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Amex Platinum lounge confusion – Cathay Gold extended, AA/US going, Delta charging?

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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.

The deadline for applying for the Cathay Pacific Gold Card (=BA Silver) has been extended

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 A350-900

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!)

American Airlines

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.

Delta Air Lines to charge for guests brought in by Amex Platinum 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.


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Comments (67)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Ross says:

    I’ve had a letter through from Cathay before xmas saying my Gold card is now extended for another 6 months, but to then retain Gold after that I need to have racked up a certain number of Cathay flights and miles. My target is slightly less than what it would be to achieve if I was signing up new to Cathay, but still not a small effort to be able to retain it, so most likely to drop off from Gold by Nov this year.

  • bigmac says:

    A couple of quick OT questions on UuA here which I’d be very grateful if anyone could answer:

    1. Upgrading with avios from WTP to CW on BA – Raffles and several others say that the miles required will be the difference between the miles necessary for a WTP avios redemption and those for a CW redemption, or in some cases people say that it’s 0.5 times the economy avios. But BA site says the the miles will be 0.5 times the ‘base miles’, which it defines as the miles required for a redemption in the cabin you want to upgrade from (WTP). So for my flight LHR to SFO, the econ redemption miles are 50k, WTP is 75k and CW is 100k. Going by the ‘difference’ formula or the ‘plus 0.5 of the econ miles’ way, I should pay 25k miles to upgrade. But the BA site way, it’ll cost me half of 75k, so 37.5k. Does anyone know which it is?

    2. My flight is actually EDI-LHR-SFO and there is redemption availability showing in CW, but when I try to upgrade online it tells me there is no availability. The only reason I can think for this is that the domestic connection can’t be upgraded because it’s all econ seating, and the system can’t deal with the obvious fact that I am not asking for that part of the trip to be upgraded (there is no online option to split the feeder flight from the main one). So I guess I have to phone the call centre.

    Sorry, I know OT but comments have closed on other MFU posts where this would be more relevant.

    • Edd M says:

      You’re quite lucky to find a UuA on the SFO route so snap it up quick and call the call centre. 🙂

      The BA site is confusingly worded. I’ve just checked my account online now my partner and I paid 12,500 avios each to upgrade one way WTP+ to CW from LAX to LHR this year. I imagine this is the same to SFO, there was unfortunately no opportunity for us to UuA when we did this leg. So base avios is equivalent to one leg economy redemption.

    • Alan says:

      Hi Bigmac

      1. I agree the wording on the BA website says the base is the Avios required to fly in the cabin you’re upgrading from, however IME that’s not how it works – for WTP to CW it’s half the Avios for an economy redemption – therefore a cost of 25k Avios in this case (20k for New York). You also mentioned calculating it as the difference between the two cabins – well the sums seem to work both ways due to how BA have prices things in Avios – e.g to NYC, Econ is 40k, WTP 60k, CW 80k. Therefore 0.5x econ is 20k and the difference between WTP and CW is also 20k! The easiest way to check is to go through the booking process. Just login to your BAEC a/c then select ‘book with money, upgrade with Avios’ and select the booking class you want to upgrade FROM (eg WTP if you want to travel in CW). Then work your way through and on the confirmation page it will give you the cost in Avios.

      2. This is unusual – normally using UuA is actually much easier than trying to do a straight redemption as rather than needing reward availability on EDI-LHR you only need cash availability. These also book into a higher fare class so you get 20 TP each way rather than 10 TP. If the website won’t let you do it then I’d try to get BA to waive the offline fee – I’ve certainly managed it previously.

    • Rob says:

      As Alan says, you pay the difference between the cost of a redemption for the category of ticket bought, and the cost for the higher class.

      So, as San Francisco is 75,000 in World Traveller Plus and 100,000 in Club World, the difference is 25,000 which is the (return) cost to upgrade.

  • Paul says:

    The CX gold card is useful if you have dropped out of BA silver or unlikely to ever achieve. The problem is it hat is is temporary and you are unlikely to retain through flying. If you could and are UK based and cannot obtain BA silver. I found it useful for lounge access and seat selection during my 6 months on bronze whilst I built up my tier points again?
    The bigger concern is the erosion of Amex benefits more generally. Fortunately for me the big attraction is the travel insurance ( which I cannot speak highly enough about) and grandfathered Free BAPP card. If these are reduced again then it really is the end for Amex.

    • Olivula says:

      Great that someone benefits from Amex Platinum Travel Insurance. After you retire at 66, 67 or whatever Amex Platinum deem you’re too big a health risk to insure at 70+. . We are all told we are living longer but the insurance industry begs to differ and is reducing the cutoff. Get all your travelling done in those golden 3 years. Changed to Nationwide and Amex Platinum is cut up….shame otherwise it was good cover.

      • Thomas says:

        Quite right..
        I used to have my parents on my centurion as it covered them to the age of 80, then they dropped it overnight to 70 !!

  • Andy says:

    I am looking at cancelling my Platinum card in the near future. My CX card expires in November this year. Raffles – I know you state that if you cancel the card you will retain the membership of CX and the other hotel programmes but what worries me is that the Amex T&C state that they reserve the right to notify the relevant partner and cancel the account.

    I will still be travelling a fair bit over the next few months and would hate to lose my lounge access which I gain solely as a result of my CX card. Can you confirm that I would not have my card cancelled or does anyone have any experience regarding this.

    Cheers

    • Alan says:

      Nope, they don’t cancel the card – both my parents still have their CX cards after being referred 🙂

    • Rob says:

      The rules say that, but I have never (apart from Priority Pass, where cancellation is guaranteed) seen it happen.

    • Andy says:

      Thanks for the prompt replies and assurance!

  • Meyer S says:

    My CX Gold expires end of Feb. on the Amex Plat scheme. With the new 31 March extension can anyone tell me if they will extend me past Feb? Do I need to call them? Or just wait to see what happens?

    • Rob says:

      A lot of people have successfully got a new card by simply going back to the Amex website and reapplying for Cathay Gold.

  • Leo says:

    As a holder of an AMEX Gold, is it worth / possible to
    > upgrade to Plat
    > get CP
    > downgrade again to Gold?

    • Rob says:

      Yes, not a problem. You will end up paying the Plat fee for a month, of course. More of an issue is that when you downgrade again, you will NOT be on the ‘first year free’ – I am pretty sure you will be paying the £125 per year from the off.

      No Plat sign up bonus for upgrading, of course.

  • Andy Brown says:

    The same wording about the CX card and AA lounges is also on the Centurion website so bye-bye CX Diamond for us

  • Bobby says:

    It says CX Gold not available to NEW enrollments – does that mean that people who are currently enrolled will still be able to keep this benefit after April?

    • Rob says:

      No, it means it won’t suddenly stop on April 1st if you already have it, it will expire naturally

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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