Five secret lounge perks of the AMEX Platinum charge card

By Chris Chamberlin, March 1 2018

Savvy travellers know that an American Express Platinum charge card grants unlimited access to Virgin Australia, Delta and Priority Pass airport lounges, plus AMEX’s own-brand facilities such as at Sydney Airport.

But here's something else: the AMEX Platinum charge card also opens the door to a broader network of lounges around the world, including some gems you'd otherwise have little chance of entering.

1. Relax in 1,000+ Star Alliance lounges worldwide after just three flights

Star Alliance Gold is your ticket to lounge access whenever you fly with Star Alliance airlines like Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and United: and that shiny Gold card can be yours after taking just three flights with Star Alliance member Singapore Airlines.

Funnily enough, it works like this: first, you need to register for complimentary Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade hotel status – another perk that comes courtesy of AMEX Platinum – and once that’s been granted, to link your Shangri-La membership to a Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer account.

That gets you instant Star Alliance Silver status, and you’ll be bumped up to Star Alliance Gold after taking just three Singapore Airlines flights within four months of linking those accounts: that’s as easy as one return flight from Australia to Europe on any fare type that normally earns points, even in economy!

Stat Alliance Gold unlocks the Singapore Airlines lounge at Sydney Airport, among many others...
Stat Alliance Gold unlocks the Singapore Airlines lounge at Sydney Airport, among many others...

Your Star Alliance Gold (KrisFlyer Gold) card will be valid for one year, during which, you’ll enjoy lounge access across the entire Star Alliance network whenever you fly with a Star Alliance airline, with one complimentary guest.

Read: How to get Star Alliance Gold status after just three flights

2. Lufthansa Business Lounges, Senator Lounges in Munich

Not able to grab Star Alliance Gold status based on your travel plans? Then remember to pack your AMEX Platinum charge card on trips to Germany, where it unlocks access to either the Lufthansa Business Lounges or the higher-tier Lufthansa Senator Lounges prior to eligible flights.

If stuck in economy and departing Munich on a Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines or Swiss flight, flashing your AMEX card grants access to the Lufthansa Business Lounges in the airport’s satellite pier at Terminal 2, both in the Schengen and non-Schengen zones of the airport.

Or, when booked in business class from Munich on those same airlines, your lounge access will be upgraded from the Business Lounges normally used by business class passengers, to the Senator Lounges which are a cut above, and traditionally reserved for top-tier frequent flyers.

Additional guests aren’t permitted, but if travelling as a couple, for instance, and each of you has your own AMEX Platinum charge card (including those issued as supplementary cards on the same account), you could each present your own AMEX card to be admitted together.

This AMEX trick doesn’t work at Lufthansa’s other lounges in the same airport, or in cities like Frankfurt: only at the satellite pier lounges at Munich Airport.

3. Eurostar Business Premier lounges

Taking the train across Europe instead of flying? An AMEX Platinum charge card also gets you into the Eurostar Business Premier lounges at several busy railway stations when travelling with Eurostar in any class of service: these lounges normally being reserved for Business Premier passengers.

You’ll find them at St Pancras International (Kings Cross, London), Paris Gare du Nord, Brussels Midi/Zuid railway station and Ebbsfleet International (in Dartford, just outside Greater London).

Eurostar's Business Premier Lounge in London, open to AMEX Platinum cardholders...
Eurostar's Business Premier Lounge in London, open to AMEX Platinum cardholders...

Again, AMEX cardholders aren’t able to bring any extra guests into these lounges, but if each guest has their own AMEX Platinum card to present, you’re all clear.

4. Airspace Lounges in the United States

While AMEX has you covered across much of the United States through its Delta Sky Club and Priority Pass offerings, a separate partnership with Airspace Lounges also provides lounge access in three key locations where you might otherwise be stuck out in the terminal.

Firstly, to the Airspace Lounge at New York JFK Terminal 5: home to JetBlue, but also used by Virgin Australia partner Hawaiian Airlines for flights to Honolulu (plus TAP Portugal for its Lisbon flights), as this terminal has no Priority Pass lounges available.

In San Diego, the Airspace Lounge is also handy when flying to Los Angeles with Qantas partner American Airlines, as AA doesn’t operate an Admirals Club here. Of course, when flying Delta from San Diego, AMEX Platinum members can access Delta’s neat San Diego Sky Club too.

