by Robert McGarvey
Big news is that just maybe Amex is bringing a Centurion Lounge to Phoenix Sky Harbor – which also happens to be losing its Priority Pass club.
Color me excited. I am a fan of Sky Harbor – which some call the nation’s best airport – but I have never gushed about the club situation. At PHX the Priority Pass club was tucked in a tiny (2985 sq ft), out of the way club – built to serve BA passengers but that meant much of the day it was empty so enter Priority Pass. The Arizona Republic reported on the pending closure of the Priority Pass lounge, apparently as the City Council juggled its club options. According to the Republic, “Priority Pass had notified its members via its website that they could not use the lounge after Dec.1. Now, the company says Priority Pass members can access The Club until the new operator takes over.”
If I had to guess, I’d guess Priority Pass will work a deal with a restaurant or two at Sky Harbor to accommodate cardholders. If the restaurants are the right picks, there may be little grumbling among cardholders who may see it as a step up. I would.
Meantime, according to the AZ Republic, “Delta plans to open a 7,500-square-foot Sky Club lounge in Terminal 3 in early 2019. The lounge will have design inspired by the desert landscape’ as well as food offerings like the Sky Bowl. Guests can ‘build their own bowl choosing from grains, vegetables and proteins,’ according to Delta’s press announcement.” I’ve only flown Delta once in the past six years so no biggie to me…but for Delta regulars this is a big step forward.
United has made noises about building a new club when it moves to Terminal 3 but no timeline has been announced. You have to believe they will if they want to keep pace.
All that is prelude. The big news is Centurion which still counts as the best domestic airport lounge in my book.
The AZ Republic broke the news that apparently Centurion figures into a new lounge that will open at Sky Harbor.
Then the Points Guy dug into this and reported that Amex replied to his inquiry with this statement: “We are always looking at opportunities to bring our premium Centurion Lounges to more airports across the globe and are working closely with the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport as this location is certainly of interest for both us and our Card Members. We hope to have plans to announce soon.”
That is not a flat out commitment to opening in Phoenix – but it comes close. It is a definite statement of keen interest.
This would be terrific news for PHX passengers.
According to the Points Guy, “The [City Council] minutes revealed more details about how the space would be designed and included Amex’s signature wall of foliage, a ‘chef’s table’ and an area that could be closed off for private events. The plans suggested a December 2019 or January 2020 opening date.”
On the official Amex opening list for Centurion Lounges in 2019 are LAX, JFK and Denver. No PHX.
But apparently if the right opportunity arises, Amex will pounce on it – and Sky Harbor just could be that opportunity. It’s been kind of a club desert and, no, we may live in a desert but that does not mean we want our airport to be similarly barren.
It would be a small Centurion – second smallest after Seattle per View From the Wing – but we’ll take it.
The drum beats keep getting louder. According to AwardWallet, in a round up of what’s known about Centurion plans, “There is also a strong possibility that a Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX) location will be announced soon.
Many in Phoenix have puffed with pride as Sky Harbor has notched high praise in various airport rankings – 3 in a Wall Street Journal and 7 in a Conde Nast Traveler ranking. Add in #1 with the Points Guy and things are looking good – and then there is the club situation which has been downright mediocre.
Which only gets worse when Priority Pass shuts probably soon.
A Centurion would change all that.