Lounge Access on the Amex Platinum Cards

 

The American Express Platinum Card and the Business Platinum Card are marketed as premium travel rewards cards, and one of the benefits that makes them worth their salt is the airport lounge access that cardholders enjoy.

The lounge access rules on these cards, however, can get quite confusing to people trying to make use of these benefits. While it’s certainly complex, it’s useful to understand the eligibility rules, access fees, and guesting privileges on the Canadian-issued Amex Platinum cards so you can make the most out of the perks.

The complicating factor is that the benefit isn’t just simply access to one set of airport lounges. In reality, the Platinum cards bestow many types of lounge access, all of which are treated as part of the American Express Global Lounge Collection:

    1. Priority Pass
    2. Plaza Premium Lounges
    3. American Express Centurion Lounges
    4. International American Express Lounges
    5. Delta Sky Club
    6. Lufthansa Lounges
    7. Miscellaneous lounges (Aspire, Escape, Swissport, YQB Jean Lesage) 
American Express Platinum Credit Cards
Credit Card Best Offer Value
90,000 MR points $1,646 Apply Now
85,000 MR points $1,503 Apply Now

1. Priority Pass

Both the Platinum Card and the Business Platinum Card provide you with a complimentary Priority Pass Prestige membership, which grants free, unlimited access to worldwide Priority Pass lounges. Also included is complimentary access for one guest per lounge visit.

The “prevailing retail rate” is currently $35 (USD) for every additional guest, which will be automatically billed to your credit card.

There are over 1,000 Priority Pass lounges worldwide, so this perk should guarantee you some form of lounge access on the vast majority of your travels, especially if you don’t always fly in business class.

If you’re a Platinum or Business Platinum cardholder, be sure to get in the habit of looking up which Priority Pass lounges you’ll be able to visit prior to your trip.

Tyrol Lounge Innsbruck, a Priority Pass lounge
Enjoy access to Tyrol Lounge Innsbruck with a Priority Pass membership

Note that the Priority Pass memberships associated with American Express credit cards are not eligible to access Priority Pass’s airport restaurants and other airport experiences. 

2. Plaza Premium Lounges

If you hold either the Platinum Card or the Business Platinum Card, you have unlimited access to Plaza Premium lounges within Canada and internationally for yourself and one guest. There are over 50 Plaza Premium lounges worldwide.

What are Plaza Premium lounges? While Priority Pass is a global lounge network, Plaza Premium is more like a “franchise” or a “brand” of airport lounges, which started in Hong Kong back in the 1990s.

Plaza Premium lounges used to be included in the Priority Pass lounge network; however, Priority Pass and Plaza Premium have since severed ties and went their separate ways.

American Express Platinum and Business Platinum cardholders weren’t affected by this split, though, as both cards offer access to these lounges. If anything, these cards became more valuable than other cards, such as some Visa Infinite Privilege cards, that only offer Priority Pass lounge access.

Plaza Premium lounges have a decent footprint in Canada, with lounges in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal.

Plaza Premium lounges certainly aren’t luxurious by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re solid enough and stack up against Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounges quite well.

Internationally, Plaza Premium lounges can be quite competitive indeed. Some lounges have showers, and you’ll usually find that the food selection is much better than in many of the North American lounges.

Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver (Transborder)

3. The Centurion Lounge

Business Platinum Card from American Express
Welcome Bonus
90,000 MR points
Annual Fee
$499
First-Year Value
$1,646

American Express is a global company, and in order to reinforce the premium image of their Platinum line of credit cards, they’ve opened special lounges in airports worldwide specifically for Platinum cardholders, known as Centurion Lounges.

Holders of Platinum or Business Platinum products, issued in any country, can access these lounges.

The majority of the Centurion Lounges are located in the US, with additional locations in London Heathrow and Hong Kong.

Centurion Lounge Hong Kong
Centurion Lounge Hong Kong

Alongside some of the top-tier Priority Pass locations, the Centurion Lounges are probably some of the best lounges that your Platinum credit card can unlock.

In general, you can expect top-quality food and drink inspired by regional tastes and stylish interiors drawn from local design principles. Centurion Lounges are typically very pleasant places to spend time and relax prior to your flight.

The best part about the Centurion Lounge benefit is the generous guest policy: each Platinum or Business Platinum cardholder is allowed to bring in two guests for free!

This is fantastic for families travelling together, although the downside is that the Centurion Lounges can get rather crowded during the peak hours of the day. 

Centurion Lounge Seattle
Centurion Lounge Seattle

Note that the US-issued Platinum cards have announced changes to their guest access policy as of February 1, 2023: guest access will no longer be allowed, and will instead be charged at $50 (USD) per guest (or $30 (USD) for children aged 17 or under).

There hasn’t been any updates to the Canadian-issued Platinum cards’ Centurion Lounge guest access rules as of yet. We’ll be sure to update this section when we find out more.

4. International American Express Lounges

In addition to Centurion Lounges, there are also a handful of lounges around the world that are operated under the American Express banner, but are not part of the Centurion Lounge network.

You can find the full list of these lounges on a dedicated page on the American Express website. There are around 11 lounges scattered throughout the world, including Stockholm, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Melbourne, Mumbai, and London, to name a few.

