The American Express (AMEX) Platinum card is designed for the jet setter crowd. While the personal Platinum card carries a steep $550 annual fee, if you want to learn more about the benefits of the Platinum card, you can check out our full review HERE. While the card is marketed to those who can afford the luxury items advertised in the Departures magazine that’s included with your card membership, many benefits of the Platinum card can help travelers who aren’t in the top 0.01 percent. One of those benefits is access to several different types of airport club lounges. It can be hard to keep track of which lounges the card will get you into and the requirements for each, thus the need for this post. To clarify, access to lounges is a perk of the Personal Platinum, Business Platinum and variants of these cards.
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 their 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, here’s a link to our article about a website that provides reviews of over 2,500 lounges in 850+ airports worldwide.
The best lounges you can get into with the Platinum Card are undoubtedly the American Express Centurion Lounges. There are currently eight of these lounges in the U.S., with plans for six more and one in Hong Kong.
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 the lounges in New York, Dallas, Seattle and Miami and found each location to be a great place to spend time before (or after) 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 issues, 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 global Platinum Card® and Centurion® Members. To access The Centurion Lounge, the Card Member must present The Centurion Lounge agent with the following upon each visit: his or her valid Card, a boarding pass showing a confirmed reservation for same-day travel on any carrier and a government-issued I.D- name on the card must match government-issued I.D.
Note: The Centurion Lounge is a Day of Departure lounge requiring confirmed travel plans. Passengers holding standby tickets and non-revenue standby passengers, including airline or industry employees traveling on discounted tickets, are not eligible to utilize the lounge unless they have received a boarding pass showing a confirmed seat or zone assignment for the flight for which they are on standby.
FOR PLATINUM CARD MEMBERS ONLY
The Centurion Lounge is a day of departure lounge. We will not admit arriving Platinum Card Members with boarding passes for flights that have just landed. We will admit Platinum Card Members with layovers or connecting flights who produce proof of connecting flight (connections pertain to same airport).
We will not admit Platinum Card Members more than 3 hours before the departure time on the Platinum Card Member’s same-day, confirmed boarding pass. This does not apply to Platinum Card Members with a connecting flight.
What is the guest policy?
Platinum® Cardmembers who receive complimentary access may enter with up to two guests at no additional charge.
Centurion members may enter with up to two guests or immediate family (spouse or domestic partner, and children under 18) at no additional charge.
Soliciting other Card Members to bring your guests into our lounge is not permissible. Additional guests over the complimentary guest limit require the purchase of a day-pass as stated in our access policy.
Guest access is per Card Member, not per Card. Family or guests may not enter or remain in the lounge unless accompanied in the lounge by the Card Member. No more than two guests per day will receive admittance to the lounge at no additional charge. For example, a Card Member who enters the lounge with two guests at no additional charge, and then leaves the lounge with those guests, and then returns to the lounge on the same day with two different guests will need to purchase day-passes for those two different guests.
Platinum Card and Centurion Members may purchase a day-pass for any additional guests for $50 USD at the time of entry. The $50 one-day pass for additional guests is valid at any location of The Centurion Lounge on the same day, as long as the guest is still accompanied by the Card Member.
We will admit children under 2 years of age free of charge, provided the Card Member traveling with those children is able to produce a “lap infant” boarding pass or proof of age. Acceptable proof of age will be a passport, birth certificate, infant boarding pass (available from certain airlines) or an immunization record
Based on my experience when checking in, the front desk staff have always asked for my boarding pass, ID and my Platinum card. That means you need to bring the card with you, even if you don’t intend to use it for anything else on your trip. Note: AMEX used to offer any cardholder access the clubs just by paying the $50 fee but that’s no longer an option.
While there are currently only eight Centurion Lounges, the Priority Pass lounge network boasts over 1,200 locations worldwide. Priority Pass is a program separate from AMEX and you have to sign up for a membership once you have your Platinum Card. To get a better idea about the Priority Pass program, you can check out our full article about it HERE.
