American Express Is Applying For A New, Spacious Centurion Lounge At Seattle Tacoma Airport

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American Express tiny and always overcrowded Centurion Lounge at Seattle Tacoma Airport has been a sore spot with card members for a long time but now Amex has apparently applied for larger space.

According to a document made public online by the Port of Seattle airport management there will be a meeting on Tuesday, June 23 to discuss expansion plans for a new lounge with 13,700 square footage.

This would be a vast improvement in size as the Seattle location is totally inadequate in terms of size and facilities considering the traffic at SEA airport and the fact that it’s a rather affluent city with many multinational companies which usually translates to many Platinum/Centurion cardholders.

You can access American Express current information about the Seattle location here.

Mind you, all Centurion Lounges are currently closed since late March:

As the health and safety of our Card Members and colleagues is our top priority, in light of the spread of COVID-19 we are temporarily closing all The Centurion® Lounge locations, starting on Saturday, March 21, 2020. American Express will provide notice here and on the Amex Mobile App when locations reopen.

We look forward to reopening our lounges and welcoming our Card Members back as soon as we can. We appreciate your understanding during this time and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Who knows when they will reopen these facilities but as travel is gearing up again hopefully it’ll be soon.

So what is Amex planning to do in Seattle?

A reader forwarded us a link to a page belonging to the port of Seattle which provided a “Lease Authorization” for a meeting that is scheduled for next Tuesday June 23, 2020.

According to the pdf file (see below) Amex is planning to lease a lounge space of 13,700 sqf in space which I’d estimate be about 2.5-3x the current floor space. I have only been there twice but it always felt very crammed and often times card holders are even turned away due to overcrowding. Seattle is actually the most notorious lounge in the entire system for being unavailable as no seats are available.

Here are the cornerstones of the new lounge (if so approved):

Amex Lounge Key Lease Terms

  • 10 year lease, one 5 year option
  • $220 psf/yr. for first 5 years, CPI adjustment at year 6 for second 5 years, and at year 11 if option is exercised
  • Annual non-aeronautical revenues of $3 million
  • Approx. 13,700 sf footprint (upper level)
  • $16.5M Amex capital investment

Having a 10 year lease on the space and another 5 year option at least secures Amex investment in the new lounge and provides some form of reliability guarantee to the customer as well.

Download (PDF, 561KB)

The location on the map shows that the lounge would be entirely relocated to the mezzanine so likely that the current Centurion Lounge would remain operational (once reopened that is) while the new one is under construction so that’s a positive thing.

Conclusion

It’s overdue that Amex finds a solution for the conditions at their Seattle Centurion Club. The small space they had there was really difficult to handle especially during peak times. This is a rather strange time to plan something like this though considering everywhere is being propagated that travel volume will be highly reduced in the years to come.

Amex has marketed their Platinum Card very aggressively in the last few years so the amount of eligible customers has risen steadily, increasing the eligibility and demand of cardholders to use these facilities. The Amex Platinum is a benefit card that costs $550 per year in the U.S. which includes a range of credits ($200 Airline Credit, Uber Credits, 2x $50 Saks credit) plus of course Priority Pass and the Centurion Lounge access.

Points earning rates on this card are absolutely dismal except for the 5 miles for $ spent on airfare. This means customers who have the Platinum do really want to make their benefits work for them which has also lead to increased cancellation/downgrades of the Platinum due to the COVID situation. For those who keep their card as is Amex has come up with various retention offers in most global markets.

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