The American Express (AMEX) Platinum card was once considered exclusive to frequent travelers and jet-setters, but it’s now become a versatile lifestyle card that offers a wide range of non-travel benefits. However, frequent travelers can still benefit from the Platinum Card’s several travel-related perks, such as access to multiple types of airport club lounges.
It can be challenging to keep track of which lounges the card grants access to and the requirements for each. To clarify, Personal Platinum, Business Platinum, and their card variants offer lounge access as a perk.
Heads up that other American Express Cards with platinum in the name, like the Delta Airlines Platinum or Optima Platinum, don’t get the same lounge access.
American Express does have a very handy lounge locator on its website. If you type in the airport, they’ll tell you all the places you can get into and which type of lounge that location is. If you have several lounges at an airport to choose from, this link is about a website that provides reviews of over 2,500 lounges in 850+ airports worldwide.
Lounges change operating hours, move to a new location, or even close altogether, so it’s best to check with the lounge website to see if a specific location is open.
The consistently best lounges you can get into with the Platinum Card are the American Express Centurion Lounges. American Express is expanding the Centurion Lounge network, both in the US and internationally. To get the most updated list of locations, use the AMEX app and check under the membership section.
These lounges, exclusively available to American Express cardholders, are among the best ones in the U.S. They offer full bar service with cocktails designed by expert mixologists, food from James Beard-nominated and Zagat-rated chefs, and you can even get spa services in select cities. I’ve been to several lounges including Charlotte, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New York JFK (including the hidden speakeasy) and found each location to be a great place to spend time before a flight. The bartender in New York even let us have some real champagne (usually only reserved for people who have the Centurion “AMEX Black Card”) when he found out that we were traveling on our anniversary.
The Centurion Lounges were an instant hit when they opened. In fact, they were too popular. Due to overcrowding, American Express restricted access to the clubs in order to keep them from getting too packed. Here’s the current entry policy:
Access to The Centurion Lounge is complimentary for
- Platinum Card® Members
- Business Platinum Card® Members
- Corporate Platinum Card® Members
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Card Members
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business Card Members
- Centurion® Members
Based on my experience, the front desk staff have always asked for my boarding pass, ID and Platinum card when checking in. You’ll need to bring the card with you, even if you don’t intend to use it for anything else on your trip.
While there are currently only a handful of Centurion Lounges, the Priority Pass lounge network boasts over 1,300 locations worldwide. Priority Pass is a program separate from AMEX. You have to sign up for a membership once you have your Platinum Card. To get a better idea about the Priority Pass program, this link explains it pretty well.
AMEX provides a Priority Pass Select membership to the Platinum cardholder at no cost. You have to enroll online (or I imagine you could call AMEX, as well) and you’ll receive a packet and Priority Pass card.
To receive complimentary access to a Priority Pass™ Select lounge, enroll in Priority Pass™ Select through the benefits section of your americanexpress.com account or by calling the number on the back of your Card and membership package which you should receive within 10–14 business days. Just present your Priority PassTM Select Card and same-day boarding pass to enter a participating lounge. At any visit to a Priority Pass Select lounge that admits guests, you may bring in two guests for no charge. After two guests, you will be automatically charged the guest visit fee equal to the guest visit fee of the Priority Pass Standard program for each additional guest. Some lounges do not admit guests.
You’ll be asked for your card, same-day boarding pass and ID when going to a lounge in the Priority Pass network. You get two free guests with your membership. You can bring in extra people, and the fee will automatically be charged to your Platinum AMEX card.
Priority Pass lounges can vary widely in their quality. We’re quite lucky to have two decent lounges at Orlando Airport (MCO). Both of The Club MCO locations are nice and we gladly spend some time in them before our flights.
Other Priority Pass lounges aren’t as nice, to the point we had to figure out how long we needed to stay before turning around and leaving without being rude. I’m looking at you, Wingtips Lounge at JFK.
As of 2019, Priority Pass Select memberships earned through American Express credit cards, including the Platinum cards, are no longer eligible for “non-lounge airport experiences.”
You get access to the Delta Sky Club lounges with your American Express Platinum card. This used to be a great perk of the Platinum card, but Delta has placed strict limitations on who can access Sky Clubs using credit cards.
