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Review: American Express Centurion Lounge Houston (IAH)

Updated: May 16, 2023

After arriving from Dallas on our United flight, we had a few hours to kill before catching our onward flight to Doha so we headed to Terminal D and the American Express Centurion Lounge to pass the time.


Location

The American Express Centurion Lounge Houston IAH is one of the more hidden Centurion Lounges, or lounges in general, that I’ve ever seen. The lounge is located in Terminal D, near the rear of one of the duty free shops located in the terminal near gate D6. At the rear of the shop is an elevator and, one level down from the concourse, you will find the lounge at the end of a short, sterile hallway.


Hours of Operation

The American Express Centurion Lounge IAH is currently open from 6:00a to 9:30p daily.


Entry Requirements

Unlike many other airport lounges, Centurion Lounges can only be accessed 3 hours before departure by showing a boarding pass, valid ID and matching American Express Platinum or Centurion card. Delta Reserve cardholders can also access the lounge when traveling on a same-day Delta ticket (Note: The 3 hour rule still applies). Centurion Card holders can access the lounge as long as they have a same day boarding pass.


If you have a same day connecting flight, the three hour rule is waived. Also, as of February 2023, you must spend $75,000 on your American Express Platinum Card in order to get 2 free guests into the lounge. Otherwise guests cost $50 each with children 18 and under costing $30 each. Centurion Card holders can still bring in two guests and their immediate family. Delta Reserve cardholders can not bring in any guests.


When we arrived the lounge was busy, but not overly so, which was nice given the scene we had in Dallas and in Las Vegas recently.


Layout

The IAH Centurion Lounge is divided into three distinct areas. The overall lounge is a rectangular shape and, just past the check-in desk, there is a ‘Calm’ branded quiet space with some sectioned off seating.

American Express Centurion Lounge Houston IAH Calm Zone
'Calm' Zone - IAH Centurion Lounge

In the middle of the lounge is the main seating area. It has a variety of seating options in pairs of 4, 2 and single seats with side tables. There is also a self service coffee station on the wall in-between the seating area and the bar.

In the rear of the lounge was the bar and buffet area. There were a number of barstools available along the bar, with many café tables in the middle, and a row of booths along the wall.

Finally, in the very back of the lounge, were the restrooms and the shower room.

American Express Centurion Lounge Houston IAH Restroom
American Express Centurion Lounge IAH - Restroom

The lounge is on the smaller side, especially considering the recent expansions we’ve seen to the other lounges in the network. It also lacks natural light as there are no windows or views of any kind when inside. Therefore, it is difficult to judge time. It almost feels like you’re in a casino.


Food and Beverage

We found a couple of seats in the main lounge area and then went off to check out the food and beverage situation. First was the buffet which, aside from the braised pork and rice, was uninspiring.

From there, we headed over to the bar to check out the drink selection.

We had a couple of drinks and enjoyed the chocolate cakes that the lounge sent over for our honeymoon before heading upstairs to check out the Qatar contract lounge at IAH.

American Express Centurion Lounge Houston IAH Dessert
American Express Centurion Lounge IAH - Dessert

Summary

The American Express Centurion Lounge at IAH is a decent lounge. The staff is friendly and the food selection is better than I’ve seen at the other Centurion Lounges recently where it is hard to even find some meat. Though the lounge takes a big hit in the overall experience due to the lack of windows and location that is difficult to find. When connecting through Houston, I only visit this lounge if I have a longer layover. Otherwise, I just make myself at home in the terminal.


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