First things first, this is NOT a paid post. I am writing about this because fellow travelers (especially Active Duty families) should know about these benefits. Second, if you travel international, you’ll really want to read this if you don’t already know.
Secondly, I am not opposed to Amex sending me to tour other lounges…ahem. But really, these lounges are fantastic and having access to them can easily improve any airport experience. If you’re a traveler who has wondered about airport lounges -read on. If you are considering applying for a Platinum Amex -you definitely want to read further.
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The best American Express Airport Lounges *cue trumpets* are called Centurion Lounges. They are havens of quiet sanity in otherwise hectic airports. There are only a few in the world (nine), but the privilege extends to other lounges (1,000+) if you’re away from an Amex lounge.
In May 2017 Mr. Jupiter and I flew to Japan. Our initial route was going to take us from Dallas, TX > Seattle, WA > Japan (Haneda). Part of this was because we could visit two Amex lounges on the way to Japan. Why? Free food and drinks. I’m not talking about snack pretzels and soda here folks. I mean real food and a full bar. Essentially, travel snacks that kick Dunkin’ Donuts in the neck.
☞ Related: Food Photos from Tokyo Japan
Through a series of fortunate events, we instead got on a direct flight from Dallas, TX to Tokyo’s Narita airport. While happy to arrive hours before we intended, we were slightly disappointed that we didn’t visit Seattle’s Centurion Lounge.
How do you get in? You need an American Express credit card, and you need the Platinum Card. Good credit is a requirement here, so being financially responsible matters…like it always does. The Platinum Card does carry a $550 annual fee.
I hope you didn’t fall too hard out of your chair there.
If you’re active duty military or the spouse of active duty the fee is waived. Simple as that.
How do you get in…physically? Easily. If you’re in one of the airports with a Centurion Lounge all you need to do is 1) Find the lounge, 2) Present your Platinum Card with ID and your plane ticket to the concierge, 3) go relax. If you’re traveling with friends, each Platinum Card holder can bring in two guests. Some lounges will have restrictions on minors and guests under 21, please read the lounge fine print if this applies to you.
What’s in there? Excellent travel amenities. When we were in the DFW lounge it was a weekday morning and we were foolishly full of bagels and not hungry when we arrived. The lounge had a simple breakfast buffet, also
- Private wifi
- Plentiful outlets
- An in-lounge masseuse
- No screaming children, no running humans
- Well spaced tables to fit people AND their luggage
- Full bar -perfect for my pre-flight mimosa and coffee
- Hot foods like frittata and french toast, plus a lot of good looking fruit
- Quiet guests, except for some business travelers who were taking phone calls
If we only had the time for a massage on the way out! These lounges have actual chefs and menus that change per season and region. Again, we were disappointed that we didn’t go to Seattle for lunch on our travel day. They will have dedicated wifi, and you receive the password on the way in. We have only heard good things about the other lounges from our traveling friends. Some Centurion Lounges may only be in international terminals, so be aware of that. Luckily DFW doesn’t restrict movement within the airport, so anybody can access their lounge if only traveling domestic.
Since lounge amenities are unique to each location, check with the lounge to see what’s offered before you go -if you’re into knowing the menus ahead of time. I don’t want you to expect the Hong Kong location to have the same wine menu as in San Francisco. Expectation management is important.
In general, if you go into a Centurion expecting bagged snacks and tiny sodas, you are in for a serious treat.
- Thinking about travel destinations? Here’s some food for thought: Fish & Chip Rankings