Renowned Chefs Team Up with Amex for Centurion Lounge Menus

American Express has partnered with chefs Christopher Kostow and Cedric Vongerichten for two more Centurion Lounges

Chefs Christopher Kostow and Cedric Vongerichten will curate menus for the upcoming Centurion Lounges in San Francisco Airport and New York LaGuardia Airport.

American Express has announced that it will introduce new premium dining experiences to San Francisco Airport (SFO) and New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA), each of which is scheduled to open later in 2014.

Chef Christopher Kostow will serve as the executive chef of the American Express Centurion Lounge in San Francisco, while Cedric Vongerichten will curate the menu in New York.

Kostow is currently the executive chef of The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley, which holds three Michelin stars. In 2013, the chef was named one of the James Beard Foundation’s best chefs in the West.

Chef Cedric Vongerichten is the executive chef of Perry St in New York City, and is the son of Jean Georges Vongerichten.

Currently, Centurion Lounge locations are open in McCarren International Airport (LAS) and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), with menus by Scott Conant and Dean Fearing, respectively. A fifth Centurion Lounge location is expected to open in Miami International Airport (MIA), although an opening date has yet to be announced.

For the latest food and drink updates, visit our Food News page.

Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.

Here’s your first look at the brand-new Amex Centurion Lounge in Los Angeles

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American Express is on a roll with its Centurion Lounge network. Having just opened the Charlotte location two weeks ago and the Phoenix outpost in January, 2020 has been an exciting year for Platinum cardmembers.

And now, Amex has announced that its newest lounge in Los Angeles will open on Monday, 9 March. At 13,900 square feet and with a capacity for 530 guests, it&rsquos the largest Centurion Lounge to date and a welcome addition to the world&rsquos fourth-busiest airport.

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But I&rsquom not just excited about the rapid pace at which Amex is opening new lounges. (After LAX, there will still be three more openings this year: Denver, London and New York-JFK). It&rsquos also the design that keeps getting nicer and more sophisticated.

I got a first look at the Centurion Lounge in LAX at a preview event, and I&rsquom impressed. Read on for why you should be excited too.

As an American Express Card Member, you get to enjoy travel benefits that take you further, points that are more rewarding and services that open more doors around the world.

Terms and Conditions

1. American Express Lounge Entry is governed by the full Terms and Conditions available at amex.com.au/airportlounge. All entrants must adhere to the General Conditions of Entry. American Express Explorer ® Credit Card, Qantas American Express Ultimate Card, American Express Velocity Platinum Card, David Jones American Express Platinum Card and American Express ® Elevate Premium Credit Card Members are entitled to a total of two (2) entries into the American Express Lounges in Australia per calendar year (1 January to 31 December). Complimentary access is available for the Card Member's children between the ages of 2-17. Card Members wishing to bring additional guests may be subject to a charge that is to be processed on the Card Member's American Express Card.

2. Virgin Australia Lounge Access. Access is complimentary for Primary Platinum Card Member and one complimentary guest only. The Primary Platinum Card Member and guest must be travelling with Virgin Australia domestically. Access is to Virgin Australia-branded lounges in Australia only. Name on boarding pass must match the name on the Platinum Card. The Platinum Card Member and guest must present his or her valid Card and same-day departing flight boarding pass (containing your Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer number and status) to Virgin Australia lounge agents. One guest per Primary Platinum Card Member permitted, children are classified as a guest. Guest must be travelling on same Virgin Australia flights and present boarding pass. All access is subject to space availability. This benefit is subject to change. The Virgin Australia lounge is operated by Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd in selected domestic airports and entry is subject to the Virgin Australia lounge Terms and Conditions, available here and as amended from time to time.

3. Centurion Lounge Access Platinum Card Members have unlimited complimentary access to The Centurion Lounge locations. Gold Card and Green Card Additional Cards on your Account are not eligible for unlimited complimentary access. Platinum Card Members may bring up to two (2) companions into The Centurion Lounge. To access The Centurion Lounge, the Platinum Card Member must present The Centurion Lounge agent with the following upon each visit: his or her valid Card and upon request, same-day airline ticket on any carrier and a government-issued ID. Failure to present this documentation may result in access being denied. Platinum Card Members will not be compensated for changes in locations, rates or policies. Platinum Card Member must be at least 18 years of age to enter without a parent or guardian. Platinum Card Member must be 21 years of age to enter a lounge with a self-service bar, unless you are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Platinum Card Members are allowed access to The Centurion Lounge in all US locations. American Express reserves the right to remove any person from a lounge for inappropriate behaviour or failure to adhere to lounge rules, including, but not limited to, conduct that is disruptive, abusive or violent. Access is subject to space availability. The Centurion Lounge hours may vary by location and are subject to change. Amenities may vary among The Centurion Lounge locations and are subject to change. In-lounge services and amenities are complimentary, however you are responsible for any purchases and/or servicing charges you authorise our Member Services Professionals to perform on your behalf. Some American Express® Cards are not eligible for all services provided by Member Services Desk. American Express will not be liable for any articles lost or stolen or damages suffered by the purchaser or visitor inside The Centurion Lounge. Use of The Centurion Lounge is subject to all rules and conditions set by American Express. American Express reserves the right to revise the rules at any time without notice.

4. Priority Pass Lounge Access Subject to the Terms and Conditions of the Priority Pass™ program available at www.prioritypass.com. Priority Pass is an independent airport lounge access program. Primary American Express Platinum Card Members and one nominated Additional Platinum Card Member per Account are eligible for Priority Pass membership. At any visit to a Priority Pass lounge that admits guests, you may bring in one guest at no charge. You will be charged the prevailing retail rate for any additional guests. Some lounges do not admit guests. Both the Primary and Additional Platinum Card Members must enrol into Priority Pass and may access participating Priority Pass lounges by presenting your Priority Pass card and airline boarding pass. In some lounges, Priority Pass member must be 21 years of age to enter without a parent or guardian. Amenities may vary among airport lounge locations. Conference rooms, where available, may be reserved for a nominal fee. Priority Pass lounge partners and locations are subject to change. All Priority Pass members must adhere to the Priority Pass Conditions of Use, including house rules of participating lounges, and can be viewed at prioritypass.com. Please allow 4-6 weeks from enrolment to receive your Priority Pass card and membership package.

