Amex Platinum Lounge Access Guide (Global Lounge Collection) [2020]

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The Platinum Card from American Express is the best credit card for lounge access, at least in my opinion. Many people only think about Centurion Lounge access or maybe Priority Pass and Delta Sky Club access when it comes to lounge access offered by the Platinum Card.

But there are actually many more different types of lounges you can access within the Global Lounge Collection.

In this article, I’ll cover all of these different types of lounges and walk you through what you can expect at these lounges in terms of quality and guest policies.

Be sure to check out the YouTube video at the end as well! 

Interested in finding out the top travel credit cards for this month? Click here to check them out! 


What lounge access do you get with the Amex Platinum?

The Platinum Card is the best card for airport lounge access because it offers such a variety of different lounges to visit. It not only offers quantity but quality.

You’ll be able to visit all of the following lounges (subject to certain terms).

  • Centurion Lounges
  • International American Express Lounges
  • Priority Pass Select Lounges
  • Delta Sky Clubs
  • Airspace Lounges
  • Escape Lounges
  • Plaza Premium Lounges
  • Lufthansa Lounges
  • “Hidden” lounge benefits

There are a lot of other premium cards that offer airport lounge access but most of them only offer Priority Pass Select.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve only offers Priority Pass Select. Since the Platinum Card goes above and beyond Priority Pass Select, it is clearly the best card for lounge access in my opinion and it’s really not even close.

However, there are a couple of instances where you might benefit more with one of the other cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and I will talk about those below.


Centurion Lounge access

Amex Centurion Lounges are among the nicest lounges in the US. Why exactly do they stand out? To me it is for a few specific reasons.

Nice selection of hot food items

Generally speaking, I can find a pretty nice selection of hot food items when visiting a Centurion Lounge. Many airport lounges only offer light snacks or cold food items on a complementary basis, so getting quality hot food items is a major plus.

If you are trying to get breakfast at a normal lounge you might only get offered some basic cereal, fruits, and yogurt. But if you are visiting a Centurion Lounge you might get something like hot eggs, poached eggs, sausage, etc. — they will just offer you a much more robust spread (for free).

High quality drinks and cocktails

Many lounges will offer you complementary drinks, including alcohol. If you want more premium drinks or special cocktails, sometimes you have to pay extra. At Centurion Lounges you can choose from a selection of high-quality cocktails and get them all for free. You can also get these served to you while you relax in your seat. 

Nice modern designs

I also just really like the vibe inside of Centurion Lounges. They are usually designed very well and look pretty swanky. They also have a distinct scent that I really love. In short, they just feel like nicer lounges than most other lounges I find in the US and they feel like a more relaxing place to unwind in.

Variety of seating

In some airport lounges, you may only find two or three different types of seating options throughout the entire lounge. At Centurion Lounges you will find several different types of seating that offer different comfort levels depending on what you are looking for. For example, you might be able to find a chaise lounge chair where you can relax and take a nap or find seats that offer more of a cubby experience so that you can get more privacy.

Showers and other facilities

Many have showers and some of the lounges, like at MIA and DFW, offer enhanced amenities such as spa facilities.

Here are all of the current locations for Centurion Lounges:

There are now more and more Centurion Lounges popping up all over the place. So chances are if you frequent a major airport and they don’t have a Centurion Lounge yet at some point in the next few years they might be getting one.

Also, sometimes you can find an American Express pop-up lounge. We’ve seen these in places like London, Tokyo, New York, LA, etc. So be on the lookout for those as well because sometimes they seem to act as a predictor of where the next lounge will be built!

Amex Centurion lounge at IAH.

How to get access

You must bring your Platinum Card with you to gain access to the Centurion Lounge (along with your same-day boarding pass). If you happen to forget your Platinum Card, some agents will be okay with verifying your ID and still allowing you in but that’s not guaranteed so don’t rely on it.

You are allowed to bring in two guests, regardless of familial status. You used to be able to bring in unlimited immediate family members but, to the dismay of many, American Express changed that policy to only allow two complimentary guests total. If you want to bring in an additional guest, it will cost you a pretty penny at $50 per person.

There are also new limitations where you may be denied entrance into the lounge If you are trying to enter the lounge more than three hours prior to your departure. American Express states:

We will not admit Platinum Card Members more than 3 hours before the departure time on the Platinum Card Member’s same-day, confirmed boarding pass. 

This rule does not apply when you have a connecting flight. Also, another exception to this rule would be when your flight has been delayed as I was recently allowed entrance into the lounge a good four hours prior to my newly scheduled departure time.

