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So as part of the Boarding Area blogger conference, we got 2 free visits to the American Express Centurion lounge Las Vegas McCarran airport. I was a little surprised (worried?) when I saw this tweet a week or so before my arrival
The @AmericanExpress Centurion Lounge as LAS is a big disappointment. No seats. No cocktails. Little food. Might be better off in terminal.
— Scott Mackenzie (@HackMyTrip) September 7, 2014
But in looking at the review that One Mile at a Time posted earlier this month, I realized that it was going to be awesome, and was definitely looking forward to it.
Where is the Centurion Lounge Las Vegas?
It’s actually a little trickier to get to the Centurion Lounge Las Vegas than you might think. Perhaps a map of Las Vegas McCarran airport would help as I explain how difficult it was to get to the Centurion Lounge Las Vegas from where we were
We flew Southwest direct from Indianapolis (IND) and arrived in gate B20 (red circle). I knew that the Centurion Lounge Las Vegas was across from Gate D1, so I followed the signs to the terminal (red path). As you can see, there is a security entry point at the entrance to A and B terminals. I knew that we couldn’t go through there, since we wouldn’t be able to get back in through security at the D terminal.
I ended up calling information on an airport courtesy phone. The operator was not quite sure what I was talking about, but instructed me that I could get to the D Terminal if I walked back through B and C Terminals, which we did (yellow line on map).
Then we took a tram back that advertised itself as for Terminal 1, Baggage Claim, and A, D and E gates. It seemed like what we wanted but I was really not sure. Tram doesn’t take very long (green dotted line), so we stepped out and were greeted by ANOTHER Do Not Enter TSA sign. At that point we really did not know where to go, but luckily saw off to the right a sign advertising ANOTHER tram, this one to the D Concourse (sorry for the blurry picture)
That tram took us on a ride over to the D Concourse, and once we got there, it was easy to go up the escalator, to the right, and into the Centurion Lounge Las Vegas.
There was a reception desk where I was able to check-in. Normally, the American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas is available for holders of the American Express Platinum or Centurion cards (these are the ones with the ~$450 annual fees), and if you have one of these cards, your immediate family also gets in for free. If you don’t have one of those cards, but do have a DIFFERENT American Express, you can pay $50 for a day pass, which lets in any children under 18 that are traveling with you. Aha! Clearly they hadn’t thought about those of us with 6 kids!!!! $50 is a steep price (for me anyways), but if we had a few hours to kill, it would probably be cheaper than 8 airport meals. Though as I read the rules, both adults would have to pay the $50.
American Express Centurion lounge Las Vegas Food
Food at the Amex Centurion Lounge Las Vegas was quite good, and definitely a step above what you see in most US airport lounges, which tends to be packaged snacks and finger foods.
We were there from about 3pm to 5pm, and the Amex Centurion Lounge Las Vegas was serving their “Gourmet Dinner Buffet”, which I found quite good. I tried some of just about everything – the pasta was good, the lamb was good, and I really liked the sandwiches.
The one negative I would say is that there is no self-serve pop machine. Since we don’t drink alcohol, the full bar was not super appealing to us, and it would be my preference to be able to serve my own drinks, rather than wait to order (though the employees were plentiful). There are self-serve options for tea, coffee and water (the water was a little hard to find but it’s next to a pillar facing the bar).
Seating at the Amex Centurion Lounge Las Vegas
There are a ton of seating areas, which is good, because when we got there it was pretty crowded. We had to pick a table a little far away, but soon “upgraded” when a family left.
Speaking of family, there is an enclosed family room at the Amex Centurion Lounge Las Vegas, which would be crucial for us if we ever decided to come all together – this is where we shove all the kids and then quietly… shut… the door… 🙂
There are bathrooms at the Amex Centurion Lounge Las Vegas of course, and a shower area. I enjoyed the “shoe polisher” in the bathroom 🙂
All in all, it was a great experience, other than the complications in just trying to GET to the American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas, though now that I have seen an airport map, I have a much better understanding of where to go. Would it be worth the $50 day pass rate? I’m not so sure, but that might just be because I’m a total tightwad. If our whole family had a huge layover here, I think it would certainly be more pleasant (and possibly even cheaper?) than just hanging out in the terminal for several hours.
(Featured image courtesy of Marco Verch / Flickr / CC BY 2.0)