American Express shared the news with cardmembers this morning that the newest Centurion Lounge at Philadelphia (PHL) is open for business. The Centurion Lounge is in my opinion the best lounge network in the United States. All locations have a great bar with specialty cocktails, and most also have a kitchen preparing a hot buffet for three meals a day. It’s often better than what you can get in the terminal, even if you were willing to pay to sit down at a restaurant.
Philadelphia’s lounge is in terminal A, near gate A14, and joins existing U.S. locations at the following airports:
- New York (LGA)
- Miami (MIA)
- Dallas (DFW)
- Houston (IAH)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- Seattle (SEA)
Seattle is the only Centurion Studio, with a smaller footprint and a more limited food menu. But otherwise these are all great lounges that I’ve gone out of my way to visit, sometimes even booking longer-than-necessary connections.
The only way to visit The Centurion Lounge is with an American Express Platinum Card or Centurion Card, which will admit the cardholder and two guests. You must have a flight departing that day, but it can be on any airline.
You can request additional cards, too, so that friends or family members can enter without the primary cardholder. But Amex has seen such high demand that it recently shut down another option, which permitted other American Express cardholders who paid a supplementary fee. Now, only Platinum and Centurion cards will work (including co-brand Platinum Cards, like the Mercedes-Benz card). At least these customers have never have to pay a fee to enter.
American Express has also operated other lounges with locations in Latin America, Asia, and Australia. However, the formal Centurion Lounge concept is just starting to spread oversees. Hong Kong opened earlier this season, and I’ll be curious to visit and compare it to the Cathay Pacific lounges, which set a very high bar.