5. Plaza Premium Lounge Access. Platinum Card Members (and supplementary Platinum Card Members) are entitled to complimentary access to the Plaza Premium Lounges. The Platinum Card Member may bring up to 2 guests into the lounge at no additional cost. All lounge access fees for additional guest visits will be charged directly to the Platinum Card Member’s Card, and at the prevailing retail rate, per person, per visit. Lounge access to infants under two years of age is complimentary. To access the Plaza Premium Lounges, the Platinum Card Member must present the agent with the following upon each visit: his or her valid Card and upon request, same-day or following day boarding pass on any carrier and a government-issued ID. Failure to present this documentation may result in access being denied. Platinum Card Member must be at least 18 years of age to enter without a parent or guardian where there is a self-service bar. Plaza Premium Lounge reserves the right to remove any person from a lounge for inappropriate behaviour or failure to adhere to lounge rules, including, but not limited to, conduct that is disruptive, abusive or violent. Access is subject to space availability and is not guaranteed. The full Plaza Premium Lounge Facilities Terms and Conditions are available at plaza-network.com/terms Facilities, amenities, services and hours of operation may vary among locations and are subject to change. Terms and conditions are subject to change without prior notice.

6. Delta Sky Club Access. The Platinum Card Member must present his or her valid American Express Platinum Card, government-issued ID, and same-day corresponding airline ticket to club ambassador. Access to Delta Sky Club partner lounges is not permitted. Individuals must be at least 18 years of age to access Delta Sky Club, and 21 years of age to access locations with a self-service bar, unless accompanied by a responsible, supervising adult who has access to the lounge. Platinum Card Members must adhere to all House Rules of participating clubs. Participating airport clubs and locations subject to change without notice. Additional guest access and fees subject to terms and conditions of participating airport clubs. For the most current Delta Sky Club access and pricing policy, please visit delta.com/skyclub. All Delta Sky Club rules apply to Delta Sky Club membership and use. To review the rules, please visit delta.com/skyclub.

7. Qantas Club Lounge Access. Provided you are a Qantas Frequent Flyer and have registered your Qantas Frequent Flyer number with your Qantas American Express Premium Card or the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card, you are eligible to receive two Qantas Club Lounge Invitations each anniversary year of your Card Membership after purchasing on selected Qantas products and services using your Qantas American Express Premium Card. Selected Qantas products and services are Qantas passenger flights with a QF flight number purchased on the Qantas merchant account i.e. with Qantas direct or some travel agents and Qantas Frequent Flyer and Qantas Club membership joining and annual fees. Excludes Jetstar, Qantas Holidays, and Qantas branded non-airfare products. Subject to the Qantas American Express Card Points Terms and Conditions. Within 1-2 weeks of purchasing selected Qantas products and services, two Qantas Club Lounge Invitations will be assigned to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account. Visit the Complimentary Invitations Portal to access your invitation, link it with an eligible Qantas flight booking or find out more information. Qantas Club Lounge Invitations are valid for a single visit by one guest to a Qantas Club Lounge and must be used prior to their expiry. Invitations are subject to the Qantas Club Terms and Conditions and are not valid for Qantas International First Class Lounges, the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge, Qantas Domestic Business and or oneworld® alliance partner or associated lounges. Qantas Club Invitations cannot be carried forward to any subsequent year and must not be sold, they may only be transferred as allowed by Qantas. Invitations may be revoked or withheld if your Qantas American Express Premium Card account is not in good standing, if the selected Qantas products and services are refunded in full or if you have not complied with these Qantas Club Invitation Conditions, the Credit Card Terms and Conditions or the Qantas Club Lounge Access Terms and Conditions.

8. The American Express Velocity Platinum Card Access to domestic Virgin Australia lounges. Virgin Australia lounge entry passes are subject to the American Express Velocity Platinum Card Benefits Terms and Conditions available here. Two Single Entry passes to the Virgin Australia lounge will be activated on the Basic Card Member's Velocity membership card annually on or after each annual Card fee renewal date. Single Entry passes are valid for 12 months from the date of issue. The Virgin Australia lounge is operated by Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd in selected domestic airports and entry is subject to the Virgin Australia lounge Terms and Conditions, available here and as amended from time to time.

Red Eye

The major perk of the American Express platinum card is the Amex Centurion lounges. Now that most of the major airlines offer lounge access with their associated credit cards, many of the US-based lounges have scaled down their food options and typically – feel a bit like a crowded refugee camp, squalling babies and all.

Centurion lounges feature food from a famous local chef and a bar menu by Jim Meehan. Although our local homebase of SFO has bartenders of questionable capabilities (unfortunately – Francis Kelly, an excellent bartender, left a few years back), the bar menu is quite good and well-thought-out. Many of the drinks are riffs off of familiar flavors, like a butterscotch old fashioned or a banana daquiri using Tempus Fugit in place of sugar.

I recently popped into the Centurion lounge in the DFW (Dallas) and tried a few of the drinks. “We’re not Werther’s” caught my eye, but it was honestly quite terrible: sweet and relatively warm, because the lone ice cube in the center did not dissipate sufficient cold. With modest expectations I moved to the Red Eye and was stunned.

The cocktail, a Jim Meehan original, is like drinking maple syrup blended with a hit of Rye. I loved it. And as soon as I got home, looked up the recipe to make it.