Eligible Platinum Card Members must present their valid American Express Card, government-issued I.D., and boarding pass to the Delta Sky Club ambassador. Boarding pass must show a reservation for a same-day Delta-operated flight (Delta or Delta connection) departing from or arriving at the airport in which the Delta Sky Club is located. Name on boarding pass must match name on the Card. Eligible Platinum Card Members on departing flights can only access the Delta Sky Club or the Delta Sky Club “Grab and Go” feature within 3 hours of their flight’s scheduled departure time. During a layover between Delta-operated flights on the same ticket, you may use the Delta Sky Club in your connecting airport at any time during the layover. Eligible Platinum Card Members may bring guests into the Delta Sky Club subject to the most current Delta Sky Club access and pricing policies and must use their valid Platinum Card as the payment method for guest access. Guests also must be flying on a same-day Delta-operated flight. Guest access and fees subject to terms and conditions of participating airport clubs. Access is subject to Delta Sky Club rules. To review the rules, please visit delta.com/skyclub. Benefit and rules subject to change without notice. Additional restrictions may apply.
So you need to be flying on a Delta flight that day, and the access is only for yourself. You need to purchase admission for up to two guests at $50 each.
If you fly in the U.S., you’ve probably never seen a Plaza Premium lounge. However, they have over 250 locations in 70 airports worldwide. Here’s how you can access Plaza Premium Lounges with your Platinum Card:
To enter, present your valid Platinum Card, a boarding pass showing a confirmed reservation for same-day travel and a government issued ID. You may enter with up to two (2) complimentary guests.
Plaza Premium is starting to expand in the Americas, including the new lounge in Orlando’s new Terminal C.
American Express expanded its relationship with the Escape Lounges in the US and rebranded them as Escape Lounges – The Centurion® Studio Partner. These lounges aren’t going to become Centurion Lounges but will get some updates to the food and beverage options and refreshed decor.
Currently, there are lounges at the following airports:
- Hartford, CT (Bradley)
- Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky
- Fort Lauderdale -Hollywood
- Palm Beach
- Phoenix (T3 & T4)
- Sacramento (TA & TB)
Here’s the entry policy with your Platinum Card:
To enter, show your valid Platinum Card, government issued I.D. and same day boarding pass. You can bring two (2) guests with you at no additional cost.
Outside of the United States, AMEX has eleven branded lounges. These aren’t the same as the Centurion Lounges and don’t offer the same level of quality that those lounges do. However, they might be worth checking out if you’re ever flying out of Delhi or Mexico City. Even though they’re AMEX branded, the entry policy of these lounges is the vaguest.
To enter, show your valid Platinum Card, government issued I.D. and same day boarding pass. At a minimum, one complimentary guest is allowed.
Entry policies for individual lounges can be found on the AMEX website.
Since June 2018, AMEX has partnered with Lufthansa to allow Platinum card members access to lounges around the world.
As part of The American Express Global Lounge Collection, we invite Platinum Card and Centurion Members to enjoy access to select Lufthansa airport lounges.
- Platinum Card Members may enjoy access to Lufthansa (LH) Business Lounges (regardless of LH Group ticket class) and Lufthansa Senator Lounges (when flying LH Group business class). For the most current list of participating lounges and access requirements, please use the Lounge Finder feature in the American Express App or visit www.americanexpress.com/findalounge
To enter, show your valid Platinum Card, government issued photo I.D., and confirmed seat on a same day Lufthansa Group boarding pass. Certain locations will allow guests for a fee.
Premium travel credit cards often offer lounge access to their cardholders. However, access is usually granted through a Priority Pass membership, which may have limited locations. Recently, Chase and Capital One have opened their own branded lounges, but the number of locations is still limited. On the other hand, American Express stands out from the competition by providing access to its top-notch Centurion lounges and partnering with other lounge networks in the US and across the world.
To take advantage of this benefit, it’s important to note that you need to carry both your AMEX Platinum card and your Priority Pass card with you when traveling. Although digital versions of the cards might be available, it’s still better to have the physical cards with you. If you forget to bring the cards, you may not be able to access the lounge, which can be disappointing. Therefore, it’s a good idea to add a reminder to your packing list to ensure that you always have the necessary cards with you when traveling. Yes, I still use a packing list. If you’re a last-minute packer like me, it’s way too easy to forget something, and I don’t want to be sitting outside a lounge trying to steal Wi-Fi signal because I forgot one of my cards.
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