American Express finally opened its long-awaited Centurion Lounge at London-Heathrow (LHR) on Tuesday, continuing Amex's aggressive expansion with its flagship lounges by heading overseas.
It's Amex's first location across the pond and just its second lounge outside the U.S., after its Hong Kong (HKG) lounge. The new lounge clocks in at 7,000 square feet, located in Heathrow's Terminal 3. That means flyers with Virgin Atlantic, Delta, Emirates, Japan Airlines, and a handful of other carriers can easily access the lounge when it's open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Aside from its location, all the hallmarks of a superb Centurion lounge are there in London: Great decor, free food and drinks, and a touch of local flair you won't find elsewhere.
That includes a menu curated by Michelin-starred chef Assaf Granit with dishes like homemade Kubalah bread and an olive oil cake with pistachio anglaise and rose water diplomat, plus a special British tea cart for guests. There are also London-inspired art installations scattered throughout the lounge.
“We are delighted to be the first major hub airport in Europe to host an American Express Centurion Lounge. As travel restrictions continue to ease and key markets open back up, the new Centurion Lounge in Terminal 3 will be a most welcome addition for passengers in need of a quiet place to relax before setting off on their journeys,” Fraser Brown, Heathrow's director of retail and property, said in a statement.
This lounge has been a long, long time coming. The London location was first announced nearly three years ago.
But as Amex emerged from a brief pandemic hibernation, it has doubled down on these lounges. This is the third new Centurion lounge it has opened in 2021 alone, after the Denver Centurion Lounge as well as a brand new space at New York City-LaGuardia replaced its old, outdated lounge.
Amex isn't stopping there, either. It has announced plans for new lounges in Newark (EWR) and Washington, D.C.-Reagan (DCA) as well as eyeing a location in Atlanta (ATL). In the meantime, it has expanded older locations like in Las Vegas (LAS), with plans to do the same in both San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle (SEA).
American Express entered the pandemic with just 11 Centurion lounges total. It could exit with as many as 18 or more.
Read more: Amex Doubled Down on Centurion Lounges During COVID-19, What's Next?
Getting into Centurion Lounges
To get into any Centurion Lounge, you’ll need the right credit card. And few are better than The Platinum Card® from American Express.
It’ll get you into all Centurion lounges for free. But you can no longer bring guests in free: As of Feb. 1, guests cost $50 apiece (or $30 for minors) unless you charged a whopping $75,000 to your Platinum Card in the last year. Guests two years and younger are complimentary.
But it also opens doors to 1,000-plus Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs if you’re flying Delta that day, Escape Lounges, and more.
Read our full review of the Amex Platinum Card
Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express will get you in as well. And there’s a relatively new option: The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, Delta’s top-tier travel card. But you have to be flying Delta that day to use a Centurion lounge, and you can’t bring free guests with you – they’ll be $50 each.
Read our master guide to getting into & using Amex Centurion lounges!
It took a while, but by the looks of it, Amex's new London-Heathrow Centurion Lounge could be worth the wait. It's got all the ingredients of a stellar airport lounge. At 7,000 square feet, we're hoping it's large enough to avoid the chronic overcrowding that plagued Centurion lounges closer to home before the pandemic.
All photos courtesy of American Express