American Express Platinum Card Adds Complimentary Priority Pass Select for US Members

american express priority pass select membershipU.S. American Express Platinum cards come with access to Delta and American Airlines lounges, provided that the cardholder is flying that airline same-day.

Last year American added US Airways lounge access as well, with no requirement to be flying US Airways same-day for access. This was done in advance of their expectation that they would be losing Continental Airlines as a partner, until September 1 you can still transfer Membership Rewards points to Continental Onepass and also access Continental Presidents Club lounges.

The loss of the Continental relationship was a foregone conclusion when United and Continental merged, Chase has the concession for co-branded credit cards with both United and Continental and holds tremendous sway with United. The issuer of the United co-branded credit card (then First USA) provided debtor-in-possession financing for United’s bankruptcy. Chase (which acquired First USA) provided United’s exit financing from bankruptcy. And they pre-purchased nine-figures worth of miles to provide extra liquidity.

Chase has been known to play hardball, preventing other card issuers from offering reasonable earning deals for United miles. United is no longer a transfer partner of Diners Club, for instance, and the airline used to even allow transfers in both directions. And United and Continental both have poor transfer ratios from Starwood Preferred Guest (2 SPG points to 1 mile instead of 1 to 1).

So naturally Chase wasn’t going to stand idly by and let Amex Membership Rewards be a great deal for earning United miles post-merger.

Amex did also introduce a benefit to reimburse up to $200 in expense with a single preferred carrier each year for ancillary charges like baggage fees or lounge membership. (Here’s a Milepoint discussion of recent successful reimbusements from Amex under this benefit.)

Now American Express has added a new benefit, complimentary Priority Pass membership. Though it’s Priority Club Select which excludes access to United and Continental lounges after September 30. That’s geared to financial institutions which compete with Chase and provide the benefit.

Now, lots of cards have provided free Priority Pass membership. I used to get it with my Citi American Express Platinum card, I loved the card before the last Thank You Points devaluation in February 2009 and I no longer have that card. I currently have a free membership through the Hilton Surpass American Express card, but that doesn’t come with any free lounge visits — I have to pay for each one.

The Amex Platinum version of the card comps lounge access for the cardholder, and guest access is $27.

So what does this add? Domestically in the US, very little, since United and Continental lounges are ineligible and Delta, American, and US Airways lounges are already offered. You get Alaska Airlines Boardroom access. And now that it’s $45 for a day pass to a Board room, instead of $25, paying the $27 for a guest is a reduction in cost for the second person to access their lounges, too. And since they’ve got that pancake machine in the Seattle Boardroom in the morning…

The real benefit is international lounge access, and access to international carrier lounges in the US. The Amex benefit to US cardholders really didn’t provide much international lounge access in the past, since US carriers have a very limited number of lounges. So this is a real improvement to the card for international travelers (at the same time that the Platinum card no longer adds foreign currency transaction fees to international spend).

Enrollment is required to receive the benefit, and additional cardholders on an account cannot enroll online.

american express priority pass select membership


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This offer is only for Business Platinum Card holders. I tried and my card was not eligible 🙁 bummer.. but also, should change your header for this post since its misleading.

  2. I wonder what kind of sway Chase has with BA, since BA participates in Membership Rewards and SPG with 1:1 exchange ratios. Since Chase seems so against its airlines using any other card issuers, it seems strange that they’d allow this. Unless 1) they’re counting on their credit card getting 1.25 miles per $ to keep people away from SPG & MR, or 2) the fact that BA is not a US based airline has something to do with it.

  3. Offer commences April 5th – that’s what the AMEX Plat concierge agent told me this morning. Try again next Tue morning. Hope this helps.

  4. B, where did you see only Biz Plat? I called in to apply as Simon has said, and was told to call back on the 5th. No mention of a biz plat card.

  5. There’s also a domestic benefit. Some smaller airports have a PP lounge but no *A. That would get me in there.

  6. I think the difference with BA, is that Chase only issues BA’s credit card in the US. Thus they dont’ have the kind of sway, Chase has with United. Just so we aren’t picking on Chase, Citi has some same sway with American. You can’t redeem Membership rewards points for AAdvantage miles. Neither can you use a Marriott Rewards credit card to earn AAdvantage miles becausse Marriott Rewards and AAdvantage severed their relationship last year. True, you can use American lounges BUT what use is Membership Rewards if you can exchange into only one major US carrier in US Airways? I’m seriously considering cancelling my Gold American Express and instead keeping cards with United, American and Delta. With United and Delta I don’t pay a checked bag fee which pays for the annual membership and I’m covering all three major airline alliances (Star, Oneworld, and Skyteam) for about the same annuall fees as my Gold card from American Express.

  7. The priority pass website only lists 2 lounges at DFW that i can use: The Club at DFW and President’s Club.

    Does this mean i can no longer access the Admiral’s Club at DFW with my AMEX Platinum card?

    Is what’s on the Priority Pass website the comprehensive list of available lounges under the new program?

  8. To poster #1, I do not think you are correct. The language on the Amex site clearly implies both personal and business Platinum cards are eligible, and they offer you different customer service telephone numbers on the page for business versus personal.

    If you don’t have the Platinum Charge Card – but rather the Platinum DL card or Platinum Optima card, then no, your card wouldnt be eligible. Personal Platinum Charge Cards are.

    @Gary – How did you come across this new benefit?

  9. This is a very nice add, even to US domestic fliers.

    It opens many lounges currently not available to Amex Plat holders. Not even just the small airports, it opens 2 landside lounges at JFK T4 which basically can be used as an arrival’s lounge. Same thing at LAX.

    There are also airside options when flying into DFW or MIA and not on AA.

    The Toronto Admiral’s Club is great (priority pass eligible), because it is the only club on the transborder side of T3 (very useful if not flying AA and using that terminal)

  10. Sorry to dredge up an old topic, but I think I may have finally figured out the value of the priority pass select program. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what domestic benefit it offered since my Amex Plat already provides all the same lounge access (again, assuming domestic travel).

    Then it hit me – if you’re traveling on another airline – say, Southwest, JetBlue, you name it – normally with the platinum, unless there was a USAir club, you’d be SOL since you have to be flying Delta or AA to gain admission to their clubs. But with PP select, you have the ability to now enter whatever club they are associated with at the given airport (granted, not that many) regardless of who you’re flying with. The rub is the $27 guest fee, but hopefully you’re traveling with your spouse who has an Amex platinum and PP Select of their own!

    Perfect example – I’m flying to Vegas in a few weeks via Southwest rewards, and normally flying out of Orlando I wouldn’t be able to access the Delta Sky Club since I’m not flying Delta. But with PP Select I’ll be able to.


  11. This
    does not apply to delta platinum cards – so delta platinum amex pay $25 for lounge access and non-delta plat amex get in free. go figure

  12. What ARE you guys talking about? “PP Select” is a nice add? It’s worthless. You pay $27 for access to lounges that usually cost $25.

    Until you buy the $400 version of PP and go to a lounge at least 18 times a year, you’re getting milked. Wake up.

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