Amex Plat lounge shenanigans – Cathay Gold extended, AA/US going, Delta charging?

By coincidence, three pieces of news have come up in the last few days regarding the airport lounge access that American Express Platinum cardholders receive.

1 – The deadline for applying for the Cathay Pacific Gold Card (=BA Silver) has been extended to 31 March

I’m not sure what is going on here.  After saying for 9 months that this deal was ending in mid February, the Amex website now shows 31 March as the closing date:

Cathay deadline

This is good news if you haven’t yet decided whether or not to go for this. Cathay Pacific, like British Airways, is a member of the oneworld alliance.  This means that your Cathay Pacific Gold card gives you the same benefits as a British Airways Silver card when you fly with BA.

In particular:

You can use BA lounges, even when flying economy – and bring a guest

You can use the lounges of any other oneworld airline when flying with them (Qantas, Qatar, Cathay, Finnair, Royal Jordanian etc)

You can select seats on BA flights for free

You can get an additional baggage allowance

You can check-in at business class desks

The full list of benefits from a oneworld Sapphire card (which is what both BA Silver and Cathay Gold offer) can be found here.

(PS.  There is no mention of the Cathay Gold benefit on the official Amex Platinum application website.  This appears to be linked to Amex’s close relationship with British Airways.  Don’t worry, it definitely exists!)

2 – American Airlines and US Airways removing lounge access for American Express Platinum cardholders

I wrote about this back in December, when Amex Plat cardholders in the US received a letter saying that they would no longer be able to access American Airlines or US Airways lounges.

As the screenshot above shows, this will definitely now apply to UK-issued Platinum cards as well.  The last date to gain entry is March 20th.  Of course, Amex has not bothered to write to UK cardholders to tell them about this change …..

As long as you retain the Cathay Gold card this will not be a problem, since that will get you into American Airlines and US Airways lounges anyway.  However, once your free year of Cathay Gold ends, you won’t be able to get access.

3 – Delta Air Lines to charge for guests brought in by Amex Plat cardholders

Delta Air Lines announced on Thursday that it will be introducing a $29 charge for American Express Platinum cardholders who want to bring a guest into their lounges.  At present, Amex Plats who are flying Delta can use their lounges and bring in a guest for free.

It is 99% certain that this will also apply to UK cardholders.  The charge will be in effect from May 1st.

So, what is left?!

Once all these changes have worked through, lounge access for Amex Plats will comprise:

Priority Passaccess to all 700 lounges in this network.  Unlimited free visits and you can bring a guest for free.  Your main supplementary cardholder also gets a free Priority Pass and can also bring a guest, so a family of 4 could enter the lounge OK.

Eurostar – access to their business class lounges, although no guests are allowed (unless they are the supplementary Platinum cardholder on your account, of course)

American Express lounges – Amex runs its own airport lounges in Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico and the USA (only two so far I think).  These are free to enter for Platinum cardholders.

Delta – Platinum cardholders will still be able to gain access to Delta lounges when flying Delta, although they cannot bring in a guest unless they pay.

 (To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Hi Raffles,
    Just a quick question about using marcopolo gold card on BA flights to get seat choice and excess baggage( BAEC says you can get them by adding MP GC but miles will be credited to MPGC not BA). Is there any way to get both benefits and miles & tier points credited to BAEC

    Thanks

    • Yes, you simply change the number in your booking back to BA. Wait until you are in the lounge and then get the ticket desk in there (if there is one) to switch it, or use a lounge PC to quickly visit the Finnair website and use their Manage My Booking feature to change your number back.

      Theoretically, you don’t need the BA number in your booking at all, simply flashing the Cathay card will do it, but some lounge staff and check-in staff can be a bit funny.

  2. Hi Raffles,
    Will flashing the MPGC card allow you for an extra baggage or is it just easier to change to BAEC after check in

    thanks

    • Best to try flashing it first. If they insist on changing it in the booking then fine (you can change it back later) but is more bother.

    • Just to add!

      I used my new CX benefit to do Seat Selection on 2 of my bookings. 1 a redemption and 1 a paid for. They were already both Business class so just the Seat selection I wanted.

      Before trying the Finnair route I tried the call centre route , which many advise it takes a long wait in a queue, and this was my experience.

      1) It took 3 calls over a period of 2 weeks totalling about an hour to 3 different CS people and it didn’t quite work even after that.

      2) my 1st call failed as was put on hold after giving my CX number and line went dead. Total time 20 minutes.

      3) 2nd call managed to explain I only wanted Seat selection and not the earning for my paid flight changed. Lots of typing entering my CX number. Altogether 20 minutes and it seemed it work but didn’t! My 2 bookings changed to Select your seat for Free but after choosing them I simply got an Error I couldn’t change them!

      4) 3rd call! Another 20 minutes. Explained error and confirmed my CX number in both bookings but couldn’t help me as to why I couldn’t submit changes. Team leader suggested it was a Cathay issue!

      So this was quite laughable. I sent an email explaining my experience to BA complaints and suggested surely all this could be made easier ! Not heard back yet!

