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Best lounge access: Platinum Card from American Express

Best lounge access: Platinum Card from American Express

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This article was last updated Mar 04, 2017, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is packed with benefits, and is the most comprehensive card available for airport lounge access, giving you privileges with these lounge networks:

  • 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.*

  • Up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees & more at one qualifying airline*

  • No foreign transaction fees & exclusive airport lounge access*

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for The Platinum Card® from American Express

More Info

  1. Delta SkyClub lounges when you’re on a Delta flight, though you have to pay $29 for each guest you bring.
  2. The Centurion Lounges, which are located in the Las Vegas, Dallas, New York – La Guardia, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle and Houston-Bush airports. These are lounges owned by American Express, and offer an experience unlike any other airline lounge, with full seasonal food spreads and premium liquor all on the house. 2 guests are free and you can be traveling any airline when you visit the lounge.
  3. Over 800 Priority Pass Select affiliated lounges using a separate Priority Pass card you request free from American Express, and 2 guests can join you free of charge. There are lounges at most major airports worldwide, and although many of the U.S. lounges are located in the international terminals of airports, some are readily accessible for domestic fliers.

American Airlines Admirals Clubs are no longer accessible with The Platinum Card® from American Express. Consider the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® card instead.

Here’s a searchable directory of clubs accessible with The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Delta typically charges $450 a year for SkyClub membership alone, so for The Platinum Card® from American Express’s $550 annual fee you’re getting a lot more for your money.

Here is a list of Delta and Centurion lounge locations you can access with The Platinum Card® from American Express and here is a list of Priority Pass locations you can access. Check both to see if you can access a lounge in the airport you are traveling,  but if you fly Delta frequently or use an airport with a Centurion Lounge the value of the card can add up quickly.

How lounge access works

Simply present The Platinum Card® from American Express at the lounge check-in desk, along with your boarding pass for travel that day. You will be granted complimentary access for yourself. Guests cost $29 each per visit at Delta Sky Clubs. At Centurion Lounges, 2 guests are complimentary.

Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass network lounges don’t require a specific airline for entry – so you can fly any airline and use their clubs, and you can bring 2 guests along.

If you want your spouse or another family member to have access to the lounges when you’re not traveling, you can add an additional cardholder for $175. That fee gets you up to 3 additional cards for one price with full lounge benefits for each card. You can even set the spending limit on the additional cards as low as $100 to really keep things under control.

What can I expect inside the airline lounge?

1. A place to work or relax

The primary benefit of airline lounges is a relatively quiet place to wait for your flight and recharge your laptop or mobile device. While The Centurion Lounges offer spa-like luxury, most other lounges are simply practical and offer both comfortable social seating areas along with more private workstations and free wifi access.

2. Extra help and peace of mind with reservations

Agents, or ‘angels’ as some members call them, will help you if your travel plans change or delays force you to alter flights. You can rest assured you will be able to get help without the exceptionally long lines you see in terminal counters.

3. Complimentary beverages

Lounges usually offer free soft drinks, complimentary beer, wine, and well drinks, along with paid premium drink options, but at Centurion Lounges all food and premium drinks are free. Delta SkyClubs also offer soup, salad, and other light food options for free.

Alternatives for lounge access

If you’re a United flyer, the United MileagePlus® Club Card from Chase is the only credit card that will give you access to their lounges, so The Platinum Card® from American Express won’t help you get into those lounges.

For American Airlines Admirals Clubs, access via The Platinum Card® from American Express ended in April 2014. Instead, only one card from Citibank gives you access to Admirals Clubs.

The $450 per year Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® gives you full club membership, letting you visit Admirals Club lounges even when you’re not flying American that day. A really generous benefit is that any authorized users you add to your account get access to the lounges when you’re not flying, and there’s no fee to add an authorized

The information related to the United MileagePlus® Club Card from Chase has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

What else does $550 get you?

While lounge access is the biggest attraction of The Platinum Card® from American Express, there are dozens of smaller benefits that make traveling easier, included in your $550 annual fee.

Some of our favorites include:

A $200 annual airline fee credit. Each year, you can designate one qualifying airline where you want up to $200 of fees credited back to your account. You just charge the fees to your card, and they are automatically removed from your bill. Things like change fees, baggage fees, in-flight food, lounge passes, and seat fees.

Unfortunately, airline tickets, upgrades, mileage purchases, gift cards, and duty-free purchases aren’t reimbursable, though some people have had luck with some gift cards. And note that only Airlines available include American, Alaska, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United are available for reimbursement, so if you fly Virgin America a lot you’re out of luck.

But it’s not hard to get $200 in value out of the benefit if you fly often on one of the other airlines, and that brings your real cost of the card down to $200 a year.


