AmEx is making good on its promise to expand Platinum cardholder benefits by opening luxe airport lounges at Heathrow and Charlotte Douglas

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Centurion Lounge Render

American Express

  • One of the best perks that comes with the Platinum Card® from American Express is extensive access to airport lounges.
  • Of the more than 1,200 lounges that Platinum cardholders can access, the best are AmEx’s own Centurion Lounges.
  • AmEx has announced two new Centurion Lounges – one in London Heathrow, and one in Charlotte.
  • The two new lounges are part of a larger trend that’s been evident in 2017 and 2018, as Amex has pushed to improve benefits for Platinum cardholders, an effort to set the premium card apart from the competition.
  • Cardholders also get complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs and Priority Pass-affiliated lounges.

American Express has announced two new airport Centurion Lounge locations, including its second lounge outside the US.

The first new lounge will open at London’s Heathrow airport (LHR) in 2019. Located in Terminal 3, which services flights to the US on a number of carriers including Delta, American, and Virgin Atlantic, the lounge will be around 7,000 square feet. It will feature similar amenities to other Centurion Lounges, including complimentary food and drinks, showers, plenty of seats, and access to Wi-Fi.

The new domestic Centurion Lounge, at Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT) in North Carolina, has been anticipated since plans leaked late last month. That lounge, which is scheduled to open in early 2020, will be located after security between Concourse D and E. At 13,000 square feet, it will be one of the larger Centurion Lounges throughout the network alongside other new locations opening next year.

AmEx Platinum and Centurion (or “Black Amex”) cardholders have access to Centurion Lounges before flights.

While the two new lounges will be accessible to cardholders regardless of airline flown – as is the case with all current Centurion Lounges – both should prove particularly useful for those who fly American Airlines. Charlotte is American’s biggest hub aside from Dallas Fort-Worth (which currently has a Centurion Lounge), and London Heathrow is a popular gateway to Europe for American Airlines and Oneworld alliance loyalists – although the London location will also appeal to a larger range of flyers who transit through Heathrow’s Terminal 3.

“Heathrow is one of the top airports our premium card members travel through and its popularity is increasing all the time,” said Chris Cracchiolo, a senior vice president of global loyalty and benefits at AmEx. “So far this year among premium US card members alone, we’ve seen a 15% increase in travel through Heathrow compared to last year.”

A London location has been rumored on-and-off for several years, particularly after AmEx opened a pop-up lounge for holiday shoppers last year in the city.

Alongside the announcement, American Express is once again opening the pop-up Centurion Lounge in London’s Covent Garden, at the Unit 6 art gallery on Langley Street. Complimentary snacks, drinks, charging stations, and even gift-wrapping services will be available for Platinum and Centurion cardholders. It will be open from December 13-16.

London Covent Garden Pop Up Centurion Lounge Render

American Express

As competition has heated up in the credit card rewards and benefits space, particularly among premium travel cards, in which American Express once held a particularly comfortable hold, AmEx has responded with an aggressive and persistent push to improve benefits and services for its cardholders with its top products.

Including London and Charlotte, five new Centurion Lounge openings have been announced this year for openings in 2019 amd 2020 – the others are in New York-JFK, Denver International Airport, and Los Angeles International Airport. Additionally, lounge locations have opened this year in Philadelphia and Hong Kong, and the Dallas-Fort Worth location reopened following a renovation and expansion project.

In early 2017, following the release of the Platinum Card’s fiercest competition – the Chase Sapphire Reserve card – AmEx revamped its premium product, adding new benefits like up to $200 per year in Uber credits. This year, up to $100 in annual shopping credits at Saks were added to the list of perks, which joined pre-existing benefits like a $200 annual airline fee credit, complimentary hotel elite status, 5x points on airfare purchased directly from the airline, and more.

Despite the card’s $550 annual fee, the various perks and benefits can make it worthwhile for even semi-frequent travelers, who can easily get more than $1,000 in value from the card in any given year – and $2,000 the first year, with the card’s welcome bonus contributing to the overall value.

In addition to the Centurion Lounges, American Express operates 11 “International American Express Lounges” at foreign airports including in Mumbai, Delhi, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Sydney, and, most recently announced, Melbourne. International lounges tend to to vary depending on the market, while Centurion Lounges are designed to offer a relatively consistent experience, according to Cracchiolo.

Aside from the American Express-branded lounges, AmEx Platinum cardholders can access Delta Sky Club lounges at 33 airports when flying with Delta, and more than 1,200 additional lounges through the Priority Pass network.

Click here to learn about the AmEx Platinum Card from Insider Picks’ partner: The Points Guy