No arrival access

Centurion Lounges are designed to be departure lounges and not arrival lounges and American Express will not admit Platinum cardholders to the lounge when they arrive. American Express specifically states:

We will not admit arriving Platinum Card Members with boarding passes for flights that have just landed.

The drawback to Centurion Lounges

Although I love Centurion Lounges, there is one major drawback to them.

They can get very crowded, especially during peak business traveler times. This can make finding a place to rest and enjoy a meal or drink virtually impossible. Sometimes these crowds are so bad you don’t even want to step foot inside the lounge. However, in early mornings, early afternoons, and evenings, I find the crowds to be much more manageable.

Las Vegas Centurion Lounge.

Overall, I think that if you frequent or even semi-frequent an airport with a Centurion Lounge, the experience can make worth holding on to the Platinum Card, considering all of the other benefits too.


International American Express Lounges

You’ll also find International American Express lounges across the globe.

  • Buenos Aires (EZE)
  • São Paulo (GRU)
  • Mexico City (MEX)
  • Monterrey (MTY)
  • Toluca (TLC)
  • Delhi (DEL)
  • Mumbai (BOM)
  • Sydney (SYD)
  • Melbourne (MEL)
  • Stockholm (ARN)

The quality and amenities offered by these lounges may vary.

For example, some are smaller than US Centurion Lounges and may require you to pay for certain food or drink items, but they generally appear to be of decent quality and thus often worth a visit, assuming you don’t have access to a superior lounge.

I recently visited the Sydney “Centurion Lounge” on a layover and it was nice to have a lounge to access to freshen up for a flight and get a quick bite but the lounge got very packed, the food was pretty basic, and the shower situation was a bit odd.

So I wouldn’t look forward to visiting these lounges in the same way I would a “real” Centurion Lounge.

Sydney Centurion Lounge.

Priority Pass Select

The other major lounge benefit with the Platinum Card is that you get Priority Pass Select, which is a $400 a year pass that comes complimentary with the Platinum Card. This pass gets you access to over 1,300 lounges worldwide.

Are these lounges quality?

The quality of these lounges varies dramatically.

Generally, I’ve found that many of the Priority Pass lounges within the US are not very great and can also have crowding issues or access restrictions where you’re not even allowed in. The lounges in the US tend to be on the smaller side but sometimes I am surprised to see them offering hot food items of decent quality.

Internationally, however, some of these lounges can be fantastic. If you’re planning any kind of long trip around the globe, having access to these lounges can be invaluable. The vast majority of Priority Pass lounges are located abroad so you really do get more value out of this membership when you travel a lot internationally.

The Club at MCO, a Priority Pass lounge.

How to get access

One thing you must remember, is that you have to register for your Priority Pass either online or by calling in. Otherwise, you won’t receive a card and won’t be able to access these lounges.

The guest policy for the Platinum Card’s Priority Pass was also recently updated, so now you can bring in two guests for free (as opposed to before when you were only allowed one guest). This was actually a pretty significant change that helped to put the Platinum Card more on par with other premium cards.

You must have your Priority Pass card with you when you to gain entrance into the lounge. There’s also a Priority Pass app so you can show them your “e-card” but note that not all Priority Pass lounges are able to scan these so it’s best to keep your card on you.

Bidvest Premier Lounge in Cape Town, South Africa.

Priority Pass Restaurants

At many airports, there are restaurants that are part of the Priority Pass lounge network. This means that you can get a food credit often around $30 at these restaurants that you can enjoy. This can be an amazing perk whenever you are not flying out of a gate near a lounge or the lounges are super packed.

The problem is that the Priority Pass membership attached to the Platinum Card no longer provides you with access to the Priority Pass restaurants so you cannot get credit for the restaurants.  

Priority Pass perks

Priority Pass can also get you access into other VIP-like perks. For example, when flying into MBJ in Jamaica, your Priority Pass gets you into the expedited line for security (as well as the VIP lounge, which is quite nice especially for Caribbean standards).


Delta Sky Clubs

The Platinum Card Can also get you access into Delta Delta Sky Clubs. Delta Sky Clubs are pretty solid lounges compared to other what other domestic carriers offer and you should be able to get free drinks and snacks.

To gain access to Delta Sky Clubs, you must be flying with Delta on that day.  Unfortunately, guests are not complimentary and you’ll have to shell out $29 for each guest to come in to the lounge with you.

