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Additional airport lounges that you never knew Amex Platinum got you into

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The American Express Platinum charge card offering differs from country to country.  Whilst the cards look the same wherever you go (unless you turn them over) you receive different benefits depending on where it is issued.

These benefits do not always apply to holders of American Express Platinum cards issued in other countries.  Of course, when the cards look the same, it is easy to pass them off.  Some other benefits are designed for global Amex Platinum customers but, for some reason, are not promoted in the UK.

This means that you can get additional airport lounge access benefits above those officially offered by Amex UK.

Amex Platinum already has excellent airport lounge access benefits:

You receive 2 Priority Pass cards, each of which admits two people to the 1,000 airport lounges in the Priority Pass network.  If you issue the 2nd card to your partner, this allows a family of four to access a lounge.  You can get unlimited lounge visits with your card.  The Priority Pass website here has a list of all of the lounges you can access – you are very likely to find one wherever you are travelling, including all four Heathrow terminals.

Lounge access with Delta.  If you are flying with US airline Delta, your UK-issued Amex Platinum card gets you (but no guests) access to Delta SkyClub lounge.  I don’t think this allows you to use the Virgin Clubhouse in Heathrow Terminal 3, however – only Delta-branded lounges.

There are some other Platinum lounge access benefits which you can access.  It isn’t clear if these are meant to be accessible for UK cardholders or not, but readers regularly get access to them.

Virgin Australia

As you can see from the Australian website for the Platinum card (don’t get wound up by the 100,000 points sign-up bonus), you can flash your card to get in to Virgin Australia lounges in Australia if you are flying with them.  Here are the rules:

Access is complimentary for the Basic Platinum Card Member and one guest only. The Basic Platinum Card Member and guest must be travelling with Virgin Australia domestically. Access is to Virgin Australia-branded lounges in Australia only. Name on boarding pass must match the name on Platinum Card. The Platinum Card Member and guest must present his or her valid Card and same-day boarding pass (containing your Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer number and status) to Virgin Australia lounge agents. Guest must be travelling on same Virgin Australia flight and present boarding pass. All access is subject to space availability. This benefit is subject to change.

It isn’t clear why it says that your frequent flyer details must show on your boarding pass although I know people who have got access without this.

Airspace Lounge (US)

Airspace is a small network of independent US lounges.  As you can see from their website, you get free admission for yourself and TWO guests by showing your Platinum card.

A HFP reader recently got access with his UK Platinum card, which may or may have been an error but it did work!

Airspace lounges can be found in New York JFK Terminal 5 (JetBlue), Cleveland and San Diego.

Amex Centurion lounges

As I have mentioned before on HFP, American Express is currently rolling out its own network of airport lounges in the US.  Despite being call Centurion Lounges, they are accessible by anyone with a Platinum or Centurion Amex card.  You are allowed two free guests.

As per this website, you can find Amex Centurion lounges in Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, New York (LGA), Miami, San Francisco and Seattle.  Philadelphia and, interestingly, Hong Kong are listed as ‘coming soon’.

American Express lounges

American Express also operates 10 other lounges globally.  Full details are here.

They are in Mumbai, Delhi, Mexico City (I have been to this one), Buenos Aires, Monterrey (Mexico, not CA!), Sydney and Toluca.  These are accessible by Platinum cardholders from any country – guest policies vary by lounge.

Bradesco lounges in Brazil

As per the comments below, Amex – in conjunction with its local issuer Bradesco – has a network of lounges in Brazil.  These can be accessed with a Platinum card or, it appears (my Portuguese is a bit ropey) a Gold card.  Full details, in Portuguese, can be found here.

Sao Paulo Terminal 2 – Bradesco Lounge – airside – 1st floor
Sao Paulo Terminal 3 – Star Alliance Lounge – airside – mezzanine
Sao Paulo – Amex Centurion Lounge – airside – opposite gate 5
Rio De Janeiro – Amex Centurion Lounge – landside – 1st floor
Recife Terminal 2 – Sala VIP PontesTur – airside – ground floor

Plaza Premium lounges

Amex Platinum cards issued in Hong Kong – but which look very similar to the UK version – can be used to access a large number of Plaza Premium airport lounges.  You can learn more here.

