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I had an opportunity to see the brand new American Express Centurion lounge Philadelphia last night and try the food since I was invited to the pre-opening party there.
The American Express Centurion Lounge Philadelphia is located in Terminal A-West near Gate A14.
American Express has begun operating their own network of “Centurion lounges,” which are a step above what travelers have become accustomed to from US airline-operated lounges.
They’re popular — some would say too popular, even — they offer a better airport experience than most airline lounges, so cardmembers want to spend time there. There’s free food and drink and stylish surroundings and in some cases even a complimentary spa.
Access is complimentary for Platinum Card from American Express cardholders. Everything inside – from food and alcohol to, in some lounges, spa treatments are complimentary as well). Access is also complimentary for Centurion (Black Card) cardholders of course.
Each Platinum cardholder (not just primary cardholders) can bring in two guests, Centurion cardholders can bring in their family instead if they prefer. Other American Express cardmembers can no longer pay for access — you have to have one of these cards to enter.
The American Express Centurion Lounge Philadelphia – which officially opens later this month – is the 8th Centurion lounge.
The other lounges are:
They’ve just opened in Hong Kong and I expect to pass through there within the next two weeks. American Express is expanding the Miami and Dallas lounges as well. And more new lounges are expected.
Elevator Up to the Philadelphia Lounge: I’m Not Sure What the Birds Are, Maybe They Want You To Tweet?
What Does This Lounge Have?
Naturally there’s a variety of comfortable and unique seating — in the Centurion Lounge style, the furniture here should be very familiar with Amex cardholders.
The lounge has restrooms and also a shower room.
The fully stocked bar is a regular feature of course.
The chef for this lounge is Michael Solomonov. American Express works with a local celebrity chef to design the menus of each lounge. Solomonov is known for his Philadelphia restaurant Zahav and is a winner of several James Beard Foundation awards.
For the evening they were passing hors d’oeuvres, and offered kale tabbouleh, hummus (something the chef is known for), and an Israeli salad with feta.
Something I’ve certainly noticed since the lounges first opened is fewer expensive meats, which makes some sense given the volume of traffic these lounges get while offering unpriced food.
For the pre-opening there was a DJ, not usually a feature of the lounge.
Also for the party there was a display of smells, where you could see all of the elements that make up the distinctive Centurion Lounge Smell.
What Doesn’t This Lounge Offer?
The Dallas Fort-Worth and Miami lounges offer complimentary spas by Exhale. This lounge doesn’t have a spa. Clearly there’s no room.
There’s also no kids room like you’ll find at most Centurion lounges.
At 6300 square feet this lounge is smaller than all but Seattle. That means it’s going to be busy, and that they had to trim ideal features where possible.
Getting space in an airport is a real challenge, no doubt they’ll take the space they can get, and the Philadelphia airport has desperately needed a Centurion lounge — as it is the only Priority Pass lounge there is the Minute Suites (which isn’t actually a lounge).
So it’s a real upgrade to have a Centurion lounge in Philadelphia, but there wasn’t enough room to offer some of the amenities that you’ll find at other lounges.
So When Does the Philadelphia Centurion Lounge Open?
American Express hasn’t announced the opening date for the lounge. Some American Express agents – and the airport – had been saying this coming Monday October 23. However they’re not going to hit that date. American Express just says “this month” and the airport says Monday October 30th.