Review: American Express Escape Lounge – Phoenix, USA
American Express offers a hybrid version of their Centurion Lounges in an entry level American Express Escape Lounge. Branded asa Centurion Studio Partner lounge, American Express aims to offer an express version of their full centurion lounges, without the full buffet and complimentary exotic bar services. Our visit to the American Express Escape Lounge in Phoenix would test out the space. How did the visit measure up to a regular Centurion Lounge visit?
This post is one chapter on my brief trip to Scottsdale, Arizona, United States of America. This trip was enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and Air Canada’s Aeroplan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
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✈️ Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: A Mileage Run to Scottsdale via Air Canada Business Class
- Plaza Premium Lounge – Vancouver Transborder
- Air Canada Business Class: Vancouver – Phoenix
- My Experience Renting as a Hertz President’s Circle Member at Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport
- The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, Arizona, USA
- The American Express Escape Lounge – A Centurion Studio Partner, Phoenix, USA
Review: American Express Escape Lounge – A Centurion Studio Partner, Terminal 3, Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport, Phoenix, Arizona, Nevada, United States of America.
American Express Centurion Lounges are the flagship lounges offered by American Express. A Centurion Lounge offers the best in what a lounge can offer with engaging food and beverage offers, including a full bar.
American Express also offers its lesser known Escape Lounges. The American Express Escape Lounges are branded as a Centurion Studio Partner and offer “a quick escape paired with delicious food and drinks“. American Express encourages travellers to “Cool off with a cold draft beer and catch up on emails or satisfy your appetite with a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner”.
Escape Lounges – The Centurion® Studio Partner welcomes all travellers regardless of airline, status, or card in hand and offers complimentary access to American Express Platinum and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve* Card Members.
Locating the American Express Escape Lounge:
I arrived to the Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport after a terrific, but short stay, at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa courtesy of a Mercedes Rental provided by Hertz Phoenix.
The Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport is split into two terminals. My departing flight on Air Canada departed from the less exciting Phoenix Sky Harbour Terminal 3.
At the time of writing, Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport Terminal Three contained all of the “left over” airlines that service Phoenix. These included Advanced, Air Canada, Alaska, Allegiant, Breeze Airways, Contour, Delta, Denver Air, Frontier, Hawaiian, Jet Blue, Southern, Spirit, Sun Country and United Airlines.
Phoenix Sky Harbour Terminal 4 hosts the other major airlines for Phoenix, including many of the One World Alliance members including American Airlines, British Airways, and other international carriers such as Condor Airlines, Eurowings, Southwest and transborder Canadian carrier Westjet.
I arrived into Terminal Three and easily cleared security using TSA Pre-Check. With minimal lines in the early afternoon, I was quickly through onto the secure side of Phoenix Terminal Three.
The American Express Escape Lounge – A Centurion Lounge Partner was easily located in the main part of the terminal, adjacent to the escalators that brought you up to the departures level. The Escape Lounge appeared to be a retail storefront that was expanded upon to by taking up some additional space into the concourse walkway using a glass cube.
For those that prefer orienting themselves to a map, the lounge is located in the central portion of the Terminal Three portion of the Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport; well away from all the gate fingers that stretch out from the terminal both north and south from the main building.
The American Express Escape Lounge – A Centurion Studio Partner was easy to find. You won’t miss it if departing from the Phoenix Terminal 3 concourse. It’s also pretty easy to find if you happen to be connecting through the airport, by wandering to the main terminal building.
Accessing the Lounge:
The American Express Escape Lounge – a Centurion Studio Partner is accessible to almost anyone and you do not have to be flying on a specific airline in order to gain access.
American Express Escape Lounge Phoenix offers access through the following methods:
- American Express Platinum Card Members and Centurion Card Members receive complimentary entry for themselves and up to two guests.
- Complimentary entry for American Express Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card and $30 for additional guests, provided you are flying on a Delta Airlines Marketed Flight that day
- $45 per person if paid at the door (taxes extra)
- $40 per person if booked online at EscapeLounges.com at least 24 hours prior to entry (taxes extra)
- TAV Passport Card Members receive complimentary entry for themselves and one guest.
- Dreamfolks Card Holders receive access based on their plan. Contact Dreamfolks to learn more about your benefits.
- Children under 24 months receive free entry.
