American Express Opening Centurion Lounge in New York JFK’s Terminal 4

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American Express is opening a Centurion lounge at New York JFK’s terminal 4 in early 2019. It will be the largest Centurion lounge yet and they promise “new amenities” on top of standard Centurion lounge offerings which we’ll have to wait to learn more about.

American Express Centurion Lounges — Stylish, Well-Provisioned, and Too Popular

When American Express started opening lounges in the U.S. they were a step above what was offered elsewhere, with substantive chef-designed food buffets and a full bar plus different amenities in each location like a spa, showers, and kids room.

Airlines have been investing more in their lounges, and learning a lesson that American Express quickly caught on to — build a nice lounge and more passengers will want to use it than you expect. Amex has stopped selling guest passes and has limited each cardmember to two guests to cut down on crowding, and even still they’re expanding the lounge in Miami and opening a new larger lounge at Dallas Fort-Worth.

Access is complimentary for Platinum Card from American Express cardholders. Everything inside – from food and alcohol to, in some lounges, spa treatments are complimentary as well). Access is also complimentary for Centurion (Black Card) cardholders of course. And no longer possible with other American Express cards.

American Express Centurion lounges currently open are Dallas Fort-Worth, Las Vegas, Miami, New York LaGuardia, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, Philadelphia and Hong Kong.

American Express Centurion Lounge Hong Kong

What the New York JFK Lounge Will Offer

American Express is opening their largest lounge to date in terminal 4. It will be more than 15,000 square feet on two levels, giving the lounge about 50% more space than the current Dallas Fort-Worth lounge. It’s expected to open in early 2019.

They boast of “spectacular airfield views” and of course the lounge will offer a bar and chef-designed buffet, showers, and “noise-buffering workspaces.”

Interestingly American Express notes a “one-of-a-kind design element” though isn’t specific here, perhaps it will diverge in a key way from “Centurion Lounge standard.” They’re also promising “special new features” that they aren’t ready to detail which is smart of them considering they’re over a year away from opening and the lounge design could get upended by any number of forces like the fire marshal between now and then.

Here’s a rendering of the entrance to the lounge.

Credit: American Express

They’ve also shared renderings of views from the lounge, which should help pinpoint the spot.

Credit: American Express

Credit: American Express

New York JFK’s terminals aren’t connected airside to all of the other terminals. This lounge is going to be useful for those departing and arriving from terminal 4, but won’t serve the rest of the airport.

JFK’s terminal 4 is ‘only’ 17 years old, has the AirTrain station inside the terminal instead of across from it, and is the primary international arrivals terminal at the airport. It hosts Delta international as well as premium transcons, Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Etihad, as Asiana flying the A380. It’s home to China Southern and Eastern, Arik Air, Uzbekistan Airways, Kuwait Airways, and more.

There are several lounges in the airport including a Delta SkyClub. It’s the closest American Express has built one of their lounges to a Delta lounge. American Express cardholders already had access to the Delta lounge when flying Delta and to the wingtips lounge but it gets too crowded for Priority Pass cardholders. Etihad and Emirates have their own lounge.

It’s fantastic to see American Express crack New York JFK. It’s a no-brainer to be in that airport, and great to see them with what hopes to be a large enough space. The only disappointment is that JFK itself doesn’t really lend well to lounges being accessed from other terminals. They’re going to need to build more than one lounge at this airport.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. While I personally am surprised that Amex hadn’t built a Centurion Lounge at JFK until now (I assume that it was a combination of space in the terminal, which is hard to get, and the fact that the terminals aren’t connected airside), I personally am fascinated by the economics of these lounges themselves.

    Do you think that Amex is able to build a run these lounges out of the fees that are paid for the Platinum card, or do you think it depends on the interchange fees they collect? Knowing that that space in the terminal isn’t cheap, I just don’t see how they’re making money on these lounges (I know I’m naive, so I’m sure they are, or they wouldn’t keep building them).

  2. @Hunter it’s a combination of annual fees and revenue from customer spend, Platinum and Centurion cardmmebers put a lot of spend on their cards

  3. Virgin Atlantic also has its highly regarded Clubhouse in T4 at JFK…

    …unless that’s going to be axed once Amex finishes its expansive lounge next year as that airline continues to become “Delta-fied”… 😉

  4. @LarryInNYC : do they let you ride the T2-T4 jitney if you don’t have a boarding pass on the other side ? I dunno how it is over at JFK cuz at EWR the post-security shuttle bus between the 3 terminals usually require showing a boarding pass on the other side.

  5. @henry LAX: I believe I recall being asked to show a boarding pass when going from 2 to 4 after a gate change, but the BP still showed 2. In any event, I think they’d let you check in and clear in 4 if you tell them it’s to access a lounge (or the Shake Shack!)

  6. Also, for those who have longish layovers, interline/change of terminals connections, sudden lengthy delays, or like to arrive at the airport several hours early, in the not too distant future, the brand new TWA Hotel adjacent to T5 (Jetblue) and featuring Eero Saarinen’s majestic TWA Flight Center for its lobby and public spaces will also be available to travelers seeking a respite from the lackluster bars and restaurants found at Terminal One (Air France, Korean Air, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa and others), T7 (Bedbug…er British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Alaska Airlines and others), or of course, T8 (American) which has among the worst edible offerings at JFK for those (in other words, most of us) who do not know the secret handshake needed to gain entry into the Flagship Dining lounge…

    This new hotel will be landside, and accessible directly from Jetblue’s terminal (T5) or by the AirTrain from other terminals, which is FREE when staying within the loop that connects all of the passenger terminals at JFK.

    Apart from restoring the Saarinen’s masterpiece, where the restaurants and bars will seek to recapture the glamour of the terminal (and its namesake airline) in its heyday, the new TWA Hotel will also feature a rooftop pool when it opens next year!

  7. Oops!!! Forgot to note that one of the highlights of the new TWA Hotel at JFK will also be a restaurant/bar aboard a fully restored Lockheed Constellation, or “Connie”, which, of course, is among the most beautiful passenger aircraft (along with the Concorde and Boeing 747) ever made!

  8. Well you have the US ones plus one international one listed (Hong Kong). Mexico City has multiple Centurion lounges at that airport.

  9. Press releases say that TWA JFK Hotel won’t be completed for another 2 yrs at earliest and is behind schedule.

    Also, Emirates has T4 lounge but its CLOSED for remodeling. Reopening date TBD. (Could this be where new Amex JFK Lounge is going?)

  10. Poor, poor EWR (Newark). Not a lounge in sight worth the bother, except possibly for Virgin Atlantic. Please Amex, PLEASE get to EWR!!!

  11. “It’s the closest American Express has built one of their lounges to a Delta lounge.”

    Ummm…..probably not. The Seattle Centurion Lounge is just around the corner from the DL SkyClub. I can walk it in about a minute or two.

  12. Amex should standardize the Centurion lounges or clearly explain how they work. I was just in the Centurion Lounge in MEX T2 (there are two more in T1). There is no buffet. Cardholders have access to a limited menu with other options for a fee. The massages are very nice because they use a massage table not a chair. Spa services like manicures are available but only at a discount not free. The agents do not explain the differences when checking in or requesting services.

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