American Express is expanding its Centurion Lounge concept overseas, with one to be launched at London Heathrow Terminal 3 in 2019.
The lounge will be the second one outside the USA (the first being in Hong Kong). It will be located-post security in a 7,000ft area, featuring facilities akin to other Centurion Lounges. As per usual, access will be limited to (per American Express)
- Platinum Card and Centurion Members
- A Valid Card will be required for entry, a boarding pass showing a confirmed reservation for same-day travel and a government-issued I.D.
- Platinum Card members may enter with up to two guests at no additional charge. Additional guests are chargeable
Terminal 3 – A battleground of lounges
Typically, the Centurion lounges have popped up in areas where high quality lounges have been more than lacking. So seeing on arrive at Heathrow Terminal 3 is a head-scratcher, as there are good selections (both airline and privately held).
- Qantas Lounge (oneworld)
- Cathay Pacific Lounge (oneworld)
- British Airways Lounge (oneworld)
- Virgin Atlantic Lounge (Delta and Virgin)
- Number One Lounge (Contract lounge/Pay per entry/Priority Club)
- Club Aspire Lounge (Contract lounge/Pay per entry/Priority Club)
- Emirates Lounge (Emirates)
So a fair amount of choice indeed, and yes – whilst they’re mostly skewed towards oneworld – bear in mind there is a big lump of Emirates who use this terminal. There are also some high-quality lounges in there (with Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Emirates to name a few), whilst the independent options serve other airlines too (for example the Number One Lounge serves Delta Gold passengers).
Breaking down the airlines in Heathrow Terminal 3:
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Royal Jordanian
- SirLankan Airlines
- Middle East Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic (not technically, but for sake of this discussion…)
- Beijing Capital Airlines
- Iran Air
- Pakistan International Airlines
- Philippine Airlines
Who is the lounge going to attract?
This is going to be interesting. As it will be a brand familiar to US customers , expect them to flock to this lounge when it opens. However, T3 is more than US departures. There are plenty of Asia departures (with Cathay Pacific and Beijing Capital Airlines, and I would think a smattering of Emirates passengers might make a bee-line for it if they’re travelling in lower classes. The UK market may have some pull, but it will create a little friction and squeeze with the contracted lounges operated by Aspire and Number One Lounge.
There’s room to attract customers here – with plenty to go around.
It’ll be up to American Express to make the Centurion lounge a destination lounge – compared to the competition that’s there already.
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