I attended an exclusive dinner and discussion for Amex Platinum cardholders with one of the best chefs in the world — here’s what the once-in-a-lifetime experience was like

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Although various banks and credit card issuers offer things like early access to concert tickets or exclusive seating at events, no brand owns the experiential space like American Express.

Since its early days issuing travelers checks in the late 1800s through its launch of a dedicated travel division in 1915 — which still exists today — American Express has kept its rise to global financial powerhouse aligned with travel and experience.

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As the demand for "premium" products increased as cards became mainstream products through the 1950s and 1960s, American Express has taken a strong approach toward providing members with exclusive opportunities.

In 2017, Amex doubled down on this by relaunching its famed Platinum Card. Facing fierce competition in the premium space from JP Morgan's Chase Sapphire Reserve rewards credit card, American Express boosted its travel and experience platforms.

In addition to significantly expanding the network of airport lounges that cardholders can access, Amex added new benefits to the card, and began launching new programs and opportunities while expanding previously existing ones. Although the company's Membership Rewards program continued to be valuable, it attacked the Chase Sapphire Reserve® by playing to its own strengths.

"[Amex has] stayed true to [its] origins, and as we've learned more about and from our card members, and seen their taste and interest evolve, we've strived to evolve as well," said Janey Whiteside, EVP of global premium products and benefits at Amex, during an interview with Business Insider. "Now in 2018, we see that our Platinum card members are passionate about travel, entertainment, superior service, and have evolved in how they undertake that."

One of the strategies was to launch a new "Global Dining Collection" benefit for cardholders. As part of this benefit, Amex partnered with hundreds of top and famous restaurants around the world. Card members can access exclusive reservation slots held for Amex, and enjoy things like off-menu perks and gifts, when making a reservation through the Platinum Card's complimentary concierge service.

In addition, Amex developed deeper relationships with several of the world's top chefs while expanding its "By Invitation Only" series. The company offers about 100 of these events each year, all around the world.

By Invitation Only events, which are exclusive to Platinum Card and Centurion card members, include things like backstage tours at concerts, special trips, VIP access to events like the Monaco Grand Prix, access to cocktail parties with thought leaders and insiders across a range of industries, and more.

I've written before about how the Amex Platinum Card offers a ton of value, easily enough to outweigh its annual fee. In some ways, as long as you're comfortable floating the initial annual fee each year, the ultra-premium card can actually help you with frugal travel (even if that may be a stretch).

It's important to note that the By Invitation Only events are not similarly value-producing.

These events are not free, and are targeted more for the "luxury lifestyle" set or people splurging on a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Events can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on what they are and what they entail. However, in exchange for the high cost, you're typically able to experience something that's truly inaccessible.

Because I've reported on the By Invitation Only program before, but have never experienced one, American Express invited me to attend a recent event hosted in New York City, where I'm based. Attendees at the event would have the opportunity to join an intimate, private discussion with star chef Massimo Bottura, and, later, enjoy a multi-course tasting menu and wine pairing.

Bottura is the mastermind behind Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Italy that has been named "the world's best restaurant." Bottura, who was featured in the first episode of Netflix 's "Chef's Table" and in an episode of the Aziz Ansari comedy "Master of None," is famous in the culinary world for telling the story of childhood and life in Italy through his cooking, expressing themes of art, history, family, music, and more. Described as "a poet, storyteller, and artist as much as a cook," Bottura curates a one-of-a-kind culinary experience.

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Houston to Be Home to Newest Centurion Lounge

American Express is opening another branch of its popular Centurion Lounge, this time in Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Slated to open during the first half of 2016, the 8,500-square-foot traveler respite will be the seventh Centurion Lounge location.

Other cities with an Amex lounge include Seattle/Tacoma, Miami, San Francisco, New York (LaGuardia), Dallas/Fort Worth and Las Vegas.

The Houston Centurion Lounge will offer travelers a place to get some work done, clean up after a long day of travel, relax with their families and grab a drink and a bite to eat.

Platinum and Centurion Amex cardholders get free access to Centurion Lounges

Lounge features will include noise-buffered workstations, private showers and phone rooms, a family room, comfortable seats, a computer bar, quiet areas and high-speed Wi-Fi. There will also be a free full bar and food buffet. The specifics on the chef, mixologist and menu will be forthcoming closer to the opening date.

Celebrity Chefs Tailor Menus to Local Specialties

Other Centurion Lounges have menus tailored by celebrity chefs such as Dean Fearing in Dallas/Forth Worth, Scott Conant in Las Vegas and Cedric Vongerichten in New York. Menus focus on regional specialties and locally sourced ingredients. Celebrity mixologist Jim Meehan crafts drink recipes for the Centurion Lounges, which also feature local specialty cocktails.

The lounge will be located in Terminal D of the Houston airport, which offers nonstop service to nearly 200 destinations.

“With Houston’s growing reputation as a global destination for business and leisure travel, and with international passenger numbers at George Bush Intercontinental Airport increasing at record levels, these types of amenities serve to enhance the experience of the discerning travelers embodied by American Express Card members,” said Lisa Durocher, a senior vice president at American Express.

The Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas

Platinum and Centurion Card Members Get In Free

While anyone with an American Express credit card can visit a Centurion Lounge, only premium cardholders—those with a Platinum or Centurion card—get in free. They can also bring two guests or family members with them. Other American Express cardholders can pay $50 for a one-day pass. The pass entitles the cardholder, and any of his or her children under age 18, access to the lounge for the day. Any other adult, such as a spouse or friend, will have to purchase a separate pass for an additional $50.

Being able to relax, unwind and enjoy a drink or meal at the Centurion Lounge is one big benefit of being an American Express cardholder. These lounges are truly luxurious, with some even offering free spa services such as massages and facials.

