Edited by: Stella Shon
& Keri Stooksbury
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When I lived in Brazil, I regularly passed through the American Express Centurion Lounge at São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU). It wasn’t always a Centurion Lounge — previously, it was an American Express International Lounge accessible with a Priority Pass membership. Now, it’s accessible only by those with Amex’s most premium cards.
The Centurion Lounge at GRU is open around the clock and has several great amenities and top-notch Wi-Fi. The lounge also has a separate dining space reserved for Centurion cardholders, but its location leaves a bit to be desired.
Here’s what a visit to this lounge is like.
The Centurion Lounge is located in GRU’s Terminal 3, which handles most international flights at the airport. There is no airside connection between terminals, meaning the Centurion Lounge isn’t accessible by those departing Terminals 1 or 2.
After clearing security and passport control, the lounge is on the second floor, up the escalators on your left side. A sign saying “Salas VIP” will indicate the direction. There are also elevators nearby to access the floors on the upper level.
If you wind up in the central duty-free area, you’ve missed your turn. Looking back and up, you’ll notice the Centurion Lounge on the open walkway above you.
You’ll find lounges at the top of the escalators for LATAM and American Airlines, among others. Once you follow the blue wall around to the right side, this will lead to the Centurion Lounge’s front entrance and the traditional green wall at the reception desk.
Given that the lounge is before duty-free and well before the departure gates, it’s easy to find. However, that also makes it far from several departure gates. Allow at least 5 minutes to reach your gate when departing from gates 301 to 310, 10 minutes to reach gates 311 to 320, and 15 minutes for gates above 320.
It’s also possible to transfer from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3 airside if you’re connecting from another country and only transiting Brazil en route to a third country. If you arrive in T3 this way (from the rear hallways with a separate security checkpoint), look for signs pointing up to duty-free and lounges. If you pass this exit from the hallway, you’ll wind up exiting the hallway near gate 302 and need to backtrack to find the lounges.
Access is reserved for those with a premium American Express travel card. Those with The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, or the Centurion® Card from American Express can access this lounge. This Centurion Lounge also allows children under 12 to get in free with an adult, which is different from the age rules at most U.S. lounges,
You won’t be able to enter the lounge without one of these cards, and there’s no way to buy a day pass or access with another type of lounge membership.
The Centurion Lounge at São Paulo’s GRU airport is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, meaning you can visit the lounge no matter what time your flight is departing.
On this visit, my first impression was that the lounge had new furniture since my last visit nearly 2 years ago. However, the lounge also kept some of my favorite features. I still love the booths near the bar area, the choice of multiple types of seating, and the abundance of outlets for charging electronic devices.
There was ample seating in this lounge, and I loved the options. The central area had a bench around a tree, with armchairs in a semi-circle around a large TV on the wall.
There were high-top tables with bar stools as well. These tables flanked the central area and had multiple outlets for charging electronics. Additionally, there were 3 tables with booth-style seating near the TVs, separated by wooden walls. There were multiple outlets built into the sides of these booths.
On the right side, the layout had several sofas, lower chairs, and a series of brown armchairs that reminded me of the Los Angeles Union Station waiting room. If you’ve been, you probably see the resemblance.
In the far right corner, at the back of the lounge, a sign on the wall indicated a hallway to the beach area.
This area had wicker seating and a cabana vibe. It definitely fit the “beach area” description. The divider on the far side of this room separates the hallway from the lounge, and the duty-free shop is directly below. That means noise in this part of the lounge can be unpredictable.
On the left side of the lounge was a large bar area with bar stools, round tables, and chairs. Bartenders could whip up mixed drinks, and refrigerators to the side held non-alcoholic beverages.
Behind the bar, you’ll notice 2 people. This is the sit-down dining area reserved for Centurion cardholders, but more on that in the amenities section.
This Centurion Lounge had a large buffet, which you could find to your left after the entrance. During this dinner-time visit in mid-August, the buffet had numerous finger sandwiches. Each item was labeled in English and Portuguese, but there weren’t any allergen indications.
