Review of New Amex Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia: Food, Drinks, and Views

Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.

American Express knows the key to most travelers’ hearts comes in the form of good food, drinks, power outlets, a comfortable place to sit, clean bathrooms, and a few minutes of calm.  They have taken those traveler wants and put them into the form of Centurion Lounges that can be accessed by virtue of having one of the Amex Platinum credit cards.  I have visited the Centrurion Lounges in Dallas and Las Vegas, but today was my first visit to the brand new Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia.

Location of LaGuardia Centurion Lounge:

The Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia is open from 6AM – 8PM and is located pre-security in Terminal B (near the food court) which means that it is easily accessed by those flying United, American, Air Canada, Frontier, Southwest, JetBlue, and Spirit.  Basically everyone except Delta, WestJet, and US Airways.

I found it much easier to locate than the one at DFW was the first time I visited there since there was ample signage pointing your way.

IMG_4818.JPG

IMG_4819.JPG

Accessing the Centurion Lounge:

As is standard at all of the Centurion Lounges, to get in I had to show my American Express card, ID, and same day boarding pass.  If you have a Amex Centurion or Platinum card such as the The Platinum Card® from American Express or Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz then your admission for you and your spouse, children under 18, or two traveling companions is free.  If you have an Amex that isn’t a Centurion or Platinum card then you can get into the lounge for $50 via one-time pass (that one pass covers your children, too).

IMG_4843.JPG

Note that your same day boarding pass can be for an arriving or departing flight.  I visited the lounge after flying into New York, so you can stop in right before departure or after you land to have a “free” drink before you have to pay $10+ per drink in Manhattan!

Lounge Services and Seating Areas:

Upon arrival I was given the WiFi code and told a little bit about the layout of the lounge when I checked in.  At 5,000 square feet, this lounge is much smaller than the 9,000 square foot DFW location, and doesn’t have things like a spa or family rooms.  I also did not notice any luggage lockers at the front like the ones they have at DFW.

Immediately behind the check-in area is a room with two computers and printers, some coffee, newspapers/magazines, and plenty of seats.  In the absence of a family room, this area was much more sedate than the bar and eating area, so this could be a good place to hang out with your kids as it seems to get less traffic.

IMG_4839.JPG

IMG_4842.JPG

If you turn right immediately after entering you will walk down a hall that has flat screen TVs mounted on one side of the wall and cozy places to sit on the other.  These seating areas, like all of them in the lounge, each have their own power outlet to charge up your gadgets.

IMG_4821.JPG

IMG_4820.JPG

If you keep walking down the hall you will come to the buffet, bar, and tables.  The views from the lounge of the airport are exceptional if you like watching planes do their thing, and who doesn’t?!  The plethora of outlets, even in the bar area, is outstanding.

IMG_4855.JPG

IMG_4836.JPG

Food and Drinks:

If you are used to domestic airline lounges in the United States then you might expect the buffet to have packaged cheeses, crackers, and maybe some trail mix or carrots.  However, that (thankfully) isn’t how the Centurion Lounge does buffets.  They do them with chefs such as Cédric Vongerichten, who is the Executive Chef at Perry St in New York City.

IMG_4853.JPG

Each Centurion Lounge has their own menu, but this one had things like fried chicken with honey lemongrass glaze, ginger rice, roasted summer squash, salad, and udon noodles.

IMG_4828.JPG

IMG_4829.JPG

IMG_4833.JPG

I was there at about 4:30PM in the afternoon, which is a kind of dead zone between lunch and dinner, and yet the food was pretty well stocked.  The tomato and herb salad pictured above wasn’t nearly as spicy as I’d read in early reports, so I don’t know if they toned it down or my tastebuds are immune to spices, thanks to decades of jalapenos in Texas.

The fried chicken had a good flavor and was much better than you would expect off of a buffet, but it wasn’t quite as juicy as reports from the opening night dinner.  I just got a little scoop of rice to try but it was very flavorful!

IMG_4831.JPG

For dessert there were chocolate chip cookies, strawberry shortcake, and brownies.  I only tried the shortcake, but it was very good, especially with the heavy cream.  Good thing I don’t visit this lounge every day!

IMG_4854.JPG

I didn’t visit the bar on this trip, but they do have New York-inspired specialty cocktails and wine selections created by mixologist Jim Meehan and wine director Anthony Giglio.  If the mixed drinks I have had at other Centurion Lounges are any indication, these will be top notch as well.

