Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Amex Centurion Lounge at LGA (With Kids!)

One of the hidden perks about obtaining miles and points credit cards is that some of them come with free airport lounge access. On our Hawaii trip last March, I had the opportunity to enter a lounge in the Las Vegas airport during an overnight layover, but since it wasn't close to our terminal and we were running short on time we decided to skip it. However, on our recent trip to New York City, I had the chance to experience a different lounge.

The American Express Centurion Lounge is free to Platinum Amex cardholders (other Amex cardholders can pay a $50 fee per visit). There are only six of them in U.S. airports, but LaGuardia happens to have one of them. And the lounge policy states that I could bring my spouse and children under age 18 in with me for free.

When we arrived at the airport for our trip back home, I decided that if the lounge was near our gate and we had extra time, we would check it out. We made it through security by 9:30 a.m. (for a 12:15 p.m. flight) and we had plenty of time to spare. Except we discovered that the Amex lounge was actually outside security and we would have to exit and re-enter security before our flight. I didn't really want the hassle of doing that, but as we proceeded further in Terminal B we noticed that it was very small and had no available chairs. So we turned around and headed to the lounge.

The lounge is located on an upper floor between Terminal B and Terminal C. At the check-in desk, the staff was very pleasant, but my husband and I noticed 2 guests in the lounge that did not appear happy we were bringing three kids in with us.

The lounge basically has three areas--the first sitting area:

The dining room:

And the living room area, which is a hallway in between the two rooms. We choose to chill out in this area with the sofas and TVs.

My kids were actually very quiet and well-behaved (shocking!). They were just happy to have some room to spread out, plug in their electronics and chill. The lounge had a breakfast buffet out, but we were still full from our hotel breakfast.

A while later, some cookies were placed in the first lounge.

So the main benefits of the lounge are a complimentary food buffet, full service bar, TVs, WiFi, and a lot of space to spread out.

Shortly before 11, we left the lounge so that we had enough time to get through security again before our flight. And then our waiting area in the crowded terminal was this:

I will admit that I felt really relaxed and pampered after our short morning at the lounge. Aside from the initial glares from a few guests, bringing our kids into the lounge was no big deal. (We only saw one other child in the lounge, a much younger baby).

If you frequently visit LGA, Miami, DFW, Seattle, San Francisco or Las Vegas, then the Amex Platinum lounge perk is a great thing to have. Unfortunately, I will probably not get the chance to use this perk again before I cancel my card next year because we mostly fly out of Dallas Love Field airport on my Southwest points.

Airport lounges are a common thing when I read most miles and points blogs, since the writers are often single adults with no kids who fly first class all the time. But for my family, the lounge was a welcome luxury for our coach travel with kids. I am grateful we had the chance to experience the lounge.

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