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Navigating the airport can be an exhausting experience. Whether you're taking your shoes off for the hundredth time or trying to explain to the gate agent that you really do have just one personal item, traveling can take a lot out of you.
This is likely one of the reasons that airport lounges are so popular. These specially designed lounges, crafted as a respite from crowded terminal areas, provide food, drinks and seats removed from the masses. Entrance to these facilities is limited and you'll need to meet the right conditions for access.
If you are an American Express cardholder, you are in luck. AmEx has worked to create a calmer airport experience for its customers, which is why the AmEx Centurion Lounges exist. We'll break it down for you if you're wondering how to get into the AmEx lounge.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
American Express Centurion Lounge locations
AmEx was the first card issuer to start creating its own branded lounges, which means it has more than a few locations to offer domestically and overseas.
All told, there are two dozen AmEx Centurion Lounges from which to choose, encompassing some of the largest airports in the world with more on the way.
How to get into a Centurion Lounge
There is only one way to get access to an AmEx Centurion Lounge: You or someone in your traveling party must hold an eligible American Express card.
If you already have an eligible card, there are a couple of ways you can use it to enter the lounge. First, if you have it on hand, you can choose to present the card, your ID and your same-day boarding pass to the lounge agents at your selected location.
Otherwise, you can use contactless mobile check-in via your AmEx app to generate a QR code, which you can scan to get into the lounge. This is a great feature of the app and can come in handy if you've forgotten your card at home.
AmEx will start a waiting list to enter its lounges when it's very busy. You can join the waiting list and be notified by phone when space opens up.
Which cards provide AmEx Centurion Lounge access?
Six cards will get you into AmEx's Centurion Lounges, though they all have different restrictions.
AmEx limits entry to its lounges to eligible cardholders and their guests. The first, and likely most well-known card that can grant you access is The Platinum Card® from American Express. Along with a $695 annual fee, the card provides a variety of credits, such as an airline fee credit, a monthly Uber credit and a Walmart+ credit. Terms apply. Enrollment required.
Those who hold The Platinum Card® from American Express receive complimentary unlimited access to the Centurion Lounge for themselves. The guest policy allows for up to two guests if the cardholder has spent $75,000 in the prior calendar year. Those who cannot meet the required spend will need to pay $50 for each guest. Terms apply.
» Learn more: Everything you need to know about AmEx Centurion Lounges
The business version of The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express will also grant you access to the Centurion Lounge. Terms apply.
Although The Business Platinum Card® from American Express also features a $695 annual fee, that fee is offset by statement credits such as a $400 annual Dell credit and a $200 annual airline fee credit. Terms apply. Enrollment required.
Much like the consumer The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll receive complimentary unlimited access to Centurion Lounge locations by holding this card. Terms apply.
As of Feb. 1, 2023, those who hold either The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express need to spend $75,000 on the card in a calendar year to receive complimentary access for guests. Terms apply.
Not a lot is known about the Centurion Card, AmEx's most high-end card offering. Available via invitation only, the Centurion Card provides access to all of AmEx's Centurion Lounges without restriction. In addition, these cardholders can bring up to two guests into the lounge. Terms apply.
American Express Corporate Platinum Card
Similarly to the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, the American Express Corporate Platinum Card offers a variety of benefits targeted to business users. Those who hold the card are allowed unrestricted access to the Centurion Lounge with up to two guests. Terms apply.
Delta's premium co-branded card provides access to Centurion Lounges, but on a limited basis. Unlike other AmEx cards, you’ll need to be flying a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight in order to enter the Centurion Lounge with your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. You're also only allowed access at specific locations, including domestic lounges, Hong Kong and London. Terms apply.
Finally, those who hold this card are only allowed complimentary access for themselves; bringing guests will cost $50 per person. Terms apply.
The business version of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card will also get you in the AmEx Centurion Lounge, with the same restrictions. You'll need to be on a Delta-marketed or -operated flight, you don't get free guests and you're limited mainly to domestic lounge locations. Terms apply.
» Learn more: What to know about American Express lounge access
Final thoughts on Centurion Lounge access
AmEx has done a good job creating a space away from the main airport terminals. With two dozen branded lounges worldwide, odds are you'll end up near a Centurion Lounge the next time you travel.
Grab one of the six cards afforded access if you'd like to experience the AmEx Centurion Lounge. These include well-known options such as the The Platinum Card® from American Express or Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. Terms apply.
To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, see this page.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card