Lounge Review: The Centurion Lounge by American Express (LAX)

by Anthony Losanno
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American Express was the first credit card issuer to open a US lounge back in 2013. The concept was novel at the time, but both Capital One (review here) and Chase (review here) have opened their own lounges since with many more locations planned in the future. While on business this week, I had some time to check out The Centurion Lounge by American Express at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

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You need to take an elevator to access the lounge.

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Access to the Centurion Lounge is given to customers carrying The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, The Centurion® Card, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Card, or the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business Card. Cardholders are entitled to bring two guests (or immediate family with a Centurion® Card) as long as they spend over $75,000 a year on their card. If that threshold is not hit then only the cardholder can enter for free with a fee of $50 per guest ($30 for children ages 2-17) per visit. Unlimited access changes in 2025 with visits being limited based on the card type held.

It was quite amusing to watch a guy and his girlfriend melt down when they arrived five hours before their flight and were denied entry. They juggled a dog and multiple Louis Vuitton and Hermes bags. He picked up his phone and started screaming at his assistant to “book them on any refundable flight that leaves soon so that they could enter and then cancel the tickets.”

Anthony’s Take: The Centurion Lounges have been some of my favorites since they opened. American Express continues to offer a great experience with restaurant-quality food and cocktails, comfortable spaces to work and relax, and other amenities that vary by location. They can get extremely crowded and this visit to the LAX location saw a line waiting to enter when I was exiting. This lounge features a spa, shower suites, and premium food and drinks. This one is around 14,000 square feet, which makes it one of the larger lounges that American Express operates.

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When entering the main room, you’ll find the bar to the right of the buffet. Unlike most airline lounges, all alcohol here is complimentary. This includes premium spirits and wines. American Express even has cocktail menus that vary by location.

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I liked the projected American Express logo above the bar.

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A second bar is found by walking straight past the check-in desk. It was closed during my visit.

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Coffee, tea, and condiments are found near the second bar.

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Another coffee machine is closer to the main one.

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Drip coffee was found here as well.

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Iced tea and water were also in a separate area.

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The menus don’t change very often, but the food is consistently tasty and high quality. There are multiple hot dishes, salads, soup, and a few desserts on offer.

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Pepper Crusted Chicken Thighs

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Parsnip Potato Puree

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Roasted Spiced Cauliflower

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Crispy Brussels Sprouts

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Endive Salad

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Green Salad

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Chicken Soup

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Berry Cake

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Assorted cookies

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Apples and oranges

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Seating & Decor

There are all sorts of seating configurations for working, socializing, and lounging. While I visited most seats were taken and there were areas so packed that I did not want to take photos as it would be awkward. Some seats like those pictured above were reserved for Centurion Card holders. A separate room was also designated for Centurion cardholders in the back of the lounge.

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The area near the bar had tables for dining.

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A few tables and couches were in front of a TV. I like that Amex works travel decor throughout the lounge.

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These booths were empty when I arrived and quickly filled.

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Work stations line a wall near the entrance. There are lots of other seating configurations, but as noted they were all packed.

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A small room held daybeds and was meant for catching a nap and relaxing. This photo is from American Express. While I was there it was filled with children.

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The Centurion Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) features an Exhale Spa, shower suites, free Wi-Fi, and all of the food and beverages listed above. The Exhale Spa had a sign outside forbidding photos. No appointments were available while I was there, but chair massages, manicures, and facials are offered on a complimentary basis.

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There are two shower suites. These were also occupied the entire time I was in the lounge.

Overall Impression:

I was not at the Centurion Lounge for long, but enjoyed my dinner. It was incredibly crowded and it would have been nice to get a spa treatment, but overall, it’s a great space to spend some time, relax, and grab some food and drinks.

Anthony’s Credit Card Pick: I love the lounges where The Platinum Card® from American Express grants me access. It has had a prominent place in my wallet for many years now. While it does have an annual fee of $695, it provides many travel benefits and will always be my go-to for lounge access (both Delta Sky Clubs® and Centurion Lounges) and booking airfare from the airlines to earn 5x points (up to $500,000 per calendar year). Learn moreRates & Fees. Terms apply.

(Moonrise Room Image Credit: American Express.)

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Christian January 25, 2024 - 4:30 pm

My wife and I just visited the Charlotte lounge a few minutes ago. It was the first time I’ve experienced a wait to enter. The ambiance and service were great as usual. The food was definitely less impressive than yours or what I’ve experienced previously.

lars January 25, 2024 - 6:05 pm

Was at this lounge a few weeks ago. While large, the layout is strange. Probably the biggest point is that it’s in the basement, and there are no views to be had and there’s almost zero natural light.

The main bar area receives some natural light, but it’s from an interior atrium which has a skylight…so not great. The rest of the place feels like you are in a doomsday bunker…albeit a nice one 🙂

SMR January 25, 2024 - 8:45 pm

That’s gross. A pot of chicken thighs .. Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. This is pretty much what Amex lounges serve. It’s really bad. The fact people feel the need to go into these lounges and eat this crap is beyond me.

David Bloom January 27, 2024 - 11:03 am

I was there on Tuesday so we should have had a similar experience. Did you see the amazing mini apple pies? The yummy vegetable soup? They also had tortilla chips with your choice of salsa, which seem to be at every airport lounge.
I have been to this lounge before, but you did not mention how difficult it is to find nor the fact that it is a 14 minute walk (much of it without proper signage) from terminal 5, including at least 1 staircase with non elevator/escalator.
They have several water fountains so you can fill your Drinkware but the Avec gas fountains were not operational this visit.


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