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Why American Express Platinum gets you into more airport and train lounges than you think

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NOTE: American Express is running an advertising campaign for Platinum at the moment and asked us to write something about it as part of that. This technically makes this article an ad, although regular readers will recognise that the article has the same sentiments as every other Platinum article we’ve published in the last six years.

One of the key benefits of the American Express Platinum charge card is the wide range of airport lounges that you can access.

All Platinum cardholders know about the Priority Pass benefit because they get a card dropping through their letterbox! They may not fully understand how powerful it is, however.

There are also other lounge benefits available to American Express Platinum cardholders that you may not know about. Today I’d thought I’d take a look at all the options open to you.

Amex Platinum airport lounge benefits

Let’s start with Priority Pass

Priority Pass is a network of 1,200 independent airport lounges across the world. 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.

Your American Express Platinum charge card comes with 2 free Priority Pass cards. You, as main cardholder, receive one and your first supplementary cardholder receives one. They arrive in the post at roughly the same time as your Platinum card.

Each Priority Pass card lets you take a guest into a lounge for free. Some people don’t join the dots here – what this means is that you can get a full family of four into an airport lounge with your Priority Pass. All you need to do is make sure that your partner is your first supplementary cardholder on your Platinum account and so gets their own Priority Pass. Both adults can then guest in one child each.

Additional guest are charged at £20 each. This is automatically charged by Priority Pass to your Platinum card.

Interestingly, this package is better than any which Priority Pass sells directly! If you look at their website, you’ll see that it is impossible to buy a version which comes with unlimited free entry for both yourself and a guest. The only way to get a Priority Pass which does this is via American Express Platinum.

Over the last year or so, Priority Pass has started doing deals with various airport restaurants too.

The first UK restaurant to sign up is The Grain Store at London Gatwick’s South Terminal, the terminal used by British Airways. You can go to The Grain Store, show your Priority Pass and get £30 of credit (£15 x 2 people) to spend on food and drink, either to eat in or take away.

It is worth keeping an eye on the Priority Pass website for these deals as they can provide a pleasant change to the lounge. In Portland in the USA for example, you can head down to House Spirits Distillery. Your Priority Pass gets you a $28 credit per person, which is exactly enough for each to get two cocktails AND a flight of whisky to taste!

Plaza Premium lounges are also a benefit – great at Heathrow Terminal 5

American Express Platinum also has a deal with the Hong-Kong based Plaza Premium chain of lounges. You can see the Plaza Premium lounge network here.

Plaza Premium has some EXCELLENT lounges at London Heathrow, including departure lounges in Terminals 2, 4 and 5 and arrival lounges in Terminals 2, 3 and 4.

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. There is one big exception – the new Plaza Premium Lounge in Terminal 5 at Heathrow, the main home of British Airways.

You cannot get into Plaza Premium Terminal 5 by showing your Priority Pass card. You CAN get in, with a guest, by flashing your American Express Platinum card at the door.

Lounge access with Delta

If you are flying with US airline Delta, your Amex Platinum card gets you (but no guests) access to Delta SkyClub lounges.

This can be more valuable than you think because – as I found myself when flying with Delta from Atlanta to Washington DC earlier in the year – even having a domestic First Class flight ticket with Delta does not automatically get you into their lounges. Luckily I had my American Express Platinum card with me.

This does NOT allow you to use the Virgin Clubhouse in Heathrow Terminal 3, which is Delta’s London facilty – only Delta-branded lounges.

Eurostar cocktail bar Paris

Access to Eurostar lounges

Away from the airport, American Express Platinum also gets you access to all Eurostar Business Premier Lounges.

The new Paris lounge is particularly nice following its relocation – see our review here and photo above. A cocktail bar has also just been added to the lounge at London St Pancras.

This benefit can be a money saver. With lounge access provided by your Platinum card, there is arguably little benefit in splashing out for a Business Premier ticket but note that access is for the cardmember only and no guests are permitted. Standard Premier offers exactly the same seat – albeit with a lower quality meal – and American Express handles lounge access for you.

Virgin Australia

Additional Platinum lounge benefits outside the UK:

There are some other Platinum lounge benefits which you can access.

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.

Airspace lounges can be found in Cleveland and San Diego.

American Express Centurion lounges (US, Hong Kong)

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

As per this website, you can find Amex Centurion lounges in Dallas, Hong Kong, Houston, Las Vegas, New York (LGA), Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle. New York JFK Terminal 4 is on the way and will be the largest Centurion Lounge yet.

Other American Express-operated lounges

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

They are in Delhi, Mexico City x 3 (I have been to one of these), Buenos Aires, Monterrey x 2 (Mexico, not CA!), Melbourne, Sydney and Toluca. These are accessible by Platinum cardholders from any country – guest policies vary by lounge.

