American Express builds on success of Sydney Airport lounge

By Chris Chamberlin , March 9 2016
American Express builds on success of Sydney Airport lounge

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.

The American Express Sydney Airport lounge, during quieter times...
The American Express Sydney Airport lounge, during quieter times...

Read: Who can access the AMEX Sydney Airport lounge?

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.

“It’s going really well,” Edwards shares with Australian Business Traveller. “We did some forecasts before we opened the lounge on how many visitors we were going to have, and we completely exceeded those forecasts, which is great.”

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.”

Also read: American Express Sydney Airport lounge review

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

30 Apr 2013

Total posts 21

Hi Chris,

My partner is going to travel next week and planned to use this lounge. Is access to this lounge limited to main cardholder or can addditional cardholder use it as well? 

Thanks

Hi banker, that depends on the card – the Platinum/Centurion charge cards issued by AMEX allow entry for both primary and supplementary cardholders (unlimited and with guests), while other cards allow two visits per account per year (which you can use at the same time to both enter the lounge together). For more information, see Who can access the AMEX Sydney Airport lounge?.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Dec 2011

Total posts 93

Melbourne is the Bridesmaid again, to Sydney.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jan 2013

Total posts 246

It is nice to see American Express investing in more benefits for their members. It would be nice to see Visa Platinum put on some more goodies, although they do have some nice hotel extras.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards (Plat)

21 May 2012

Total posts 28

Yes the lounge has some funky decor, perhaps none of it quite as good as the entrance, but still nice. However it is TINY. To the point that it's not worth even trying to get a seat in peak times.

Luckily I could use the new AirNZ lounge for the flight I had the other day because I entered this lounge, couldn't find any seats for me and my partner and quickly decided to move along.

The food selection isn't as good as many other lounges there, and there's next to no quiet/private options within this lounge.

Sorry but given most readers of this site will most likely have access to another lounge when they fly, the AMEX lounge is not even worth a look-in comparitvely.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2015

Total posts 43

but the food is not done by neil perry so even when flying qantas first i now use the amex lounge over the qantas one

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

29 Jan 2011

Total posts 159

Given the association that AMEX has with Sydney Airports; lounge, free luggage trolleys, I would like to see AMEX negotiate a PROMO code for airport parking.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 254

Chris and too the Amex team reading this article.

What a fantastic lounge. The service is excellent from the moment you walk in. Ample space for a cosy little lounge and the food was perfect too!

Highly recommened the lounge but only to a few... so don't tell everyone.

Perth needs this lounge... but perhaps a tad bigger but I'd like to keep it exclusive. Please :)

Zac
Zac

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2014

Total posts 128

Only used it once so far, but love the Amex lounge in Sydney - and helps me justify my annual card fee too ;). Staff are great. Will be great to get some more here in Oz.


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