I’m not usually a fan of AMEX Centurion Lounges because of just how crowded they have become. The ones in DFW and Miami are unbearably crowded at times even though they offer much more than your average airport lounge.
So when I arrived in Houston, after my United flight from Newark, I decided to check out the United Club Terminal E first. I had two expiring United Club passes, which I used to access the lounge. As soon as I took the escalator up, I realized that I had wasted my time. The lounge was absolutely packed to the brim. People were just standing around eating the miserly refreshments on offer: chocolate pretzels and cookies.
I somehow convinced my sister to take the walk over to the AMEX Centurion Lounge in Terminal D at IAH. And the rest is history 🙂
Access Policy: Available to all global Platinum/Centurion card holders and their immediate family members. Everyone MUST have a boarding pass for a flight scheduled to depart on the day of entrance.
The AMEX Centurion lounge in Houston is a level above the duty free shops in Terminal D. Just follow the signs posted around the terminal and when you see the duty shop, head to the back for the elevators.
The lounge is down a long corridor, which made me wonder why AMEX just didn’t take up the entire space. There is no missing the bright blue doors and “THE CENTURION” sign on the outside.
Upon entering, we were promptly checked in by the lady at the front desk. She thanked me for my loyalty as a cardmember and gave a quick summary of what was on offer at the time (around 4pm). On the right hand side of the front desk was the lovely, signature wall of leaves.
Stepping inside, I was surprised to find the lounge relatively empty with just a handful of people. The furniture was like any other Centurion lounge and consisted of these privacy lounge chairs and regular lounge chairs arranged throughout the space.
As always I appreciated the modern and classy nature of the decor. I can’t say enough good things about it.
On the ride hand side of the lounge (upon entering) is a space with a TV, and a magazine rack featuring some neat looking suitcases.
In contrast to the Dallas or Miami lounges the rectangular shape of the Houston lounge made it seem bigger than reality. I certainly I appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to dodge through narrow passageways to get where I wanted to go (eg. the DFW lounge).
There was the usual conference table with rolling chairs as well as a workstation in the corner with an attached printer.
At the far end of the lounge were the dining and bar areas. The bench seating along the wall looked especially comfortable to sit and work while having a light snack or meal.
And then there was a huge framed world map, which looked like it was purely made of large rubber bands. I must say it added to the decor of the lounge very well.
The bar featured all of the usual cocktails and soft drinks found at AMEX lounges as well as a special Christmas cocktail menu on the back of the usual menu card. The drinks were modifications on apple cider and eggnog.
The food on offer at the time was something AMEX calls a light lunch or dinner. I was happy to see the familiar signs annotating whether each dish was vegetarian or not. I can’t tell you the number of lounges that refuse to do so in this day and age.
The salad bar at the Centurion Lounge is one of my favorites. I for one absolutely hate having a salad of just lettuce and nothing else. And so it is always nice to be able to customize one’s own salad.
Besides the salad, there were two vegetarian entrees on offer at the lounge: eggplant & lentil stew with falafel spices and quinoa with pumpkin seeds and dried fruits. It’s always nice to see healthy vegetarian options on the menu since the usual offering is penne pasta or similar.
I made myself a nice light lunch with the quinoa, and lentil stew topped with cheese, shredded onions, and carrots. I’ve got to say one of the better meals I’ve had at an airport in recent times, inside or outside the lounge.
I finished the meal with some delicious, yet light: Black Pepper Panna Cotta.
After lunch, I set about working on some of my pictures for the blog. Wifi was fast and easy to connect to. I noticed that the bar was absolutely empty at this time and ventured forth for a few photos:
The AMEX Centurion Lounge in Houston is perhaps my favorite lounge in the AMEX lounge network. I walked in expecting a crowded lounge with better than average food selection and was surprised to find an uncrowded traveler’s oasis, featuring healthy vegetarian meal options. A lounge should be an uncrowded experience with a shower, drinks, and maybe some healthy snacks. The Amex Centurion Lounge Houston checks all of these boxes, pretty much making it the best airport lounge in Houston as of today.
Overall, the Centurion lounge network certainly adds a lot of value for American Express Platinum cardholders. How American Express addresses the issue of the lounges exceeding a pleasant capacity level will be key in maintaining the exclusivity and serenity of these lounges.
Before I draw any absolute conclusions, I should mention that it may just be an anomaly that the lounge wasn’t too crowded for my visit. Here’s to hoping that’s not the case 🙂
What do you think of the AMEX Centurion Lounges? What do you look for in a lounge?