The American Express Centurion Lounge at Houston Bush intercontinental airport, an exclusive retreat for American Express Platinum and Centurion card holders, is the latest addition to the burgeoning airport lounge network operated by the financial institution in the US.
By operating their own lounges, American Express offers an exclusive product for premium cardholders and bolsters its brand and image. The Centurion Lounges are luxurious havens which overshadow airline clubs–especially at Houston intercontinental airport where the dominant carrier, United, sets a low standard in terms of amenities and services at its five United Clubs. The few lounges operated by foreign airlines are also relatively modest.
The Centurion Lounge is located in Concourse D below the departures level, on the former customs and immigration level. Take the elevator inside the duty free store by gate D6–while the location isn’t obvious, numerous signs facilitate way finding.
The location in Concourse D isn’t ideal for the vast majority of passengers who flies United. (United operates from concourses A, B, C, and E.) However, the Centurion Lounge is close to the Concourse E security checkpoint which has a TSA pre-Check line, unlike Concourse D, so consider entering through Concourse E if you are eligible. All concourses are connected airside through the Subway (basement level) and SKYWAY (upper level), so all travelers may use the lounge–just be sure to allocate at least 10-15 minutes to reach your gate.
American Express The Centurion Lounge IAH design
The American Express Centurion Lounge at Houston Bush intercontinental impresses at first sight. A large blue double door contrasts with a gleaming white wall bearing an inset Centurion logo. The lobby boasts a striking living wall, with a delicate custom scent exclusive to American Express. Stress drifts away as the traveler enters an oasis of service and amenities.
At 8,596 sq. ft., the Centurion Lounge Houston is one of the larger American Express lounges in the US. The décor is a hallmark of understated elegance and sophistication with hardwood floors, wooden ceiling beams, and elegant finishes. The ensemble is modern but timeless, thanks to the use of natural materials, Earth colors, soft tones, and sophisticated lighting.
The space is roughly divided into two major areas: next to the lobby is a seating area arranged like a living room, while in the rear is a dining area with a bar and a buffet. The former is dimmer and more serene, while the latter is brighter and more dynamic, with light background music. The separation helps confine noise in the dining area.
The layout is spacious yet efficient, and grants patrons a healthy amount of privacy. The main seating area features posh leather seats which come with pillows and oversized side tables or coffee tables. In the center are four cube chairs with small tables, which offer the ultimate in privacy. Behind a lightweight divider is a gorgeous natural wood communal table, which is a convenient place to work but also fosters impromptu social interactions. Our favorite spot is the TV area across the reception desk: the slightly secluded room boasts an exquisite design with hardwoods throughout, a sofa, and comfortable leather armchairs.
The choice of seating options caters to every need, and the design manages to achieve a good balance between a vibrant and social environment and more private spaces to retire to. Power outlets are available at every seat.
Due to its location in the bowels of the terminal building, the Centurion Lounge at Houston Bush airport lacks windows. The only connection to the outside world is a few small openings at ceiling level. Behind is an immigration hallway, and American Express has rightfully chosen to block the view in order to maintain the tranquility of the lounge. While the absence of daylight is unfortunate, the combination of tall ceilings and a spacious layout compensates adequately.
The more vibrant dining area features an elegant bar with American Express memorabilia in the background, numerous dining tables, and an additional shared table. A bench with power outlets runs along the wall. A highlight amongst the photos and art pieces is the sculpture by local Houston artist Patrick Renner.
American Express The Centurion Lounge IAH amenities
The American Express Centurion Lounge at Houston Bush intercontinental features the signature Centurion Lounge amenities: complimentary full meals, an open bar, a shower suite, business amenities, a family room, and day beds.
American Express has partnered with local chef Justin Yu of Oxheart to create a custom menu for the Centurion Lounge. The buffet spread includes a salad bar, crudités, soups, and a selection of hot entrees. We appreciate the variety and the focus on healthy fare: the selection includes tasty vegan and vegetarian dishes.
A full bar is available, and the friendly bar tenders are masters of their craft. Choose from the creative cocktail menu curated by mixologist Jim Meehan, or order any drink from the open bar. Several wines are also available, along with Prosecco (Champagne for Centurion card holders.) Note that the bar closes early at 8:30 PM.
Separate from the main seating area is a secluded zone with three day beds which come with small side tables and power outlets. There is no proper separation between beds, but the room feels private. Domestic travelers arriving from red-eye flights may find the amenity especially appealing.
The Centurion Lounge features a single spacious shower suite which comes with a toilet, designer sink, fresh orchids, wall-mounted L’Occitane bath product dispensers, plush towels, and plenty of space to change. American Express also offers toiletry kits upon request. The bathrooms are equally elegant and well appointed, though there’s only a single urinal in the men’s room.
Business travelers will find an Internet-connected Mac computer as well as a printer. Fast Wi-Fi is of course available throughout the lounge. There is also a private phone room, though it is typically locked–inquire at the reception desk if you need it.