The good thing about the Platinum Card is once again, authorized users are given this perk, too, so if your travel partner has a Platinum Card they can get in for free, too.

If you are interested in getting a more thorough Delta Sky Club membership you can look at the following cards:

Delta Reserve Credit Card

  • 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • Priority boarding
  • First checked bag free
  • 20% off in-flight purchases
  • Annual fee $450 (not waived)
  • Annual 1-time first class, Comfort+ or main cabin companion certificate
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club access
  • Annual miles and MQMs after spend requirement

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

  • 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • Priority boarding
  • First checked bag free
  • 20% off in-flight purchases
  • Annual fee $450 (not waived)
  • Annual 1-time first class, Comfort+ or main cabin companion certificate
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club access
  • Annual miles and MQMs after spend requirement
  • Click here to learn more!
JFK T4 Sky Club Sky Deck

Airspace lounges

The Platinum Card also offers access to Airspace lounges. There are currently only a couple these lounges and they are found in Cleveland and San Diego. The lounges offer basic snacks and drinks but as a Platinum cardmember, you’ll be given a $10 credit that you can use towards food and drinks, which should be enough to cover a light meal.

The cardmember’s spouse and children under the age of 21 or up to two companions may enter the club as complimentary guests.

Airspace lounge in San Diego. Image via San Diego International Airport.

Escape Lounges

As one of the recent upgrades to the Platinum Card, it now offers access to Escape Lounges, too. Escape Lounges can be found at:

United States locations

Arizona

California

Connecticut

Minnesota

Nevada

Ohio

Rhode Island

United Kingdom locations

Entry to some of these would cost your $40-45 to enter these lounges so these were nice additions to the Platinum’s lounge network. You can bring two guests with you to these lounges.

The BDL and MSP lounges were part of the Priority Pass network but MSP was recently dropped, so now you would gain access to that lounge by your Platinum Card instead of Priority Pass. These lounges are generally regarded as quality lounges, although you have to pay for certain premium items.


Plaza Premium Lounges

Plaza Premium Lounges can often be accessed with Priority Pass so there’s a large overlap with lounge benefits here.

However, there are some lounges that are only accessible with the Platinum Card so you do get access to more venues. But in addition to that, sometimes access is restricted for Priority Pass members but not Platinum members and as a Platinum cardmember, you might be given more benefits (unlimited free drinks, etc.).

These lounges are largely found in Asia but you can find some in other locations like Europe and South America. You can search for locations here.

I have reviewed a Plaza Premium lounge before and felt like it was a pretty decent lounge on par with a typical Priority Pass lounge. They had a number of hot food items for breakfast, drink options, and the lounge was decent sized with some comfortable seating options.

Cardmembers may bring up to 1 companion into Plaza Premium Lounges as complimentary guests.

Plaza Premium Lounge at TPE.

Lufthansa Lounge access

With the Platinum Card you can also get special Lufthansa Lounge access.

As part of The American Express Global Lounge Collection, you can get access to select Lufthansa airport lounges in the satellite area of T2 in Munich Airport and in Terminal 1 Concourse B of Frankfurt Airport through 3/31/20.

Platinum Card Members may enjoy access to Lufthansa Business Lounges (regardless of ticket class) and Lufthansa Senator Lounges (when flying business class) in the Satellite area of T2 in Munich Airport, and T1 Concourse B in Frankfurt Airport.

To access the Lufthansa lounges, Platinum Card Member must present a government issued I.D., a same-day boarding pass showing confirmed reservation on a Lufthansa Group flight (Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian airlines) and a valid Platinum Card.

Lounge access is for Card Members departing from Munich and Frankfurt only.

Frankfurt Airport.

“Hidden” Amex lounge benefits

I’m always surprised how many cardholders aren’t even aware of the many hidden benefits of the Platinum Card. Beyond the lounge networks above, there are actually several other lounges where you can get access with your Platinum Card. Just keep in mind that these less-advertised perks may be subject to change since they are not highly publicized.

Access Suite Lounge at South Coast Plaza

The South Coast Plaza is a super high-end mall all outside LA known for its high concentration of designer stores. It is also home to a little VIP lounge known as the Access Suite.

The Access Suite Lounge at South Coast Plazas is located on the 2nd floor, just outside Saks Fifth Avenue. It is open from 11am to 7pm (Monday through Saturday) and from 11am to 6:30pm on Sunday. You should be able to enter with up to three guests. You can find a full review here.

American Express Lounge by Pontus at Arlanda

This is a lounge in Stockholm and you can find a full review here. Platinum cardmembers may take one guest with them.

