For the life of me, I can’t find a press release or notice about this. Rather a seatmate on a recent American Airlines flight brought up being declined access with her Business American Express Platinum Card at an American Airlines Admirals Club, which began a bit of sleuthing on my part.
The American Express Platinum card is a great travel benefits card, as you’re supposed to get lounge access for yourself and two companions at Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta), American Airlines Admirals Clubs (when flying American), and US Airways Clubs (when flying anyone). The card also allows for a Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you lounge access at other lounges (like the Alaska Airlines Boardrooms, but not United Clubs).
I chalked up my seatmate not getting access to an inexperienced traveler not understanding the rules (maybe she wasn’t flying American Airlines, or maybe it wasn’t an Admirals Club, or maybe she showed the wrong card). However, Christopher told me that a phone call with American Express yielded some new information:
I spoke with an AmEx person about the general differences between the business Plat and the regular Plat, and the [American Airlines Admirals Club] access benefit only dropped off the business Plat card about a week ago.
I have the Personal American Express Platinum card, so I called American Express to ask if there were any rule changes in regards to lounge access. The agent I spoke with told me that he couldn’t find any new rules, but mentioned that American the Express is “in negotiations” with American the Airline regarding lounge access. While American Airlines is in the midst of a merger with US Airways, one would think that lounge access would stay put considering both American Airlines and US Airways have lounge access arrangements with American Express. One would also think that lounge access policies wouldn’t change while the merger is in question by the DoJ and while American is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The American Express splash page for the Business Platinum Card doesn’t list American Airlines as a lounge access partner, but in fairness, neither does the splash page for the personal card. Update: The Business Platinum Card no longer offers lounge access to clubs operated by American Airlines or US Airways.
Like most things travel-related, FlyerTalk has already taken notice, although there is nothing but chatter at this moment without concrete evidence of a change in policy.
What’s most telling is that on American Airlines’ Admirals Club access page, under the “Guest Access Information” tree, a rather new caveat has been added, that “not all American Express Platinum cards are eligible for Club access.” I tweeted the @AmericanAir team for clarification on this but did not receive a clear response.
I’ve called both companies and tweeted both companies, yet I can’t seem to get a clear response. Yet something is up. I just don’t know what it is. I was able to use my Personal American Express Platinum card to gain access to an Admirals Club just 2 days ago, and I even brought in a guest on a different PNR. Lounge access is a key reason I keep the American Express Platinum card in my wallet. I’ve switched a lot of flying to American Airlines instead of Delta, so losing Admirals Club access would be a huge blow to the value of this card.
Has anyone else been recently denied American Airlines Admirals Club access while using an American Express Platinum card?