Last week we covered the changes coming to the airport lounge cards issued with Amex Platinum.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two Priority Pass airport lounge access cards, one for you and one for your supplementary Platinum cardholder. This allows each of you to get two people, for free and as often as you want, into any of the 1,200 airport lounges in the Priority Pass network.
(You can find full details on Priority Pass here – you can buy one separately without having to take out an Amex Platinum card.)
Over recent years, Priority Pass has been adding restaurant partners too. Instead of visiting a lounge, you can visit a restaurant in your departure terminal and receive a £15 discount on your bill per person. However, American Express is now removing the restaurant benefit from UK issued Platinum cards.
There was one relevant exception. The only UK restaurant participating in the scheme, the Grain Store Café & Bar at Gatwick South, will be retained, at least for UK cardholders. We looked at The Grain Store here.
Amex implied, in a message on July card statements, that other restaurants would also be retained. It turns out this is not the case. There ARE seven other ‘non-lounge’ venues being retained but the other six are NOT restaurants. They are in-airport transit hotels, primarily ‘Minute Suites’ in the USA, where your Priority Pass gets you a bed for one hour. The Priority Pass website has full details here.
Gatwick’s The Grain Store is, literally, the only Priority Pass restaurant in the world which is still accessible to Amex-issued Priority Pass cardholders.
I also don’t think this will last. The new Club Aspire lounge is due to open in Gatwick South in mid September – see the website here. Importantly, this lounge is 50% owned by the parent of Priority Pass. Once it is active, it makes no sense for Priority Pass to pay for The Grain Store when it can send people to the new Club Aspire lounge instead.
Getting airport lounge access via a UK credit card
As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:
Two free Priority Pass cards (one for you, one for your supplementary Platinum cardholder, each admitting two – so a family of four gets in free) giving access to every lounge in the Priority Pass network – search it here. You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. Our American Express Platinum review is here.
You get a Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club network lounge – see the list here. The list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list, but not by much. Additional visits are charged at £20 per person. You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card. No annual fee in Year 1. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
You get a free LoungeKey card allowing you access to any property in the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 although regular travellers will find it cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card (adults only, of course). The card has an annual 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.
(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards? Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)