that can occupy you while you’re waiting for your full, cooked-to-order meal to arrive, accompanied by a perfectly-balanced cocktail (Virgin Atlantic).

Still, these lounges are a huge improvement over the typical domestic spots. A visit normally costs $50, but if you have The Platinum Card from American Express, unlimited visits are complimentary.

When they say unlimited, I should note that I often spend four hours or more working from these lounges, especially the one in DFW. Instead of stale pretzels, these lounges feature:

  • Food you can actually eat
  • Hand-crafted cocktails (Protip: order the white mimosa, my favorite drink)
  • Complimentary 15-minute spa appointments, including facials, massages, or manicures
  • Awesome furniture setups that are conducive for both working and lounging

Why the Platinum Card Works for Me

To be clear, the AmEx Platinum card isn’t cheap. The Annual Fee is $450, including a $200 annual credit on the airline of your choice. Therefore, the card actually costs $250 or so with the discount factored in—still pricey, but if you can make it to one of these lounges on a semi-regular basis, you may agree it’s worth it.

There are a bunch of other benefits, including complimentary Priority Pass membership (which will help with thousands of other lounges around the world), free Boingo internet access (which works pretty much anywhere these days), and free reimbursement for your $100 Global Entry application fee.

If you won’t be able to use the benefits, you certainly don’t need the card—but if you can get a friend to let you in the next time you’re near a Centurion lounge, don’t pass up the chance!

As mentioned, I usually spend time in the DFW lounge. I’ve also been to the Las Vegas lounge (which is quite possibly the best thing about Las Vegas), and they also have new locations in San Francisco and—coming soon—Miami and Seattle.

Have Your Next Meeting with a White Mimosa
Planespotting at LGA
Centurion Lounge in LaGuardia Airport, NY
Welcome Area at DFW. Tip: Ask for a spa appointment upon arrival—they book up quickly.
Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas, NV
Centurion Lounge in San Francisco Airport, CA

Personal Link: The Platinum Card from American Express

Business Link: The Business Platinum Card from American Express

(Or you can also pay $50 per visit, as long as you have any other AmEx card.)

Disclosure: Some of the links on our partner site Cards for Travel pay a referral bonus to us. We always promote the best available offers, regardless of benefit. Always be responsible with credit and don’t apply for cards you can’t use well.