No business-class ticket? No problem. With the Platinum Card from American Express, you won’t mind a long layover. You might even want to show up early to the airport.
The Platinum Card from American Express is a popular choice among travel credit cards due to its wide range of travel benefits, but one of the most rewarding features is the access it provides to thousands of airport lounges across the globe.
Airport Lounge Access with the Platinum Card from American Express
Usually tucked away from the hectic and clamorous main terminal action, airport lounges offer a much-needed respite from the frenzied airport terminal. They provide a welcoming place to relax during your travel day, dedicated high-speed Wi-Fi, power outlets and charging stations, an array of snacks or more substantial fare, free drinks (including coffee, tea, soda, and alcohol, depending on location). You might even find personal bathrooms, showers, or spa therapies.
The Platinum Card from American Express gets you entrance to airport lounges in multiple networks. Below, I break them down into categories, explain what you can expect from each type of lounge, and list where they can be found.
The Centurion Lounges and American Express Lounge Network
Centurion Lounges are located in eight airports in the United States (DFW, IAH, LAS, LGA, PHL, MIA, SEA, SFO) with a ninth to open at New York (JFK) in 2019. There's also one in Hong Kong (HKG). These airport lounges are regarded as the crown jewel in the American Express portfolio, and are considered among the most modern and stylish lounge options for discerning travelers.
Featuring the standard amenities like high-speed Wi-Fi, private business seating areas, flatscreen TVs, and shower suites, the Centurion lounges set the bar higher than their competitors with a focus on food, drinks, and atmosphere. Lounges have menus designed by award-winning chefs, wine selections from top sommeliers, and signature cocktails by mixologists. Certain lounges even offer tranquility areas and the option to book spa therapies while you wait for your flight.
In addition to The Centurion lounge network, American Express operates 10 lounges exclusively for card members internationally: six in Mexico (three lounges in MEX, two in MTY, and one in TLC), two in India (BOM, DEL), one in Argentina (EZE), and also one in Australia (SYD). While these lounges are not categorized as Centurion lounges, they provide the same amenities and comfort you would expect from an American Express lounge.
Access to all of these clubs is complimentary for Platinum Card from American Express members. Being a cardholder also allows you to bring up to two guests at no additional charge. If you're traveling with a larger group, you may purchase a day pass for any additional guests at $50 USD at the time of entry.
Delta Sky Clubs
For frequent flyers who favor Delta Air Lines, the Platinum Card from American Express is also a great choice for its lounge access options. Platinum Card from American Express members have access to 33 Delta Sky Clubs, as long as they have a ticket for same-day travel on a flight operated by Delta. Out of the 33 locations, 31 are located in U.S. domestic airports; the two international lounges are in Tokyo, Japan (NRT), and Santiago, Chile (SCL).
While Sky Clubs vary in size and décor, most provide the common staples found in airport lounges, such as free soft and alcoholic drinks, snacks, high-speed Wi-Fi, TVs, productivity centers, and showers in select locations.
Unlike the Centurion lounges, Delta Sky Clubs only allow complimentary access for the Platinum Card from American Express cardholder; all additional guests must pay $29 USD per person to enter the lounge.
Priority Pass Network
With the Platinum Card from American Express, you are entitled to a complimentary membership in the Priority Pass network. After enrollment, cardholders will receive a Priority Pass Select membership, which will allow you and up to two guests to access the lounge, no matter which airline or service class you are ticketed in. Additional guests can enter for $27 USD per person, although I have found that lounges have different policies and on occasion won’t limit the number of guests per card.
While the two lounge options detailed above are great for domestic travel, the Priority Pass is the clear winner when it comes to international travel. Priority Pass has an extensive roster of lounges that number more 1,000 across 130 countries, and the list seems to expand every month. Lounges vary in size and amenities, but major airports often have multiple options of available lounges so you can choose the one that best fits your travel needs.
A new development that Priority Pass introduced last year is the ability to use your Pass to deduct money from your final bill at select airport restaurants and cafes. While the list of restaurants is limited, this is a great development for the Priority Pass network; each card member can save up to $28 USD at participating restaurants. That amount is also available for guests, so with two additional guest you could receive $84 USD off of a restaurant bill and still also visit a lounge during one airport visit if desired.
Airspace and Escape Lounges
These two separate lounge groups are also available to Platinum Card from American Express cardholders, and although the networks are smaller they still warrant a mention.
Airspace has a small domestic lounge network with just three lounges in New York (JFK Terminal 5), Cleveland (CLE), and San Diego (SAN), while Escape Lounges can be found mostly in the U.K., but there are also a few in the U.S. Escape lounges can be found in London (STN), East Midlands (EMA), Manchester (MAN), Minneapolis (MSP), Oakland (OAK), Reno (RNO), and Hartford (BDL).
Both of these lounge groups allow Platinum Card from American Express cardholders to bring two guests at no additional cost. Fees for additional guests beyond that will vary by location. As with the other lounges, you should expect similar amenities such as free soft and alcoholic drinks, snacks, high-speed Wi-Fi, TVs, and dedicated business centers.