Both the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card give cardholders complimentary access to American Express Centurion Lounges when the primary cardholder flies a Delta marketed and operated flight.
But is this benefit alone worth applying for a Reserve card?
Simply put: no.
Quick Background: American Express Centurion Lounges
Centurion Lounges are premium lounges located in several airports throughout the world — and their network is expanding. They feature cocktails, buffet spreads designed by renowned (at least locally) chefs, showers, nice places to relax, and more.
Some have family areas where kids can play without disturbing other guests.
Here are some Centurion Lounge locations and our reviews:
- American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas (LAS)
- American Express Centurion Lounge Los Angeles (LAX)
- American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco (SFO)
- Old American Express Centurion Lounge DFW (now closed)
- New American Express Centurion Lounge DFW
- American Express Centurion Lounge Miami (MIA)
- American Express Centurion Studio Seattle (SEA)
- American Express Centurion Lounge New York LaGuardia (LGA)
Centurion Lounge Benefit for Delta Reserve Cardholders
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card receive free access to Centurion Lounges when traveling that same day on Delta. (The benefit is valid only at Centurion Lounges in the United States and Hong Kong. (Reserve cardholders also enjoy complimentary admission to Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta itineraries.)
Cardholders may bring up to two guests at $50 each. But guests, too, must be on a Delta itinerary that same day.
The terms and conditions stipulate that “The eligible flight must be booked on a U.S. issued American Express charge or credit Card.” I’m not sure how that’s enforced. If you buy a flight with a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, can you still enter? Although maybe Delta somehow codes boarding passes to alert Centurion Lounge check-in reps if you didn’t book with an American Express card.
Keep in mind you can’t access Centurion Lounges when arriving at your final destination. And don’t try to enter more than three hours before your flight.
Food, beverage, and ambiance-wise, I’ll take nearly any Centurion Lounge over most Delta Sky Club any day. The only exception is the overcrowded and underwhelming Centurion Studio Seattle — which I visited for ten minutes before bolting to the fantastic, nearby Delta Sky Club.
Why the Centurion Lounge Benefit Alone Might Not Be Worth Getting a Reserve Card
Many Centurion Lounges aren’t located in the same terminals as Delta. In Dallas, you need to take the post-security AirTrain from Delta’s gates to the Centurion Lounge. The San Francisco and Miami lounges, for example, are so far away that you travel to another terminal land-side and enter security.
In Las Vegas, though, the Centurion Lounge is relatively close — only a five-minute walk.
Plus, keep in mind access is limited to just the cardholder — who must be flying a Delta itinerary that day. If you’re a free agent and travel other airlines, you’ll receive far more benefits from card_name or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. The non-Delta Amex Platinum cards allow you to bring two guests for free to the Centurion Lounge. (Well, until February 2023.) And you can fly any airline you want and still have access.
For example, I work in Las Vegas several times a year and usually fly Southwest. The Reserve cards’ Centurion Lounge benefits wouldn’t get me admission. But my Platinum Card® from American Express does — and I usually bring two colleagues with me.
Plus, both card_name and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express come with Delta Sky Club access (just like the Reserve cards), Priority Pass Select Membership (which the Reserve cards don’t have), and admission to the Global Lounge network (also not included with the Reserve cards). Enrollment is required to take advantage of the Priority Pass Select benefit.
Should You Still Get a Delta Reserve Card?
Don’t get me wrong: the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card are great for helping Medallions see more upgrades and acquire gobs of MQM. The first class BOGO is a nice benefit, too. The Centurion Lounge benefit is certainly a nice plus.
But if you’re a casual flyer who doesn’t care about upgrades, MQM, or the BOGO — and only has Centurion Lounges in your eyes, consider card_name or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.
What Do You Think About the Delta Reserve Cards’ Centurion Lounge Access Benefit?
Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section!
To see rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please visit this link. Terms apply.
To see rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, please visit this link. Terms apply.
To see rates and fees for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this link. Terms apply.
To see rates and fees for card_name, please visit this link. Terms apply.
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For my travel patterns, I will say that a Priority Pass benefit on that card would be MUCH more valuable to me. I definitely want to try a Centurion lounge at some point, but on my next Mileage Run, having Priority Pass at my home airport of CHS and having it in JNB since I don’t believe I will be able to get into the Clubhouse there would be very valuable to me. This is of course because I have the Reserve card and am not currently in a position to get another premium card that offers the Priority Pass benefit.
@Brian Fisher: When you’re able to get a premium card w/ Priority Pass, I recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. It’s cheaper than both the personal and business Amex Platinum cards — and also has the restaurant benefit that Amex 86ed.
Q: My wife has an “employee” Reserve card tied to my Business Reserve account. That gets her free entry to SkyClubs. Will it also work at the Centurion Clubs.
@Glen: The terms and conditions on Amex’s website say she — the Additional Card member — should have access to the Centurion Lounges.
I think the new PHX lounge will be in terminal 4, near AA international flight. Delta is in terminal 3.
@Chris Carley: That’s a very good point. Thanks for the tip!
My corporate expense system gets credit card charge data and it includes my flight information in that charge. Not sure if there is some behind the scenes magic happening or it is included in the charge data but it can be done. So if they have that piece working they can verify.
You didn’t mention the soon to open JFK T4 Centurion, in the same Delta terminal . Also a little further down the road, the LAX centurion, which will be in TBIT, which a year from now, will be connected to T2 and T3 and some Delta flights do leave from TBIT
@Christian D: Good point about the JFK Centurion. Even though T2-T3-TBIT will be physically connected, it will still be sort of a hike.
You’re spot-on. I had called this out back in the fall when this – specious – benefit was announced. In most cases, the Centurion Lounge is not anywhere near Delta gates. So unless they start serving up Filet Mignon and Lobster Tails…I’m not schlepping over there. The point about the new CL coming to JFK T4 is valid…but the T4 Sky Club is among the best in Delta’s system and has been undergoing another remodel so that may be a push (Las Vegas pun intended!).
I now have Amex delta reserve card. Upgraded from the gold one. But now looking at this style it seems the platinum non delta card might be a better option as you don’t have to be flying delta and can bring in two guests even. Can you ask Amex to change it from delta reserve to platinum non delta ? Has that ever happened?
The Delta Centurion Lounge “access” has been totally useless. I tried several days in February 2020 to enter the one in Mexico City. They would not let me in!
We use the Amex Platinum as our our primary household card. We recently got the Delta Reserve Card for the 125k bonus points plus the companion ticket each year. That alone pays for it. I absolutely agree when traveling through SEA that the Delta Sky Club triumphs over the SEA Centurion Lounge.
SEA is going to have to a new, larger Centurion Lounge. I look forward to seeing what it offers. But I’m still very impressed by the SEA Sky Club. (That chowder from King’s is so good!)
I arrived early for my flight in Sacramento and the club was not open yet. I watched an employee walk around for over 40 min with his shirt untucked. He was not too friendly when I went in and the really only food ready was dry muffins and really no other food out but a fruit cup. I was really disappointed in this visit.
Which club was this?
AMEX PLATINUM JUST NIXED A SIGNIFICANT OTHER TO BE ADMITTED INTO THE LOUNGE AS OF FEB 24TH. i DONT UNDERSTAND WHY THE HIGH FEES AND MY WIFE CANT GET IN. ABSOLUTE POPPYCOCK.