Family rooms have toys, games and TVs to keep kids occupied, and computer bars have printers, fax machines and copiers, as well as Wi-Fi and conference spaces. Each Centurion Lounge has different features. More information about the Houston location will be available as the opening date approaches.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

UGC Disclosure: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

The ultimate guide to Amex Centurion Lounges: Locations, access rules and opening status

The main bar at the new Amex Centurion Lounge at LAX.

CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through The Points Guy affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our reporting is always independent and objective.

For business travelers, there may be no greater airport oasis than an American Express Centurion Lounge. While all the Centurion Lounges are currently closed worldwide due to health and safety precautions stemming from the coronavirus outbreak, Amex has reiterated several times that it is committed to reopening the lounges as soon as it safely can, though it has not yet set a date.

But with 12 lounges now built and three more on the way in 2020, when they do eventually reopen, Centurion Lounges can cover you in some of the largest airports in the world, though the Centurion Lounge footprint is heavily focused in the United States.

As the coronavirus pandemic has delayed the opening of several of the upcoming Centurion Lounges, the list of current and announced future locations — including the most-recently updated opening timeframes — is as follows:

Denver (DEN): Scheduled for 2020

London Heathrow (LHR): Scheduled for 2020

New York (JFK): Scheduled for 2020

Centurion Lounge locations cover a number of hub cities for domestic U.S. airlines, with some additional locations (Las Vegas) set in popular locations. While business travelers have different needs from leisure travelers, the Centurion Lounges cater to both groups, though peak times can make it difficult for business travelers to find work space.

How to access Amex Centurion Lounges

The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of six Amex cards that provide access to Centurion Lounges.

Despite their name, you don't need to hold the exclusive American Express Centurion Card to gain access to Amex Centurion Lounges. In fact, you can get into the most comfortable and relaxing spot at the airport with any of the following Amex cards:

Customers holding The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Business Platinum® Card from American Express are allowed to access any of the Centurion Lounges worldwide.

Customers holding the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card are allowed to access any Centurion Lounge worldwide, provided that they have same-day travel on a Delta flight.

In addition, cardmembers holding the invitation-only Centurion® Card from American Express (colloquially known as the "Amex Black Card") or the American Express Business Centurion® Card can access any Centurion Lounge, and without time limits.

As a general rule, Amex Platinum and Delta Reserve cardmembers can access the Centurion Lounges up to 3 hours prior to departure of their first flight, and at any time between connecting flight itineraries of 24 hours or less. Only invite-only Centurion cardmembers can use Centurion Lounges upon arrival at their final destination.

You may find the enforcement of the 3-hour rule selective based on crowds. Smaller Centurion Lounges, such as Seattle, are frequently overcrowded and more restrictive on entry requirements, while bigger lounges with more space can be more generous with time.

Amex Platinum cardmembers are also entitled to bring two complimentary guests into a Centurion Lounge with them, and may purchase access for additional guests at a rate of $50 per guest, per visit (subject to capacity). Delta Reserve cardmembers don't have complimentary guest privileges, but may bring up to two guests at a rate of $50 per guest, per visit.

For large families, the best deal may be to get an Amex Platinum card and then add authorized user cards to the account. You'll pay a fee of $175 to add up to three authorized users, but each of those users not only get Centurion Lounge access of their own, but two additional complimentary guests as well. So if your family travels often, the cost could easily be worth it.

Let's take a detailed look at each Centurion Lounge, including where you can find them in each airport.

Charlotte (CLT)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in Charlotte features over 13,000 square feet of space.

Where to find it: Between concourses D and E on the Mezzanine level.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is a major domestic hub for American Airlines. There are some international flights, but the airport serves primarily to move tens of thousands of passengers around the U.S. for American.

So aside from the Centurion Lounge, you won't find much in the way of premium lounges in Charlotte. American's own Admirals Clubs, while sizable, tend to be crowded, making the Centurion Lounge at Charlotte by far the most upscale option for travelers.

The Charlotte Centurion Lounge opened on February 24, so crowds were a bit hard to gauge before the pandemic temporarily closed everything down. But this is one of the larger Centurion Lounges at more than 13,000 square feet.

Still, many of the seating options in the lounge aren't suited for long stretches with a laptop. There's a large common table if driving a desk is on your list, though you may find the seating in the cafe a bit more conducive to working. Phone rooms can provide privacy and a quiet place to dial into a conference call.

Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in DFW has plenty of food and drink options.

Where to find it: Terminal D, across from gate D12 on the Mezzanine level.

The Dallas/Fort Worth airport housed the largest Centurion Lounge for quite some time, and while it can no longer lay claim to that title, it's still one of the bigger lounges at over 12,000 square feet. There are plenty of semi-private seating options with small desks and power sources if you need a place to work in between flights.

The DFW lounge has one of the largest dining and bar areas amongst the Centurion Lounges with plenty of food and drink options, and you should be able to find a seat even when it's busy. (Don't forget about upgraded complimentary champagne if you hold the Amex Centurion Card.)

You'll also find multiple showers in the Dallas Centurion Lounge to help feel refreshed after a long flight. And DFW is also one of the Centurion Lounges that offers complimentary spa services — they're very popular, so make sure to reserve as soon as you arrive.

Hong Kong (HKG)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong has a "lounge within a lounge" for Centurion cardmembers.

Where to find it: Terminal 1, near gate 60.

The Hong Kong Centurion Lounge is the first Amex Centurion Lounge outside the United States, and it faces a lot of competition from Cathay Pacific's world-renowned Hong Kong lounges (some of which are currently closed due to decreasing travel demand from the coronavirus). It's also currently the only Centurion Lounge to feature a "lounge within a lounge" exclusively for Amex Centurion cardmembers.

