Is an American Express Centurion Lounge Coming to LAX?

Reader Scott L. spotted couches just past security in the Tom Bradley International terminal at LAX “Courtesy of the American Express Centurion Lounge” .. there’s no celebrity chef, but clearly an attempt to raise awareness of the American Express and Centurion lounge brand.

I reached out to American Express to see what the pop up signified, and a spokesperson replied,

It’s part of an overall promotion for the Centurion Lounge Network. Although we don’t have one in LAX, we’d love to be there if we can secure the right space that would meet all the needs for a Centurion Lounge there.

We know of course that American Express is seeking to build its own network of lounges in major airports, rather than relying on airline partners alone to provide lounge access to their premium cardmembers.

We know also that American Express is providing a superior lounge product compared to US airlines, with quality meals and beverages and in some locations even complimentary spa treatments. The lounges can get busy because eligible cardmembers want to go there.


Centurion Lounge Spa, Miami

We also know that they’ve tested a smaller lounge concept, the Centurion Studio, in Seattle and that it could provide the blueprint for lounges in mid-sized airports as well.

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

Building out a lounge network takes a good deal of time — finding the right available space, negotiating with the airport, and in major hubs there’s often a single carrier with substantial interest in and say over how unoccupied space gets used (and that carrier may not want to be ‘shown up’ by American Express — American Airlines was vehemently opposed to the American Express Centurion lounge in Dallas).

They seem to have prioritized major airports, especially ones where passengers aren’t predominantly flying Delta. Delta is an American Express partner, and Platinum and Centurion cardmembers have access to Delta SkyClubs when flying the airline same day (for themselves, guest access is paid).

I’ve shared American Express’ letter of inquiry to Denver Airport, expressing Denver as a priority and indicating that there were specific locations in United’s terminal they were interested in.

The next lounge that will open is Houston.


American Express Centurion Lounge Dallas

So is LAX getting a Centurion lounge? I followed up and was told, “we’re still exploring it, it’s all about finding the right space. Nothing official in the works at this time.

I read emphasis on ‘official’ in this statement, meaning that no lease has been signed. But it does sound like they’re exploring it seriously. And since connector tunnels are in process of making the various terminals more accessible to each other airside (post-security) the options for where they could place a lounge open up greatly.

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. Interesting. Thanks Gary.

    Does anyone know if you have to actually have your AMEX Platinum card in your possession to get into these lounges or are they able to look you up? Thanks.

  2. @ Gary — It really doesn’t matter how nice these lounges are if AMEX doesn’t do something to limit access and reduce crowding. I’d rather go to a lesser lounge that isn’t unpleasantly overrun with over-entitled people.

  3. So limit it to Centurion card only? The Centurion card people probably aren’t flying commercial much.

  4. @Gene… they already have. Several months ago they implemented policy that requires a seat assignment on the boarding pass. This eliminates airline employees on personal travel as well as travelers who were unable to secure a seat assignment when booking their ticket. This was done several months ago and apparently hasn’t helped the crowding problem.

  5. Was in Miami on Thursday and it was packed at 7:00 AM.

    It would be interesting to see where in LAX as the terminals are all separate. If in TBIT, it would compete directly with the new lounges that are quite good of each airline/alliance. I’d rather see AmEx take it to other cities (as much as I love and fly into LAX often).

  6. The old CO Pres Club space in Term 6 is vacant – although I am not sure if it is large enough. Big enough for a Studio – but LAX is too big of an airport for just a Studio. With the connection tunnels open, UA/AS/DL/AA can all access Term 6 air side.

  7. I know I post this every time Amex lounge speculation comes up but what about PHL? We’re dominated by AA and the two Admirals Clubs here are awful.

    I agree with others that crowding is becoming a serious issue though. I wonder what percentage of visitors enter with a non Centurion or Platinum card and pay the $50 bucks? Is significant enough that no longer allowing those people at even the lounges would be enough to make a difference?

    They also need to get of reserved seating for Centurion card holders. The can reserve seating ahead of time and then never show up and those tables sit empty for hours. Figure out some other exclusive to offer them like longer complimentary spa sessions, better alcohol or something like that.

  8. There are a lot of things Amex needs to consider regarding access to their lounges: 2 free guests per Platinum card is too many, $50 entry is too cheap and free entry for children with a paying adult is a terrible idea, especially when they classify anyone under 18 as a child.

  9. I don’t know how you can consistently rank the Centurion over Delta SkyClubs. Maybe it’s just that the SEA Centurion (the only one I’ve seen) is really, really bad. I’ll have to try a few more of them before I can categorically disprove your claim. I’ve had nothing but wonderful food and drink selections (and decent WiFi) in the dozens of SkyClubs I’ve been in.

  10. @Randal L. Schwartz Visit literally any of the other lounges and you’ll understand why. The SEA “Studio” is not an accurate representation.

  11. I usually use the Vegas lounge and crowding has not seemed to be a huge problem. If course this varies because I understand that it is packed when certain conventions are in town. I admit there have been a few times I get to Vegas early in the morning and spend a few hours there with work on my laptop and lunch. Reason is it is hard to check in early at the hotels anyway. I am based out of MIA/FLL area but have not been to the Miami lounge yet.

  12. I was hoping they would open a lounge in terminal 1 of LAX, kind of fits the timing as they are in a huge renovation, seems like a good opportunity to move in.

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