The airport lounge experience is one of the most coveted perks among frequent travelers and credit card rewards enthusiasts. With cushy seating, free food and drinks, Wi-Fi, and other amenities, lounges make airport layovers infinitely more enjoyable.
But can you access airport lounges for free simply by having the Platinum Card from American Express? Let’s take a closer look.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The Priority Pass Select membership that comes with the Platinum Card from American Express grants you free access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide.
However, you’ll only get free unlimited access to participating Priority Pass lounges if you got your Amex Platinum card before January 1, 2023. Those who applied after this date get 2 free visits per year, then will be charged $32 per visit.
Background on the Amex Platinum Card and Priority Pass
The American Express Platinum Card is a prestigious credit card that offers a range of exclusive benefits and perks to its cardholders. One of the most coveted benefits is access to the Priority Pass Select program, which provides access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide.
The Amex Platinum card offers:
- Travel benefits such as airline fee credits, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry reimbursement, and access to Fine Hotels & Resorts.
- Rewards points for every dollar spent, which can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, or other merchandise.
- Complimentary elite status with various hotel loyalty programs.
However, it’s important to note that the Amex Platinum Card comes with a hefty annual fee, so it may not be suitable for everyone.
What is Priority Pass Select?
Priority Pass Select is a global airport lounge access program that provides cardholders with a comfortable and relaxing environment while waiting for their flights. It offers amenities such as complimentary food and beverages, Wi-Fi access, and comfortable seating.
With over 1,300 lounges in airports around the world, Priority Pass Select is an excellent way for frequent travelers to enhance their travel experience. Lounge access can help travelers escape the hustle and bustle of crowded airport terminals, providing a quiet space to work or unwind before a flight.
How the Amex Platinum’s Priority Pass benefit works
As an Amex Platinum cardholder, you will receive complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select. This membership allows you to access any of the participating airport lounges in the Priority Pass network.
It’s important to note that while the membership itself is free with the Amex Platinum Card, some lounges may charge an additional fee per visit. However, many lounges offer complimentary access to Priority Pass members.
To gain access to a Priority Pass lounge, simply present your Priority Pass membership card and a valid boarding pass for a same-day flight. You can also use the Priority Pass mobile app to easily locate and access lounges.
Changes to the Benefit for New Amex Platinum Cardholders
If you’re considering getting the Amex Platinum Card, it’s important to understand the changes to the Priority Pass benefit. Previously, cardholders enjoyed unlimited free visits to Priority Pass lounges worldwide. However, as of 2023, American Express has made some adjustments to this benefit.
Pre-2023: Unlimited free visits
Prior to 2023, Amex Platinum Cardholders could take advantage of unlimited free visits to Priority Pass lounges. This was a significant perk for frequent travelers, as it provided a comfortable and relaxing space to wait for flights and enjoy complimentary amenities such as food, beverages, and Wi-Fi.
Whether you were traveling for business or pleasure, having access to these lounges made the travel experience more enjoyable and convenient.
Post-2023: Only 2 free visits per year
Starting in 2023, new Amex Platinum Cardholders will only receive two complimentary visits per year to Priority Pass lounges. After the two free visits are used, cardholders will be charged a fee for each additional visit.
While this change may disappoint some potential cardholders, it’s important to note that the Amex Platinum Card still offers a wide range of valuable benefits, including elite status with various hotel and car rental programs, airline fee credits, and access to the Global Lounge Collection, which includes Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, and more.
Why Amex reduced the benefit
The decision to reduce the Priority Pass benefit for new Amex Platinum Cardholders was likely driven by a few factors. Firstly, offering unlimited free visits to Priority Pass lounges can be a costly expense for American Express.
By limiting the number of free visits, the company is able to manage its costs more effectively. Additionally, as the popularity of the Amex Platinum Card has grown, the number of Priority Pass members has also increased, leading to potential overcrowding in lounges.
By reducing the number of free visits, American Express aims to provide a more exclusive and comfortable experience for its cardholders.
