I’d like to begin by saying that the new American Express The Centurion Lounge San Francisco absolutely blows every other lounge at SFO away, especially the three United Clubs in Terminal 3. I recently had a chance to spend some time during my layover on a mileage run at the Centurion Lounge and words cannot describe how thrilled and happy I am that this lounge was built at SFO and more specifically, in Terminal 3. I mostly fly with United on North American routes and therefore I constantly connect through San Francisco and I’m so tired of the crappy United Clubs which have cookies and crackers along with a design that is just plain boring. The Centurion Lounge has made me want to add more connecting time at SFO just so I can spend more time relaxing in this world-class lounge. Usually I’d choose the shortest connection possible to avoid waiting at SFO…. but now a five or six hour connection seems perfect!
After landing on runway 28L and reaching gate 65, I headed over to the American Express Centurion Lounge which is located by gates 74 and 75 in Terminal 3. Access to the Centurion Lounge is complementary for AMEX Platinum and Centurion cardholders, the value of my Platinum card (IMO) keeps going up as more Centurion Lounges open. Also the fact that AMEX is supposed to open a ‘Centurion Studio’ in Seattle will definitely make me keep the card and pay the $450 USD annual fee. Aside from this lounge, I’ve also been to the Las Vegas lounge. Currently there are four Centurion Lounges in the U.S. – Dallas, LaGuardia, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. A fifth lounge is supposed to open in Miami later this year. There are also a few ‘Centurion Clubs/Lounges’ outside of the U.S., like the one I visited in Mexico City.
You won’t have trouble finding the lounge due to it’s grand (and awesome) entrance. The entire lounge has a very modern design and in fact, all of the glass reminds me of the Apple Store in New York.
The entire lounge is on the upstairs level, so once you enter through the door, you will need to either take the elevator or the stairs to the upper level. The famous AMEX ‘Green Wall’ is beautifully displayed in the entrance area.
Once upstairs, the first area is the reception area where the agents verify your access and ask for your ID along with a boarding pass. Since you gain access to the lounge using an American Express card, I’m not sure why they are requesting to see your boarding pass… in case you leave something behind and they will know where you are flying to?
The lounge agent working at the reception desk took my Platinum Card, ID and boarding pass and within seconds she said: ‘Welcome back Mr. Żmuda‘, I don’t know why she said ‘back’ since I haven’t been to this lounge before, but presumably she saw that I’ve been to other Centurion Lounges in her computer?
For someone who hardly drinks at all (except for champagne in Lufthansa First Class for the price of miles 🙂 ), the ‘wine wall’ actually looked really cool to me, even though I can’t yet legally drink in the U.S..
Ok, now this seating area in the lounge is so f$%^ing cool! I love modern design and colours and the way American Express incorporated everything into the seating areas is just amazing. I love AMEX’s design concept in their Centurion Lounges, it just blows away every other U.S. airlines’ lounges. How awesome is it to spend a couple of hours here!?!?
Most of the seats and couches were empty since it was relatively early in the morning.
The ‘luggage wall’ is another cool design, the lower middle area holds various travel catalogues.
There is also a large conference table, and as seen in the background (in the terminal), there is an ad for United’s Club Card, which for $395 USD annually, you can have some crackers and carrots (not to mention you have to pay for alcohol). Did United really have to place that banner there? There is also another one on the other side… I still strongly believe that people will prefer the Centurion Lounge over the United Clubs, it wouldn’t even be worth it to argument otherwise.
In the back there are two iMacs along with a printer and two pictures of Steve Jobs.
The other side of the lounge features a bar, kitchen, and more seats.
There is a very extensive selection of alcohol at the bar… I wonder if they check ID’s 🙂
Since it was ~08:00, the breakfast spread was out which had a selection of fruit, jams, different types of bread, sausages, cheese, salads, etc.
To the right of the ‘food bar’ are drink machines as well as a coffee machine.
Below the decorative wine wall, there are different types of wines which you can taste.
The bathrooms also feature a very modern and exclusive design and, as usual, they are very clean and maintained regularly.
Hands down the best lounge at SFO, it doesn’t even compete with the other lounges. I’m so glad AMEX decided to build the lounge in Terminal 3 since it means I can avoid the United Clubs and actually eat some good food are relax comfortably. If you do not hold a Platinum or Centurion card, but DO have another AMEX card, you can access the lounge for a fee of $50 USD which is well worth it, in my opinion. I sense that I will be flying through SFO much more often now! 🙂