This lounge gets crowded quickly, so be prepared to table stalk a bit to find the right spot, as the space is less geared toward the business traveler who needs a desk to get some work done. A massive bar welcomes weary travelers in need of a drink, as well as a substantial buffet. Shower services are limited, so put your name on the list early.

Houston (IAH)

It's not hard to find a seat at the Amex Centurion Lounge in Houston.

Where to find it: Terminal D, elevators near gate D6.

The Houston Centurion Lounge is generally on the quieter side. While the airport hosts plenty of international flights, the spread-out nature of the terminals probably dissuades some travelers from making the hike over to the D Terminal to visit this lounge.

As a result, you should usually be able to find an empty seat, as well as a quiet place to work. Showers are available, and there's generally no wait to grab one. Food and beverage offerings are also solid, on par with the rest of the Centurion Lounges (it's an area where they consistently shine).

You won't find spa services here, but you'll find pretty much everything else you're hoping for in a lounge experience. With the possible exception of United's Polaris Lounge, this is the best lounge at IAH.

Las Vegas (LAS)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas is easily the best lounge in the airport.

Where to find it: Concourse D, opposite gate D1.

While Vegas may be filled with every VIP experience imaginable, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas isn't exactly swimming in upscale lounges. In fact, you won't find many lounges at all. That means the Centurion Lounge here is easily the best option.

This Centurion Lounge location features some semi-private workspaces and showers, but you may have trouble finding a seat during peak times. The bar is also on the smaller side, as is the dining area.

Amex recently announced plans to expand the Las Vegas Centurion Lounge from its current size of nearly 9,000 square feet to over 13,400 square feet, an almost 50% increase. The expansion, which is scheduled to be completed in 2021, will also feature additional multi-purpose areas, new private telephone rooms, newly-designed workspace areas and a new reception.

For now, the only sure way to get a seat here is to carry the Centurion Card, as a section in the quietest part of the lounge is reserved exclusively for these elite members.

Los Angeles (LAX)

The main entryway is two floors down from the departures level.

Where to find it: Tom Bradley International Terminal, entrance on the departures level right after security, then take the elevators two floors down.

On March 9, the long-awaited new Centurion Lounge location at Los Angeles (LAX) International Airport opened to the public. While it's currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic like the rest of the Centurion Lounges, when it reopens, the new LAX lounge is likely to be most popular with international flyers, though airside connections built in recent years will allow passengers departing out of Terminals 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 to also make it to the lounge without having to re-clear security.

During our sneak preview a few days before the LAX lounge officially opened, we walked the entire distance from the furthest Terminal 8 to the new lounge, and it's a hike. We timed it at 22 minutes, which means almost a 45-minute round-trip if you want to visit the LAX Centurion Lounge from United's gates in T8.

While there's no walkable airside connection from Terminals 2 and 3, there is a shuttle bus that can get you over to the Tom Bradley Terminal without going out and back through security. But while the ride itself is only five minutes, you'll need to budget more than that. The bus drops you off at the back of the Bradley Terminal, which means another 10-minute walk to get to the lounge. Figure in extra time to wait for the bus and we'd suggest giving yourself 20-30 minutes each way to be safe.

Here are the times as we clocked them to the Centurion Lounge from each LAX terminal:

At nearly 14,000 square feet, this is a spacious lounge, which should help alleviate some of the overcrowding issues Amex has experienced at other Centurion Lounges once it reopens. But in person, it doesn't feel huge because the space is cut into many smaller rooms, which may make finding a seat easier.

The menu at the LAX Centurion Lounge is curated by American Express Global Dining Collection Chef Nancy Silverton. Custom locally-inspired dishes include asparagus egg pie, mozzarella antipasti, mozza meatballs and butterscotch budino, just to name a few.

The buffet at LAX includes panettone french toast and a farro salad with fresh herbs.

As with other Centurion Lounges, the LAX location features private workspaces for business travelers who need a spot to put down their laptop and get some work done before their flight.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given its location, the LAX Centurion Lounge focuses on wellness, with two tranquility rooms to assist travelers arriving in a new time zone.

The idea of the Sunrise room is to provide extra brightness for passengers who need to adjust to an earlier time zone or to "subtly energize you before flight," according to Amex, while the Moonrise room features a "starry sky" ceiling inspired by a planetarium, and is "designed to help usher a sense of nighttime relaxation, whether for napping before takeoff or preparing for an overnight flight."

The LAX Centurion Lounge also features spa services by Exhale, with complimentary services that will undoubtedly be as popular as they are at other Centurion Lounges equipped with spas once the lounges reopen.

Services in the LAX Centurion Lounge spa are complimentary, and will undoubtedly be popular.

And of course, no Centurion Lounge would be complete without a full complimentary bar. Premium wine selections at the LAX Centurion are curated by wine director Anthony Giglio, and specialty cocktails partially inspired by L.A.'s cocktail culture by Centurion Lounge mixologist Jim Meehan.

Miami (MIA)

A recent expansion of the Amex Centurion Lounge in Miami has helped with overcrowding.`

Where to find it: In Concourse D, elevator near gate D12.

American Express completed an expansion of this lounge last year, which was incredibly welcome, as the Miami lounge has notoriously struggled with overcrowding.

However, the vast majority of added space is in bar seating and the dining room. While sitting in the bar area and watching the planes taxi back and forth is a relaxing way to kill some time, you may have to settle for a chair in the dining room if you need to get work done.

Showers are available, which is especially handy if you just got off a long flight from South America. And if you're stressed from a long flight, the complimentary spa service should be your first stop.

New York/LaGuardia (LGA)

Extra time in the Amex Centurion Lounge at New York's LaGuardia is the best relaxation you'll find there.

Where to find it: This is only Centurion Lounge in the U.S. that's outside security, in Terminal B between the B and C concourses on the 3rd floor.

