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Lounge Hopping, DFW Edition: Admirals Club, Capital One & Amex Centurion – Which Reigns Supreme?

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DFW Airport Lounge Hopping

DFW Airport Lounge Hopping

I, and many others, had a blast at the recent MtM Diamond meetup in Austin.  Before going our separate ways, a pal and I transited Dallas/Fort Worth airport (DFW) and enjoyed our 2.5 hour layover.  “Enjoying a layover” is a silly thought in most every domestic airport, but not DFW.  This airport has a wealth of lounge options, and we visited three during our recent transit.  Here’s how our DFW Airport lounge hopping experience unfolded, including a few observations and the cards we used for access.

Arriving at DFW

We arrived in DFW terminal A and used SkyLink to travel to terminal D, where our three selected lounges are located.  Timing was a big consideration, given our ambitious plans to visit that many lounges in a short period.  Between waiting for the train and the actual transit time, we arrived at the D terminal ten minutes later.  Luckily, our first stop was not too far from the SkyLink stop.

American Airlines Admirals Club

Our first lounge was the Admirals Club close to gate D24.  I had low expectations based on recent visits to Admirals clubs in CLT and AUS.  Perhaps I should have set them slightly higher here, as American is headquartered in Dallas/Fort Worth and one of their major hubs.  Before entering, I figured we’d spend 20 minutes or so here, tops.  I admired the excellent views and spacious feel of this Admirals Club.  While I didn’t pick up a drink at the bar, it was plenty big for the healthy number of guests.  With its layout, design, and lighting, the lounge put off the illusion of being much less crowded than it actually was.

Food offerings were solid here compared to my other Admirals Club experiences.  I enjoyed customizing my own fresh tacos – pico de gallo was the highlight.  Obtaining my own fountain beverage was a welcome feature – something seemingly impossible in Centurion lounges.  We ended up staying just over 30 minutes, but I wish we could’ve lingered longer.

Card Used:  Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard – Learn More

Capital One Lounge

The Capital One Lounge at DFW is located close to gate D22, a short stroll from the Admirals Club. We took a packed elevator ride upstairs.  The Capital One and American Flagship Lounges are located across from each other.  Notably, only my pal and I were headed to the Capital One Lounge – everyone else headed to the AA Flagship.  After a quick check-in, my friend and I looked for seating.  Unfortunately, half of the lounge was blasted by sunlight in the late afternoon.  We settled for seats at a counter across from the bar then grabbed drinks and a few small dishes to enjoy.

The lounge still has a newish feel, and our solid hour or so inside flew by.  Similar to the Admirals Club, I found myself not wanting to leave.  However, I was curious how the last stop would turn out.  (I’ll share more about my Capital One Lounge DFW experience in a future article.)

Card Used:  Capital One Spark Travel Elite Mastercard

Amex Centurion Lounge

I enjoyed DFW’s original Centurion Lounge, but I haven’t been back since the subsequent renovation was completed a few years ago.  This time, I was more curious than excited.  Unfortunately, the high point of the visit was checking in without a line.  That said, it took more than five minutes with the attendant, as she had to fuss with rebooting her iPad to check us in.  Apparently, asking the colleague next to her to immediately check us in wasn’t an option.

The lounge was clearly slammed.  People were everywhere.  I find the long, skinny layout similar to an austere, overcrowded airport terminal.  The buffet line was comical – the layout resembled an amusement park ride line.  We found a small table (which hadn’t been cleaned yet) located next the the bathrooms and dropped our stuff.  I explored a bit, narrowly avoiding rushing patrons along the too-thin walkway.  No one looked happy to be in the lounge.  I know we weren’t.  A few minutes later, I returned to our table, grabbed my stuff, and we left.

Card Used:  Amex Schwab Platinum

DFW Airport Lounge Hopping

Capital One Lounge Encore!

My buddy’s flight was slightly before mine, and we bid each other farewell.  I returned to the Capital One lounge for 20 minutes and enjoyed a bit of baklava.  I also took the opportunity to grab a few to-go items, one of the lounge’s solid features.