Centurion Suite at the Barclays Center 

You can get special access through a dedicated entrance found on Atlantic Avenue, to the left of the Calvin Klein VIP Entrance. To gain entry to Barclays Center through the American Express Card Member Entrance, you must present the guest services representative with a valid American Express Card along with a valid event ticket.

They state that the guest policy is the following:

All active American Express Card Members are permitted entry to Barclays Center via the Card Member Entrance for themselves and all guests in their party, provided all guests have a valid event ticket.

So it sounds like all of your guests just need to be with you and have a ticket to get in through this entrance.

Note: the Centurion Suite at the Barclays Center is now closed!

Centurion Suite at the Staples Center

The Centurion Suite at the Staples Center is located on Suite Level B. After entering from any main entrance, proceed to the Centurion Suite check-in, located on the Main Concourse across from aisle M22 (next to the Team LA Store).

You will need to show your Platinum Card along with a photo ID at check-in. And you will be given a wristband that allows for re-entry. You will be allowed to bring up to three guests with you.

Once you’ve been checked in, take the stairs or the elevator to Suite Level B.

Here’s what they state for directions:

If taking the elevator, The Centurion Suite will be located through the brown double doors to your right once you reach Suite Level B. Otherwise, proceed to your left at the top of the stairs. The entrance to The Centurion Suite will be located on your right hand side.

The Centurion Suite opens for most Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Clippers home games throughout the year. It opens up 90 minutes prior to the beginning of a game. Since spots are given out on a first come, first serve basis you need to check in as quickly as possible!

Centurion Suite in Louis Armstrong Stadium at the US Open

During the U.S. Open you can get access to an American Express lounge. You will be able to bring up to three guests but spots are issued on a first come, first serve basis and the access is not restricted to only Platinum Card members. You also can sometimes get additional perks like free bags or even a statement credit to use at the event.

Eurostar Business Premier Lounges

If you are ever traveling on the Eurostar you might be able to enjoy one of the lounges at one of the main stations including:

    • London St. Pancras
    • Paris Gare du Nord
    • Brussels Midi/Zuid
    • Ebbsfleet International

Note that there is no access for guests at these lounges.

Universal Studios lounges (Orlando and Hollywood)

The terms state that to get access to the American Express Lounge, you need to purchase a Multi-Park Ticket or Annual Pass with any American Express card at UniversalOrlando.com or at the Universal Orlando Resort ticket window.

In reality though many people report getting into the lounge without having shown proof of purchase of that type of pack. It could depend on the capacity of the lounge but it is worth giving it a shot to get in even if you did not purchase one of the eligible packages.

Entrance to the Universal Studios Florida American Express Lounge is located across from Shrek’s Ye Olde Souvenir Shoppe. The American Express Lounge is open seven days a week from 12–5 pm and subject to availability.

Virgin Australia lounge access

You can get Virgin Australia lounge access when flying Virgin Australia.

Not all of these lounges will offer full complimentary service. For example, for the Centurion Suite at the Staples Center, the terms state:

This VIP space offers a full service bar with a complete selection of finely crafted cocktails, beer & wine, and an array of non-alcoholic beverages for purchase. Guests can also purchase and order premium food items from the bar, prepared by renowned Levy Restaurants Chef Joseph Martin.

H/T: DOC for the round-up


Authorized users

One great thing about the Platinum Card is that authorized users are given full access to these lounges just as the primary cardmember is. You can add up to 3 authorized users for $175, so this can be a great way to receive a lot of value if you’ve got friends or family that you trust and want to offer these perks to.


Final Word

I think that the Platinum Card is probably the best card for lounge access. While other cards like the Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige offer Priority Pass, the Platinum Card goes beyond that with its quality Centurion Lounges and other lounges located throughout the US and the world.

So while the value of lounge access comes down to use, I think these lounge benefits provide me with more than enough value to hang on to the Platinum Card even with its high annual fee.

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4 comments

  1. Daniel, thanks for linked to my review of the South Coast Plaza lounge. My buddies and I used to stop there for free drinks after playing golf on Sundays when I lived in SoCal. A hidden gem for sure.

  2. Daniel, thanks for linking to my review of the South Coast Plaza lounge. My buddies and I used to stop there for free drinks after playing golf on Sundays when I lived in SoCal. A hidden gem for sure.

    1. No problem, — thanks for the helpful review! Seems like a pretty cool place I’ll have to check out next time I’m in the area.

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