Way back in November 2015 I suggested that an American Express Centurion lounge would be coming to LAX. All signs were it was about to happen. And then just a few days later the airport told employees in their newsletter that a Centurion Lounge was coming “to the south side terminals (between terminals 6 & 7).”
And then silence. And frustration — on the part of customers and American Express executives, at least.
Centurion lounge 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. And no longer possible with other American Express cards.
American Express Centurion lounges currently open are Dallas Fort-Worth, Las Vegas, Miami, New York LaGuardia, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, Philadelphia and Hong Kong. Denver and New York JFK are confirmed to be in progress. But LAX still hadn’t happened.
The lounge will be located in the in the Tom Bradley International terminal, and not where it was originally expected between terminals six and seven. It will be 13,693 square feet, 10% larger than the expanded Centurion lounge they’re building in Dallas. (Denver and New York JFK lounges will be slightly larger.)
The Tom Bradley terminal is connected to American’s terminal 4. You can access terminal 5 which is also used in part by American. From there you can walk inside security to terminal 6, then 7 and 8.
The deal is for a “10 year brand sponsorship” with a right for American Express to terminate their lease after five years paying the full remaining net present value of future lease payments at that time. LAX can terminate on 90 days notice by paying the depreciated value of the lounge’s buildout costs.
This is space that the airport “unsuccessfully attempted to lease..to airlines for many years.” The airport believes they have no other prospects to generate revenue from this space. That’s the thing about lounges. Customers will go out of their way to find and use them. You don’t have to give up prime retail space to house them.
American Express will pay $204 per square foot or an initial rent of $2.8 million per year, plus buildout costs that will be a minimum of $5,576,800 ($407/sq ft).
We should expect this lounge to open in 2019, though since we’ve waited two and a half years from what were believed to be final negotiations for a lease at LAX anything can get pushed off further into the future.