American Express’ Sydney and Melbourne lounges are set to close next week ahead of a full rebrand and reopening as Centurion Lounges from December 1, bringing them into line with its premium offerings around the globe.
During the 10 day downtime from November 21, eligible card holders with American Express International Lounge access will instead be able to visit the Plaza Premium Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne International Airport.
Earlier this year, an American Express spokesperson revealed to Executive Traveller that visitors to the Centurion Lounges can expect to see “some exciting new enhancements... to elevate the experience of guests”.
It’s expected this will include a step up to food and drinks.
At overseas Centurion Lounges travellers often find an extensive list of wine, spirits, and signature cocktails on the bar menu, including Champagne for all guests, plus an à la carte menu featuring a comprehensive range of hot meals.
However, the AMEX spokesperson noted that despite the Centurion rebranding, the Sydney and Melbourne lounges will still welcome the same broad swath of American Express cardholders as before, confirming “who will be able to enter the lounges won’t change.”
Access to international Centurion Lounges is typically reserved for travellers holding the card company’s most exclusive cards.
On the local front, entry is provided with a flash of your AMEX-issued Platinum card while a broader set of American Express Explorer and partner cards from Qantas, Virgin Australia Velocity, Air New Zealand and David Jones – includes two free visits per year.
When the reopen, the lounges may also provide a handy Plan B for travellers on some Qantas partner airlines on days when the Qantas international first class and business class lounges close before a partner airline’s flight takes off, with Amex listing its lounge opening hours as follows:
- Amercian Express Sydney lounge: 6am to 10pm daily
- Amercian Express Melbourne lounge: 6am to 11pm daily
The American Express Sydney lounge opened its doors in 2019 after outgrowing AMEX's previously-cosy Sydney space, which was then taken over by lounge specialist Plaza Premium; the AMEX Melbourne lounge debuted in 2018 and is co-located with a Plaza Premium Lounge.
Recent Centurion Lounge openings include one at London's Heathrow T3 (the same terminal used by Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Finnair, JAL and several British Airways flights) which blends signature high-end touches with luxurious local design influences; and, perhaps the most impressive so far, the lounge in Denver's Concourse C.
Additional reporting by Chris Ashton