Past a station with fruits and salad ingredients, there were 2 hot soups and a selection of breads. Soups during my visit were minestrone and bean soup with collard greens.
The buffet also had miniature cakes and yogurt cups for desserts.
At the far end of the buffet, coffee machines offered coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, and more. There were also pieces of coffee cake nearby.
The bar was fully stocked as well. Bartenders could provide beer, wine, and mixed drinks. Non-alcoholic beverages were available in bottles and cans in refrigerators to the right side of the bar. These included iced tea, Coke and Fanta products (including local Fanta flavor Guaraná), and bottled water.
Wi-Fi has been reliable every time I’ve been to this lounge, and this visit was another good example. I got 30 Mbps average download speeds and 44 Mbps for uploads. The password was available on signs at the entrance and several points around the lounge for convenience.
Near the giant mural, a hallway on the left side of the lounge led to the restrooms. The cleaning staff did a good job keeping the bathroom clean.
In the same hallway, before the bathrooms, a side hallway led to several shower stalls. These weren’t busy during this visit, but I’ve seen lines for the showers on previous visits. If that happens, you’ll need to put your name on the list with the cleaning staff or staff at the front desk.
There was no fee for using the showers.
Past the sofas on the right side of the lounge, there were 3 booths that offered private working spaces. There’s a glass door you could close, and inside, you’d find a desk, chair, lamp, and universal outlet.
There was a small children’s playroom near the buffet and hallway to the restroom. It had a few games and books, a small table, bean bag chairs, and a TV for watching children’s programs from Brazil — such as “Turma da Mônica” (seen on the screen).
One of the best features of this lounge was the fact you didn’t have to hunt for your departure information. Flight departure boards were located in multiple parts of the lounge, but you’ll want to allow plenty of time to get to your gate.
The lounge had a sit-down dining room reserved for Centurion cardmembers only. It’s accessed through a sliding door next to the bar. Those in this private area could order from a private menu and receive drinks from the bar, which was open on both sides.
Service at this lounge impressed me once again. Employees at the front desk were friendly and full of smiles as I entered the lounge, and they gave a cheerful goodbye when I left. When entering, each guest’s boarding pass was checked to see if there were updates to departure times or gates. I loved this service to ensure visitors had updated information, provided by the lounge staff.
The cleaning staff did an excellent job clearing dirty dishes and cleaning tables to ensure people could find seating when they arrived. Finally, the staff has consistently amazed me with keeping the bathrooms spotless during my visits to the Centurion Lounge at GRU.
The Centurion Lounge has been and continues to be my default lounge when flying out of GRU’s Terminal 3. I wish it were closer to the departure gates, but that’s the only negative among a list of positives. The staff is great, the food and drink selections provide something for everyone, and the ample space in the lounge can offer dedicated spaces for relaxing, playing, or working.
If I had to choose the 2 best features, they’re easily the numerous departure boards spread across the lounge and the incredible number of outlets. No one will ever need to hunt for a spot to charge their phone or the departure gate for their flight.
The information regarding the Centurion® Card from American Express was independently collected by Upgraded Points and was not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The Centurion Lounge at GRU is in Terminal 3. It’s not accessible if you’re departing from Terminals 1 or 2. After passport control, you’ll see signs for “Salas VIP” pointing up and to the left. Go up the escalators or elevator here — if you reach the open-air duty free shops, you’ve gone too far.
Yes, there is a Centurion Lounge at the Guarulhos (GRU) airport. The other 2 airports in São Paulo (VCP and CGH) do not have American Express lounges.
The São Paulo Centurion Lounge is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Access is limited to those with the personal and business versions of the Platinum and Centurion cards from American Express. It’s not possible to pay to get in or use any other lounge memberships to enter.
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Ryan has been on a quest to visit every country in the world and plans to hit his final country in 2023. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publications including AwardWallet, The Points Guy, USA Today Blueprint, CNBC Select, Tripadvisor, and Forbes Advisor.
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