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American Express is withdrawing the offer of $36 of credit at selected cafes and restaurants at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast airports via AMEX Platinum card membership to the global Priority Pass lounge scheme.
While access to Priority Pass-partnered lounges will remain available, AMEX Australia is removing "non-lounge airport experiences from Priority Pass for its card members."
A spokesperson for American Express confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that this will take effect from August 1, 2019, in line with similar changes in the US market.
"As our lounge access benefits are intended to provide card members with premium lounge spaces to relax and unwind in while traveling the globe, the Priority Pass Membership benefit offered on American Express Platinum and Centurion Cards in Australia and New Zealand will no longer include complimentary access to non-lounge airport experiences from 1 August 2019."
"Non-lounge airport experiences and outlets include but are not limited to restaurants, cafés and bars where a food and beverage credit is offered as an alternative to entrance into a traditional airport lounge."
Many business travellers have made solid use of their AMEX-issued Priority Pass membership to enjoy a pre-flight or post-flight meal at a dozen restaurants, bars and bistros at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast airport terminals.
Sydney's Movida at Terminal 2 has proven especially popular – not only with passengers booked on domestic Jetstar flights under 'lowest fare of the day' travel policies, but also Virgin Australia passengers who prefer Movida's meals, drinks and cafe ambience to that of Virgin's own lounge nearby.
Free Priority Pass membership is offered with the following American Express cards:
- American Express Centurion Card (Australia)
- American Express Platinum Card (Australia, New Zealand)
- American Express Platinum Business Card (Australia)
- American Express Corporate Platinum Card (Australia)
- American Express Platinum Reserve Credit Card (Australia)
- American Express Platinum Rewards Credit Card (Australia)
- American Express Airpoints Platinum Card (New Zealand)
- American Express Airpoints Platinum Reserve Card (New Zealand)
American Express Centurion and Platinum Charge cards allowed unlimited use of the Priority Pass food and drink credit, while other cards were limited to two lounge visits – or airport restaurant visits – per year.
Australian Business Traveller understands that the meal credits will remain in place for travellers holding direct membership with Priority Pass (rather than an 'affiliate membership' offered through American Express) but has approached Priority Pass parent company The Collison Group for confirmation.
The following Australian airport lounges are available to AMEX Platinum Charge and Centurion Card members at airports where complimentary Priority Pass cards are accepted:
- Sydney T2 (domestic): the Rex lounge, plus the Virgin Australia lounge for AMEX Centurion and Platinum Charge cardholders when flying with Virgin
- Sydney T1 (international): while there's no Priority Pass lounge per se, eligible AMEX cardholders are welcomed at the American Express lounge
- Melbourne T4 (domestic): Rex Lounge
- Melbourne T2 (international): after passport control, choose between the Plaza Premium Lounge and the American Express lounge
- Brisbane domestic: only AMEX Centurion and Platinum Charge cardholders can access the Virgin Australia lounge, and only when flying on Virgin Australia
- Brisbane international: after passport control, visit the Plaza Premium Lounge
- Gold Coast: only AMEX Centurion and Platinum Charge cardholders can access the Virgin Australia lounge, and only when flying on Virgin Australia
- Adelaide domestic: Rex Lounge
- Cairns international: Reef Lounge
- Darwin international: Catalina Lounge