Save on bag fees with the $200 annual airline credit

Hilton and Starwood Gold status. As a cardholder of The Platinum Card® from American Express  you’re eligible for status with both Hilton HHonors and Starwood Preferred Guest® without having to meet any stay requirements. Hilton HHonors Gold status gets you free lounge access or breakfast at most of its hotels, which is a great money-saving perk, and Starwood Preferred Guest® Gold status gets you late checkout, free wifi, and room upgrades.

Normally Hilton HHonors Gold status requires 20 stays or 40 nights in its hotels each year, while Starwood® Gold status requires 10 stays or 25 nights a year, so you’re getting two solid perks without being a road warrior.


Breakfast at a Doubletree hotel, a Hilton HHonors Gold benefit. Photo via Doubletree Schaumburg.

National Executive status and a Hertz grace period. You can enroll in the free National Emerald Club, and as a holder of The Platinum Card® from American Express you’ll be elevated to Executive level status, which guarantees you an upgraded car every time you rent. Just reserve the type of car you want to ride, and National will reduce the price to match the rate of the car level below the one you reserve.

For example if you book a Full Size SUV you’ll pay the Compact SUV price. An alternative benefit is the Executive Selection available at most major National locations. To use that, just pay the Midsize rate all the time, and take any car from National’s Executive Selection on the lot, which often includes Full Size and Compact SUVs.

Beyond National, if you rent with Hertz, and use The Platinum Card® from American Express’ special discount code, you’ll get a 4 hour grace period on all your rentals, so you can return your car up to 4 hours after the due time, and not pay any extra charges.


Room upgrades and free breakfast at upscale hotels. The Platinum Card® from American Express unlocks the Fine Hotels and Resorts program, which earns you free breakfast, room upgrades, and a special welcome amenity like a $100 food and beverage credit at many upscale hotels like the Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Fairmont, and more. The catch is you need to book your stay via American Express’ website or travel center, and the rates there aren’t always the lowest available. But the benefits have an average total value of $550, so you can come out well ahead using the Fine Hotels and Resorts Rate.

Breakfast at the a Fine Hotels and Resorts property, photo courtesy St. Regis Monarch Beach

Breakfast at the a Fine Hotels and Resorts property, photo courtesy St. Regis Monarch Beach

How do the points work?

You earn a massive 5 points per dollar spent on airfare purchased directly from the airline, but you earn just one point per dollarspent on everything else.

The points you do earn are very valuable, because they’re Amex Membership Rewards points, which you can transfer into several top airline programs, most at one to one with no dilution, and with instant or next business day point transfers in many cases.

This is invaluable in helping you get the best deal for your points by topping off accounts you might already have, especially if you’re looking for an international Business or First Class award.

For United flyers while you can’t transfer miles into your United MileagePlus® account, there are many ways to use Membership Rewards points on United flights.

Is there a version for small business spending?

If you have a small business, there’s a different card with the same lounge benefits, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express.

It’s actually even more generous than The Platinum Card® from American Express, because in addition to all The Platinum Card® from American Express benefits you get 12 free Gogo wifi passes a year, which can save you hundreds of dollars on inflight wifi fees. And you get 35% of your points back more when you use them to book travel on an airline of your choice each year, all for a lower $450 annual fee.

Reviewing the features

There’s a lot to take in with The Platinum Card® from American Express, but to recap, here are some of the biggest benefits that come with card membership

And you get these benefits as well:

  • Complimentary access to all Delta airport lounges
  • Gold status with Starwood Preferred Guest® hotels (without the card this requires 10 stays or 25 nights per year)
  • Free Wi-Fi access at all Boingo hotspots worldwide
  • Reimbursement of Global Entry application fee or TSA Pre-Check application fee
  • Receive a companion ticket for discounted travel when you purchase a qualifying First- or Business-Class international ticket. Additional taxes/charges apply.
  • National Car Rental Executive status — offering guaranteed car upgrades when you rent
  • 4 hour grace period on Hertz car rental returns
  • Medical evacuation coverage from Amex Global Assist. If you become ill while traveling and American Express’ medical team decides it is necessary, Amex will cover the cost of transporting you to a care facility closer to home.
  • Terms and limitations apply to all benefits.

Click here for a longer list of The Platinum Card® from American Express benefits, large and small

Should you get the card?

In summary, if you fly Delta frequently, use an airport that has a Centurion Lounge, or spend a lot of time in airports outside the U.S., you can get a lot of use out of the lounge access benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express for a price that’s less than typical standalone airline club membership.

That makes the other benefits icing on the cake.

Getting approved when you apply isn’t as hard as you think. You don’t need to be rich to hold the card, so with a solid income and credit score, you should be in the hunt to start enjoying the benefits.


Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the company whose products are featured on this site. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or evaluations provided here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Advertiser. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser’s affiliate programs.

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