The phrase “airport lounge” can mean very different things, depending on what country’s flag flies at the airport in question.
In Europe and Asia, many lounges are indulgent retreats with hot food and complimentary top-shelf wine, beer and booze. In the United States, they generally stop at free snacks and rail drinks — but anybody can buy a membership, instead of that privilege being reserved for premium-cabin and exceptionally frequent flyers.
American Express’s small network of Centurion Lounges (Las Vegas, Dallas-Fort Worth, LaGuardia and San Francisco, with Miami coming this spring) aim to bridge that gap. They offer the cuisine and cocktails of a lounge you might find at Heathrow or Frankfurt at roughly the price of an American Airlines Admirals Club, Delta Sky Club, or United Club membership — with an Amex Platinum card included.