Other lounges you may be able to access:

It isn’t clear if these are all 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 you can access Virgin Australia lounges in Australia if you are flying with them. You can bring one guest for free and must be flying Virgin Australia on a domestic flight.

Conclusion

As you can see, American Express Platinum cardholders get a wide range of airport and rail lounge benefits. There is a lot more too it than just a Priority Pass. My full review of Amex Platinum is here. You can apply here.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

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Comments

  1. Is the metal Platinum card available in the UK yet?

  2. Is it possible to eat at the Grain Store in Gatwick S and then go to relax in the Lounge after or do you have to choose either or?

  3. EMail from PP this morning

    Saving has just got easier. This Black Friday week, you’ve got exclusive access to our very best deals. With up to 40% discount, there’s never been a better time to join the world’s most rewarding lounge access program. And there’s no need to line up, just put your feet up and join online.

    Standard Annual fee – £69
    40% discount – £41 First year
    Member visit fee £20

    Standard Plus Annual fee £189
    25% discount £141 First year
    Member visit fee, 10 visits FREE, then £20

    Prestige
    Annual fee £339
    25% discount £254 the First year
    Member visit fee, All visits FREE

    Offer ends: Sunday 25th November at 11.59pm
    https://www.prioritypass.com/en/campaigns/ldn/blackfriday

  4. Memesweeper says:

    Does Plat business card get the same package of lounge benefits?

  5. Apart from lounges, Amex Plat also gets you access to premium security at Helsinki Airport whereas BA status or CE doesn’t (only Finnair status or business class is recognised). I found out by chance last April as my OH was flying back to UK on BA and I was going to Japan with Finnair business. They wouldn’t let my partner with CE ticket, but there was a sign that Amex Plat was accepted. Also sometimes at Haneda Airport they let you into domestic lounge with foreign Platinum, but they are policing more recently.

    • Do they scan the card or anything like that?

      • At Helsinki Airport you judt show the card and boarding pass any class. At Haneda domestic lounge sometimes you just flash and they let you in, but recently they started looking properly and look at the back of the card and refuse if they think it is a foreign card. It is technically designed only for Japanese Plat holders.

    • Thanks for this tip. I wish we could compile somewhere a list of Priority Pass/Amex Platinum accessible fast track security as this would be quite useful.

      • GUWonder says:

        Stockholm Arlanda has fast track security screening for Amex Platinum card holders. Helsinki does too. Copenhagen doesn’t. Can’t speak to Oslo.

        • Graham Walsh says:

          I’ve used my BA silver to use fast track in Oslo. I was in economy but scanned my silver boarding card on my phone.

      • Courtesy of Flyertalk:

        Katowice, Poland
        Poznan, Poland
        Bergamo (outside Milan), Italy (only Landside VIP Lounge). Also offers check-in services
        Bologna, Italy (only Marconi Business Lounge)
        Verona, Italy (only Valerio Catullo VIP Lounge; make sure to get a stamp on your boarding pass)
        Bodrum, Turkey (only Comfort Lounge)
        Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, Jamaica (only Club Mobay lounges)

        NB: This is with the Priority Pass, not the Amex Plat

    • Similarly at YYZ, found Amex Plat holders can access fast track security.

  6. IslandDweller says:

    To expand on a reply by Rob above.
    The Stansted lounge is not a No1, so you can’t reserve on their £5 scheme. But that lounge can (and does – aggressively) sell to the general public so it is often unavailable to PP card holders. There isn’t an alternative lounge available at STN.

  7. Can any UK platinum card holders confirm if they’ve managed to use their card to access virgin Australia lounges? I was looking at pushing my international flight spend to Singapore Airlines to get a gold card with them that gives you access as a result, but this would actually work out really well for me as I fly internally in Australia a lot.

    That said, there’s this old article (from 2015), saying you can use virgin Australia lounges with an Etihad Gold card. Is that still the case? I can’t see any reference to it anywhere on the Etihad or virgin Australia sites

    • OK, I actually answered the second part of my own question: https://www.etihadguest.com/en/earn-miles/flying/virgin-australia.html It turns out I’ve been missing out on using the Virgin Australia lounges for at least the past 12 months: https://www.etihadguest.com/en/earn-miles/flying/virgin-australia.html

    • guesswho2000 says:

      I’ve not done it, as I’m a Velocity Gold cardholder, but have read elsewhere that people have been successful. My VA Gold lapses in Feb, so will be using my UK Platinum to (attempt) to access VA lounges then, so it’d be good to hear of others’ experiences.

      That said, VA lounges can get pretty rammed, and PP is increasing its coverage here, including restaurants in terminals, so there’s that option for UK Plat cardholders too.

