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.
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:
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.
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 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.