The most important thing to me when it comes to travel is lounge access. I've said before that even if I only have 10 minutes to spare, I will get to the closest lounge. It's incredible how much of a difference that brief period of time in a lounge with a nice cup of coffee can make.
I have on several occasions preached the value of premium cards that come with lounge access/membership of any kind.
Today, I will show you what comes with the American Express Platinum, Platinum Business and Centurion Cards: The Centurion Lounge
How To Get In
As stated above, the only way to get membership to the Centurion Lounge is by holding one of the premium Amex Cards, either the Platinum, Platinum Business or Centurion (aka the "Black Card") Card.
The Platinum Card comes with a $450 annual fee that is not waived the first year.
The Platinum Business Card comes with a $450 annual fee, but in a surprise turn of events it is waived the first year. This is the card I hold.
The Centurion Card is not something any of us will ever get so don't worry about that. We are not worthy.
(To be honest, the Black Card is a waste of money. Just get the Platinum Card. You have to be invited anyway)
Where Can I Find One?
Unfortunately, their footprint is extremely limited. Here is a list of locations:
Dallas Ft. Worth Airport (DFW - Terminal D)
Houston Intercontinental (IAH - Terminal D)
Las Vegas International (LAS - Concourse D)
La Guardia (LGA - Terminal B)
Miami International (MIA - Concourse D)
Seattle Tacoma (SEA - Councourse B)
San Francisco International (SFO - Terminal 3)
Sign at the top of the escalator -- Striking.
This Centurion Lounge goes all in on the feeling of exclusivity and special decor. The sign at the top of the escalator is a true throwback feeling of the trademark American Express exclusivity. When you see that sign you truly feel like you're walking into a special place.
Quit Stalling -- Gimme the goods!!!!!
Comparing this to an Admirals Club or other domestic lounge is quite simply not fair when it comes to food and beverage. Admirals Clubs have a special place in my heart, and they've come a long way, but how many cubes of pepperjack cheese do they expect me to eat? (I can eat a lot, AA. A freaking lot.)
Each Centurion Lounge partners with a local chef - DFW's Executive Chef is local legend and one of the Founding Fathers of Southwestern Cuisine Dean Fearing. The food and drink program is truly special.
Most important first: The bar.
The bar area at the DFW CL is striking. Marble-type surfaces give a very trendy feel. The bar area itself is beautifully lit and incorporates some really cool dark leather and wood decor (that's consistent throughout the lounge) to offset the light white colors.
The Food is equally impressive. While the selection is not as impressive as international lounges, for a domestic lounge it is far and away above anything you'll find in the Admirals Club or other lounges. And it's all.... COMPLIMENTARY!
As you can see, I was there for breakfast. The only complaint I had is that the food wasn't hot. The trays need to be on warmers.
The downside to the Centurion Lounge at DFW is that it's relatively small. Normally that's not a big deal, but if you're there during a popular flight time, it can get cramped.
I would recommend avoiding sitting in the bar area as it is quite loud. Find the TV area. Much quieter.
It's abundantly clear that the Centurion Lounge is significantly more enjoyable than an Admirals Club. If your home airport contains a Centurion Lounge, I would seriously consider getting the Amex Platinum card, especially since it now gets 5x points on airfare.