Free food, free drinks? Read our review on the Amex Centurion Lounge at JFK

Image a gold colored wall and a door leading into the 1850 Speakeasy

After you clear security and take a sharp left in JFK’s Terminal 4, you are greeted to a warm, welcoming green facade of the Amex Centurion Lounge. As you step inside and are greeted by the lounge’s hosts, you are reminded of how relaxing a trip to the airport can really be.

Image of seating area at the lounge with high-back chairs along floor-to-ceiling windows
Seating Area (Courtesy of Kyle Andrews / Time to See the World)

Welcome Home

Once you check into the lounge, you then walk into a family-room type space. Here you scan see the entry to the Equinox Body Lab and some roomy chairs you might casually bump into in your own house.

Image of Equinox Body Lab with reclining chairs and wood trimmed walls
Equinox Body Lab (Courtesy of Kyle Andrews / Time to See the World)

The First Floor

As you continue walking towards the back of the lounge, you are greeted to some nice cubby holes to relax in as well as floor-to-ceiling view of the taxis and runways of JFK. These large windows keep the space quite bright and add a feeling of openness. To the right of this space, you will find the first buffett station featuring a variety of snacks to eat while you wait for your flight, including pasta, chicken, salad and other items. In addition, there is the first bar of the space serving drinks to those 21+. This bar provides a nice seating area in front of it that provides extra space to relax in as well.

Buffet area with various food options for guests to select from. In the background is the first floor bar
Buffet and Bar on the First Floor of the Amex Centurion Lounge (Courtesy of Kyle Andrews / Time to See the World)

If you turn back and start walking in the opposite direction, you can find some additional seating areas against the glass and a conference room for those taking business calls at the lounge.

Luckily for travelers, this lounge offers even more. To start, travelers can head down the stairs in the middle of the lounge to reach the second floor.

The Second Floor

This second floor features some of the same features as the first but also adds one secret section that is quintessential to NYC.

Image of the tarmac with Singapore Airlines A380 parked on the tarmac in the distance
View of the Taxiway from the Amex Centurion Lounge (Courtesy of Kyle Andrews / Time to See the World)

When you reach the second floor, you are greeted to the same floor-to-ceiling windows and buffet area that find on the first floor. This buffet features the same food as upstairs and provides an easy access point when the upstairs buffet is busy. Next to the buffet, there is another bar. This bar was not open during my visit, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a location where you can get booze at this lounge.

Shhh… It’s a Secret

While the second floor bar is a nice space accompanied with a TV and some seats by the windows, there is one secret hideaway that you won’t want to miss. If you look at the wall, there is a bright vertical light and a door. Upon opening this door, you are greeted by a surprise speakeasy. Back here, you will find a dimmed space with booth seating and a full bar that would fit perfectly in the prohibition era. Here, you will find bartenders that are happy to shake but not stir a cocktail for you.

  • Image a gold colored wall and a door leading into the 1850 Speakeasy
  • Image of the 1850 Speakeasy with a dark atmosphere and comfortable booths and large bar

How do I visit?

As you finish your last bite or drink and realize it is time to get to your gate, you are quickly reminded of why access to the Centurion Lounge is worth it. While the initial cost of entry is expensive in the form of the Amex Centurion or Platinum card’s annual fee, you do find a place that offers a relaxing place to work or start your vacation from at the airport. Overall, I feel like the fee is worth it. This lounge is such a nice place that I could spend a day here just on its own. Add in the complimentary food and cocktails (however, make sure you to tip the bartender), and this place definitely provide a great place to start your next trip.

Kyle’s Tip

Kyle’s Tip: When planning a trip to any Centurion lounge, make sure to have your Amex card or app, boarding pass and ID with you. When I checked into the lounge, they would only provide me access if I presented all three items. This helps make sure that you are the cardholder and have a flight that allows you entry into the space. Additionally, make sure to check wait times in the app. While there was no wait when I visited, there can be waits in busy times. However, even with a wait, I still believe this lounge is worth it, mainly due to all the benefits that it does provide. It truly is a place that can help start your next trip on a positive note!

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