American Express is keeping the frosted glass doors of its Hong Kong Centurion Lounge locked for the time being, as passenger numbers through Hong Kong International Airport continue to decline and the coronavirus outbreak enters its third month.
The lounge normally welcomes AMEX Platinum Charge Card and Centurion Card holders from all countries (Australia included), as well as Delta SkyMiles Reserve cardholders from the United States.
“Due to recent health and safety precautions stemming from the Coronavirus outbreak in this region, we have decided to temporarily close our Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong International Airport effective March 5,” the company said in a statement.
“We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. American Express will provide notice … when this location reopens.”
Lounge options for AMEX Platinum, Centurion cardholders
This closure doesn’t mean that American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders will be lounge-less if venturing to or through Hong Kong, however, as the company maintains a separate lounge partnership with Plaza Premium for these members.
With Hong Kong’s Centurion Lounge closed, affected AMEX Platinum and Centurion cardholders can instead venture to two other lounges for complimentary access – the Plaza Premium lounge near gate 1, or the newly-opened Plaza Premium lounge near gate 35.
Both offer shower facilities, buffet dining, WiFi and refreshments, and can be accessed simply by presenting an AMEX Platinum or Centurion Card.
You’ll need the physical card – Apple Pay and the like won’t pass muster – with each cardholder entitled to two complimentary guests.
Alternatively, the physical or digital Priority Pass card that comes bundled with these AMEX accounts can be presented instead, but for Australian accounts at least, only one complimentary guest is permitted and shower facilities are subject to payment, which are otherwise complimentary when accessing the lounge by presenting the eligible AMEX card.
There’s also the option of upgrading your existing Plaza Premium lounge entitlement to the Plaza Premium First lounge, upon payment of a fee or spending ‘Smart Traveller’ points from the company’s loyalty program, formerly known as Arrture. Rates vary based on duration of visit, so enquire at the lounge.
Other Hong Kong lounge closures
American Express isn’t the first provider to close down lounges at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), with home-based Cathay Pacific temporarily shuttering The Pier First Class, The Deck and The Bridge lounges from mid-February until further notice.
Plaza Premium’s lounge near gate 60 also remains closed, although the company’s other lounges near gates 1 and 35, and the Plaza Premium First lounge, continue to welcome travellers.
Virgin Australia partner Hong Kong Airlines – which normally operates two lounges at HKIA – has dialled this back to a single lounge: Club Bauhina, leaving its flagship Club Autus facility closed until further notice.
United Airlines’ United Club also remains locked, with the airline suspending all flights to Hong Kong until at least April 24 2020.
Other lounges – such as those operated by Emirates, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, SkyTeam and Thai Airways – remain open, although Thai Airways’ facility will move its current 6am opening time to 8:30am from March 9, closing earlier at 7:30pm each day rather than 11pm as before.