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Plaza Premium lounges now allowing direct access for Amex Platinum cardholders

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Tucked away in the new issue of ‘Departures’, the magazine for American Express Platinum charge card holders, is an intriguing new offer.

The ‘intriguing’ element comes from the fact that Amex has never announced this benefit and because I’m not sure it has any use whatsoever for UK cardholders!

You can now access Plaza Premium airport lounges anywhere in the world simply by showing your American Express Platinum card at the desk.  You can also take in a guest for free.

Plaza Premium operates in 50 airports across the world.  In the UK they run very impressive departure lounges in Terminal 2 (reviewed here, photo below) and Terminal 4 (reviewed here).  They also run an arrivals lounge in Terminal 2.

In the pipeline is an arrivals lounge for Terminal 4, a Heathrow hotel and a large Plaza Premium departure lounge in Terminal 5 (yay!).

Details of all the Heathrow lounges are on their website here.

Plaza Premium Heathrow 2

This should be a fantastic benefit.  However, all of the UK lounges are already members of Priority Pass.  As you already get a free Priority Pass with your Platinum card, nothing changes.

The coverage is identical.  You get two Platinum cards (main and supplementary), you get two Priority Pass cards.  You get a free guest when entering using your Platinum card, you get a free guest when entering using your Priority Pass card.

The UK Platinum charge card is more generous than in other countries in terms of how the Priority Pass works.  I get a feeling that this deal with Plaza Premium was made to benefit cardholders in other countries more than the UK.

That said, it is possible that if you trawl through the entire Plaza Premium global network there may be one or two lounges which are not part of Priority Pass.  Should this be the case, you will get some marginal benefit from this new partnership.

There is also a chance that the Terminal 5 lounge will not be part of Priority Pass as the company which owns Priority Pass is a shareholder in the Aspire lounge in T5.  I don’t consider this likely however as the Aspire lounge is already turning people away at peak times and Priority Pass knows it needs more T5 capacity.  Aspire will continue to be full with or without Plaza Premium.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (January 2021)

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club lounge – see the list here

The Lounge Club list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list.  Additional visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  There is no annual fee in Year 1 and a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (66)

  • David says:

    NOT been through all the detail yet – but my first thought is about PAID supplementaries.

    With UK Amex Plat (personal) you get included in the fee:
    – main plat card holder (plat with all benefits inc PP covering 2)
    – plat supplementary card holder (plat with all benefits inc PP covering 2)
    – up to 4 supplementary card holders (green or gold, but no PP or other benefits)

    However, IIRC, you can add supplementary plat holders at £170 a year. Further, IIRC, they don’t get the PP benefit at all.
    But if this lounge access offering was available, this could be beneficial for someone.

    NOT gone through the T&C yet, just first thought.

    • Rob says:

      To be honest I have never got my head around what you do and don’t get for the £170 Platinum fee on a 2nd supplementary.

      If you don’t get a Priority Pass then, if you fly through T2 or T4 once a month or so, it may be worth giving a Platinum holding friend £170 to issue a supplementary for you! I know someone who pays a friend £500 to issue a supplementary Centurion for him because there is one particular benefit he uses heavily.

      • David says:

        Not just T2 or T4, the friend needing access could be based anywhere in the world that had Plaza Premium lounges at their main airports, etc.
        Just needs to be someone you trust to be in physical possession of a card on your account.
        This approach would also apply to the Eurostar lounge, etc.

        Sadly not familiar enough with Centurion to guess the benefit….

        • Rob says:

          It is one of the hotel status cards he particularly wanted. You know this person!

      • Neil Spellings says:

        Additional supplimentary card holders do get a PP.

        Amex sent me one after a recent Gold to Platinum upgrade accidentally included too many supplimentart cards

        • David says:

          Neil, this seems to constradic other experience, could you clarify exactly what happened (wondering if something odd happened)

          Also, is your paid supp PP holder getting 2 guests or just 1?

