Review: American Express Lounge, Sydney

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After arriving at Sydney airport, I checked in at the Business Class queue for Hawaiian Airlines, which was a total afterthought as far as signage and assistance go. Essentially, the line was on the side of the economy check-in, but in order to be assisted, one of the economy agents would have to turn their head sharply to even notice you standing there. So, as I waited for about 15 minutes, they kept taking economy passengers and I was wondering what was going on. I alerted one of the agents who had come out behind the desk and was soon helped.

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After being given my lounge pass for the Qantas business class lounge inside, I proceeded through security. Because this lounge is very similar to the lounges I reviewed in Melbourne and Brisbane, I decided to visit the nearby Centurion Lounge, offered by American Express.

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The lounge is about a 10 minute walk from the Qantas lounge, and is very small by comparison. In fact, it’s probably a quarter of the size of any of the Centurion lounges I’ve been to in the US. As you walk in, there’s a reception desk where an agent will check your credentials. To access, you need to be an American Express Platinum or Centurion cardholder.

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Inside there’s a limited number of seating to your left (individual chairs), and then some work tables and a long dining table to your right. At the far end is the bar which is staffed (though I found it had a limited selection), and some food options, both hot and cold. There was also a self serve coffee and soft drink area.

The food was pretty underwhelming – a few wrapped sandwiches, and some appetizers, but nothing to write home about. The wifi was pretty fast, which was a redeeming quality. Actually the coolest part of the lounge were the bathrooms which had a space-age like door operation that automatically opened and closed as you entered. When I visited, the lounge was about a quarter full – busy enough to give it some liveliness, but quiet enough where I could sit without being interrupted. It had that “American Express Centurion Lounge smell,” which was nice, and was decorated in the same modern classic tones that the lounges in the US are done in.

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My Take

I would actually choose to wait in this lounge over the Qantas lounges next time I visit, though I’d probably stop by one of the Qantas facilities first to eat before heading here since I think the food selection is fresher and more varied elsewhere.

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