I held off on opening the Business Platinum card until I discovered Amex Centurion Lounges. This benefit alone is worth the $595 annual fee for me

American Express Centurion Lounge

  • I had received offers for the
    Business Platinum® Card from American Express
    , but was never
    tempted to apply until I discovered the Amex Centurion Lounge at
    San Francisco Airport (SFO).
  • Amex
    Centurion Lounges
    offer a comfortable place to relax before a
    flight, with complimentary gourmet food and drinks.
  • Only holders of the Business Platinum Amex, the
    Platinum Card® from American Express
    , or the Centurion cards
    can access these lounges. 
  • I applied for the Business Platinum to get lounge access, and
    haven’t regretted it a bit.
  • Now is a great time to apply for the Business Platinum, as you
    can earn up to 100,000 points as a welcome bonus: 50,000 points
    after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend
    an additional $15,000 all in the first three months.

Recently, before a five-hour flight from San Francisco
International Airport to JFK, my family ran into a bit of bad luck:
Our flight was delayed. It wasn’t just delayed a few minutes; it
was delayed by about three hours. After a night of tossing and
turning before heading to the airport, we were in no mood to sit
there at the gate for eons, or to eat at one of the overpriced
fast-food stalls.

Out of the corner of our eyes, we spotted the American Express
. That was just what we needed — a place to rest and
relax, with food and drinks. 

How to access Amex Centurion Lounges

Since I have an American Express Platinum card, I figured we
could just waltz right in. Sadly, the card in my possession was
American Express’s Optima Platinum card — not the right Amex
Platinum to get entry.

I learned the hard way that Centurion Lounges are exclusively
available for holders of the regular
Platinum Card from American Express
, the
Business Platinum Card from American Express
, and the Centurion
(black) cards, which are invite-only.

Why I finally applied for the Amex Business Platinum

Beyond the front counter, I could spy couples laughing, I could
smell the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, and I was envious of the
plate of fresh food a man walked by with. We left crestfallen. We
returned to our crowded gate and squeezed into whatever seats we
could find while picking on overpriced premade sandwiches and
drinking water that cost $4.50 a bottle. I decided right then and
there: I needed to upgrade my credit card situation.

I’d been receiving
Amex Business Platinum
offers in the mail for the business I
inherited from my father (it’s a vinyl record store called Grooves,
so if you’re ever in San Francisco, stop on by!). I would routinely
tear the offers into little pieces and toss them away, but after
seeing the Centurion Lounge at SFO, I was ready to take the plunge.
While all the card’s perks were tempting, the lounge access really
was what sealed the deal.

The Business Platinum card allows me, as well as two guests, to
hang out in the Centurion Lounge free of charge as long as our
flight is departing that same day. You’re only allowed access to
the Centurion Lounge three hours before your flight, so you won’t
be able to go there eons earlier and camp out. You card allows two
guests to accompany you; if you have more than two, you can
purchase a day pass for them at $50 per person.

Read more:
Amex’s Business Platinum is one of the best cards for small
business owners

Business Platinum card details

In addition to the Centurion Lounge, the card allows entry into
the International American Express Lounges, Escape Lounge US, Delta
Sky Club (when you’re flying Delta), Airspace, Lufthansa Lounges,
and a variety of lounges via Priority Pass.The Business Platinum
Amex costs $595 a year. My family of three flies quite a bit
throughout the year, and we usually about $50 on food and beverages
before each leg of our trip. By going to the lounge instead, the
card would pay for itself after six trips.

The card is currently offering an elevated welcome bonus, so if
you’re interested, it’s a great time to apply. Instead of the usual
75,000-point bonus, you can earn up to 100,000 Amex points: 50,000
after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 after you spend an
additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases in the first three
months. This offer is available until December 4.

That’s a high minimum spending requirement, but this is a
business card, and for some businesses it could be easy to

here to learn more about the Business Platinum card from American
Express from our partner The Points Guy.
The Centurion Lounge
at SFO

Amex Kids Room

At SFO, the Centurion lounge is in Terminal 3, which is the hub
for United flights. Unfortunately, if you happen to be flying out
of Terminal 1 or 2, you’ll have to go through security twice, since
the terminals aren’t connected. So, if you do make the trek to the
lounge, make sure to keep an eye on the clock and allow enough time
to get to your gate. The lounge does have a screen with the
estimated times of departure, so you can easily keep track if your
flight changes.

There are spaces for kicking back and relaxing, tables to hang with
fellow travelers, and desks with outlets if you need to get work
done. The space is accented with rustic suitcases and vintage
photographs of counterculture icons of the 60s like Jimi Hendrix
and Sly Stone.

Besides being a comfortable place to wait, one of the main draws
is the food. You can see the chefs behind the buffet whipping up
fresh (and healthy) fare. The menu changes frequently. When I was
there, they had bountiful platters of asparagus and chicory salad,
a vegetarian curry, perfectly cooked chicken breasts, and a
delicious gemelli pasta with broccolini, fennel, peas, and lemon
among many other options. There were also bowls of fresh fruit for
the taking.

Amex Food

The other popular place in the lounge is the bar, a destination for
many to ease those preflight jitters. Along with a wide array of
domestic, imported, and craft beers, they host a full roster of
top-shelf liquors such as Maker’s Mark Bourbon, and Don Julio
Tequila. If you ate too much of the food, there’s also Fernet to
ease your tummy. For those who like vino, there’s a self-serve area
with wine dispensers featuring California wines from vintners such
as Buehler, Justin Hope, Oberon, and Dutton Goldfield. All of these
drink selections are free of charge with a card that gets you
access to a Centurion lounge. It’s like being at a fantastic hosted

There are TV screens in various spots and, most importantly,
high-speed Wi-Fi. There’s also bathrooms stocked with L’Occitane
products and a shower suite if you need to really clean up. If you
have little ones with you, there’s a large family room with
cartoons on the big screen and a few communal toys.

Other Centurion Lounge locations

Currently, the American Express Centurion Lounge has locations
Dallas, Miami, Seattle, Philadelphia, LGA – New York, Hong Kong,
Houston, Las Vegas, and San Francisco with locations coming soon to
Denver, New York’s JFK, Los Angeles, London Heathrow, Charlotte,
and Phoenix.

Access to the lounges is just one of the many perks that come with
the Business Platinum Amex card, and so far, the one we’ve
appreciated the most. Now, we actually look forward to hanging out
at the airport!

here to learn more about the Business Platinum card from American
Express from our partner The Points Guy.

SEE ALSO: All our
credit card reviews — from cash-back to travel rewards to
business cards — in one place

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I held off on opening the Business Platinum card until I discovered Amex Centurion Lounges. This benefit alone is worth the 5 annual fee for me