Bathrooms:

There are no showers at this Centurion Lounge, but the bathrooms were well appointed with fully closing doors instead of stalls.  The soaps in the bathroom were L’Occitane, which is obviously much nicer than “pink goo soap” you would find in the airport.

IMG_4824.JPG

Overall Impressions:

This Centurion Lounge is a big addition to the airport lounge portfolio that the Platinum Amex offers.  LaGuardia is kind of a dump with limited food and lounge options, but the Centurion Lounge just made it a much nicer place in my book.  It was great grabbing a bite to eat after landing but before heading into Manhattan, and I look forward to hopefully stopping by for a quick breakfast on my way out of town.

I wish the lounge had the family rooms that the other US Centurion Lounge locations have (or the spa services they had at DFW), but I understand the space constraints they had at LaGuardia, and really I’m just so happy that this option now provides a comfortable space to aid travelers.

They are working on lounges in San Francisco and Miami with more reportedly to follow.  Oh pleeeeease let Houston be on that list. 

Comments

  1. FYI, when I have been there I’ve been told that the area behind check in is a work/quiet area, so you might get some dirty looks if you use it as a family area! (Lack of a play area is a bit of a downer.)

    • Without Bacon, I could see that being an issue. I think it will just depend. When we were there that part was empty so would have been perfect. However, if there were lots of folks working and it was full that would be a bad option. In that case just keeping the family in a cubby in the hallway or in one of the booths in the bar area would be best.

  2. What is your basis for saying “LGA is a dump with limited food and lounge options?” LGA has one of the more nicely appointed AA Clubs, two new DL clubs and a far-improved-from-what-it-used-to-be US club? The food offerings in Terminal C/D are now quite good by airport standards.

    While UA has a very weak offering (tired club, located before security) and a seemingly forgotten gate pier, it is the exception at what has become a decently renovated airport.

    Maybe check out more than just United”s setup before reaching such a conclusion.

    • Billy, maybe we are visiting different LaGuardia airports! Other parts of the airport may be much nicer than the ones I visit with regularity, but the highlight of the part I visit is au bon pain. No big deal as I don’t travel to hang out in the airport, but the Centurion Lounge made the LGA experience much better in my view.

      • When was the last time you flew AA or DL, or any carrier other than UA, out of LGA?

        Your comment about being a dump refers to Pier C at the main terminal, which is not indicative of the broader airport.

        • Seriously Bill? I’m a lifetime NYer and proud of it but LGA is a dump compared to airports in the US and around the world. Joe Biden called it a “third world” airport for a reason. Its embarrassing and should be on par with the greatest city in the world and it is not! NY deserves better and defending this sub-par airport will lead to status quo.

          • I’m with smay. Lived in NYC a few years myself and choose LGA over the others for location. I even have a little bit of a nostalgic crush on LGA but come on now….the other terminals may be nicer but LGA still needs some real work.

  3. I am going to be spending 7 hours in the LGA airport in January with my daughter. We’ll be there from 2am until 9am. Are ANY lounges open there at that horrible time?

  4. Looks great… but what’s the point of a pre-security lounge? I want to visit my lounge to relax after all the hassle is done. Location’s really disappointing on this one.

    • Katie, it makes sense there so that multiple airlines can benefit. It does make it a little harder to time, but I have heard they are installing screens that show the security wait time. I know at least with Pre-Check for United the wait is usually 1-2 minutes or less.

    • Katie – I trust from your handle that you are also from NY. Where would you suggest this lounge be located if it were to be built after security?

      The only options for its security would be within the Delta/US terminal complex (where AX members already have lounge access) or on the roof of one of the piers in the main terminal. If it were to be built on a pier roof, then only a small subset of the central terminal pax could use it.

      You make the call.

  5. Is this worth attempting to us if flying delta? I am guessing that the hassle of the shuttle between terminals makes it a non-starter. Now… If there were a spa….

  6. You UA folks are still slumming it over at LGA ;). I passed through connecting to BGR a few months ago on DL, and they have done quite a bit to make it nicer (new restaurants and seating with power ports).

  7. I was at this lounge on Sunday and it was great. It is an 8-10 minute walk door to door from the US Air Shuttle exit in Terminal C, and you can wait for the airport shuttle if you are with kids.

    They also said that Houston was “Coming very soon”, ORD was next but contracts haven’t been signed yet. Also said that they were considering BOS which would probably make me a life-long Platinum holder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *