Denver’s United Terminal is a Priority for New American Express Centurion Lounge

American Express has been building out its own lounge network, and they’re at a much higher standard than US airline lounges. They feature:

  • Thoughtfully selected wine and craft cocktails
  • Food by local celebrity chefs (full buffet meals)
  • Complimentary spa in some locations
  • Showers in most locations
  • Kids room and conference space in most locations


Kids Room – Las Vegas


Exhale Spa – Miami


Buffet – Dallas

They’re distinctively designed spaces, accessible complimentary to American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders and on a paid basis to other American Express cardmembers.

There are American Express Centurion lounges at US airports already in:

Denver airport officials confirmed for me that American Express is in discussions to open a new Centurion lounge in terminal B which houses United Airlines.

There is no agreement in place at this point. Things apparently heated up a couple of months ago, although initial discussions about the possibility of a lounge at the airport back to 2011. It seems the hangup has been airport negotiations with United over space the airline needed in the terminal, but those have been concluded.

American Express tells the airport that Denver is a ‘priority market’ although they expect “several other locations to open in the next two years” beyond the existing lounges.

Multiple locations in the terminal have been identified as possible homes for the lounge.


    Excerpt from American Express letter to Denver airport official, click to enlarge

For good measure I asked Amex to comment on the status of Denver, knowing that without a signed deal there isn’t much they would share. They responded,

As you know, we’re looking at a number of different airports where our Card Members travel most. We don’t have anything to report with that specific airport.

This probably won’t be the next lounge that opens, but it seems like there’s a strong possibility that Denver is one of the locations that American Express should be able to add to their ‘two year pipeline’ shortly.

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. Come onnnn Amex. Get to Philly/EWR/JFK. Somewhere northeast that isn’t freaking LGA. I get it’s a pain for them to contract this stuff but my AF is almost due again for my Plat card and I really can’t find a reason to keep it. I was hoping they would give me some kind of hope (especially after reading rumors on FT about a possible Centurion Lounge in Philly).

  2. @Jay for what it’s worth Mary Flannery, the Manager of Public Affairs and Marketing for Philadelphia International Airport told me about 10 days back, “We do not have plans for an American Express lounge.”

    That doesn’t mean they won’t have such plans in the future, of course.

  3. @Gary, do you have any insider insight on future locations? I’m in a similar boat as Jay, the Centurion lounges are great, but have not found their way to the Mid-Atlantic yet(IAD home airport). Thanks!

  4. I haven’t gotten around to pushing for info on DC, I emailed a FOIA request to the airports authority but their published email for that purpose bounced / was rejected. And I haven’t followed up yet.

  5. Why would they go to IAD? It’s become mostly just int’l O&D; every other aspect of it is more or less dying.

    If they wanted to make a splash they would come to DCA.

  6. I work in IAD concessions and during the last managers all hands we were told that AMEX has been in touch with the management to open a lounge in the now defuct UA lounge in the Intl terminal.
    Now the LH is at least 50% better than any of the Amex lounges so that will be a fierce competition to the amex lounge.
    I was at the LH lounge just 2 days ago using my UA lounge membership and they had smoked salmon, amazing German goulash, 2 other hot dishes, an amazing salad bar, and dont get me started on the alcohol and showers… Even if they dont come to IAD I am plenty happy with LH…

  7. @Nasakoto Iakata – I’m a little confused by your reference to a ‘defunct UA lounge in the intl terminal” are you referring to a United lounge in terminal B? I didn’t think United ever had space there. Or are you talking about something else? There used to be an A concourse Star Gold lounge a decade or so ago. I can’t think of any other former United club space that’s no longer in use?

  8. I second the motion for ORD to get a Centurian Lounge. We have to fly though there on our way to Japan next year and the current lounge offerings are quite depressing.

  9. @CW I’d be interested to hear where you think they would be able to put a Centurion in DCA. Terminal B has both a United and SC for gates 10-22, AA operates 1 in both terminal C and in terminal B for gates 23-34. Unless you are suggesting that a Centurion could either split space in terminal C, or where AA, Virgin, and Jet Blue operate out of(Gates 23-24), or go pre security(Not sure where they would find the room, but I’d love to see it happen).

