The American Express (AMEX) Platinum card is transforming from being intended for the jet-setter crowd to a lifestyle card with the addition of several non-travel benefits. The personal Platinum card carries a steep $695 annual fee. 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 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.
Some lounges are still closed because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Check with the lounge website to see if a specific location is open.
The best lounges you can get into with the Platinum Card are undoubtedly 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 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
- Platinum Card® Members
- Business Platinum Card® Members
- Corporate Platinum Card® Members
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Card Members
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business Card Members
- Centurion® Members
The Card Member will have to present his or her valid Card, same-day boarding pass, and a government-issued I.D. for lounge access. Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Card Members are only eligible to visit The Centurion® Lounge when flying on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight and eligible lounges only include all Centurion Lounges located in the United States, Hong Kong, and London.
Passengers holding standby tickets and non-revenue standby passengers are not eligible to use the lounge unless they have received a boarding pass showing a confirmed seat or zone assignment. A Card Member with a round-trip itinerary can only access the lounge within the 3 hours before their outbound departure time.
The Centurion® Lounge is a day of departure lounge. We can’t admit you if you’ve just landed, unless you have a layover or connecting flight.
We will only admit Platinum and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Card Members within 3 hours of the departure time on your same-day, confirmed boarding pass. A Card Member with a round-trip itinerary may only access the lounge within the 3 hours before their outbound departure time.
What is the guest policy?
Platinum Card® Members may enter with up to two guests at no additional charge. Guest access policies may vary internationally by location and are subject to change.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Card Members may bring up to two guests at a per-visit rate of $50 per person, per location into U.S. Lounges, as well as Centurion® Lounges in Hong Kong International Airport and London Heathrow Airport.
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.
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, subject to lounge access policy.
We will admit children under 2 years of age free of charge, provided an accompanying parent or guardian can show a “lap infant” boarding pass or proof of age.
Based on my experience when I had a Platinum Card, the front desk staff have always asked for my boarding pass, ID and my 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.
Note that in 2023, AMEX will be removing the free guesting privilege for Platinum Card members unless cardholders spend more than $75,000 in eligible purchases in 2022.
While there’s currently only a handful of 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, 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 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. 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 $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, back in 2019, Priority Pass memberships earned thru American Express credit cards, including the Platinum cards, are no longer be eligible for “non-lounge airport experiences.”
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 $39 per person. Any additional guests may purchase One-Day Passes.
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 $39 each. This means if Sharon and I wanted to go to a Sky Club, we’d have to pay $39. It’s just not worth it for us to pay $40 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 forever on hold to talk to an agent.
If you fly in the U.S., you’ve probably never seen a Plaza Premium lounge. However, they have over 180 locations in 50 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.
Now that Plaza Premium lounges are no longer accessible with Priority Pass, the Platinum card is the easiest way to get into these lounges.
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
- Phoenix (T3 & T4)
- Sacramento (TA & TB)
- Palm Beach
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 is currently only one Airspace lounge – it’s in San Diego. The JFK location in Terminal 5 closed in August 2018 and the Cleveland location closed in early 2020.
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 eleven 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 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 mostcurrent list of participating lounges and access requirements, please use the Lounge Finder feature in the American Express App or visit www.americanexpress.com/findalounge.
- Centurion Members may enjoy access to Lufthansa First Class, Senator and Business lounges regardless of LH Group ticket 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 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 give you lounge access, it’s only through a Priority Pass membership. American Express has been trying to differentiate itself from the pack both by opening up its 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 Wi-Fi signal because I forgot one of my cards.
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