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In Praise of the Awesome Airport Lounge

by Pavia Rosati
American

The Centurion Lounge in Miami. All photos courtesy of American Express.

This post was produced in partnership with American Express. Popupla founder Pavia Rosati is an American Express Platinum for a Year Ambassador.


Of the many benefits I've grown to love in my first year as an American Express Platinum for a Year Ambassador, my favorite by far is the airport lounge access program. (Reader, I spend a lot of time in airports.)

More than the Fine Hotels and Resorts credit and upgrades, more than the double points on Uber rides, more than the VIP access to special events, I have loved taking advantage of the WiFi, the potato chips, the sautéed chicken in morel sauce, the Napa Valley sauvignon blanc, and the free glossy magazines in the lounges.

But because it took me a while to get a handle of all the lounge options available, I decided to detail the options, in order of awesomeness.

1. THE CENTURION LOUNGE NETWORK

New lounges built within the last year in key airports around the United States, are by far the best, with shower suites, conference rooms, business services, great WiFi, and premium treats with pedigree. Wines picked by Anthony Giglio, cocktails conceived by Jim Meehan, seasonal menus by notable chefs like Popupla contributor Scott Conant (Vegas), Michelle Bernstein (Miami), and Dean Fearing (Dallas). There are playrooms for kids and private sofas for tired grown ups. The only problem is that they are not located in every single terminal of every single airport.

LOCATIONS: But they are at LAS, DFW, LGA, SFO, MIA, and soon IAH. SEA has a new offshoot called The Centurion Studio. Outside the United States, American Express operates a dozen Centurion Clubs and American Express Lounges in airports around the world.

GUEST POLICY: Platinum Card Members can enter Lounges with up to two guests and kids under 18 at no charge. Because they're smaller, Studios can only accommodate immediate family members or one guest.

2. PARTNER LOUNGES

 

There are more than 45, primarily in the United States, and I'm partial to the new flagship at New York's JFK because it has an outdoor observation deck with a bar and how great is that?

LOCATIONS: Note that though the website lists , Card Members don't have access to Delta affiliates like Air France. (Confused? Use the filter on the right side of the website.)

GUEST POLICY: Guests have to pay to enter.

 

A self-billed "next generation of airport lounge," offering craft beers, light menus, showers, and more.

LOCATIONS: JFK, BWI, SAN, and CLE.

GUEST POLICY: Up to two guests at no charge.

3. PRIORITY PASS LOUNGES

I've had access to lounges in the past, and they're hit or miss. A step up from waiting on the hard seats at the gate, but sometimes just barely. I hated the lounge at Heathrow so much I just stopped bothering. Still, free WiFi is free WiFi, and there are more than 850 of them around the world. Having an Amex card doesn't give you automatic access: Card Members have to enroll for the program by phone or online and must present the card for entry. (A bummer for minimalists like me who would rather not have to carry the extra card.)

LOCATIONS: 700. Here's a list on and here's .

GUEST POLICY: Guests have to pay a $27 entrance fee.


American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas

The Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas-McCarran Airport.

A GLOBAL LOUNGE LIST

So. That's the lowdown. Now where's that one-stop list of all the lounges? I haven't found it yet, so I decided to make one. Here's an OCD cheat sheet of the lounges that Amex Platinum Card Members have access to at the most popular airports around the USA and globally. The only Priority Pass options listed are those that are among the best. For the complete list, check the app.

Remember, by the way, that lounge location is a critical fact to consider. Airports are big, and a lounge in terminal 7 won't help you if you're flying from terminal 1, though you can always use the airport shuttle to get around if the lounge is before security and if your layover is long enough.

LOUNGES IN THE USA

ATLANTA – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta (ATL)

Delta Sky Clubs: Ten locations (Atlanta is their hub). Concourse A, second level and gate A17; Concourse B, gates B10 and B25; Concourse C, gate C37; Concourse D, gate D12 and D27; Concourse E, gate E15; Concourse F, mezzanine; Concourse T, gate T6.

BALTIMORE (BWI)

Airspace Lounge: Terminal D, near gate D10.

BOSTON – Logan (BOS)

Delta Sky Clubs: Two locations, near gate A7 and gate 18.

CHICAGO – O’Hare (ORD)

Delta Sky Club: Terminal 2, Concourse E, across from gate E4.

CLEVELAND (CLE)

Airspace Lounge: Main terminal, just before Concourse B.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH (DFW)

: Terminal D, opposite gate D17.

Delta Sky Club: Mezzanine at gates E22-30.

LAS VEGAS McCARRAN (LAS)

: Concourse D, opposite gate D1.

LOS ANGELEX (LAX)

Delta Sky Clubs: Terminal 5, mezzanine, between gates 53 & 55.

Priority Pass: Virgin America Loft, Terminal 3.

MIAMI (MIA)

: Concourse D, near gate D12, 4th floor.

Delta Sky Club: South Terminal, in H and J connector (left of H Concourse security).

NEW YORK CITY – Kennedy (JFK)

Delta Sky Clubs: Terminals 3 & 4. (Terminal 4 is much bigger and better.)

Airspace Lounge: Terminal 5, between gates 24 and 25.

NEW YORK CITY – LaGuardia (LGA)  

: Before security, on the third floor between Concourses B and C.

Delta Sky Clubs: Two Locations. Terminal C across from food court and Terminal D before gate 2.

NEW YORK CITY – Newark (EWR) 

Delta Sky Club: Terminal B, Satellite B1, near gates 40-47.

PORTLAND (PDX)

Delta Sky Club: Concourse D, between gates D5 & D7.

SAN DIEGO (SAN)

Airspace Lounge: Terminal 2, between Terminal 2 East and bridge to Terminal 2 West.

SAN FRANCISCO (SFO)

: Terminal 3, near gate 74.

SEATTLE-TACOMA (SEA)

: Concourse B, opposite gate B3.


American Express Centurion Lounge DFW

The workroom and spa entrance at the Centurion Lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth.

LOUNGES AROUND THE WORLD

Though "Centurion Club" may sound like "Centurion Lounge," they're not operated in the same way. So, as the saying goes, your mileage may vary. As for and , as I said above, it's best to check the websites for all options. These are just highlights.

ARGENTINA

Buenos Aires – Ezeiza International Airport (EZE)
The Centurion: Terminal C, level two.

BRAZIL

Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport (GIG)
Centurion Club in Terminal 1C. 

São Paulo–Congonhas Airport (CGH)
Centurion Club in the main terminal, past security.

São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport (GRU)
Centurion Club in Terminal 1, top floor.
Priority Pass access to Star Alliance Lounge, Terminal 3, mezzanine.

FRANCE

Paris–Charles de Gaulle (CDG)
Priority Pass access to two lounges: Icare Lounge in Terminal 1 in the Duty Free area and Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Terminal 2A, near gates A37-A39. 

HONG KONG

Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
Priority Pass access to Plaza Premium Lounge (West Hall), Terminal 1, Level 7.

INDIA

Mumbai – Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM)
American Express Lounge in Domestic Terminal 1C. 

New Delhi – New Delhi Indira Gandhi International (DEL)
American Express Lounge in Terminal 3.

JAMAICA

Kingston–Norman Manley International Airport (KIN)
Priority Pass access to Club Kingson, voted the 2014 Priority Pass Global Lounge of the Year.

MEXICO

Estado de Mexico – Toluca International Airport (TLC)
Centurion Club located by national arrivals gates 3 and 4.

Mexico City – Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX)
Three Centurion Club locations: Terminal 1 upper level and lower level; Terminal 2 mezzanine.

Monterrey International Airport (MTY)
Two Centurion Clubs, ground floor.

UNITED KINGDOM

London–Heathrow (LHR)
Priority Pass access to SkyTeam Lounge, Terminal 4, near gate 10.

MORE MEMBER BENEFITS

Here's a rundown of all .


Disclaimer: Pavia Rosati was selected by American Express to help educate consumers about the . As such, she was paid for her services, but all opinions about the experience and American Express are her own.

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