The LaGuardia Centurion Lounge is much smaller than some others, but still scores points for being the best lounge at the airport. While you won't find spa services or showers, you're almost certain to find an empty seat. And, the unique shape of the lounge lends itself to some quieter areas to set up shop with your laptop.

Similar to all the other Centurion Lounges, you'll find upgraded food and beverage options including the signature bar area. You can grab a drink and sit at the counters to get some work done while you watch all the plane activity at LGA.

Because the lounge is outside security, you can visit it no matter what airline you're departing on — you'll just need to leave some extra time to get to the gate. That unique arrangement may be why the lounge isn't usually crowded, with business travelers bypassing the lounge to make sure they can be at their gate when boarding starts.

But if you've ever departed from LGA, you'll understand why extra time in the Centurion Lounge is the best relaxation you'll find there.

Philadelphia (PHL)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia is the place to be while waiting for your flight.

Where to find it: Terminal A West, near gate A14.

The Philadelphia Centurion Lounge is a bit on the smaller side, but there's still a good chance you'll be able to find a workspace on your next layover. As with all the other Centurion Lounge locations, the bar and signature food items really do shine, along with some comfortable couches in the dining area.

While there are no spa services at the location, you'll at least be able to grab a shower if needed, and there are also phone rooms if you need a quiet place for a conference call. Unless you have access to the British Airways First Class Lounge at PHL, the Centurion Lounge is the place to be while waiting for your flight.

Phoenix (PHX)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in Phoenix shares space with the also-new Escape Lounge.

Where to find it: Terminal 4 across from gate B22 on upper level.

The Phoenix lounge is a small haven in a large airport. While not the smallest Centurion Lounge, you won't find tons of space to spread out. That being said, as one of the newer lounges (it opened on January 6), it's just as enjoyable as the others.

The signature bar area has plenty of room to go along with its great libations. But in a bit of an odd twist, there's a shared space of sorts with the also brand-new Escape Lounge, which is used when the Centurion Lounge gets crowded. There are no spa services and only one shower shared between the two lounges, so you'll definitely need to request it early.

The good news is that seats are plentiful, and the layout lends itself to people being able to find a quiet place to work. You won't find a phone room for quiet calls, but one of the nooks near the front of the lounge may suffice. The Phoenix Centurion Lounge clearly leads the way for premium lounges at PHX.

Seattle (SEA)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in Seattle is the smallest of the Centurion Lounges.

Where to find it: Concourse B, opposite gate B3.

Seattle's Centurion Lounge is tiny. In fact, it's so small that it used to be referred to as the "Centurion Studio." A small expansion a few years ago helped, but this lounge is extremely prone to overcrowding.

There's only one shower, so get your request in early. There are also no spa services in such a small space, but you'll find the food and beverage options totally up to par with Centurion Lounge standards.

The one upside is that a handful of smaller areas that may make it easier to find a quiet spot to work. But with just over 100 seats, don't be surprised to find the Seattle lounge full during peak business hours.

San Francisco (SFO)

The Amex Centurion Lounge in San Francisco features a wine tasting area.

Where to find it: Terminal 3, near gate F1.

There are plenty of premium lounge offerings at SFO, and the Centurion Lounge holds its own. As is typical with the rest of the Centurion Lounges, you'll find a great food and wine spread at the SFO lounge, including a wine wall in the dining area and an open kitchen alongside the buffet.

What truly sets the SFO Centurion Lounge apart is the variety of high-quality food and wine offerings, frequently rotated through the seasons. Also unique to the SFO lounge is a wine tasting area that you should definitely block some time for.

There are plenty of areas in this lounge to find a place to work, and you won't suffer from a lack of comfortable chairs, workspaces or power outlets. Plus, if a shower is what you need to refresh, they have one, but you'll want to reserve early to guarantee availability.

Want to access the Centurion Lounges when they reopen? Use one of these Amex cards:

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

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The Obama library is coming to Chicago. Will local residents be displaced?

