American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco – Review

This past weekend during my insane mileage run marathon I had the opportunity to visit the brand new American Express Centurion Lounge at San Francisco International. The lounge opened at the beginning of November after a much awaited grand opening, so I couldn’t wait to check it out.

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The lounge is located on Terminal 3, right by Gate 74, which in my particular case was very inconvenient, as I connected through the American Airlines Terminal 2. My connection wasn’t particularly long to begin with, and I had a couple of boarding pass hiccups, plus not being familiar with the location of the lounge, it took me a while to get to it. Since I had to change terminals I also had to get through security twice, which took additional time even with TSA PreCheck, but I wasn’t going to let the opportunity of being at the SFO airport and leaving without checking the lounge go by if I could help it.

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After I arrived I encountered additional delays, as there was a line of people in front of me, so it took me a few minutes to check in. The two couples checking in were not familiar with the Centurion facilities, and the staff was incredibly polite by answering all their questions while trying to balance checking in other travelers. At that time I was starting to become very impatient and watching the clock, but I couldn’t do anything but wait until I got my turn.

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During check in the front desk clerk knew that I had visited the Dallas Centurion several times but she wanted to let me know about the amenities and the wifi password, but being that I was running very short on time I politely declined and headed in to check out the place.

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The lounge at this location is smaller than the DFW and Las Vegas locations, so it was pretty full and seemed to be popular with the San Francisco crowd.

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As it is the case with all other lounges, the fresh gourmet food they prepare is sourced locally, and each lounge follows a local theme, with the San Francisco lounge’s theme being of course local wines from the California Napa region.

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I quickly headed for the buffet. While I wasn’t too hungry, I really wanted to try out the food. Let’s just say that out of all three Centurion Lounge food I’ve tried and the rotating menus (I have yet to visit La Guardia), this was by far the best one of all. The pork and white rice were simply amazing, with the meat being tender and full of flavor.

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The food display did look a little chaotic and they had ran out of couple of items, which I pointed out and they quickly replenished. I quickly inhaled my food, including a shot glass of chocolate mousse that was a bit rich for my taste, had a shot of espresso (of course!), took a few pictures and headed out. I did not even have time to have a drink. I feel it’s never doing any justice to drink down a scotch or a glass of wine in 2 minutes.

I also did not have the time to ask the staff if there were any showers at the lounge, and I didn’t see any signs, but the lounge’s website indicates there is a shower suite. It appears to be only one, so book as soon as you arrive if you need to use it.

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You can access the lounge for free if you have either the Centurion or the Platinum American Express cards (plus you can bring two guests for free), or by having any other American Express card and paying $50 per person, which in my opinion for a long layover plus free good quality food and drinks is always a good spending choice if you can afford it.

The Miami lounge is scheduled to open during the first quarter of 2015, and one only hopes that American Express continues to open more lounges at other key airports (is me hoping for a San Antonio lounge a long stretch?) to enhance the travel experience at each airport.

Unfortunately this time I had to keep my visit down to 20 minutes and then double back to my original terminal for my LAX flight, so I apologize for the short review, but it was a good 20 minutes for me and well worth the long walk from my terminal and the experience. If you’re ever at the San Francisco airport and have the opportunity to visit the Centurion Lounge, it will never be a disappointment.

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