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The Platinum Card from American Express is the ultimate card for lounge access. Here's why.
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Although many premium travel cards advertise airport lounge access as a key benefit, The Platinum Card® from American Express (rates & fees) and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (rates & fees) are undoubtedly the reigning champions when it comes to lounges.
(Throughout this article, “Platinum Card” refers to both the personal and business versions – there’s no difference in their lounge access privileges.)
With a Platinum Card, you’ll get exclusive complimentary access to American Express’ own premium lounges – 25 lounges in 6 countries, including most major U.S. hub airports – as well as complimentary access to another 63 lounges through partner lounge networks.
The Platinum Card also comes with Priority Pass Select at no extra charge. A Priority Pass membership unlocks access to another 1200+ lounges in 130+ countries. All of these lounges are accessible regardless of what airline you’re flying and what class your ticket is in. On top of all that, if you fly Delta, your Platinum Card also unlocks access to Delta Sky Clubs in 34 airports across the U.S. – a perk normally reserved for Delta’s top tier customers.
Here’s a rundown of all of the lounge programs your Platinum Card gives you access to, as well as details about how to use them. (And at the end, we’ve also got an app to recommend that will help you keep track of all of this!)
American Express Centurion Lounges
The Centurion Lounges are among the best airport lounges, and they’re exclusively available to American Express cardmembers. You’ll find them in 13 US airports:
- Charlotte (CLT)
- Dallas (DFW)
- Denver (DEN)
- Houston (IAH)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Miami (MIA)
- New York John F Kennedy (JFK)
- New York Laguardia (LGA)
- Philadelphia (PHL)
- Phoenix (PHX)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- Seattle (SEA)
Additionally, you’ll find them at Hong Kong (HKG) and soon London Heathrow (LHR). Each lounge offers complimentary food and drink, and some offer additional amenities like showers, children’s play rooms, complimentary massages and other spa services.
Platinum Card holders get complimentary access and can bring up to two guests for free until February 2023 (after that guests will cost $50 each). Access is only allowed within three hours of departure, unless you’re connecting from another flight; no access is allowed upon arrival if you’re not connecting onward. You’ll need to show your photo ID, boarding pass and Platinum Card to access the lounge. If you forgot your Platinum Card at home, staff can lookup your access.
International American Express Lounges
In addition to the Centurion Lounges in London and Hong Kong, Amex has another 11 lounges abroad: six in Mexico, two each in India and Australia, and one in Argentina. While Platinum cardmembers get unlimited access, guest policies (and services available) vary from location to location. Like the Centurion Lounges, expect to show your ID, boarding pass and Platinum Card upon entry.
Delta Sky Clubs
Platinum Card holders get access to Delta Sky Clubs in 34 airports across the United States when traveling on Delta. To be eligible, your flight must be operated by Delta or Delta Connection, or operated by Westjet on a ticket issued by Delta. Access is only included for the Platinum Card holder – up to two guests can be added for $39 each.
If you’re a Delta SkyMiles member, you can speed up your access to Delta Sky Clubs by adding your Platinum Card to the wallet in your SkyMiles profile on the Delta website or app. This will let you enter any Sky Club by simply scanning your boarding pass (or scanning your fingerprint, if you’re a CLEAR member). Otherwise, you’ll just need to show your boarding pass to an agent along with your Platinum Card.
Priority Pass Select
Priority Pass gives you and a guest access to over 1,200 lounges in 130+ countries, making it the most versatile lounge network – but also the least exclusive, since most premium travel cards include a Priority Pass membership.
In fact, Priority Pass cards from other banks are more valuable than the ones American Express offers: while Priority Pass memberships from other banks like Chase and Citi also give you credits to use at select airport restaurants, Priority Pass memberships from American Express do not. If you try to use your Amex-related Priority Pass card at a participating restaurant, it will get declined. Other cards may also offer more generous guest policies.
To access Priority Pass lounges, you’ll need a separate Priority Pass membership card, which you can request on the Amex website or by calling or chatting with customer service.
You can download the Priority Pass app and save your membership card to your phone wallet. That way you don’t have to keep up with a lot of different lounge cards.
Plaza Premium Lounges
Plaza Premium operates over 50 lounges in 40 cities around the world – mostly in Asia, though you’ll also find lounges in several Canadian airports, and a handful of airports across Europe. (There’s also a Plaza Premium lounge in Dallas, but you’re probably better off going to the Centurion Lounge instead.) Platinum Card holders get complimentary access and can bring one guest for free.
Pro tip: Plaza Premium has its own “Smart Traveller” loyalty program where you can earn points for lounge visits and redeem them for day passes, paid lounge services (like showers), and a variety of electronic gadgets. When accessing a lounge with your Platinum Card or Priority Pass, you’ll earn 100 points per visit; points are worth roughly one cent each.
Platinum Card members get access to the AirSpace Lounge “network,” which currently consists of just one lounge – San Diego International Airport, Terminal 2. As a Platinum Card member, you get complimentary access for yourself and up to two guests, and you’ll receive a $10 gift card for each member of your party to use toward premium food and drink in the lounge (complimentary snacks and soft drinks are also available). You’ll need your Platinum Card and boarding pass to enter.
This lounge is also accessible to American Airlines Admirals Club members – though they don’t get the $10 gift card – as well as premium passengers flying on Japan Airlines and British Airways.
Keeping Track of Everything
All of these lounge options are a lot to keep track of. Fortunately, American Express has thought of that too – simply download the free LoungeBuddy app, create a profile, and indicate that you have the Platinum Card. You can also add any other credit cards or airline elite statuses that give you lounge access.
Then, when you’re ready to travel just enter your flight information and Loungebuddy will figure out the rest: based on your credit card(s), elite status(es), the airline you’re flying, what class of service you’re in and your destination, you’ll get a list of all the lounges available to you complete with locations, hours and reviews from other travelers. You can also browse by airport without entering your flight details. It’s a great way to plan ahead and make the most of your time at the airport.
New to the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the best card to start with.
With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!
Cards in This Article
Membership Rewards® Points
after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership
Membership Rewards® Points
after you spend $6,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.