      In the end I used Finnair to enter my CX number but it insisted it was already entered. Even though my BA number was showing ! So I changed it back to BA and oddly the CX number then appeared in Finnair. Most odd. But on BA I was then able to submit my seats!

      Now I didn’t use Finnair to change my Paid booking as this was still showing as I would earn the tier points under my BA account which I didn’t want to play with. Then last week I revisited this booking and suddenly I could choose my seats and my CX number was now showing on The fin air website. May be they read my email and did something. I don’t know! But that booking still says I will earn BA tier points under my account and shows my BA number in manage my bookings.

      However I would expect my boarding card to show the BA number if I am going it earn BA tier points. Guess I’ll find out this Saturday when I fly!

      So to sum up it was all very confusing and still is!

      • Just get your boarding pass double checked in the lounge, they may re issue it with your BAEC no on it….

      • Had a similar experience, wonder if there is something I am doing wrong on the Finnair website with all the error messages. Also on the BA MMB had the option to choose a seat for free but which then wouldn’t work after trying to confirm seats.

        You can also repeat the same fun experience using Qatar website instead of Finnair’s!

        In the end called BA and they resolved it very quickly by confirming seat over the phone. Still wouldn’t work online though. BA advisor said its a glitch with BA Blue and MP Gold, but that both numbers were allocated to the booking.

        At checking into T5 Galleries staff asked what scheme i wanted to earn the points on and seemed more than happy to allocate the booking to whatever loyalty scheme.

        • Great replies. Thought it was just me! On my 3rd call after speaking with team leader they could see my Sapphire status but refused to manually do my Seats as they were convinced that either they were all ‘reserved’ or Cathay Pacific didn’t give me the same seat privilege. I could tell they wanted to get rid of me hence I gave up and sent a complaint.

          The fact both these bookings still appear in my BA account and also my CX account at the same time seems odd to me but I think when they manually enter FFs for different privelages this is what must happen?

          But I will double check at the lounge! I’ll be using Mobile boarding pass so be interesting what that shows. The number shown on this should be the one I earn Miles and Tier points with?

          • They (the lounge check in staff) changed my booking to the CX number, which i didn’t realise as i still had the original boarding pass. Only found this out when i left lounge and then went back in again later. Was then asked if i wanted the points on my BA number as it was showing against my CX number! So it doesn’t seem to matter, just tell them what you want.

            I used mobile boarding pass, but then also printed off a copy at self check in out of curiosity, both only showed BA number.

      • Dear Raffles,
        Perhaps you have already explained this before in another post, but what is the utility of using the Finnair website to change one’s booking so as to get one’s CX Marco Polo member number changed to one’s BA Executive Club member number? Cannot one just use the CX or BA websites, or does the Finnair website have special functionality? (By the way, I was completely unaware that one could even use the website of another oneworld carrier to alter the details of one’s booking!)

  3. I understand the process of changing your number on Finnair, also that the check in desks can swap it. However, if you put the CX number on your booking to select seat and then swap back to BA, is their then a loss of other options such as the priority boarding?

    I.e. my boarding card has BA ref on it, can I priority board with CX status?

    I’ve got BA Bronze (just lost Silver) but want to know for future reference before deciding whether to go for BA status again…

    • Priority Boarding for BA is fine if you flash the card.

      It is more of an issue on things like lounge access where money changes hands. If your Cathay number is not in the booking, BA cannot charge Cathay, which is why some lounge agents insist on switching it over (you then get the ticket desk or finnair.com to switch it back.)

      • Makes you wonder though. If they swipe it overwriting the BA number and then you change it back later then will BA still get the Fee from CX?

        If they swipe it as a Once only which registers the Fee at that moment then why then overwrite the BA number at all?

        Either way it’s a pretty dumb way of making it inconvenient for everyone!

        • Just an update from me as I’ve just checked in online for my flight.

          Brief recap.

          Had a Club Europe booking which I wanted to use my CX benefit to choose my seats a few weeks ago. Lots of hassle doing this on phone. Full details further up thread.

          It seems having 2 FF numbers in a booking really confuses their system. My BAEC was always still showing in MMB against my flight to earn miles and tier points. However a few days ago it changed to my CX number and went to 0 miles and 0 tier points.

          So I checked on Finnair and CX was there. So I changed it back to BAEC and then in MMB it also reverted to showing my miles and tier points again. All was well?

          Nope! Did online checkin this morning and low and behold my CX number appears on the boarding card! So phoned up explained was concerned the benefits would go to my CX account and was told yes the CX number had confused the system as there were 2 numbers in the booking against me still.

          He completely removed the CX from the booking and told me all is now well. However I called back again as my boarding pass was still showing CX and it wouldn’t refresh even deleting it. So once issued it seems to not change.

          I’ll have to recheck this at the airport as they can’t reissue or withdraw a boarding pass on the phone!

          So this whole fiasco was a nightmare really and I don’t think id bother with all this hassle in future simply to chose a seat a bit earlier!