- Membership discounts including AAA and military discounts are available at the front desl.
- Note: Certain American Express Platinum Cards may display the name and/or logo of a third party merchant or financial institution. For questions about eligibility of these Platinum Cards for complimentary access to Escape Lounges, please call the number on the back of your Card.
American Express Platinum, Centurion, and Delta SkyMiles@ Reserve Card Card Members at Escape Lounges – The Centurion® Studio Partner, enjoy access to an exclusive menu of premium snacks, wine and liquors in addition to the full food and bar menu available to all guests.
The hours of operation of the American Express Escape – Phoenix were much better than the Centurion Lounge near me which usually open at 7 AM and closes at 7 PM. During my visit, the hours of operation of the Escape Lounge were 4:30 AM to 10 PM.
On my visit today, I presented an American Express Platinum Business Card, along with my board ing pass. Unlike many American Express Centurion Lounges, there was no wait to get in and I was admitted without delay.
Inside the American Express Escape Lounge Phoenix:
American Express describes their Escape Lounges as being about convenience, quality and a personalized experience. They describe their food and beverage menus, as going above and beyond by providing the most delicious products and locally sourced ingredients.
The American Express Escape Lounge offers a compact “studio” type seating arrangement. The space is a bit small on lounge seating, but there are plenty of bar seats and a few restaurant styled tables and chairs available.
From reception, on the right hand side of the lounge, are the few available lounge chairs. There were limited to about twelve different chairs, mostly located with an individual pod styled configuration.
Most of the seating was pretty popular, and I was perhaps fortunate enough to be travelling alone today. I doubted I would have gotten a pair of lounge chairs if I was with a travelling partner. They were pretty popular on my visit.
Heading towards the opposite end of the lounge, the American Express Escape Lounge offered a long angled bar. The bar was levered in the middle, and offered angle seating with viewing against a flat screen television.
Towards the far end of the lounge, there were a handle of tables and chair seating. The tables and chairs were numbered to seat up to six people, with others designed up to seating for four persons.
The lounge was pretty configured for high density seating, given the amount of hard seating surfaces in the lounge. As a result, this space is more suited towards a quick recharge before a flight, as opposed to a long relaxing layover stay in a comfortable leather chair.
Food and Beverage:
The food and beverage program at the American Express Centurion Lounges are generally very good to excellent. I was really curious to see whether this feature would lead to the American Express Escape Lounges.
The food and beverage options at the American Express Lounge were presented on laminate cards. The cards were nicely designed, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was a bit of a low rent touch.
The first side of the menu offered complimentary wines, spirits and beer. Whereas the second side of the menu offered signature cocktails at $9 USD each, along with premium spirits at $7 – $10 USD each and premium wines at $10 – $14 USD each.
The food menu was done on a waiter ordering basis. A food menu was presented. While there were quite a few items on the food menu, the menu itself was a little industrial looking, in the form of a list.
Towards the restaurant seating area, there were a few limited beverage and snack items available on a walk up basis from the counter. These appeared a lot less engaging than the last American Express Centurion Lounge that I had visited. It appeared that most of the food was offered through the menu service.
I ended up ordering a Turkey Baguette Sandwich with brie, pear and balsamic onion with winter greens on a baguette. It took about twelve minutes to arrive. It was a little smaller than I anticipated. I didn’t end up sticking around for a second order, as I had run out of time prior to my departing flight.
While the American Express Escape Lounge offered reasonable food, I wouldn’t expect the same level of food that you might find in a regular American Express Centurion Lounge. It would be wise to consider this place as more of a “snack” place, as opposed to somewhere you’d find a full meal replacement.
My Thoughts on the American Express Escape Lounge Phoenix:
The American Express Escape Lounge – a Centurion Studio Partner is a reasonable hybrid alternative to the fuller flagship American Express Centurion Lounge.
The American Express Escape Lounge Phoenix is mostly covered in high density hard seating surfaces, and offered a light food and beverage menu. All of these features lead a traveller to a shorter stay, as opposed to a long and luxurious relaxing one.
While the lounge doesn’t quite measure up to a full American Express Centurion Lounge experience, you’ll likely enjoy the similar look and feel, an interesting food menu and a space targeted towards the same upscale market that you’d find at American Express Centurion Lounge.