JFK Centurion Lounge Review: A Speakeasy Inside the Airport

This AmEx lounge at JFK offers plenty of spaces to work, relax and dine. It also has a cocktail bar and a mini spa.

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The 15,000-square foot, two-floor Centurion Lounge at New York-John F. Kennedy Airport is one of American Express’ newer and biggest lounges. The lounge features free Wi-Fi, space to relax and work, a menu curated by an award-winning chef, an Equinox Body Lab for mini spa treatments and a speakeasy cocktail bar.

Centurion Lounges offer a more premium experience than others accessible by credit card perks, such as Priority Pass lounges. Centurion Lounges are harder to get into (since it’s only really offered as a perk for a few cards), so they are generally less crowded and are all part of American Express, so there is a theme and continuity that’s present in the lounges. This is unique from, say, an experience at Priority Pass lounges, which aren’t owned by a single entity.

If you’ve been curious about Centurion Lounges and are hoping to check out the lounge at New York-JFK, here’s what you can expect.

Food and beverage options

Buffet-style dining at the Centurion Lounge at JFK. (Photo by Elina Geller)

Since this location is one of the larger Centurion Lounges, there are several buffet-style serving stations. The entire menu is curated by New York chef Ignacio Mattos, a four-time James Beard award nominee.

A meal consisting of roasted shawarma style chicken with orecchiette pasta, roasted lemon potatoes and spring vegetables along with a summer corn soup. (Photo by Elina Geller)

Lounge visitors can expect to see some signature dishes, including a caciocavallo and egg sandwich with tomato marmalade, fennel salad with castelvetrano olives, and provolone and steak with romesco and taleggio sauce.

Coffee and tea station at the Centurion Lounge at JFK. (Photo by Elina Geller)

In a nod to its New York theme, this AmEx lounge also features local coffee from Irving Farm New York and local wine chosen by Centurion Lounge wine director Anthony Giglio.

The quality and attention to detail when designing the food menu are one of the critical differences between Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass lounges. As a result, Centurion Lounges offer a much more premium dining experience than what you’d expect from a Priority Pass lounge.

1850 Speakeasy Bar

(Photo by Elina Geller)

One of the coolest features of the Centurion Lounge at JFK is the 1850 Speakeasy bar. To get in, you need to go through a metal door, and once you’re inside, you don't feel like you’re in an airport lounge. With dark finishes, wood paneling and private booths, 1850 feels like an authentic cocktail bar and could be anywhere.

During the day, 1850 doubles as a café, so if you’re in the lounge in the afternoon and don’t feel like grabbing a cocktail, you can enjoy an excellent coffee before your flight.

(Photo by Elina Geller)

The drink menu was created by Jim Meehan, an award-winning mixologist famous for his work with PDT, a stylish, low-key speakeasy in New York City. There is a rotating experiential menu and the theme is travel meets New York. In addition to 1850, the lounge has an additional bar with a full cocktail menu featuring local spirits, also curated by Meehan.

Equinox Body Lab

(Photo by Elina Geller)

Another great feature of this lounge is the Equinox Body Lab, a relaxing space to indulge in self-care. Typically, the Equinox Body Lab is only available in Equinox Clubs. The Equinox Body Lab offers restorative therapy, including self-guided meditation and stretching sessions, vibroacoustic chairs, and Normatec recovery compression boots.

Normatec compression boots at the Equinox Body Lab. (Photo by Elina Geller)

The Normatec compression boots go over your legs and inflate and deflate based on your chosen resistance level. The technology in these boots is supposed to increase circulation, revive muscles and reduce swelling. When I visited the lounge, I tried them out and felt relaxed after the session.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you’d like to sample all the pre-flight pampering at the Equinox Body Lab, visit as soon as you enter the lounge so you can make an appointment. The space is small and can only accommodate a few people simultaneously, so it’s best to get your name on the list early.

Spaces to relax and work

(Photo by Elina Geller)

Although the lounge is on two floors, the layout of the space is slightly narrow and most of the seating is along the windows with a nice view of the planes.

(Photo by Elina Geller)

There are also plenty of seats throughout the lounge, including six unique small rooms to get work done or make a phone call.

A TV inside a seating area at the Centurion Lounge at JFK. (Photo by Elina Geller)

There is also a multipurpose room that caters to families traveling with children and an area designed for co-working, with a long table and desk lamps.

What is the American Express Centurion Lounge?

Centurion Lounges are part of the Centurion Network, with over 40 locations worldwide. These lounges are also part of American Express’s more comprehensive network of lounges called the Global Lounge Collection, which includes more than 1,400 lounges across 140 countries.

These lounges are more exclusive than Priority Pass and tend to be emptier. Centurion Lounges offer premium food from award-winning chefs and top-shelf cocktails created by mixologists. In addition, the lounges provide lots of spaces for relaxation and work.

How to get into the Centurion Lounge at JFK

The only way to get into a Centurion Lounge is to have a same-day boarding pass for onward travel and carry one of the following cards:

Terms apply.

The lounge is only available to those departing; you cannot enter if you’ve just landed unless you have a connecting flight. In addition, the Centurion Lounge is located in Terminal 4 of JFK, so if you’re not flying from that terminal, you won’t be able to access the lounge.

You will need to show your boarding pass, a physical government-issued I.D. and your eligible card to be admitted. Holders of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card are only able to access lounges in the United States, Hong Kong and London.

Centurion Lounge guest policy

Currently, holders of The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and Centurion credit cards can bring two guests at no charge.

Starting Feb. 1, 2023, if you hold The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, you will have to pay a $50 guest fee ($30 for children aged 2 through 17, with proof) for each guest unless you spent $75,000 on eligible purchases on the card in 2022.

The change in the guest policy is an unwelcome development but likely enacted to reduce the potential for overcrowding. Depending on your travel habits and who you travel with, it might make sense to add your frequent travel companion as an authorized user on The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (particularly if you cannot meet the spend requirement).

The fee to add an authorized user is $175, so if you expect to visit Centurion Lounges with your travel companion at least four times a year, adding that individual as an authorized user is worth it.

Terms apply.

Directions and hours of operation at Centurion Lounge JFK

New York-JFK is a vast airport with six terminals. Where is the Centurion Lounge at New York-JFK? The Centurion Lounge is located in Terminal 4, so you cannot get into the lounge unless you’re flying out of that terminal.

To access the lounge, go through security. The lounge is to the left of the escalators beyond the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint. The Centurion Lounge at New York-JFK is open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Final thoughts on the Centurion Lounge at JFK

This two-floor location is one of the largest Centurion Lounges. So whether you’re visiting the lounge to get work done, relax before your flight, grab some tasty food or indulge in fancy cocktails, you can do all that and more at this location.

Featured image by Elina Geller.


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