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Amex Centurion Lounge Atlanta: What to expect now that it’s open



I’ve visited some of the most spectacular lounges all over the world. Many of the best will only grant access to those with a premium first or business class boarding pass. But after visiting the new Amex Centurion Lounge in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), I can say that it’s unequivocally the best lounge I’ve ever entered that can be accessed solely from carrying a travel credit card. It’s not without its foibles, but it brings some unique and hyper-premium amenities that you won’t find at most other airport lounges, especially within the U.S.

I visited this lounge on opening day. I’ll take you on a quick tour to demonstrate how airport lounges can revolutionize your travel—and show you how you can easily access them yourself.

Amex Centurion Lounge Atlanta hours and location

Getting to the Centurion Lounge from any of Atlanta’s seven concourses is a cinch. All terminals are connected by a speedy Plane Train that operates below the walkway. In other words, you can visit the lounge even if your flight departs from a different concourse.

This lounge is located in Concourse E near gate 11. Several signs help to ensure you’re heading in the right direction. Of all the Centurion Lounges I’ve visited, this lounge exhibits perhaps the least thought-out access point. It’s positioned behind the gate’s waiting area.

Walk through the heavy glass doors, and you’re immediately on another planet. The enormous signature “living wall” found at all Centurion Lounges ambushes you from the right, with three check-in lanes shepherding folks toward the front desk. Let’s hope three lanes proves to be overkill.

First walking into the lounge, the size is immediately impressive. Its open-concept 26,000 square feet makes it a Manhattan three-bedroom apartment bigger than the previous king-of-Atlanta-lounges, the Delta Sky Club in Concourse F.

As you’d expect, there were a lot of seats. But a surprising amount were occupied. The Centurion Lounge is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. My visit was around 9 p.m. It wasn’t overwhelmingly crowded—but it was busier than I had expected for a newly-minted location about which many travelers presumably have yet to learn.

Lounge layout and features

The lounge accomplishes the botanical atmosphere American Express crowed about in its initial press release. Its 50-year old olive tree adds oxygen to the ambience of the room. Similarly, the hanging lights throughout the lounge are meant to evoke a sense of sitting under a forest canopy.

Several domestic airport lounges nowadays attempt to convey a sense of tranquility by sprinkling beds of greenery around the space. While it’s certainly a nice effort, the vegetation in this new Centurion Lounge openly mocks its competitors.

A highlight of this lounge is the ubiquity of electrical outlets. Some Centurion lounges, even relatively new ones, offer inexplicably few outlets. You can’t swing a dead cat in this lounge without hitting an outlet. They’re built into the center of tables; they’re in the seat backs of (nearly) every bench; they’re at the base boards of couches; every six feet of wall features an outlet.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of the new Atlanta Centurion Lounge is its two large outdoor terraces. Each terrace is surprisingly lengthy and offers an access point at each end.

The first terrace is near the dining room. It’s brightly lit with a large variety of garden beds in every direction. Many of the greenery looks newly planted, exposing the less-than-photogenic irrigation system partially buried in the soil. The beauty of this terrace will only increase as the garden beds fill out.

You’ll find stellar 180-degree views of the tarmac from this terrace. If plane-watching is your kind of activity, this is where you’ll live during your visit.

On the other side of the lounge is another terrace with an entirely different personality. It’s quieter and more dimly lit, and it offers no airside views. It feels more like a back alley—in a good way. This terrace is attached to The Reserve, the lounge’s whiskey bar (we’ll get to that in a minute).

These terraces are open all year. To combat the elements are several fans and radiant heaters. The temperature was in the high 30s during my nighttime visit, and the heaters ran at various settings. The select units that were operating at full blast could brulee a cheesecake. The winter months will be perfectly hospitable with these ceiling fixtures.

Incredibly, this lounge doesn’t have a children’s area. Several (much smaller) Centurion Lounges possess a small sound-proof room with toys and a TV to give kids a place to decompress during a connection. This one doesn’t.

Still, it’s got a few areas that parents may be able to use. There’s a fairly quiet multi-purpose room beside the main dining area. And farther along are a series of “phone rooms” that may help to suppress the sound of horseplay.

The lounge features three shower suites. They’re free to use for 15 minutes—just make a reservation at the front desk, provide your phone number, and you’ll get a text when it’s ready for you. Shower suites are considerably more spacious than a regular restroom stall and could be a much more pleasant experience for those with a disability. It’s well worth a reservation on a long layover.

It’s great that the lounge offers free shower privileges; many lounges require payment for inferior facilities.

Joseph Hosteler

Food and drink

The Reserve is the Amex Centurion Lounge network’s first dedicated whiskey bar. It’s a darker, more intimate space than the rest of the lounge. The interior resembles a modern speakeasy; a manila envelope discreetly exchanging hands would not look out of place.

At The Reserve, you’ll have a choice of six complimentary whiskey-centric cocktails. The bartender divulged that the “Drink A Peach” option was running circles around the other menu items. In fact, it was delicious—and strong. On its proper whiskey menu, The Reserve offers 10 bourbon options, seven rye whiskey options, three Tennessee whiskey options, and four others.

If whiskey isn’t your jam, the main dining area houses a fully stocked bar, as well as an inconspicuous smoothie bar for the flyer who enjoys traveling sober. It also offers fruits, yogurt, juices, and more. The smoothies were incredible, but the offerings had dwindled quite a bit by the late evening. The staff didn’t seem urgent to replenish this bar, and it remained mostly empty for the duration of my stay.

The Centurion Lounge has two large buffets and several standalone cases with a variety of desserts and fruits. Similar to the smoothie bar, the buffets were restocked with extreme leisure. During my hour-long lurk, I witnessed little food-related maintenance. Even so, the items I tried were perfectly tasty. The same meal purchased in the concourse would’ve easily cost $50.

The lounge also offers several coffee machines that can do just about anything you ask of them.

How to access the Amex Centurion Lounge Atlanta

To enter an Amex Centurion Lounge, you must have one of the following travel rewards cards:

Additionally, you must have a same-day boarding pass that departs within three hours (unless you are connecting, in which case you can enter earlier).

You can bring up to two guests into the lounge with you, though you’ll have to pay $50 per adult and $30 per child (age 2 through 17). The exception is if you’ve spent $75,000 on your Amex Platinum or Business Platinum Card within a calendar year, in which case you can bring up to two guests for free.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Intro bonus

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $8,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of card membership

Annual Fee $695
Purchase APR See Pay Over Time APR
Foreign Transaction Fee None

Bottom line

As other credit card issuers begin rolling out fancier and fancier lounges, American Express is doing its bit to keep pace. The fresh Amex Centurion Lounge in Atlanta is the new flagship location for the premium lounge network. It’s a welcome addition for those who fly through the world’s busiest airport.

Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefits guide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

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