American Express eyes Newark for its largest Centurion Lounge to date

Sep 27, 2021

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There’s some great news for Amex cardmembers passing through the New York City area: the issuer is on the cusp of having a Centurion Lounge in all three of the region’s largest airports.

Though American Express already operates Centurion Lounge outposts in New York’s LaGuardia and JFK airports, Newark is currently missing one.

Your Platinum Card from American Express U.K. gives you access to Centurion Lounges around the world.

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Fortunately, that’s (likely) about to change. The issuer is closing in on a 15-year lease in the airport’s brand-new Terminal A for an 18,000-square-foot lounge, which would make Newark its largest location to date.

According to the public agenda for Thursday’s board meeting of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the region’s airports, there’s a proposed resolution about the development of a non-airline-branded lounge in an expansion to the new terminal.

The Port Authority and the terminal operator received two proposals for the new lounge, and both parties are recommending that the board move forward with Amex’s offer. (The other interested party was not disclosed in the resolution.)

In a statement confirming the move, an American Express spokesperson shared that:

We are working closely with the Port Authority to explore options for a new Centurion Lounge at Newark Liberty International Airport. We will continue to work with their team to finalise these proposed details.

The resolution includes many (exciting) details about the lounge itself. It wouldn’t just be the largest one in the network, it’d also offer a slew of first-rate amenities that could make it the nicest one too.

Some of the proposed amenities include an outdoor terrace overlooking the airfield, with views of the Port of Newark, New York and Newark Harbor and the Manhattan skyline, a piano lounge, a Jersey jazz-themed bar and a speakeasy-themed cocktail lounge. Amex is also proposing wellness rooms, workstations, multiple food buffets and “world-class” restroom facilities as well.

The new lounge would be located in the airport’s brand-new Terminal A, which is currently under construction with an opening date slated for the first half of next year.

Rendering of the new Newark Terminal A (Courtesy of the Port Authority)

While the terminal itself has space for up to four airline lounges, Amex’s location would be on the top floor of a 50,000-square-foot, three-story expansion building adjacent to the new terminal. It wasn’t immediately clear where exactly that expansion would be located or when it would be completed.

Related: 10 things to do when you get the Platinum Card from American Express UK

The proposal states that Amex would lease the entire expansion area for a 15-year term, with one five-year extension option, at a total cost of $121.5 million (£88 million), equating to over $8 million a year (£5.8 million). The issuer would also invest roughly $100 million (£73 million) to construct the expansion area.

As part of the agreement, Amex will sublease the first and second floors of the new building expansion back to the Port Authority for potential subleasing to concessionaires and other interested parties. Notably, the Port Authority would not make any capital investments in the connection with the proposed lease.

Though there’s an unnamed, second company competing for the lounge space, Amex is currently the frontrunner, with the recommendation that the agency moves forward with the Amex proposal. The resolution is going to a vote on Thursday, and we’ll be sure to update the story with the outcome.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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