It’s worth noting that these changes only apply to new Amex Platinum Cardholders. If you already have the card or are planning to get it before 2023, you will still enjoy the unlimited free visits to Priority Pass lounges.
Additionally, it’s always a good idea to check the official American Express website for the most up-to-date information on the benefits and terms of the Amex Platinum Card.
Strategies to Maximize the Priority Pass Benefit
If you have the Amex Platinum Card, you may be wondering if Priority Pass is free. The answer is yes! The Amex Platinum Card comes with a complimentary Priority Pass membership, giving you access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide.
To help you make the most of this valuable benefit, here are some strategies to maximize your Priority Pass experience:
Check your enrollment date
When you receive your Amex Platinum Card, it’s important to check your enrollment date for Priority Pass. Typically, it takes about 2-3 weeks for your Priority Pass membership to be activated after you receive your card.
Once you have the membership, you can start enjoying the lounge access right away.
Add authorized users
If you frequently travel with family or friends, consider adding authorized users to your Amex Platinum Card. Each authorized user will receive their own Priority Pass membership, allowing them to access lounges independently.
This can be a great way to enhance the travel experience for everyone in your travel party.
Visit lounges when traveling alone
When you’re traveling alone, take advantage of the Priority Pass membership by visiting airport lounges. These lounges offer a comfortable and quiet space to relax, enjoy complimentary food and drinks, and access amenities like showers and business centers.
It’s a great way to make your travel experience more enjoyable and productive.
Pay per visit if needed
If you don’t travel frequently or prefer not to add authorized users, you can still benefit from Priority Pass by paying per visit. Some lounges allow you to use your Priority Pass membership for a fee, typically around $32 per visit.
While this may not be the most cost-effective option for frequent travelers, it can be a convenient choice for occasional airport lounge access.
Consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve
If you’re considering getting the Amex Platinum Card primarily for the Priority Pass benefit, it’s worth comparing it to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The Chase Sapphire Reserve also comes with a complimentary Priority Pass membership, along with other valuable travel benefits.
Take the time to evaluate both cards and determine which one aligns better with your travel needs and preferences.
Remember, the Priority Pass benefit that comes with the Amex Platinum Card is a fantastic perk that can greatly enhance your travel experience. By following these strategies, you can make the most of this benefit and enjoy the comforts of airport lounges around the world.
The Lounge Experience with a Priority Pass
Types of lounges
With a Priority Pass, cardholders have access to a wide variety of airport lounges around the world. These lounges can range from luxurious spaces with spa treatments and gourmet food options to more basic lounges with comfortable seating and complimentary refreshments.
The type of lounge available to you may depend on factors such as the airport you are in and the level of your Priority Pass membership.
Amenities and policies
Priority Pass lounges offer a range of amenities to enhance the travel experience. These can include complimentary Wi-Fi, shower facilities, business centers, and even children’s play areas. Additionally, many lounges offer complimentary snacks, drinks, and alcoholic beverages.
It’s important to note that each lounge may have its own specific policies and rules, so it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with these before visiting.
Priority Pass has an extensive network of lounges in airports all over the world. Whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally, chances are there will be a lounge available to you. You can easily find out which lounges are accessible with your Priority Pass by visiting the official Priority Pass website or using their mobile app.
The website provides a search feature that allows you to enter your destination airport and see the available lounges.
Finding a lounge
When you arrive at the airport, finding a lounge with your Priority Pass is a simple process. Most airports have clear signage indicating the location of the lounges, and the Priority Pass website or app will also provide directions.
Once you locate the lounge, simply present your Priority Pass card or digital membership card to gain entry. It’s important to note that some lounges may have capacity restrictions, especially during peak travel times, so it’s always a good idea to arrive early to secure your spot.
While the Priority Pass Select benefit that comes with the Platinum Card from American Express is still valuable, changes in 2023 mean it may not grant unlimited free airport lounge access like it once did.
But by checking your account opening date, adding authorized users, and choosing your lounge visits wisely, you can continue maximizing this perk to enjoy the luxuries of an airport lounge on your next trip.