    @Nasakoto Iakata, Great to hear!

  10. @Mike from DC – I agree that doing it right now the way it is set up it would be difficult to maximize exposure. Landside might make the most sense if they could weasel a space. DCA has been all about going upscale, including landside, so that would fit. If there is one airport where a landside club would make sense it would be DCA as it is such a short dash to any gate.

    If they go through with the plan to expand the airside area to all of the current 2nd floor then that would provide a great opportunity. Of course that would be years off.

    I’d not be against an operation at IAD – if they did both I would not be complaining!

  11. Canada already has one at YYZ T1 domestic where the PlazaPremium lounge is branded with the Amex logo. Amex Plat/Centurion cardholders have comp’d access to the complete PlazaPremium network worldwide, including HKG and LHR. These are not as flashy as the US Amex Centurion lounges but offer hot food and comfortable, generally uncrowded space at YVR, YEG and YYZ (both T1 and T3)…though the bars could use an upgrading. (These are also PriorityPass lounges.)

    As for DEN, it’s well overdue since the UA Clubs must be among the worst in the system! I suspect Amex selected its first round of lounges at AA hubs since their deal to access Admiral Clubs was coming to an end. Since they never had a similar agreement with UA — other than through the old tie-in with PriorityPass — that airline’s hubs were not a priority to keep members consoled after losing Admiral Club access. Thus the lounges at DFW, MIA and LGA. That said, SFO and LAS do offer an alternative to UA fliers by their location, though this was more a factor of where space was available at these terminals, than a conscious assault on UA’s lounge network. (And the mini-SEA lounge is located by AA’s gates…as well as AS’s since cardholders can still use the DL lounges when flying that carrier in SEA and other airports, so DL hubs are not a priority for new Centurion lounges.)

    As for IAD — which I consider the worst major airport in the world — can’t see it as a priority for Amex considering STARGolds have access to the LH lounge (in addition to the mediocre United Clubs, at least one of which desperately needs a shower facility given the number of inbound morning flights from overseas!) and OWSapphire/Emeralds have access to the new BA lounge. IIRC there’s a joint SkyTeam lounge too. All are in the B pier and thus a bit of a trek if one is flying out of C/D piers (particularly given the stupid location of the Airtrain terminal almost a mile from the C pier!) but options for a long connection at this depressing gateway.

    Had a quick dinner in the new MIA lounge last night on my arrival before heading over to the Sheraton, and will be back there in about an hour for lunch (and hopefully a shoulder/neck massage) before flying back to ORD.

  12. Talked to guest services back in April when I cancelled my extra cards, said they were also working on Philly, didn’t know if you knew that or not.

  13. @Gary I was going to mention the old US Club but I thought the plan, at least from what I’d heard, was to blow out some walls and merge it with the existing small AC?

  14. Denver, really? The next best place for Amex to open a Centurion Lounge would be either ORD or JFK.

  15. Heard In IAH Terminal D, in the old FIS on the lower level will be a American Express Centuriun Lounge

  16. Gary – it has been several months since you penned this article. Any update? As a frequent traveller through DEN, I know there is a ton of construction going on (new duty free shop set to open soon on the second level of Concourse B, for example) and was curious if you had heard anything.

  17. @Gary I am also curious to know if you have any updates. Would love to see a amex lounge in Denver.

  18. Denver needs a lounge solution badly! If you’re flying domestic, you have no options other than to buy a pass to the United Club. If you’re international and have Star Alliance Gold then you can pop in, but otherwise there’s no rewards program, club purchase program, or credit card offering lounge access in Denver. Sounds ripe for opportunity for Amex (or locked down by United!)

  19. @DenFlyer – If you have the Citi Prestige or Executive CCs you gain access to the Admirals Club. It’s a nice space, but it’s TINY compared to even the smaller United lounge. But I agree, the lounges and international flights out of one of America’s largest airports is seriously lacking.

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