Complex slated for South Side’s Jackson Park prompts fears that low-income Black residents will be displaced Barack Obama with an outline of the plans for the presidential center in 2017. Over the last six years, the Obama Foundation and the city of Chicago have courted scrutiny over the proposals. Photograph: Nam Y Huh/AP Construction of the Obama Presidential Center is expected to begin this fall in Chicago after years of debate over whether the complex will benefit low-income residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. It will be located in Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago – one of the most historically significant parks in the city, and originally designed for the 27 million visitors to the 1893 World’s Fair. The roughly $500m Obama Presidential Center (OPC) will feature a museum, playground, public library, and an open plaza. Such presidential complexes are considered the physical embodiment of a president’s legacy, and though the OPC will not house the archives of a traditional presidential library, the center is noteworthy for its nod to the Obamas’ roots. Barack started his political career in the area and Michelle grew up in the nearby South Shore neighborhood. But the development, expected to break ground this fall, has not arrived without controversy. Over the last six years, the Obama Foundation, which will fund the OPC, and the city of Chicago have courted scrutiny from two groups: park preservationists upset at a private development being built on public land, and community organizers who fear that low-income Black neighbors will be displaced by rising rents and land speculation. Since 2018, Protect Our Parks has waged legal battles to prevent the park’s construction in Jackson Park, the second largest park on the South Side and home to more than 250 species of birds. The non-profit maintains that the development could be built at an alternative site about two miles from Jackson Park with minimal damage to the environment. “This is a world-class park put together by Frederick Law Olmsted … and now somebody wants to gut it when, in fact, they can put it in a perfectly serviceable [location somewhere else],” said Richard Epstein, a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago who represents Protect Our Parks. A Protect Our Parks lawsuit against the city was struck down in 2020 by then US circuit court judge Amy Coney Barrett, and the organization’s petition for a supreme court review was recently denied. In April, the non-profit alleged in a second lawsuit that the OPC’s construction would “permanently destroy Jackson Park’s roadways, trees and overall integrity” and that the four federal regulatory reviews the site went through did not sufficiently consider alternative sites. A track and field in Jackson Park is seen at the site of the future Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. Photograph: Jose M Osorio/AP In response, the Obama Foundation said it’s “prepared to defend against this lawsuit from Protect Our Parks” and that it plans to plant more trees on-site than exists now. The spokesperson told the Guardian that “a thorough selection process was conducted and completed regarding the location of the museum campus”. Alderwoman Leslie Hairston, who represents some of the affected neighborhoods, is critical of park preservationists’ attempt to quash the development. “[The Protect Our Parks case] has been determined by a court of law to be uncredible,” Hairston said. Neighbors’ response to the Obama Presidential Center has been cautious. Woodlawn, Washington Par, and South Shore are predominantly Black low-income neighborhoods that have experienced the brunt of housing demolitions, discriminatory lending practices, and disinvestment since the 20th century. For residents used to empty promises, this new development could propel the community forward – or leave it behind. A major flashpoint has been affordable housing. A University of Illinois at Chicago study found that housing prices in the area rose between 2010 and 2017. “While rents vary, there is clear evidence of rising rents in newly renovated and new construction units, which the majority of current renters cannot afford,” researchers wrote. Some residents and community organizers have spent years saying the city, the Obama Foundation and others should reach an agreement that sets jobs aside for locals, protects affordable housing and supports Black businesses. Dixon Romeo, an organizer in South Shore, said some ardent OPC supporters have mischaracterized such calls as opposed to the development itself. “Most folks you talk to understand that the issue isn’t [with] Barack Obama,” said Romeo. “We’re for the Center but not for displacement,” echoed Paru Brown, a coalition organizer with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization. An artist’s impression of the new center. Photograph: Obama Foundation Obama himself came out against these proposals in 2017. “I’m not an outsider here,” he said during a video conference at the time. “I know the neighborhood. I know that the minute you start saying, ‘Well, we’re thinking about signing something that will determine who’s getting jobs and contracts and this and that.’ Next thing I know, I’ve got 20 organizations coming out of the woodwork, some I’ve never heard of before.” Even so, the Obama Foundation will require 50% of subcontracted vendors to be “diverse” and will fund $850,000 in workplace development training for 400 apprentices from the South and West Sides, according to a spokesperson. And in September last year, the Chicago city council passed an ordinance committing millions to redeveloping vacant buildings and lots, funding home improvements and refinancing for homeowners, and assisting low- and middle-income renters in home ownership. Under this agreement, renters also get the right of first refusal if their landlord sells the building. To Alderwoman Jeanette Taylor, who was elected in part because of her advocacy around the OPC, these policy shifts are personal. Before she was elected in 2019, she was an organizer and single Black mother priced out of Bronzeville, another South Side neighborhood. When the OPC was first announced, she feared being displaced from Woodlawn. “I [couldn’t] afford to live anywhere else in the city,” she said. Taylor was essential in the passage of the housing ordinance. Since then, she says her office’s interactions with the Obama Foundation and the University of Chicago, a major presence in the area, have been productive. “We don’t move without talking to each other. It’s a relationship where we’re learning to trust each other.” But getting to that level of transparency was a years-long battle. “I don’t care if it’s the first Black president or Queen Elizabeth or Beyoncé. We got to hold people accountable.”

The Latest: WHO considers ways to strengthen urgent response

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India on alert ahead of second powerful cyclone in 10 days

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Luckless Lake Charles: Louisiana city battered by extreme weather – again

Two big hurricanes, a paralyzing deep freeze, and now flooding rainfall – is Lake Charles’ year an omen of a deepening crisis? A submerged car is pictured on a flooded street after Hurricane Delta in October last year. ‘Climate change is something that is affecting this community,’ said the city’s Republican mayor. Photograph: Kathleen Flynn/Reuters As biblical rains pounded Lake Charles in Louisiana last week, beleaguered residents could be forgiven for thinking they have lived in the most unfortunate city in the United States over the past 14 months. Since last summer, the city has been hit by two major hurricanes, a paralyzing deep freeze, and now flooding rainfall that has inundated hundreds of homes. The latest disaster, which saw 15in of rain in just 12 hours, left people navigating the streets by kayak, salvaging what they could from homes still being patched up from hurricane damage and wondering if the past year is an omen of a deepening climate crisis. “We are a very resilient people, we are a very strong population,” said Nic Hunter, Lake Charles’ mayor, whose staff had scrambled to rescue electronics from a flooding city hall. His own children were marooned at school. “But, you know, eventually you do kind of get to a point where you ask Mother Nature: what more can you do to us?” A year of horror for Lake Charles – in south-west Louisiana, between Houston and New Orleans – started when Hurricane Laura slammed into the city in August. Laura was the joint-strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in Louisiana, whipping up winds of up to 150mph and destroying large chunks of the city. “It just annihilated the city. I went there and it was just far worse than I imagined, I was shocked,” said Barry Keim, a climate scientist at Louisiana State University. “Power poles were lying across the road. So were giant oak trees. Roofs were ripped off everywhere. It was unbelievable, catastrophic damage. And I thought, ‘This is going to take them years or decades to recover from this’.” There was no respite for Lake Charles, however, with Hurricane Delta delivering a blow to the city just six weeks later. Further calamity hit in February, when a cold snap that gripped much of the US south caused pipes in Lake Charles to burst, triggering widespread drinking water problems. All of these disasters have occurred on top of the ravages of the pandemic. “In terms of what they’ve been through, the only word is obscene,” said Keim. “It’s just been mind-boggling, insult added to injury again and again. I can’t imagine any location in the US has been hit any worse than Lake Charles.” Keim said it was difficult to put Lake Charles’s year entirely down to the climate crisis, but that the heating of the atmosphere and ocean is spurring stronger hurricanes and more moisture in the atmosphere is making heavy rainfall more likely. The repeated blows to the city have prompted its mayor to call for a “very bold and honest conversation” about climate change in a community where doubts over climate science are commonplace. “Climate change is something that is affecting this community,” said Hunter, a Republican. “I know that phrase can engender a lot of emotions with different people, but it is real and it is happening. I just think it would be ridiculous to say that something is not happening.” Hunter said the climate crisis threatens to push cities like Lake Charles beyond their ability to rebuild and adapt without significant help from the federal government. The city was still waiting on “commensurate” federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Laura, he said, and will need millions of dollars more to upgrade drainage, waterworks and other systems to make them more resilient to future storms and floods. “This has got to be a wake-up call to Washington that Lake Charles and south-west Louisiana is languishing right now,” Hunter said. “We need help. These monstrous events are wreaking havoc upon systems designed 40 or 50 years ago to deal with events that happened once every 100 years. Now we are getting these events happening multiple times over the past 14 months.”