For families, American Express offers a spacious colorful room with an assortment of toys.
American Express The Centurion Lounge IAH bottom line
The American Express Centurion Lounge is by far the best lounge at Houston Bush intercontinental airport. The combination of an elegant design, comfortable seating area, complimentary hot meals, open bar, and well-appointed shower room and family room is unparalleled.
The location in Concourse D is a mixed bag–it is convenient for passengers of foreign airlines and United customers departing on international flights from Concourse E, but relatively impractical for domestic United passengers departing from concourses A, B, and C. On the bright side, the location slightly out of the way helps mitigate crowding. Centurion Lounges are excessively popular; the Houston location is busy but typically not crowded. As a precaution, American Express reserves a few seats for Centurion card holders.
Houston travelers can look forward to an expanded Centurion Lounge in the future–American Express has already entered an agreement with Bush airport for a 10,000 sq. ft. space, though the construction timeline is unknown.
The following is a typical sample selection; actual choices may vary. All food and drinks are complimentary. The menu has been designed by Michelin-starred chef Christopher Kostow. See thecenturionlounge.com for the latest offer.Breakfast (6:30am – 11:15am)
Lunch and dinner (11:30am to 8:45pm)
- Griddled Johnnycakes | Strawberry and Pink Peppercorn Jam, Thickened Cream, Honey
- Buttermilk Biscuits | Sorghum Butter
- Three Grain Breakfast Porridge | Coconut Milk, Dried Fruit, Cilantro, Mint
- Skillet Fried Potatoes | Harissa And Avocado Crema
- Eggs En Cocotte | Tomato Sauce, Parmesan
- Zucchini Bread
- Cardamom And Currant Scone With Whipped Butter And Jam
- Yogurt, cereals, breads, and fresh fruit
- Light Mushroom Broth | Miso, Green Onions, Kombu
- Beets | Savory Granola, Spiced Yogurt, Parsley
- Panzanella | Charred Vegetables, Cherry Tomato Citronette
- Braised Chicken Thighs | Harissa, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Avocado Crema
- Chickpea and Egg Stew
- Quinoa | Olive Oil, Dried Fruit, Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
- Steamed Summer Squash | Shallot-Lemon Vinaigrette
- Steamed Corn On The Cob | Garlic Aioli, Chilies, Pickled Jalapeno
- Black Pepper Panna Cotta | Vanilla Poached Stone Fruits
Cocktails (10:30am – 8:30pm)
- Chinese New Year | Prosecco, Mandarin Napoleon, Canton Ginger Liqueur, Lemon Juice.
- Desert Oasis | Siete Leguas Reposado Tequila, Grapefruit Juice, Cointreau, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal.
- Fragile | Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Cocchi Rosa Vermouth, Cardamaro.
- Sparkling: Prosecco | Nino Franco ‘Rustico’ | Conegliano-Valdobbiadene | Veneto | Italy
- White: Pinot Grigio | Terlato Family Vineyards | Friuli | Italy
- Rose: Grenache + Syrah | M. Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone ‘Belleruche’| Rhone | France
- Red: Malbec | Bodega Tamari ‘Reserva’ | Mendoza | Argentina
Coffee and tea: Centurion Lounge Custom Coffee, Espresso, Cappuccino.
American Express The Centurion Lounge at Houston, TX - George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) welcomes:
- American Express Centurion® card holders (+2 guests or immediate family)
- American Express Platinum Card® holders (+2 guests and children under 2 years old) within 3 hours of departure and at connection points (no access at final destination.) Proof of age or a lap infant boarding pass required for children under 2.
The Centurion Lounge is accessible to all eligible passengers regardless of their airline, destination, or departure terminal. Members can purchase access for additional guests at $50 per person.
- 4.0Based on 120 ReviewsAlberto D.2019-07-18 12:15:01This lounge is in Houston IAH, right next to the gate D06. It is right after the international departure gate's TSA. I travel internationally only a few...John C.2019-07-09 07:07:46We arrived 30 minutes before closing and not much food left, they were putting the grub away early. What was left was nasty and wasn't Centurion lounge...Adam D.2019-06-16 13:05:08The dessert selection is weak at best, offering only a mousse and a cookie, but they did have a hot and cold buffet of about 10 items total, almost all of...Anatoli L.2018-07-28 06:55:34Had a single use pass for the Centurion Lounge at Houston Airport so I decided to put it to a good use. I wouldn't claim to be an expert on airline...Trinh V.2018-06-25 06:25:00The Centurion Lounge is located in the duty free shop on Terminal D. Go inside and make a left and you'll see the elevators. This lounge is modern, sleek,...Vincent L.2018-03-19 02:05:00This lounge doesn't necessarily stack up to certain blingy overseas affairs operated by non-U.S. airlines, but as far as U.S. lounges go, it doesn't get any...