The Pontus in the Air Lounge in Stockholm is quite memorable in particular, since it offers a generous complimentary à la carte dining option to lounge guests, despite being housed in a makeshift partitioned-off area within an airport restaurant.

Pontus in the Air Lounge Stockholm

Meanwhile, the Buenos Aires Amex lounge has ice-cream sandwiches as well as plenty of liquor, but it doesn’t have any hot food. So, you may want to choose the Star Alliance Lounge next door, which was also available on Priority Pass, for a better experience.

In general, expect the international American Express lounges to be relatively high-quality lounges, although perhaps a step below the flagship Centurion Lounges in the US, London, and Hong Kong.

Centurion Lounge Mexico City

Platinum and Business Platinum cardholders are allowed to bring at least one guest into the international American Express lounges – the exact guest policy varies from location to location.

For example, while the Stockholm location allows one guest only, the Buenos Aires lounge actually allows one complimentary guest plus any children under the age of 16.

5. Delta Sky Club

American Express Platinum Card
Welcome Bonus
85,000 MR points
Annual Fee
$699
First-Year Value
$1,503

American Express Platinum cardholders enjoy complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs when in possession of a same-day boarding pass with Delta Air Lines.

They generally offer some light snacks, beverages, and lighter food options, as well as TV, newspapers and magazines, and free Wi-Fi. In general, Delta Sky Clubs aren’t going to blow your socks off, but are pleasant enough places to kill some time before your flight.

Delta Sky Club Atlanta (Concourse B)
Delta Sky Club Atlanta (Concourse B)

Since Delta Sky Clubs are primarily meant to cater to Delta and SkyTeam elite members, the guest access policy for Platinum cardholders are stricter than the other lounges.

While it’s not specified on the Canadian or American Amex Global Lounge Collection pages, the Delta Sky Club site specifies the following guest access policy:

As a Platinum cardholder accessing a Delta Sky Club before your Delta flight, you’re not entitled to bring in any guests for free, but rather have the option of paying for their access at $39 (USD) per person. As of February 2, 2023, the guest access fee is increasing to $50 (USD).

Note that any guests must also be travelling on a Delta flight departing on the same day.

6. Lufthansa Lounges

Platinum cardholders (and Centurion Members) may access select Lufthansa lounges as part of the American Express Global Lounge Collection. Lounges that are included may be found using the Amex Lounge Finder tool.

This perk includes access to Lufthansa Business Lounges with a Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa, Austrian, or Swiss) ticket in any class, as well as access to Lufthansa Senator Lounges with a Lufthansa Group business class ticket.

Lufthansa Business Lounge, London Heathrow

The guest policy varies by lounge, so be sure to check the policy either on the Lounge Finder website, at the lounge, or on the American Express app. 

To access these lounges, simply present your Platinum card, government-issued photo I.D., and a confirmed boarding pass with Lufthansa Group. 

7. Miscellaneous Lounges

Lastly, there’s a handful of miscellaneous lounge networks that are also signed up with American Express to provide access to Platinum cardholders. These include:

  • The Escape Lounges in Bradley (BDL), Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky (CVG), Columbus (CMH), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP), Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP), Oakland (OAK), Palm Beach (PBI), Phoenix-Sky Harbour (PHX), Reno-Tahoe (RNO), Rhode Island (PVD), and Sacramento (SMF)

  • The Swissport Executive Lounges around the world

  • The VIP Lounge by Club Med at Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport

Aspire Lounge Calgary, by Swissport
Aspire Lounge Calgary, by Swissport

These are basically additional contracts that Amex has secured in order to provide high-quality lounge access at a few airports where coverage is otherwise lacking.

As you can imagine, the guest policy varies for each of these lounge networks. You can find them summarized in the below chart:

Lounge type

Access rules

Priority Pass

Cardholder + one guest

Plaza Premium Lounge

Cardholder + one guest

The Centurion Lounge

Cardholder + two guests


International American Express lounges

Cardholder + at least one guest (policy varies by location)

Delta Sky Club

Cardholder only; can bring up to two guests for $39–50 (USD) per person

Lufthansa Lounges

Cardholder only; guest policy varies by location

Escape Lounge (USA)

Cardholder + two guests

Swissport Executive Lounge

Cardholder + one guest OR spouse and two children under 21

YQB VIP Lounge

Cardholder + one guest OR spouse and two children under 18

Conclusion

Worldwide lounge access is a key benefit on both the American Express Platinum Card and the American Express Business Platinum Card. This benefit affords cardholders a more comfortable experience at the airport before a flight.

With so many different lounge providers, the lounge access policies are definitely more opaque than they need to be.

It’s useful to keep the American Express Lounge Finder around as a handy bookmark, which should help you identify the lounges at a certain airport that you have access to as a Platinum cardholder, as well as the relevant access and guesting rules.

2 Comments
  1. LD

    Hey Ricky, you might wanna check again as I called into Amex CA today and they confirmed that even the Cdn-issued Platinum will be subject to the same 2023 guest access rule, only cardholder is allowed for free, damn

    1. Photoguy

      Don’t forget the Aspire Lounge in Ottawa. It is good and the only alternative to Maple Leaf lounge

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