I’ll Be Wearing This Linen Shirt All Summer Long

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Scouted/QuinceScouting Report: This linen shirt from Quince isn’t just breathable and stylish, it’s suitable for any occasion, making it a summer staple.This Spring we are finally venturing out of our apartments, and that also means back into our offices (maybe). However leaving our makeshift standing desks behind doesn’t mean we have to abandon all comfort, and luxury basics brand Quince is here to help. Linen is, in many ways, the fabric of summer. The soft fabric is breathable in a wide array of temperatures and durable, too. Quince’s 100% Organic Linen Short Sleeve Shirt takes all the light and breezy benefits of linen and combines them with clean, classic cuts that can be worn comfortably to the office and the beach. Even with the unavoidable sweat at my neck and underarms, the shirt didn’t stick to my skin as I’ve experienced with synthetic fabrics. The linen shirt is easy to care for and free from chemicals and materials that aren’t great for you or the planet.Buy on Quince, $35What sets Quince’s shirt apart from my other garments however, is that it is really, genuinely, completely, not see-through. To me, it defeats the purpose of wearing a lightweight top if I have to then wear an undershirt with it. The construction of the shirt has held up even after a few washes, not slouching at my shoulder or losing its polished looking frame. Among its many conveniences Quince’s Linen Shirt comes in a trio of neutral colors I’ve effortlessly been able to match with jeans and dress shoes alike. For an extra breezy look, you can pair them with Quince’s 100% Organic Linen Pants and basically be teleported to a rural cottage’s vegetable garden.The shirt’s v-neck collar isn’t too low for a meeting and the classic button down design isn’t too formal for a weekend trip. Best of all, the price tag is just right to start a Quince Linen collection for a stylish and carefree summer.Scouted selects products independently and prices reflect what was available at the time of publish. Sign up for our newsletter for even more recommendations. Don’t forget to check out our coupon site to find deals from Wayfair, Target, Kohls, and more. If you buy something from our posts, we may earn a small commission.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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Charleston Travel Guide

Charleston had been on our list for quite some time and what better way to visit this quaint Southern city than to celebrate our first anniversary! We ate and drank our way through the city and added a touch of a history with a walking tour.

Friday: We flew Delta from Laguardia direct to Charleston. The only redeeming quality of Laguardia is the Amex Centurion Lounge (even worth visiting it in a different terminal than ours). If you're an Amex member, see if you have access to these limited lounges with full service meals, drinks and comfy seating with free wi-fi. Hopefully they'll open more locations soon with currently only LGA, Miami, Dallas/Fort Worth, Vegas & San Francisco.

After a quick 2 and a half hour flight we grabbed an Uber and headed to our hotel. We booked on Marriott points (thanks NBA!) and were in a perfect location within walking distance of nearly everything we wanted to do. The bar scene in Charleston has everything from high end and stuffy to little dives up hidden staircases. With the close proximity to College of Charleston we were bombarded by drunken college kids almost immediately after leaving the hotel. This was not something that anyone had mentioned about their visits so I was hoping it was just because it was late on a Friday. Our first stop was not even worth mentioning and just a run of the mill sports bar. We didn't really see huge, rowdy crowds at night again as they must've all been at frat parties on Saturday.

In attempt to avoid that scene we made our second stop at a the craft beer bar, Closed for Business. The vibe was much more our pace for "early" in the evening. Nearly everywhere stopped serving food by midnight if not before but I had read that Rarebit served their breakfast menu late night. We made it there next just in time to have quite possibly the best bacon, egg and cheese sandwich of our lives on Texas toast. Their lunch and dinner menus looks just as tasty with an array of Southern favorites served at this mid-century modern dream and I would definitely go back.

Saturday:We had a lunch reservation but some time before to explore. Our hotel was in walking distance of nearly everything we wanted to do so we headed south on Meeting Street towards Husk. On the way we stopped for coffee at a cafe that had the prettiest oak trees covering their outdoor tables. The space felt a little corporate as its attached to the hotel next door but it was a good first stop to start the day.

One of the most hyped restaurants that you will read about when researching Charleston is definitely, Husk. If you are planning a trip, I would suggest making a reservation far in advance or don't expect to get seated without a long wait time. The menu changes almost daily and all of the food is sourced from Southern farms as shown on their board when you enter. Their James Beard award-winning chef, Sean Brock, is quoted on their website saying "if it doesn't come from the south, it's not coming through the door". We ordered shrimp and grits, fried chicken and fried pig's ear lettuce wraps. Every bite was southern cooking at its best, delicious and not concerned about the calories.

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