Most Plaza Premium lounges are in Priority Pass, which means that you can enter anyway by using the Priority Pass card which comes with Amex Platinum, but this is a fall back option if you don’t have your Priority Pass with you.

Conclusion

As you can see, American Express Platinum cardholders get a wide range of airport lounge benefits – many of which are not actually mentioned in the literature sent out by the UK team.  My full review of Amex Platinum is here.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (September 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

60,000 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 60,000 points which is a special offer running to 2nd November 2021.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 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 Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and a special 30,000 points sign-up bonus until 9th November 2021.  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 (103)

  • Ian says:

    It’s not just the 100,000 MR points sign up bonus in Australia for the Platinum Amex, the ongoing earning rate is vastly better than the UK version as well. Why are Amex so stingy in the UK?

    • Stu R says:

      Not only stingy, but of late, my experience confirms their customer service has taken a serious nose dive!

      • the real harry1 says:

        It’s obviously a different marketplace/ different competition. I would suggest Amex view the UK as rather successful in terms of increasing cardholders, increasing retail distribution, increasing turnover & increasing profitability. The USA has bigger problems/ no idea about Aus.

        100,000 MR points vs 20,000 in UK probably does put the issue of churning into context, though. Maybe not such a concern to them.

        • Matt says:

          The £700 (AU$1200) annual fee might also play a role.

          • Hingeless says:

            You get a $300 travel credit that you can spend with Amex travel, it’s only really $900

    • John says:

      Well, the fee is $1200 (minus $300 travel credit), but you get approx 2 MR per £-equivalent of spending, but there are category multipliers, but 1 Oz MR is worth less than 1 UK MR.

      Then min wage in Australia is higher, but most things except fuel cost more, but UK has much higher salaries in some industries, but Oz doesn’t really have cheap short-hauls or ex-EU equivalent … hard to make a genuine comparison.

      • Ro says:

        But if you subtract the travel credit, $900 is only about £530 so not too much higher than ours.

        With such a hefty sign up bonus, that in itself is worth way more than the extra £80. The different spend bonuses are also hugely helpful. ( e.g. 3 points/dollar at restaurants)

        Its not just the platinum card… all their cards have much higher bonuses so you can really rack up huge tallies quickly… anything under 50k is pretty low. Last year between feb and june I gained 460 000 frequent flier points between qantas and virgin australia.

        Almost every bank has some sort of amex + mastercard/visa points earning product so there are tons of options to rack em up fast.
        On the otherhand most banks only let you get a sign up bonus once every 12 months rather than the 6 that amex lets us have here.

        Also… australia is soon to introduce interchange fee caps… this will change the game there dramatically and likely lower their sign up bonuses.

        Why do you say an Oz mr point is worth less than a UK mr point?

        As for cost of living… i spent a year in Melbourne last year and almost everything was cheaper there compared to London etc… rent/bills/food/drink/travel. Just dont think that stereotype is true.

        And yeah not many cheap short haul options, but tons of cheap long haul options like air asia/scoot/jetstar. I did miss £20 jaunts to europe though.

      • Louie says:

        It’s also quite difficult to find anywhere bar the big supermarkets that takes Amex outside the very biggest cities (or if they do, they charge too high a surcharge). I always ask and doubt if one in ten or even twenty places does. My Mastercard spend in Oz is probably 4 or 5x my Amex spend.

        Have to agree with John though – at current exchange rates, Oz is expensive. At $2 = £1 it’s probably much the same overall. Hopefully we’ll get back to that sort of rate soon (been a good day today!).

