American Express’ lounge at Sydney Airport has been welcoming guests for a little over a year and is now regarded by 'in the know' travellers as one of the airport's best business lounges.
The compact space and contemporary decor makes for an intimate club-like feel, no doubt enhanced by the fact that only a top-tier AMEX card issued directly by American Express or a Black-level card from ANZ, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac will gain you entry.
Australian Business Traveller spoke with Naysla Edwards, American Express Australia’s Director Brand, Loyalty & Engagement (pictured), for an update on the lounge and a possible expansion to other cities.
Given that many Platinum and Centurion cardholders routinely fly in business class or first class when jetting abroad, which in itself usually includes access to an airline lounge, the Amex lounge has a unique raison d'être.
“What we really want to do is provide that flexibility and that option for our customers when they are travelling economy or when they don’t have access to the lounge of a specific airline,” Edwards explains.
"But we also know Cardmembers that are eligible for lounge entry through their (airline) membership, who still opt to use our lounge.”
“We never opened the (Sydney) lounge to specifically target economy or premium economy passengers, but purely just to give that additional option across all our eligible cardmembers, regardless of the class of travel,” Edwards highlights.
AMEX lounges also for Melbourne, Brisbane?
Following the success of its Sydney lounge American Express is keen to expand the concept to other Australian airports, and Edwards allows that "(new lounges are) always in the pipeline, and we’re always looking for opportunities.”
"(But) what we’re doing at the moment … is trying to look at ways to enhance that (lounge) experience (in Sydney) and make sure we have all the learnings from that lounge" she says. “(Then), if we decide to expand, we’ll take that enhancement and that learning to other lounges."
Pay-per-visit access a possibility
Sydney's doors could creak open a little wider if American Express introduces a pay-per-visit scheme similar to the brand's network of Centurion Lounges in the USA, which let any Amex cardholder cool their heels pre-flight for a flat US$50 fee.
“It’s actually under discussion,” Edwards divulges, “it’s something that we might end up doing … (but) we don’t have a decision just yet.”
With the lounge already proving popular among cardholders, American Express is mindful of capacity constraints by trying to “balance the volumes and make sure that at all times, we don’t sacrifice delivering our superior customer service by trying to have more people in the lounge.”
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