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.

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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. I have to echo the comments regarding Priority Pass at Gatwick. I’ve been turned away many times due to the lounge being ‘full’ or block booked. So much so that I wouldn’t recommend Priority Pass to anyone flying out of Gatwick regularly.

    • Definitely 1 and possibly 2 new PP lounges on the way to South.

      • Lady London says:

        In North there is mylounge (closed for awhile but I think recently reopened) and, I think, an Aspire as well as the No. 1. Yet still No. 1 in North Terminal also turns other people away at busy times if they just have PP. Luckily I’ve never been turned away yet but it’s taken guile and a plan 🙂

        So I am not really sure if a mylounge and an aspire will totally relieve the pressure on No. 1 in the other (South) terminal.

    • Adam Brown says:

      Definitely needed. I commute through Gatwick South and can count on one hand the amount of times I have got in since June – Although I was travelling with family this weekend so booked in advance – and was let in without even asking for my reservation!

      I find the Grain Store great but I tend to either have a long or short wait and for this it is no good as you can’t really sit there for 3 hours (You probably could but I would feel guilty) and sometimes I want to just pop in for 30 minutes to freshen up and grab some drinks and soup. but if I have an hour or so would definitely choose the Grain Store over the Lounge.

  2. The other comment I would make is that we really shouldn’t need a Headforpoints article to enumerate the various opportunities to use a lounge with Platinum – the Amex app should be letting us know when there is an accessible lounge nearby.

  3. The Amex iPhone app now has a “lounge finder” function – it’s under Membership on the that lists all the lounges you can use either directly or with Priority Pass for a given airport.

    Also, you can use certain Lufthansa lounges in Frankfurt and Munich at the moment (I think non-Schengen bit of T1). An Economy ticket gets you into business lounge and Business ticket gets you into Senator lounge. I didn’t get a chance to try this last time I was at FRA as didn’t have time but it’s listed in the lounge finder.

  4. When you say cardmember only, no guests (eg Delta and Eurostar) – does a supplementary card holder get access – ie would a couple with main and supp cards both get in?

  5. Indiacharliepapa says:

    I was also able to use the Amex platinum lounge at the Staple Center (LA) when I went to watch the Lakers. I bought the cheapest seats for around $20 up in the gods then spent the game in the lounge on the 1st (?) floor. I’m sure some other places in US may have platinum lounges too.

  6. Adam Brown says:

    Interesting Article Rob – Thanks.

    I am travelling through Hong Kong in March in BA Club World.
    Is the Centurian Lounge usable for a BA flight to LHR? (I don’t know the airport at all) and if so does anyone have a recommendation on which lounge to use?

    • Hingeless says:

      HKG is one giant terminal ( it has a T2 but you won’t be using that) so yes you can get into the Centurion lounge, it is better than the Cathay lounges.BA uses the qantas lounge which is also quite good.

      As the terminal is quite big you need to factor in which gate you are leaving from

  7. I travel to Sweden Arlanda quite a lot and the Amex Plat also gets you access to Pontus in the Air for free, its a sectioned off part of a restaurant just for Amex Plat and Centurion cardholders (up some stairs sort of opposite the WH Smith shop) in Terminal 5, its a waiter service and food is always very good, a nice free meal and drinks 🙂

  8. Out of interest, do any of the rail stations in the US have lounges and if so, can you use Amex Platinum to get access ?

    • Not that I’ve seen and travelling ‘First’ with AmTrak doesn’t make any mention of lounges either (you basically just get a free soft/hot drink on board!)

  9. For PriorityPass access…
    if I have a connection in the US (say flying from London to the west coast with a stopover in NYC), am I able to use a Priority lounge in London and then in NYC on the same day?
    As in, would these 2 lounge visits at different airports on the same day be considered free (as different airports), or would I have to pay for the second visit (as it is visit 2 in one day, regardless of different airports)?

    • Even check in to multi lounges at same airport same time is free

      • Are you serious? This cannot be true…

        My understanding is that you EITHER get a lounge access OR can spend a pre-set amount at airport restaurant, if available. The restaurant spend would be treated as a lounge visit. If there are two restaurants available at your airport, you cannot ‘double dip’ and use the pre-set credit amount at both.

        If what you are saying is correct, then lounge visits are treated differently…you might be right but it sounds somewhat counterintuitive to me. Are you sure about that?

        • Totally sure. When I was at Gatwick North the other month to review the new Club Aspire lounge I popped into No 1 upstairs afterwards to see what had changed there. Never been charged for the 2nd (or in some cases 3rd) visits in the same day.

          Why should PP care? I bet they just send Amex an aggregated bill so Amex doesn’t see that they are paying for the same person 2-3 times in a day. Even if it WAS aggregated, there are plenty of reasons why someone would visit 2 PP lounges in a day if doing a day trip somewhere.

        • If you have an “unlimited visits” version of Priority Pass, you could go to every lounge in every airport you pass through in a day without any problems. I’ve been to both No.1 and Aspire lounges at Edinburgh on the same day, and used a lounge in Edinburgh on outbound and Dublin on return flight without any issues whatsoever. Never tried the restaurant set-up but it just records as a lounge visit so don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

        • As Rob as said, this is correct. I’ve done it many times.

        • OK, I am convinced now. Thanks!

          Just curious – would it work the same way with restaurants?
          For instance, there are 2 restaurants in Miami: can I go and use the Priority pass at the first restaurant, and then in 5 mins use it again at the other restaurant?
          And yes, assuming unlimited visits on my Priority Pass

        • 100% – do lounge hops all the time!

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

  11. 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?

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