Amex Centurion Lounge at IAH (all the juicy stuff you gotta know)

Amex Centurion Lounge at IAH (all the juicy stuff you gotta know)

Visiting the Amex Centurion Lounge at the Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) for the first time was an eye-opening experience. Basically, I learned that not all Amex Lounges are created equal.

I found this one to be small, somewhat cramped, and not all that relaxing. While it looked very similar to other Amex Lounges that I’ve visited in the past, it had a “budget” vibe to it that none of the other ones seem to have.

SANspotter selfie Amex Centurion Lounge IAH
The food though. If there was one redeeming quality of my visit, it was the heaping plate of deliciousness that very much lived up to the Amex Centurion name.

My full review of the American Express Centurion Lounge at IAH

I had high expectations as I was making my way to the entrance. However, while I wasn’t completely dissatisfied with my experience, it didn’t quite live up to my admittedly lofty expectations.


Finding the Amex Centurion Lounge at IAH will be a bit of a struggle. Located in Concourse D, the entrance is actually buried deep within a duty-free shop near gate D12. It’s the single weirdest entrance to an airport lounge that I’ve ever seen.

amex centurion lounge location map iah

AMEX centurion lounge sign inside duty-free shop at IAH

I like how they assume anyone will actually see the sign pointing to the Centurion Lounge with all that duty free alcohol on display.

AMEX centurion lounge elevator at IAH
If you make it past the alcohol, take the elevator down one level to reach to lounge.
AMEX centurion lounge logo IAH
The elevator will open, and…you’ll see this. You’re not there quite yet, cowboy.
Hallway to AMEX centurion lounge IAH
A full minute later and I’m still not there yet! It was at this point that I was thinking that I should’ve just grabbed some alcohol in the duty-free shop and called it a day.
Amex centurion lounge entrance IAH
I’ve never been happier to see an airport lounge entrance in all my life. This better be good!
Amex centurion lounge reception desk IAH
OK yeah, this does look good. Hope you still have some energy left to mosey on up to the reception desk though – it’s a bit of a walk once you pass through the main entrance.


Unlike the Centurion Lounge at SFO, the one here at IAH is essentially one large room sectioned off into three individual spaces. The bar and food buffet is one section, and the other two sections are lounging areas with shared communal (and private) spaces.

Amex centurion lounge IAH layout
If there’s one pic that captures the entire essence of this lounge, it’s gotta be this one. What you’re seeing is about 75% of the entire space.
Amex centurion lounge IAH size
Here’s the other 25%. Assuming I did the math right, I declare this to be one of the smallest Amex lounges in existence.
Amex centurion lounge IAH sections
Think of it as one large(ish) room creatively broken up into individual sections. It’s basically what the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club at HNL could’ve been if they actually gave a ****.
Amex centurion lounge IAH decor
Nothing says “we give a ****” more than seeing the same decor that I’ve shown you in my other American Express Centurion Lounge reviews. They’re getting a lot of mileage out of those black cube chairs!


Of all the Amex Centurion Lounges that I’ve visited so far, the one here at IAH offers the least amount of comfortable seating. The lack of space has obviously limited what kind of seating they were able to include, but they tried their best. Most of the seating is basic and not particularly good for stretching out and relaxing.

Amex Centurion Lounge IAH cafeteria style seating
The first thing you’ll notice about the seating in this lounge is that there isn’t very much of it. This is the entirety of the cafeteria style seating.
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH cafeteria and bar
The view from the other direction shows how small the space really is. Prepare to rub elbows!
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH couches
As an introvert, this pic of the opposing couches (in the main room) gives me the willies. I’d much prefer scrubbing toilets than to look directly into the eyes of complete strangers.
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH work table
This communal work table isn’t any better. RIP to any females who dare squeezing into this sausage fest.
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH communal work desk
Here’s a view of the same tech bro table from the other direction.
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH seating
Panning to the left a bit reveals more seating options along the wall. Think of these seats as the bullpen for the tech bro table.
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH seating options
Hmm. If there’s one thing to be learned from this review so far, it’s that bony butt types (such as myself) aren’t likely to find a comfortable seat.
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH meditation room
That said, the fluffy chairs in the “Calm” branded meditation room look pretty sweet (and bony butt friendly).


I don’t think I would be able to recommend this lounge at all if the food wasn’t good. I mean, if there’s one thing that every Amex Centurion Lounge does right, it’s the food. The one here at IAH is no exception – though I did find the buffet to be slightly smaller compared to other Centurion Lounges.

Amex Centurion Lounge IAH food buffet
But wait! As you’re about to see, it’s the food that makes up for the lack of quality seating in this lounge.
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH salad bar
The salad bar looks pretty good…
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH hot bar
…but it’s the hot bar items (and cookies) that you’ll want to load up on.
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH cookies
Looks like I’m not the only one who can vouch for the cookies!
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH fruit bowls
I wonder how often they have to refill these fruit bowls? I’m guessing once a week. Tops.
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH dinner plate
Here’s what I managed to scrape together. The fish was legit, BTW.
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH drinks and snacks
Also spread throughout the lounge were these convenient beverage and snack stations (with more fruit bowls they likely never have to refill).
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH self serve coffee and tea machine
Yup, there’s self serve coffee and tea as well!
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH bar
Speaking of drinks, this is the bar (along with the bartender seemingly telling that guy to shut up about how much nicer the bar in the LAX Centurion Lounge is).

How to get in

One of the problems I have with airport lounges (in general) is the amount of research it takes to figure out if I have the credentials to get in. Getting into an American Express Centurion Lounge is relatively straightforward though. I like how the rules are consistent from location to location.

You’ll need one of the following American Express cards to get in (along with a same day boarding pass and government issued ID):

  • Platinum Card
  • Business Platinum Card
  • Corporate Platinum Card
  • Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card
  • Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card

Centurion Members are also welcome. That said, keep an eye on the latest official entry requirements (because things do change from time to time).

Amex Centurion Lounge IAH showers
On the subject of entry requirements, you’re going to have to make an appointment to use the showers. Those of you looking for a coed free-for-all are going to have to look elsewhere.
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH phone room
Maybe you could get something going with a few willing participants in the phone room? It looks to be private enough for a good time.
Amex Centurion Lounge IAH print station
I’d bet anything that nobody has ever had a good time here at this printer station though. I can feel the life being sucked right out of me just by looking at it.

Pros and cons of the Amex IAH Centurion Lounge

Long story short, I’m of the opinion that the only legitimate reason to visit this lounge is for the food and drinks. It’s not all that great of a place for relaxation – mainly because of how small and crowded it is. That said, here’s my specific list of pros and cons:


  • The food is excellent, and very much on par with other lounges in the Amex Centurion network.
  • The large bar area makes it an excellent place to pop in for a drink or two (or three).
  • The lounge attendants were incredibly kind and helpful, offering me drink refills and anything else I might need during my visit.


  • It’s cozy. Another way of saying it is that it’s small. And yet another way is to say it’s cramped. None of those statements are false.
  • I found the atmosphere to be too noisy and busy to be able to relax.
  • The buffet seemed a little small compared to other Centurion Lounges.

Comments (4)

  1. Jason B

    July 11, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      July 11, 2023
  2. Kevin

    October 1, 2023
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      October 1, 2023

Give a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.