      Also, if flying from MEL/SYD, from the right terminal, the Platinum card gets you access to the Amex ones. I’d pick the Amex lounge at MEL T2 over a lot of the lounges at MEL, although VA domestic is from a different terminal, so that won’t help you there, and VA international use the EY lounge in T2, which is actually OK (it’s not QF F-lounge, but beats the CX lounge imo).

  8. There’s also a Centurion Lounge at Stockholm Arlanda that myself and my better half have used courtesy of my Plat + additional (you need one per guest IIRC). Lovely food and drinks, very polite service, and a good view of the runway.

  9. Thomas O'Brien says:

    I have Plat Amex, is the only lounge I can access the Alaska at JFK T7? Flying BA but only Blue status.

  10. Rob, since American Express is running an advertising campaign on the Platinum card at the moment, are there any incentives American Express is offering (beyond the standard one of 30,000 points) for opening a Platinum card?

  11. Anyone know if Amex allow an overseas supplementary cardholder. My sister is visiting from the colonies and I would like to extend the car hire cover to her, maybe full travel insurance. Rather than exclude this, the insurance T&Cs seem to acknowledge the traveller’s country of residence may vary. Amex chat told me know – it must be a UK national – but the card application has a Nationality dropdown list.

  12. Antonio Lulic says:

    If I’m arriving into LHR T5, can I use the Plaza Premium arrivals lounges at the other terminals (I have Amex Plat and Priority Pass) with a T5-arriving boarding pass?

    • T4 rarely asks for a BP but T2 is fussier. T4 is far nicer.

      • hingeless says:

        I’ve used the one in T2 several times, never been asked for a BP

        • When T2 opened the PP CEO told me he wanted to people to use whilst waiting for arrivals (so no BP). What happened is that some airport employees and taxi drivers with Priority Pass or similar were using it daily – free lunch – and there was pushback from either Amex or Priority Pass.

  13. Sport this is a little O/T, but does anybody know from what date it will be possible to link American Express cards to Curve ?

  14. What are the Mexico City AMEX lounges like? Wondering whether its worth keeping the Plat for a couple of months longer than intended on the next churn…

    • The pitch says:

      They have some very mediocre cook to order food. Free massages in the spa though.

  15. I currently have a Amex Platinum card and IHG Platinum which I like and want to keep. I spend between £20-25k per year. I thinking of getting the BAPP. Once i get the 241 voucher and sign up bonus, should I just cancel the card and get the Amex gold? I always fly Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, because there’s no direct BA fly from Manchester…

    • As with all these things it depends on whether you can make the BAPP work for you. Remember you’ll only get decent value from the 2 4 1 if you use it from London because of BA’s very limited regional offerings.

      • Am I better off with gold card in the long run? If I rarely use 241 and better value using the gold card for booking Cathay Pacific?

    • You won’t get a bonus on Gold if you have Platinum. No problem cancelling your BAPP and keeping the voucher irrespective of what Amex tells you.

  16. In the U.S., Privacy Pass market “Priority Pass Select” – as far as I know, this card is only offered with certain U.S. bank accounts (see here: https://www.prioritypass.com/en/Select). Does anyone know if there is any practical difference between that card and the UK card? Or is it just marketing?

    • Is Select more restricted?

      • I expect so. Outside some lounges, specifically one in SFO (which I haven’t attempted to get into) I’ve seen the Select branding, so I imagine that means you can’t enter with a non-Select card. I haven’t tried entering for fear of being shamed, and because so far I’ve always had an airline-specific lounge to use instead.

        • Also, sorry, the first post was obviously meant to read “Priority Pass” and not “Privacy Pass”

        • I actually mean ‘restrictive’ in terms of ‘it gets you into fewer lounges than a standard Priority Pass’?

  17. Shoestring says:

    Looks like I’ll be closing my wife’s IB a/c using the GDPR route https://www.iberia.com/gb/management-of-personal-data/

    My wife won’t commit to flying dates for next summer (or even going out to our place in the sun at Easter!) And 2 of the kids will be flying with her, so we can’t do their flights either. They want some time in the summer with their mates, again I get it.

    Fair enough, she has other commitments. But one I finish off the final flight for my other son & myself – we’ll make it Business given the situation, might as well sample the delights of T3 lounge crawl again – she’ll be left with some 50K points. They’re tucked away in BAEC.

    Just a glimmer of hope, she’s starting to think about a few days in Spain with 2 of the kids next October half term.

  18. I have a question in relation to the grain store at Gatwick.

    My husband and I both have Amex platinum cards and are travelling through Gatwick.

    Can he purchase breakfast for us both and use the £15 credit for himself and a guest?

    Can I then purchase £15 of drinks/ food for flight for myself and a guest later on?

    Thanks!

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