      • Alan says:

        In general I found rent (and property prices) higher than UK, but eating out and travel was cheaper. Supermarkets a bit pricier. Wages *massively* higher in all areas of healthcare (and just public sector, never mind private). Aus MR points not worth quite as much with some partners due to redemption rate, but decent on others (I think SQ IIRC).

  • Hingeless says:

    As you only have to show your plat card at the virgin Australia lounges (they don’t swipe them) the supp card works too for entry with a +1.

    In Melbourne you can even use the priority exit channel that takes you airside directly into the domestic terminal through private security.

    Most of the virgin lounges are excellent, they even have a live band occasionally on a Friday night.

    Unfortunately virgin Australia has no international lounges, but at least Sydney has an Amex lounge which is really nice.

    If anyone wants any oz FFP tips let me know.

  • Stephen C says:

    I got into lounges in both Delhi and Toronto last year with mine. They were both PP lounges anyway, but still..

  • Den says:

    I’ve used my UK Platinum to access the very mediocre Airspace lounge at the JFK JetBlue terminal (T5) without question

  • Ynox says:

    Used the centurion lounge at dfw on my last trip through there. Great lounge with a decent hot food and drinks offering. My wife had a good experience in the salon there too.

    My experience of the Admirals Club at Dfw is a bit out of date now (was last there in 2012, time flies!) but this is a significantly better lounge.

  • Ian says:

    I’ve used my card at the LAS and DFW Centurion lounges with no problems at all. They do swipe the card on entry, and they regularly have capacity issues, so I’m sure if it weren’t officially allowed then the dragons would have refused me.

    Although an excellent concept, the fact that most US-based elites don’t get lounge access even on domestic paid F means that independent lounges like Centurion or Priority Pass get packed to the gills.

    • Ian says:

      Also, I forgot to mention that IIRC the Centurion lounges sell access to Golds as well, and since the cost is less than a meal and drinks (at airport prices) for a family, you get a lot of noisy families with kids running around, which affects the upscale experience somewhat.

  • Ian says:

    AIUI for free access it’s only the charge cards: Platinum Card, Platinum Business, and Platinum Corporate, though any other Amex credit or charge card holder can buy access for $50 on the day.

    http://thecenturionlounge.com/info/access

    • Lewis Watson says:

      That’s why I said am sure I wasn’t meant to get access. But I think the receptionist didn’t know and let me in.

  • TripRep says:

    As Rob is not covering it for legal reasons & someone is bound to ask about that upgrade link, I’ve commented on it last night here.

    https://headforpoints.com/2017/04/16/virgin-atlantic-easter-sale/comment-page-1/#comment-251165

    Again I will not be using it unless I can confirm with Amex that I definitely qualify for the offer.

    I saved the link in case my comments were removed if not deemed appropriate

    • Ben says:

      Much appreciated @TripRep. My free year on the gold card is up in a month so I will wait till I get the 10k bonus for hitting the spend and then contact them to cancel/upgrade if the offer the 20k.

      • Graham Walsh says:

        Same here, mine is up in a few weeks on Gold with 10k bonus spend, so I’ll wait for that to post then probably upgrade to Platinum. Here is the email I got back from CS when I asked about upgrading.

        “I understand that you wish to convert your Preferred Rewards Gold Card to the Platinum Charge Card.

        You will be glad to know that you are eligible to receive the bonus of 15,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £1,000 within first three months of your membership of your Platinum Charge Card.

        You may contact our Customer Care Services team at the number written at the back of your Card and one of my colleagues will process the conversion request for you.”

    • Sam says:

      I posted the link here 1-2 weeks ago having upgraded my PRG via that link. I initially phoned and was told by CS that phone upgrades will not qualify for the bonus (as they have different offers available to online). The CS rep actually said they have no upgrade bonuses by phone. I have since hit £1k spend and received the 20k bonus. There is no counter adding up your cumulative spend on the Amex site like with other welcome bonuses so you just have to keep a record yourself. The £450 fee was applied in the first statement so perhaps I just got unlucky.

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