Sure beats sitting in the terminal.

By Molly McArdle
February 04, 2018
Courtesy of American Express

American Express Centurion Lounges are the most luxurious lounges in the company's collection, and they're reserved exclusively for American Express Platinum card holders or Centurion members, regardless of the airlines on which they fly.

Travelers can find Centurion Lounges in Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, New York City, Miami, Seattle, San Francisco, and (more recently) Hong Kong and Philadelphia. To get complimentary access, American Express Platinum and Centurion members need only to present their cards, boarding passes, and a government-issued ID at the front desk.

Platinum and Centurion members also get access to the broader Global Lounge Collection, which offers access to more than 1,100 lounges across the globe — the most offered by any U.S. credit card.

Courtesy of American Express

Guest access is given only to the card holder — specifically, the person whose name is on the card — who may enter with up to two guests or immediate family members at no additional charge. Family or guests may neither enter nor remain in the Centurion Lounge without being accompanied by the card holder.

Courtesy of American Express

Centurion Lounges are known for being some of the swankiest airport lounges on Earth, and while the amenities vary depending on the location, travelers can expect such perks as free high-speed Wi-Fi, soundproof family rooms, shower suites, and menus designed by celebrity chefs.

Cédric Vongerichten, for example, created the menu for the Centurion Lounge in New York City, while the light-filled lounge in Miami has a menu by the James Beard award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein.

San Francisco’s Centurion Lounge features a seasonal menu by Daniel Patterson, founder of the three-Michelin star restaurant Coi. While waiting for a flight, travelers can feast on refined dishes like zucchini and burrata salad or grilled chicken with shaved fennel. This lounge also has a wine-tasting station and cocktails by legendary mixologist, Jim Meehan, of New York City's PDT bar.

Even the treatments at the Exhale Spas inside the Dallas and Miami Centurion Lounges are included for travelers (think: free chair massages and pre-flight manicures).

Don't have the proverbial platinum ticket? Other American Express cardholders can gain entry to a Centurion Lounge by paying $50, though access can be limited depending on capacity.