Finally, in Cleveland, an Airspace Lounge is accessible to all passengers departing the airport on any airline: and while there’s a United Club here – which you could access as a Star Alliance Gold member, as above – the only other lounge is the Airspace Lounge, which your AMEX card gets you into.

Guesting policies are generous here, as presenting one AMEX Platinum charge card allows free entry with up to two additional guests when travelling together: that’s three passengers in total, including the AMEX cardholder.

5. Escape Lounges in the United States

Also providing complimentary access with two guests in tow are the USA-based Escape Lounges in Hartford (Connecticut), Minneapolis (Minnesota), Oakland (California) and Reno (Nevada), when flying with any airline.

Even if you have frequent flyer status that grants lounge access in North America, this partnership is again useful in these places where the major airlines don’t always have their own lounges.

Wander into the Escape Lounge at Oakland International Airport...
Wander into the Escape Lounge at Oakland International Airport...

For example, Delta and United don’t operate lounges in Hartford and AA doesn’t have an Admirals Club in Minneapolis, while none of these airlines offer their own lounges in Oakland and Reno.

The Escape Lounges in the United Kingdom – including at London Stansted, Manchester and East Midlands – aren’t part of the ‘flash your AMEX and enter’ arrangement, but they can still be accessed by AMEX Platinum members through Priority Pass, with one complimentary guest for Australian cardholders.

Don't already have an American Express Platinum charge card? You can apply for one here.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

DrSK

DrSK

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jul 2014

Total posts 51

Useful tips, Chris. The card also seems to grant access to 'Bradesco' airport lounges in Brazil (https://banco.bradesco/html/classic/produtos-servicos/cartoes/beneficios/salas-vip.shtm), in addition to the Priority Pass options in that country.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

Great find, DrSK! Didn't know about that one... seems that just like many of the options above, you'll only know they're available if you dive into AMEX's Global Lounge Collection directory and search airport by airport, or find them mentioned somewhere else.

I've checked AMEX's directory for the airports mentioned at that link, and they're indeed open to Australian cardholders on presentation of the AMEX Platinum Card, with either one guest "or immediate family" allowed in too at no cost.

Can't find the 'Aeroporto Curitiba – Paraná' lounge in AMEX's directory, though: only those in Rio and Sao Paulo.

MarkJohnSon Banned

MarkJohnSon Banned

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 90

This is really a card that keeps on giving.

I had no idea it grants access to the Eurostar lounges. The irony is, however, that there is far less need to visit a train lounge given you can safely turn up just moments before departure.

peteshep

peteshep

15 Feb 2013

Total posts 137

I assume this also all applies to the Centurion card?

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

There are a few small differences with Centurion but it's mostly the same.

For instance, in Munich when flying Lufthansa, Swiss or Austrian, flashing the Centurion Card opens the doors to the Lufthansa first class lounge when flying in any class (rather than the Business or Senator lounge as with the Platinum Charge).

With the Star Alliance Gold shortcut, Centurion gets you Shangri-La Golden Circle Diamond instead of Jade with Platinum, which gets you KrisFlyer Gold (Star Alliance Gold) after just one SQ flight instead of three when those memberships are linked.

(When flying out of London Heathrow, you can also flash the Centurion for access to the fast-track lanes at security, which doesn't work with Platinum.)

I believe more recently, the Australian Centurion Card gives Emirates Skywards Gold status too (which provides access to Qantas and Emirates lounges) to replace the previous benefit of complimentary Qantas Club membership, but I haven't looked into that.

peteshep

peteshep

15 Feb 2013

Total posts 137

Thanks Chris, good to know.

Centurion does provide Emirates Gold, although as a QFFP it doesn’t benefit me at all unfortunately. With the QC membership, I actually allocated that to one of my supp cardholders (although I think officially it is meant to be the primary, they allowed it for one of the 4 supp plat charge cards as both myself and the supp Centurion card are QFFP). They seemed to have grandfathered that product for anyone with it already as it has not been cancelled even though Emirates gold has been on offer for 3 years now.

davidzuo

davidzuo

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Nov 2016

Total posts 26

Hi Chris, thank you for the detailed heads up. Just to double confirm or clarify, in order to access the above perks, the correct credit card to be applied for must be an American Express Platinum charge card, not the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card, is that right? Thank you.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