        • Andrew* says:

          Same here: upgraded PRG (for which I also had a supp card holder already) to Plat, when filling in upgrade form I requested a supp (didn’t realise existing one would be upgraded automatically….heh ho) and was checking statement a day or so later and noticed £170 fee…

          Cue two supp plat cards arriving in the post (one easily cancelled) and two PP cards (a phone call to PP resolved which one was no longer valid)

          • Scallder says:

            I had this same experience this week. A quick call to Amex and my wife’s 2nd supplementary card was cancelled. Two days later a 3rd PP card arrived (between the 2 of us), so you do get the PP on a further paid supplementary card

          • David says:

            Well you certainly get it (in practice) in that upgrade scenario. And it would certainly be good if confirmed that all plat sups are supposed to get it.
            Then, the final question would be, how many people are covered by it, 2 (like a main plat PP), 1 or 0 (i.e. PAYG).
            As Raffles says above – there is a lot of confusion out there. While my own data points are older, they do contradict this – and they were not part of the ‘upgrade’ scenario.
            Thanks for these. Would love some more data points.

          • ankomonkey says:

            Third person to have this exact experience…

  • Brian says:

    You say an arrivals lounge for Terminal 2 is in the pipeline – do you mean ANOTHER arrivals lounge is coming??? Or should that be Terminal 4??

    • Rob says:

      Sorry, meant T4, will correct.

      • Felix Flyer says:

        Was in arrivals lounge in Heathrow T2 the other week. They were conducting interviews for new staff when I heard them say they were opening a new lounge in T3.

  • tangey says:

    Did this start out in Asia? Seems to be strong there and the middle east, but nothing in Europe except for the LHR ones, and nothing at all in the US.

  • JP says:

    I’ll be cancelling my Amex gold with a view to getting Platinum in Mid December.

    Am i right in saying i have to wait 6 months to apply?

    Is anyone predicting any change to that card or it’s benefits between now and then?

  • Katy storie says:

    Can I just check that if myself and my partner both have platinum Amex (and therefore priority pass cards) we can each take a guest into a lounge? We went with our two children to the aspire lounge in Newcastle and were told we were not eligible for guests and so would be charged £15 per child?!

    • Alan says:

      The lounges often don’t know about the special Amex Priority Pass setup – normal PP would incur a guest fee but with Amex you will NOT be charged for 1 guest per PP card, so no issues taking them in. Just make sure they charge 1 guest per card and don’t put 2 on one card!

      • Katy storie says:

        Thanks! I’ll take the t and c’s with me next time!

        • harry says:

          I don’t think you need to do that, if I understand the way it works correctly. Newcastle lounge would just book you & the kids in, on your 2 Amex cards – but would not actually charge you anything there & then. They would (wrongly) expect that Amex would charge you the extra guest fee, which would then be passed back to lounge. (So you wouldn’t see a payment transaction going on in front of you.)

          No need to even mention the T&Cs, if I’m right. Just smile and go in, remembering as stated to only put 1 guest per card (not 2 on 1 card & nobody on the other).

          • Alan says:

            Correct – they’ve got no visibility on the billing side of things so just make sure they charge 1 guest per card and you’ll be sorted. Nod and smile if they say you’ll be charged 😀

    • Rob says:

      They were wrong although to be fair they don’t know what version of PPass you have. Most versions do charge.

    • Andrew* says:

      My wife managed not to get charged extra when taking our two children (who were at the time only 7 and 5) into Newcastle Aspire…

      Belfast weren’t so accommodating (not that they had to be, we were lucky at NCL!) – but were still helpful and only charged us their child rate, which was slightly cheaper than a paid PP guest…

  • harry says:

    Do you reckon my Plat supp could be my son aged 15? Ie I & he could get into lounge as cardholders & invite (as guests) my other 2 kids?

    • Nick M says:

      I think supplementary cardholders are meant to be over 18(?)… you could ask AMEX to just use initials on the credit card rather than a full name which may help?

  • McSalty says:

    Well this all makes me think it shows the growing disconnect between passengers wanting comfort and a sense of luxury and evidently happy to pay for it (e.g liu fes full at peak times) verses airline’s desire to reduce costs and mainly via reductions in service/quality to remain competitive…

  • Mervyn says:

    Heaven knows how it will work but there are some EXTRA benefits at Plaza lounges if entering suing an Amex Platinum Card. The article says in a box in the top left-hand side:
    ”PLATINUM BENEFIT Complimentary in-lounge services include premium cuisine and beverages.”

    Anyone have any idea what that is and how it works in practice?

    • Mervyn says:

      Sorry – ”suing” in line 2 should of course read ”using”!
      (it is an especially embarrassing typo for a lawyer to make!)