Everything you need to know about the Centurion Lounge, by American Express

Airports are often associated with the stress of going through the TSA / Airport Security, and when you think of an airport, you don’t usually imagine a luxurious experience. American Express Centurion Lounge is a luxury travel perk that gives you a space in the airport to relax and enjoy high-quality food and drinks absolutely for free! How can you actually get that benefit, you might ask?

Keep on reading, and we will demystify some of the aspects of getting into an American Express Centurion Lounge.

How to access American Express Centurion Lounges

The cost of admission to an American Express Centurion Lounge is free, but as you might have guessed, you need to be a holder of a certain Amex Credit Card. So, what type of credit card gives you access to the Centurion Lounges worldwide?

  1. American Express Platinum Card
  2. American Express Business Platinum Card
  3. American Express Corporate Platinum Card
  4. American Express Centurion Card

💡 Good To Know

With Amex Platinum Card, you don’t necessarily need to be the primary member; the authorized users also have access to the Centurion Lounge. The Platinum card has two types of authorized user cards: Platinum and Gold. The Gold card is free, but it doesn’t provide the lounge benefit; you would need to pay an additional $175 annual fee for up to three Platinum authorized user cards.

There are some other types of credit cards that would provide you with Centurion Lounge access. Those are:

  1. Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card
  2. Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card

Can you buy a pass to the lounge?

What sets the American Express Lounges apart is that you simply can’t really go and purchase a pass, which is a thing that you can do with other airport lounges 🤷‍♀️ .

Can you bring guests to an American Express Centurion Lounge?

American Express Platinum Card and American Express Business Platinum Card members

You may complimentary bring up to 2 guests (but no more than 2 per day) with you into the Centurion Lounge, and they would be able to use the same amenities, such as getting free food and drinks. Plus, you can also bring infants under 2 years old at no additional cost! Here you need to be able to show proof of your infant’s age in case they have their separate seat on the plane or they need to be marked as a lap infant on your boarding pass.

Note, that the guests can only access the lounge with the card member!

Additionally, you can bring more guests with a day pass for $50 per adult and $30 per child under 18.

💡Good To Know

The option of bringing up to 2 guests with your Amex Platinum Card was always complimentary. Unfortunately, probably due to lounges being overcrowded recently, American Express decided to start charging for ALL additional guests beginning February 2023.

You can circumvent this charge by spending $75,000 on the Amex Platinum credit card (which is a spending requirement). This needs to be considered thoroughly since the earning potential of the Amex Platinum and Business Platinum cards is not that great.

Also, remember that the lounge access policies may vary in different international locations.

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card and Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card members

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card Members may bring up to 2 guests per visit for $50 per person who is also traveling on a same-day Delta marketed or Delta-operated flight. 

When can you access the Centurion Lounge?

So now that you’ve gained potential access to the Centurion Lounge, the question is, when can you access the lounge? Your credit card only provides you with access to the Centurion lounge on the day of your flight. If you were wondering for how long you can stay there – you can only be admitted no earlier than 3 hours before your flight departure time, and you should be able to show your boarding pass at the check-in desk as proof.

The lounge is not open 24/7, the operating hours are from 6 am to 9 pm, so if your flight leaves after the lounge closing time you can visit it 3 hours before it closes.

💡Good To Know

This 3-hour-before departure rule does not apply to layovers. If you have a connecting flight or layover, the lounge will still admit you, although you can not visit it if you have landed and are already at your final destination.

So this is how it goes – find the Centurion Lounge in the Amex app on your phone (you’d be lucky if it’s close enough to your gate), walk or take a train to get there, take an elevator upstairs, and check-in at the lounge front desk with your valid eligible credit card, a same-day boarding pass, and an ID.

💡Good To Know

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card Members can only visit the Centurion Lounge when they can show proof of being on the same day Delta marketed or Delta-operated flight.

A good reminder not to rely on instant access to the lounge as sometimes the lounges are overcrowded and there is even a line to get in.

You can also check in online, which will save you some time, but it can only be done 30 minutes before you arrive at the lounge. So basically, it is first come, first served.

Centurion Lounge Locations Worldwide

There are over 40 locations in the Centurion network worldwide, including Centurion Lounges and Escape Lounges. With 13 lounges in the US (in major cities such as Los Angeles, Miami, and New York) and the rest in other international airports, such as Hong Kong International Airport or London Heathrow Airport.

So far we have only been to SFO and MIA lounges.

What’s inside the Centurion Lounge and what it offers

The Centurion Lounges have a pretty common setting with a resting area with chairs and a dining room with food and dining tables. Some lounges go the extra mile and have a playroom for kids and shower suites.


First things first, being at the lounge means enjoying free buffet-style food and a full bar! You’d be pleasantly surprised with the options, as the Centurion Lounge offers no fast food-like quick snacking dining but rather a healthy full-course meal!

The lounge also has a bar where you can order any drink your heart desires. Don’t forget to tip your bartender!

Keep in mind that lounges can get pretty crowded and you may not even find a spot to sit at first.

Free high-speed Wi-Fi

You can access complimentary Wi-Fi in case you need one.

Semi-private workspaces

Some Amex Centurion lounges have areas where you can sit in a cubicle-style space that offers a bit of privacy you if need to get some work done while waiting for your flight.

Bottom Line

Is it worth it? If you travel a lot, this can be a really great benefit for you which can pay for the card itself. The lounges are comfortable, and the amenities that they offer provide a better travel experience overall. However, with the new rule that you need to pay for all additional guests, the usefulness of this benefit can be moot.

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