American Express and US/AA announced earlier this month that lounge benefit access will no longer be granted to American Express Platinum card holders after March 2014. With the announcement, many people declared how they were going to quickly use their $100-$500 AA/US airline credit and then cancel their American Express as it would no longer serve their needs appropriately. Likewise, I had similar thoughts until I reevaluated the benefit of Priority Pass and thought to myself, just maybe Priority Pass could be American Express’ saving grace while they slowly extend their own lounge network.
Now I know what many of you are thinking, Priority Pass lounges are not available at every airport, in fact, at many airports the only priority pass lounges are not accessible to all gates (i.e. at LAX) or the only Priority Pass lounge is a United Club, which is also not accessible with Priority Pass Select membership (the level provided by American Express). Despite this, there is some good news. Currently the majority of US Airway clubs are Priority Pass clubs, which means most American Express Platinum card holders will not lose access to their favorite US Airway clubs.
|City||Location||Priority Pass||Admiral Club Location|
|New York - LGA||Terminal C||X||X|
|Phoenix||Councouse A, Gate A7|
|Phoenix||Concourse A Gate A19|
|Washington - DCA||Concourse C||X|
|Washington - DCA||Concourse B||X||x|
Of the 19 US Airways clubs, 15 of the clubs are priority pass clubs which are available to American Express Platinum card holders who have applied for their free priority pass membership. Card holders can enter the lounges regardless of what airline they are flying and can stay for up to 3 hours. The only caveats, there are 6 airport locations where both US Airways and American Airlines have airport lounges. If the new American decides to close current US Airway clubs in favor of Admiral Clubs, Priority Pass may lose certain lounge locations.
It certainly was not good news that American Express Platinum card holders are losing over 40 lounges when their partnership with American and US Airways cedes in March 2014, but with the help of the Priority Pass membership, not all lounge access will be relinquished and the benefits to having the card may just still be worth it. Also, who knows, maybe the New American will partner with Priority Pass like US Airways has done. And a final thought, with the opening of the LaGuardia and San Francisco Centurion lounges along with the current Vegas and DFW Centurion lounges, it may just be a matter of time until this hiccup is behind us and we are all praising American Express airport lounge access program again.