Dan and I finally made our long anticipated visit to New York JFK’s American Express Centurion Lounge two weeks ago! We have been waiting for this lounge to open for over a year and honestly, I kept my Platinum Card just for this experience. We visited JFK’s Centurion Lounge on a Thursday morning around 8:00 AM, prior to boarding an 11:20 AM Emirates flight to Dubai. We wanted a place to respond to a few last minute work emails, drink some breakfast beverages, and eat a small breakfast. In short, the American Express Centurion Lounge in Terminal 4 did provide what we were looking for, but it was not as great as I imagined. And it was very crowded, even on a Thursday non-holiday weekend morning. Here is our review; be prepared for crowds and waits as travel continues to pick up.
ENTRY TO THE LOUNGE
JFK’s Centurion Lounge is located in Terminal 4 just past-security, to the left with your back to the security lines, very close to the Etihad Lounge. There are signs and the entry is marked by a giant American Express Centurion sign and the signature “green” American Express wall.
Entry was quick and easy: I presented by Platinum Card and boarding pass and advised that Dan was my guest (even though we both have the card). A line quickly formed behind us. The amount of people in the lounge on a random Thursday morning was surprising, and not in a good way. I imagine this lounge will be insane as the summer progresses. American Express Centurion and Platinum cardholders, as well as Delta SkyMiles Reserve cardholders, can access the lounge. Platinum cardholders can currently bring in 1 guest (uncertain about the other cards). Aside from wifi information, no additional information was provided on entry. That being said, the staff was quite bubbly and positive.
THE JFK CENTURION LOUNGE SET UP
JFK’s Centurion Lounge is spread out in what I describe as a “L” shape, with seating around the “L,” including a meeting room, eventually turning into bar-style seating area overlooking some planes, before hitting the buffet and bar area. The JFK Centurion Lounge is decorated very well, as they all are, and all the seating looked quite comfy. Note that as of mid-May 2021, many of the seats are blocked off for COVID-19 purposes. I think this will change shortly with NY and NYC re-opening and lifting restrictions.
In any case, even at the non-prime hour we visited, seats filled up quickly. We managed to snag two seats sharing a table that overlooked some “plane parking,” which was perfect. That being said, other people arriving shortly after us were scrambling for seats. Also, the “plane parking” was unfortunately mostly domestic planes, even though Terminal 4 is largely international. Once capacity limits are lifted, there will certainly be more room in the lounge; however, I still think this will be over run with visitors shortly.
From my view, there are ample power outlets throughout the lounge and there are a variety of seating options from grouped chairs, to bar seating, to table seating in the kitchen, to the cutest little single seat that I’m not sure is meant to be used.
JFK CENTURION FOOD (AT BREAKFAST)
I was pretty excited to try the food at JFK’s Centurion Lounge. I read the menu online and was particularly excited about a particular breakfast sandwich. Unfortunately, only a buffet was on offer during our visit (unclear if this is the ordinary or just on our visit). That being said, the food on the buffet was good, and staff members assisted guests in selecting food. On our visit, there were a variety of options, including a breakfast salad, french toast, slab bacon, and a bean and egg dish, as well as the standard bread, cereal, and fruit options.
JFK CENTURION DRINKS
I was also excited to try the drinks at JFK’s Centurion Lounge, as a fellow New Jerseyian from Jersey City handles the wine offerings. The bar opens at 8, once again though, only Prosecco was offered during our visit (or champagne to Centurion cardholders, which really rubbed Dan the wrong way). We were further annoyed, because the bartender would only give 1 glass of Prosecco per person at a time (so I had to go up separately to grab mine, Dan could not take one for himself and one for his wife, small problems but still). In any case, the Prosecco was good and a good sized glass. I snapped a picture of the cocktail and wine list for your future enjoyment. According to that menu, other drinks are served starting at 10:30 AM.
Aside from alcohol, there is a self-serve bar serving coffee, espresso, tea, milk, water, and orange juice. The espresso beverages were good.
Lastly, the Centurion Lounge is home to a “speak easy” bar somewhere in the lounge. We did not visit due to the early hour, but I definitely want to visit in the future to see what its about.
Restrooms are located in the middle of the lounge. They were clean and spacious.
One perk of JFK’s Centurion Lounge that I missed is its Equinox Body Lounge, which is apparently some sort of de-stress/wellness area in the lounge. I am curious to try it if I return.
The wifi is good in the Lounge, and I noticed a printer in the lounge. We did not use it, but good to know its there if you need to print something.
Dan and I agree that while the JFK Centurion Lounge was a good experience, it was not as amazing as we hoped, and it was crowded, which is only going to get worse as travel picks back up. After the Centurion Lounge, we visited the Emirates Lounge, and it is so much better!! Stay tuned for that review next. If you have the option between the two, go Emirates.
STEAL OUR LOUNGE
JFK Centurion Lounge: Post-security, to the left with your back toward security (the opposite of Wingtips). Currently open 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM. Complimentary access to Platinum and Centurion AmEx cardholders and Delta SkyMiles Reserve cardholders 3 hour before flight if space permits. No arrival entry unless there is a connecting flight. Centurion cardholders have more leeway on these requirements.