DFW Airport Lounge Hopping – Conclusion

After my second Capital One Lounge stop, I headed to my gate not too far away.  It was an exhilarating experience, especially with a buddy as into the points and travel hobby as I am.  I’ll be through DFW a few more times (at least) next year, and I’ll use this recent experience to inform my future lounge decisions.  And maybe I’ll try out a few more – I haven’t been to the Priority Pass offerings at DFW in several years.  Have you lounge hopped at DFW?  Which lounges are your favorites there?

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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  1. In Dallas my go to spot in the Capital One lounge. I’ve never had to wait to get in, which is a contrast to the Centurion Lounge where the line is almost always out the door. Plus Capital One has some amazingly tasty food selections and drinks.
    Also been to The Club DFW and it’s disappointing for food offerings – just a few veggies and hummus covered in shrink wrap, or a few cheese cubes. It’s okay if you want a quick (free) coffee, beer, or whisky I suppose.

  2. @William Henley: Hundreds of domestic flights land at Terminal D every day. To answer your question: If they didn’t land they would run out of fuel.

  3. Last month, I landed from a flight from Tucson at Terminal D (why a domestic flight landed at Terminal D is beyond me, I’ve never had that happen). I recently became a Priority Pass member, and knowing how long it takes DFW to send bags to the carrousel, I decided to check out the lounge. I thought Dublin’s lounge was bad. The Priority Pass lounge at DFW is just an upstairs area in the airport next to Buffalo Wild Wings. There are rooms you can reserve. The food was awful (two soups, pita bread and hummus), and there was very little space.

    I’m flying to Auckland in February. I think I’m going to go to the Capital One – it’s $35;for me as I got a Capital One card but it’s not one of the elite cards.

    Can you pay to get into Centurion or Admirals if you don’t have the credit card?

    • William,
      Thanks for the updated DP on the Priority Pass lounge, but sorry this happened to you! You may want to consider getting into the Admirals or Centurion as the guest of a cardholder. But doing so in the Centurion will cost you starting next year.

  4. My wife and I did the same thing on Thanksgiving. We had a few hour lay over on an actual 1st class AA ticket to LHR. Started in Cap One service was okay, food was exceptional, seats were not all that comfortable for me, but a solid choice and I’d go back. AA flagship, we were invited to dine but weren’t hungry, probably a mistake. This lounge is massive and goes on for a bit. Service was excellent (met at the door with a glass of good champagne, searing was quite comfortable. AMEX, I’ve either been, or tried on a few occasions. There was no line but crowded. Was nice when it first opened but have suffered from their succcess.

  5. Loved my time at the Cap 1 lounge last week! I wish I’d reserved a relaxation room as soon as I checked in, just to see what that was all about. I liked the taste and variety of their breakfast options. The bar wasn’t serving yet when I was there. I give it a high score for both ambiance and food quality!

    • Benjy, a rite of passage in law school is moot court. Years and years ago, when it was my turn, I had a panel of three retired trial-level and appellate-level judges. When everything was said and done, during the out-briefing, one of my three commented about my tie. “Ties are to be dark as this is a somber proceeding.” Okay, but how was my oral argument?

  6. Per a 8am visit on a Sunday morning at CAP 1 Lounge followed by The Club at DFW.
    I believe that the Priority Pass lounge or The Club DFW used to be located where the current CAP 1 lounge at DFW is locate. My experience at The Club DFW was terrible with the “all you can stand breakfast buffet” and nowhere to sit.

  7. I used to enjoy going to the Centurion lounge, but the last few months, it has been an absolute zoo. There is usually a wait to get in now. I even cancelled my platinum card as it is just not worth it anymore. The capital one lounge has been an nice replacement. Next year, I will try out the nearby admirals club.

    • Edward,
      Thanks for chiming in. Sadly, I’m not surprised to hear about your experience at the DFW Centurion. Hopefully, more competition from new lounges (bank-affiliated, specifically) will bring positive change. Or maybe not.

  8. The Priority Pass lounge is decent (I went for breakfast). The layout is weird: there’s a very small section with the buffet & dining table seating, and a much larger section across the hall that has much more seating.
    There’s hot items at breakfast (the usual eggs, potato, breakfast meat) along with fruit & breads. They also have a pretty cool peanut butter & jelly wrap – pretty tasty & innovative dish. Overall, the breakfast was better than a 3* hotel hot breakfast.

    • enthusiast,
      You’re referring to The Club DFW, right? Years ago, I had a perfectly fine experience there but also remember a serpentine layout.


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