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 PassTM Select lounge, enroll in Priority PassTM Select online. Priority Pass will send your Priority Pass Select 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. You may enter with up to two (2) complimentary guests where available. You will be charged $27 for any additional guests to your Platinum Card.
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 $27 for each one will automatically be charged to your Platinum AMEX card.
Priority Pass lounges can vary widely in their quality. I think we’re quite lucky that we 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.
Unfortunately, Starting August 1, 2019, Priority Pass memberships earned thru American Express credit cards, including the Platinum cards, will no longer be 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 recently imposed strict limitations on who can access Sky Clubs using credit cards.
To enter just show your valid Platinum Card, valid ID and same-day boarding pass for a Delta flight. You may purchase guest access for your spouse or domestic partner and a child under 21, or up to two other traveling companions for $29 per person.
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 $29 each. The AMEX website says you can purchase additional passes for guests but the Delta website says two additional guests, that’s it and I’m going with them on this one. This means if Sharon and I wanted to go to a Sky Club, we’d have to pay $29. It’s just not worth it for us to pay $30 so we can sit in a lounge and nibble on cookies. However, I did pay the fee one time when we had an extended weather delay. I’ve found that lounge agents are very helpful when it comes to getting passengers to their destination and in that case, it was worth the money instead of sitting for forever on hold to talk to an agent.
If you fly in the US, you’ve probably never seen a Plaza Premium lounge. However, they have over 70 locations in 30 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.
The American Express Platinum card is ONLY GOOD FOR ENTRANCE AT THE U.S. LOCATIONS, which are located in:
- Hartford, CT (Bradley)
- Ontario, CA (T2 & 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.
There are currently only two Airspace lounges, in Cleveland and San Diego. The JFK location in Terminal 5 closed in August 2018.
To enter, just show your valid Platinum Card and valid ID. You can bring your spouse and children under the age of 21 or up to two (2) companions as complimentary guests. To bring any additional guests, you’ll be responsible for the guest fees, which vary by location.
Outside of the United States, AMEX has ten branded lounges. These are not the same at the Centurion Lounges and don’t offer the same level of quality that those lounges do. However, if you’re ever flying out of Delhi or Mexico City, they might be worthwhile to check out. Even though they’re AMEX branded, the entry policy of these lounges is the most vague.
To enter, show your valid Platinum Card, government issued I.D. and same day boarding pass. At a minimum, one complimentary guest is allowed.
Since June 2018, AMEX has partnered with Lufthansa to allow Platinum card members access to lounges in Frankfurt and Munich. Currently, the offer is scheduled to end on 10/31/19 but it’s already been extended at least once.
As part of The American Express Global Lounge Collection, we invite Platinum Card and Centurion Members to enjoy access to select Lufthansa airport lounges in the satellite area of T2 in Munich Airport and in Terminal 1 Concourse B of Frankfurt Airport through 10/31/19.
- Platinum Card Members may enjoy access to Lufthansa Business Lounges (regardless of ticket class) and Lufthansa Senator Lounges (when flying business class) in the Satellite area of T2 in Munich Airport, and T1 Concourse B in Frankfurt Airport.
- Centurion Members may enjoy access to Lufthansa First Class, Senator and Business lounges in the satellite area of T2 in Munich Airport, and T1 Concourse B in Frankfurt Airport, regardless of ticket class.
To enter, show your valid Platinum Card or Centurion 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.
While the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Citi Prestige do give you lounge access, it’s only through a Priority Pass membership. American Express has been trying to differentiate themselves from the pack both by opening up their own top class lounges and partnering with other lounge networks in the US and worldwide. To take advantage of this benefit, you need to remember to bring both your AMEX Platinum card and your Priority Pass card when traveling. I normally don’t carry these cards with me so I added this task to my packing list. 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 WiFi signal because I forgot one of my cards.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary