The New American Express Studio Lounge Concept Launches Next Year in Seattle

American Express is opening a new lounge at the Seattle Airport next year. But it won’t be a Centurion lounge as we’ve come to know them. Instead it’s a Centurion Studio.

Here’s what American Express shared with me,

[W]e are opening a new Card Member space in Seattle-Tacoma Airport – it’ll be an extension of the Centurion Lounge but in a smaller footprint. We’ll have the amenities Card Members tell us are most important when they’re on the road: comfortable seating, charging stations, fast and free WiFi, and complimentary healthy snacks and drinks.

There are Centurion Lounge locations currently in:

The Centurion Lounges feature outstanding food and drink, and some locations include showers, kids room, and even a spa.

Access for Centurion and Platinum cardholders is free for the member plus their spouse and children or two guests. Other American Express cardholders may pay $50 per adult with children complimentary.

I asked American Express where this new Seattle lounge would be located and American Express let me know “It’ll be right off the Main terminal towards concourse B, post-security and easily accessible to all terminals.”

I also asked whether the smaller footprint of this lounge is a function of available space, or a smaller cardmember base in Seattle?

They explained,

We’re taking advantage of available space at Sea-Tac. The right space for a lounge isn’t always available but we still want to be where our Card Members are.

Already American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders receive Priority Pass Select membership, which provides unlimited visits to participating lounges for the cardmember (guests ae charged). That includes access to the Alaska Airlines Boardroom in Seattle. So this is simply another option for American Express cardholders at the Seattle airport. Of course once the American Express lounge project is substantially rolled out, it wouldn’t surprise me if they decided the Priority Pass membership was duplicative. It might not last forever.

What I wanted to know from American Express is: do they plan to replicate elsewhere? And I suspect the answer is, it depends on what space they can gain access to at each airport they want to be in.

  • They’ve previously told me that they want to be in all major cities in the U.S.
  • Each lounge will be somewhat different based on available space and also on the travel profile for the airport — LaGuardia for instance isn’t a major international connecting airport, so showers aren’t the first best use of scarce space.

So without a lot of space available that made sense where their location could be accessible to members, but with a desire for a presence in Seattle, they went for a smaller space. Rather than a ‘Studio’ I almost wish American Express had called this “Centurion Lounge Express.” That’s travel-industry speak for fewer frills, right?

I’m really looking forward to the Miami lounge opening in the first half of 2015… and to learning what other locations will come next!


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Once they have covered most of the major airports, do you see them take away the access agreement with Delta and maybe priority pass (less likely with more of an international footprint)?

  2. When will AMEX get something (anything?) in the Denver airport? Isn’t DEN something like the fourth busiest airport in the country and yet AMEX doesn’t have anything there (no DL lounge, no access to the UA lounges, nothing covered by the Priority Pass).

  3. To me, Amex seems to be placing lounges at airports with large O&D traffic. I don’t know how DEN ranks compared to others. Centurion Lounge Express would be clear, but to me would cheapen the brand. “Studio” or even “Loft” would be a better term to describe that this is a smaller lounge.

    I doubt that Priority Pass membership with Amex Platinum is in jeopardy since there are so many lounges under the PP network that Amex certainly can’t build its own in even a fraction of the cities any time soon. Also, other cards like the premium Chase Ultimate Reward series offer this benefit, even if more limited and since CO, US and AA clubs were discontinued, they need to keep this offering.

  4. Was at DFW today for the second time in a couple months. Went to Admirals Lounge first to check that out…and then after faced with a $12 omelette, walked right out! Centurion Lounges are definitely better than most US / North American lounges with the food and drink options.

    However, the kids rule needs to be controlled (as a parent of 3 of my own). There were 2 sets of parents with 2 kids each (at different times), and even through there is a kids area that was almost right in front of them, the parents allowed their offspring to run around, talk very loudly, a little bit of screaming, crying and whining for good measure. Once we heard the parents say they were leaving to catch their flight, there was a collective sigh.

    The staff need to control the guests more. Guests need to be more aware that this is a shared lounge and noise is to be kept to a minimum,

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