Way back in 2014 the American Express Platinum card lost a valuable benefit. Beginning in March of that year Amex Card Members lost access to American Airlines Admirals clubs. This was a huge blow to the card and prompted many to look at other premium credit cards. Since then, American Express has done a great job expanding other benefits of the now $550 annual fee card.
Shortly after cutting ties with American Airlines, American Express set out to establish their own network of lounges. These new “Centurion Lounges,” named after their super high-end credit card, began opening in 2014. While American Express has been fairly slow opening locations, the lounge network today is actually quite impressive. There are currently 15 Centurion Lounges located throughout the world, however most are in the United States.
During my recent Around The World In A Weekend Trip I had an overnight layover in Hong Kong. During my layover I tried to visit as many airline lounges as I could and one of them simply had to be the new American Express Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong.
Access The American Express Centurion Lounge Hong Kong
Before this trip I had never been to the Hong Kong airport which meant that I wasn’t familiar with the layout. Also, since it was 5:00AM and I only had a few hours of sleep over the prior two days I had a hard time navigating the terminal. After leaving the transit desk from my connecting Cathay Pacific flight I found myself in the West end of Terminal 1. This area is home to the Cathay Pacific’s The Wing lounge and the Qantas lounge reference. While this area of the terminal offers fantastic lounge and restaurant options, it’s unfortunately about as far away from the Amex Centurion lounge as I could get.
Once I realized where I was I then began the long walk from one side of the Terminal to the other. The walk took approximately 15 minutes, but there is a lower level train that shortens the trip considerably.
After reaching the correct end of the terminal I ascended an escalator to the airline lounge level. As you make your way toward the entrance of the Centurion Lounge you’ll pass several other airline lounges.
After a short walk I finally made it to the entrance of the American Express Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong International airport.
To access the American Express Centurion lounge you must be an American Express card member. Access is complimentary for the primary card member and up to two guests. Those eligible to enter the lounge may also purchase guests passes for $50 each to bring in additional guests.
Entering The American Express Centurion Lounge Hong Kong
As I passed through the sliding glass doors of the entrance a friendly lounge agent welcomed me to the lounge and swiped my Platinum card.
One of the frustrations with the Amex lounges is that the lounge agents don’t work for the airlines. They don’t have access to the airlines systems and have limited abilities if you need to make changes to your reservation. I didn’t have any issues with my reservation so after a short chat with the lounge agent I made my way into the lounge.
As you down the above hallway toward the dining room you’ll pass three smaller private rooms.
The first is a small board room which is located just past the American Express logo.
Inside the board room is a table and television set. This room wouldn’t be a terrible place to sit and eat if the dining room is completely full.
Just past the board room is a smaller “meeting room” which is somewhat private thanks to the frosted glass wall.
Lastly, there is a much smaller “phone room” which features, well, a phone.
At the end of the hallway is a small, completely exposed seating area. I’m not sure who would actually chose to sit here, so perhaps this serves as an Instagram Photo opportunity area?
Once you reach the above area you turn right to enter the main lounge area and dining room.
American Express Centurion Lounge Hong Kong Lounge Area
The first thing when you see as you turn to enter the lounge is beautiful bar and cabana overhang. I love how they designed the bar to feel like a separate room within the larger lounge.
Behind the bar is nearly every type of liquor imaginable! In addition to liquor the lounge also had a generous selection of beers, wines, and champagne. For those not interested in alcoholic options there was also a decent selection of coffee, tea, soft-drinks, and of course fruit infused water.
Just outside of the bar cabana are three smaller sitting areas. These chairs were surprisingly comfortable.
At the end of this space was the standard American Express branded bookcase complete with a television set. I’m personally a big fan of this design.
Just behind this wall, as demarcated by the Centurion Logo, is the entrance to the Centurion portion of this lounge. Only American Express Centurion card holders have access to that portion of the lounge.
American Express Centurion Lounge Hong Kong Dining
One of the key selling points of American Express Centurion lounges is the elevated dining experience. Centurion lounges often offer near restaurant quality food and are among the few lounges in the world I’ll go out of my way to eat in. The Centurion lounge in Hong Kong was no exception. Located on the far wall of the lounge was a buffet line with a wide variety of food options.
Since it was so early in the morning the buffet line was primarily setup for breakfast. There were the usual buffet breakfast options like cereal, fruit, yogurt, eggs, and sausage. In addition to the breakfast buffet the lounge also had dumplings. The little dumpling trays are hidden by the man in the above image, but trust me they’re there. Well, they were there before I arrived…
I prepared a small plate of, well, dumplings, and then made my way to the dining area of the lounge. Sadly, this area was completely full and there were no available seats.
Instead, I chose to eat at one of the small sitting areas located just outside of the bar area.
That brings me to one of the few flaws I found with this lounge. In total the lounge only has enough seating for roughly 60 guests. That’s not an exaggeration either, I sat and counted each chair. I can’t imagine what this lounge is like if it ever gets crowded because it’s simply not big enough to accommodate that many passengers.
American Express Centurion Lounge Hong Kong Amenities
As far as Centurion Lounges go, the Hong Kong lounge doesn’t offer too many amenities to guests. Essentially, the only amenities found within the lounge, beyond the complimentary food and beverage, are free WiFi and a ton of power outlets. The WiFi was also blazing fast which made it possible to download a few shows from Netflix in a matter of minutes. The power outlets also worked extremely well and I was able to fully recharge all of my devices during my short visit.
The power outlets in the lounge are all of the 220V variety, but luckily USB outlets were also available.
Beyond WiFi and power, the lounge also has a set of very nice restrooms located behind the bar area. Within the restroom area are one or two shower rooms, but there was a wait and both remained occupied throughout my visit to the lounge.
It’s really hard to decide if I like this lounge or not. For starters, the lounge is quite attractive and I personally love the design. Additionally, the WiFi was blazing fast and the power outlets did a great job charing my devices quickly. Also, the food and beverage options found in this lounge are fantastic. The only issue with the Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong is the competition.
Located very nearby is the The Pier First/Business Class Lounges from Cathay Pacific. During my layover in Hong Kong I visited the First Class lounge which is absolutely incredible (review to come). Also, at the other end of the terminal (where my flight departed) is Cathay Pacific’s The Wing First Class lounge which has private cabanas and bath tubs! With those two incredible lounges to chose from it’s hard to justifying going out of your way to visit this particular lounge.
However, if you don’t have access to the First Class lounges, the Amex Centurion Lounge is a fantastic option. The lounge is a great place to escape the main terminal and have a bite to eat or a drink before a flight. Also, the WiFi is fast enough for you to download media before a long flight. The only downside to this lounge is that there really isn’t anywhere to rest. If you’re hoping to nap between flights there literally isn’t a single seat within the lounge to do so.
All in all, I’m glad I checked out this lounge, but so long as I have OneWorld Emerald status, I won’t be going out of my way to visit again anytime soon. The other lounges in the Hong Kong airport are just too nice to pass up.