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.
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.