The American Express Centurion Lounge Philadelphia is A Fantastic Addition to The Network of Centurion Lounges, Here’s Why
American Express operates a network of Centurion Lounges available for premium cardholders. The Centurion Lounge network features some of the nicest airport lounges in the United States. With amenities including free spa treatments, expansive hot food options, and free drinks, Centurion Lounges are a phenomenal perk of the American Express Platinum and Centurion cards. However, one issue for the Centurion Lounge network had always been limited locations. To address this issue, American Express announced last year that they would expand their lounge network to Philadelphia and Hong Kong.
I decided to wake up early on a Saturday and head over to the recently opened Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia. The Centurion Lounge Philadelphia is hands down the best lounge at the airport. Here’s why.
Location and Access
The Centurion Lounge Philadelphia is located in Terminal A near gate A14. It’s a bit of a haul from the other terminals, however, the walk or shuttle ride to the terminal is worth it.
There’s a hallway that leads to an elevator as the lounge is located on the second floor of the terminal. Once on the second floor, American Express’s signature blue doors mark the entryway. The check-in area, of course, features the wall of plants that are commonplace in every American Express lounge.
To access the American Express Centurion Lounge Philadelphia, you’ll need to have either the American Express Platinum Card, Business Platinum Card, or Centurion Card. Unfortunately, other American Express cardholders will no longer be able to access the lounge for $50. Each Platinum Card allows the cardholder to bring in two guests.
When I arrived at the lounge, I was greeted by some of the nicest lounge attendants I’ve ever met. I was ushered over to the second position where an agent checked me into the lounge. Both lounge attendants I talked to were excited about the new lounge and very welcoming. One lounge attendant offered to give me a tour of the lounge but a tour wasn’t necessary.
The lounge features designs similar to those found at other clubs. The furniture is nearly identical to the furniture found in their Dallas lounge. Seating includes traditional restaurant-style seating, bar seating, a communal work table, private booths, and traditional lounge seating. I personally love the colors and aesthetics of the Centurion Lounge. The wood finishes and modern furnishing make the Centurion Lounge one of the best-designed lounges I’ve ever visited.
I also liked the layout of the Centurion Lounge Philadelphia. At other Centurion Lounges, it feels cramped and somewhat dysfunctional. The Dallas location is split into two wings with seating scattered throughout each wing. The Philadelphia location is split into two sections with the bar acting as a divider. I start most of my visit to a Centurion Lounge with a visit to the buffet so having the buffet and dining area as the first section of the lounge is a great touch.
The lounge is smaller than some locations but during my visit, there was ample seating. Terminal A is used mostly for international flights, especially flights to Europe. Flights from the East Coast to Europe depart in the evening and I was visiting in the morning. This is one of the reasons the lounge was so dead and seemed so open. I can easily see this lounge becoming crowded in the evening hours before flights to Europe depart.
Still, even crowded, the Centurion Lounge Philadelphia would be a comfortable and relaxing space to spend some time before your flight. There’s a wide variety of seating, plenty of outlets, and fantastic amenities.
The Centurion Lounge Philadelphia features similar amenities as other Centurion Lounges. However, unlike the lounges in Dallas and Miami, the Centurion Lounge Philadelphia does not feature a spa. Other than the absence of a spa, the amenities are nearly identical to those offered at other Centurion Lounges.
All Centurion Lounges feature a hot buffet offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner. American Express selects local chefs to develop their menus. At the Philadelphia location, the cuisine featured a Middle-Eastern and Israeli twist. Though for many, that may seem off-putting at first, the food was simply phenomenal.
I was at the lounge for both breakfast and lunch. I enjoyed breakfast slightly more than I enjoyed lunch but that’s probably because I was actually hungry when I had breakfast.
For breakfast, a selection of hot dishes was offered alongside yogurt, fruit, cereal, granola, and breakfast breads. I decided to try a little of everything. I loaded up my plate with french toast, borekas, shakshuka, potatoes, and some fruit. Since two of those plates are probably not that familiar to many, I’ve included links to the Wikipedia pages.
Every plate was simply amazing. Everything was cooked to perfection and full of flavor. My favorite dish was the borekas combined with the shakshuka. If the two plates are offered when you visit, I recommend dipping the boreka in the shakshuka. It’s a great combination.
Though I was still full from breakfast, I decided to try some of the dishes offered for lunch. I tried the stuffed peppers, rice pilaf, meatballs, and beans. It didn’t seem as tasty as breakfast but again, I wasn’t really hungry. Still, even on a full stomach, lunch was fantastic.
Snacks were offered throughout my visit as well. Snacks included flatbread, salads, dips, and cookies.
Full Bar, Espresso, and Soft Drinks
Of course, I’m still unable to take advantage of the full bar. However, there were plenty of patrons enjoying the complimentary drinks during my visit. Champagne, wine, beer, liquor, and spirits are available at no additional cost.
I did take advantage of the brand new Franke espresso machine. The Franke espresso machine is what’s offered in some newer Admiral’s Clubs and makes a great latte. Additionally, the lounge features a filtered water system that dispenses both sparkling and still water. Juices, iced teas, and infused waters are also available.
The lounge also features a shower suite, however, the shower was not open during my visit. The shower suite is the last piece of the lounge that is under construction. Interestingly, there’s only one shower suite for the whole lounge which I could see posing an issue during busy periods.
There’s also a dedicated phone room in the back corner of the lounge. This is great as there are quite a few Centurion Lounge customers that love to make business calls in the middle of the lounge.
Centurion Lounge Philadelphia, Overall
American Express’s new Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia is a fantastic, much-welcomed additional to Amex’s network of lounges. Philadelphia is notorious for having some pretty subpar lounges. The Centurion Lounge easily beats any lounge offered by US-based airlines and arguably, even some international carriers. The food, drink, design, and aesthetics of the lounge are wonderful and make for a very comfortable and productive environment. I might have to stop avoiding Philadelphia layovers now!
What do you think of the new American Express Centurion Lounge Philadelphia? Where would you like American Express to add another lounge?