Hi David, yes, that's correct: the Qantas AMEX Ultimate Card does offer four lounge visits per year (two Qantas Club passes plus two visits to the AMEX Lounge in Sydney when flying overseas), but the perks covered above in the article are only available with the AMEX Platinum Charge Card - this one:

davidzuo

davidzuo

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Nov 2016

Total posts 26

Thank you Chris for your detailed explanation, I really appreciate it.

emailboy

emailboy

03 Oct 2011

Total posts 29

You write that "In San Diego, the Airspace Lounge is also handy when flying to Los Angeles with Qantas partner American Airlines, as AA doesn’t operate an Admirals Club here." The San Diego Airspace lounge is also an AA Admiral's Club, so anyone with AC access can use it.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

Hi emailboy, the statement in the article is factual: AA doesn't operate an Admirals Club in San Diego.

For selected passengers, AA provides access to the Airspace Lounge under a third-party agreement: similar to how Qantas uses the Air France lounge in San Francisco. That doesn't make the Air France lounge a Qantas Club, for instance.

Also, a different set of rules are applied at the Airspace Lounge for passengers accessing it via AA, compared to the entry list for a normal Admirals Club-branded lounge. Those differences don't affect most US-based travellers or high-tier Oneworld frequent flyers, but there are implications for Qantas Club members and those seeking lounge access under other Oneworld rules (such as on the basis of having a same-day connecting long-haul business class flight, such as with Qantas from LA to Australia after their SAN-LAX flight): and it's at those times, or when flying without status, or also when flying with any other airline, that access via AMEX Platinum can be useful.

emailboy

emailboy

03 Oct 2011

Total posts 29

My understanding is that it is a dual lounge, unlike a pure Airspace lounge. The long-time AA Admiral's Club employees work there, and they have the usual Admiral's Club computer systems, able to do all the usual things Admiral's Club employees can do (put passengers on upgrade lists, change flights, issue tickets, etc.)l I have never seen any other non-airline-operated lounge with this ability, including third-party-operated lounges overseas (e.g., Menzies-operated airline-branded lounges in Europe).


My understanding is that everyone with Admiral's Club access has access to this club, and that, in addition, passengers may access it via the usual Airspace admission rules, including AmEx Platinum Card members, as well as when flying in a premium cabin on BA and JL, and that depending on how one accesses the club, different perks apply, which makes it in effect multiple types of clubs in one. E.g., when accessing it when flying in F/J on BA/JL one gets certain snacks complimentary, and when accessing it via the AmEx Platinum cards one gets certain bar credits.

Most of the rules you cite, to my understanding, apply to all Admiral's Clubs. E.g., any OneWorld elite other than AA elites have access to Admiral's Clubs when flying in a premium class, not just long-haul but even short-haul.

dancer48

dancer48

01 Sep 2015

Total posts 3

Are the benefits the same for the platinum credit card [ American Express Reserve] as the charge card? I have the credit card and ditched the charge card as I use the Gold card.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

No, the two are completely different products. The only lounge access offered with the AMEX Platinum Reserve credit card is to the AMEX lounges in Sydney and Melbourne (two free visits per year only, not unlimited access as with the Charge), and a Priority Pass membership that also includes two visits per year.

dancer48

dancer48

01 Sep 2015

Total posts 3

Thanks for that and yes I have used the Amex lounge.

blaz

blaz

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2018

Total posts 28

I have heard that the perk of lounge access with Eurostar is restricted to European Amex platinum charge cards (mine is Australian ). Does this mean that entry is determined by the discretion of the front staff,(visually) or is it swiped, and it is either accepted or not ? Is there a charge-back to Amex (that they cover), or is it some form of contractural arrangement ? I will be (attempting) to access the lounge with my wife ,who has a supplementary card in August (next month). Fingers crossed, not because we need it, but more from" lounge" curiosity.

nathanjordan

nathanjordan

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

21 Aug 2013

Total posts 130

@blaz Would appreciate it if you could report back on how you both go.

blaz

blaz

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2018

Total posts 28

No luck. The dragon guy at front desk, took a look at the back of the card, and informed us that Australian cards are not part of the agreement...they had to be European or British. We may have simply been unlucky in getting one of the few attendants working in Gare de Nord that actually gave a toss, but it seems that he was correct ..this offer is only mentioned on Amex Europe/British website, and there is no mention of it on ours (Australia). Worth a try though.

blaz

blaz

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2018

Total posts 28

No problem, I will get back to you by the 12August....hopefully using the wifi from the lounge.

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