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Skift Business Traveler: American Express’ New Lounges Raise the Bar

@grantkmartin

Aug 14, 2014 11:30 am

Angela Pham  / BFAnyc.com

The Centurion Lounge by American Express. Angela Pham / BFAnyc.com


What to Know Now

Uber and Lyft are the taxi companies that you just hate to love. They’re cheap — my weekly commute from home to ORD is half the cost of a Chicago taxi — and it’s more reliable and cleaner. It’s easy to use and it’s easy to file expense reports. I can’t stop using it.

But as companies, man, they’re really stressing me out. The latest debacle involves Uber employees calling 5,000 fake rides into Lyft drivers and then canceling the fare — wasting the time and money of their competitors. Not to be outdone, Uber now claims that Lyft has called and cancelled over 13,000 rides. And each carrier is offering wild incentives for both driver and passenger to swap service. It’s enough to make a tired business traveler give up the whole game… until he can’t find a cab at 5 AM next Monday.

Let’s hope these teething problems don’t last.

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Top Story

A new crop of airport lounges is coming to market and if we’re lucky, they may help raise the bar across the board. This week, American Express opened its third Centurion Lounge in New York LaGuardia’s central terminal. You need not be an elite flyer to access the lounge, you just need an AmEx card. There’s also a $50 fee to enter unless you have a Platinum or a Centurion credit card.

For the fee you’ll get booze and a light meal — far better than the cheese and pretzels that you’d expect at a domestic airport lounge — as well as a quiet, well-designed place to work and relax prior to your flight.

Already the legacy airlines and their respective lounges are running scared. Two days ago, Delta curiously ratcheted up the offerings at their SkyClubs, despite there only being three AmEx lounges around the country. Expect more improvements as the Centurion lounges spread.

Social Quote of the Day

the uber / lyft counter-accusations (and asserted behavior) are just bizarre. feels like junior high school to me.

@bfeld | Brad Feld, VC @ Foundry Group

Finnair A350 Business class cabin 3

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AMERICAN EXPRESS Celebrates the Opening of The Centurion Lounge at New York LaGuardia Airport

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Revel

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The Tourists Who Enjoy Getting Trapped in Rooms at Popular Destinations: Getting locked in a room for an hour and figuring out an escape is now a popular way for tourists to spend part of their day. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Cheers to Dan Saltzstein and the New York Times Travel team for launching their 36 Hours video series from Nice, France this week.

Tips and Comments

Can be sent to gm@skift.com and @grantkmartin. We publish the Business Newsletter twice a week on Monday and Thursday.

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