American Express Platinum Priority Pass Select Benefits

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Update: The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN has exciting new benefits, and a great new limited time offer. Learn more about the current offer here.

There are three versions of the American Express Platinum Card that participate in the lounge access program:

As the landscape of the airline industry has changed, unfortunately the lounge benefits that these cards offer have as well:

One of the often overlooked benefits of the American Express Platinum Card is that it actually comes with a Priority Pass Select membership. However, you have to specifically request it.

The reason I mention this is because I fly Alaska Airlines out of Seattle a lot, and they have a Board Room here. The Board Room is not an American Express Platinum partner lounge, but it is a Priority Pass Select partner lounge (and again, you can opt to receive a Select membership if you have the American Express Platinum Card).

In the last two weeks I’ve literally seen three people turned away from Board Rooms because they tried to enter with the American Express Platinum Card and couldn’t get in. The agents didn’t explain (and might not know) that they could get access if they called American Express to set up a Priority Pass Select membership (which is complimentary, even for authorized users), so instead the people were just turned away confused.

So I figured I’d clarify some of the basics of the Priority Pass Select benefit that comes with the American Express Platinum Card:

Who qualifies for the Priority Pass Select membership?

All American Express Platinum Cardmembers qualify, including those with the American Express Platinum Card, American Express Mercedes Benz Platinum Card, and American Express Business Platinum Card. While the annual fees on these cards can be hefty, one thing to keep in mind is that you can add up to three additional card members for a total of $175, and all of them get full lounge access benefits. That’s under $60 per additional cardmember, so can be a great deal.

Priority-Pass-Select-Platinum

How do you request a Priority Pass Select membership?

As I mentioned above, even though all Platinum Cardmembers qualify for a Priority Pass Select membership, you specifically have to request it — presenting the Platinum Card at a Priority Pass lounge won’t work.

There are two options for requesting a Priority Pass Select membership (in either case the card will be mailed to you within a couple of weeks):

What benefits come with a Priority Pass Select membership?

A Priority Pass membership gets you access to over 600 lounges worldwide, from major airline lounges to contract to lounges. Check out the directory of lounges.

Your Priority Pass Select membership entitles you to complimentary lounge access, though each additional guest costs $27.

Korean-Air-Lounge-LAX-29
Korean Air Lounge Los Angeles Airport, a Priority Pass Lounge

How does the Priority Pass Select membership differ from other Priority Pass membership types?

One thing worth noting is that if you have a Priority Pass Select membership you’re excluded from using United Clubs, even when they belong to the Priority Pass network. You’ll see the following disclaimer for lounges where this is the case:

Note: Members holding a Priority Pass Select membership card and Priority Pass cardholders in the U.S. that receive their membership through a U.S. financial institution will not be allowed access to this Lounge.

Priority-Pass-Exclusion

What happens if I use my Priority Pass Select Card before its expiration date but after I cancel my American Express Card?

Once you cancel your American Express Platinum Card the Priority Pass Select card also stops working. You’ll be denied when you show up at a lounge.

Anyway, hopefully this is helpful, and if anyone has any questions please let me know!

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. @Lucky

    From what I understand there is a difference between the Priority Pass and Priority Pass Select. AFAIK, Priority Pass Select gives access to a fewer number of lounges than the Priority Pass. How do you find the lounges that will accept the Select as well as the regular Priority Pass? I’ve been turned away from lounges before because they would not accept the Select card.

  2. @ David — For the most part it’s just the United Clubs that are excluded. If you go to the lounge directory online you’ll see the specific disclaimer if the lounge isn’t accessible using a Select membership.

  3. Other than Alaska Boardrooms, what lounges in the US would priority pass select get you into that would otherwise be denied to Amex Platinum cardholders?

  4. @ Chris — There are some lounges from airlines other than AA/DL/US, like the Korean Air Lounge Los Angeles, Air France Lounge Boston, KLM Lounge Houston, Virgin America Loft Los Angeles, etc. Quite a few, actually!

  5. @Lucky

    right, except when i had the MS card they never verified i was actually a MS client. maybe it was done without my knowledge but i doubt it.

  6. I don’t think the answer to the last question is right. You can get access as long as PP card is still valid. However, you will be charged 27 USD by Amex every time you use it.

  7. @ cloudybw — Hmm, have you experienced that firsthand? Since your AmEx Card is closed they don’t have an easy way of charging you, so I’ve heard of the card just being deactivated when you cancel your American Express Card.

  8. Just as a counterpoint, the Canadian version of the Amex Platinum includes the Priority Pass Prestige membership which DOES allow one to use the UA clubs.

  9. Does one have to be flying the carrier whose lounge is part of the program? For example, can one use the Priority Pass card at, say, the Korean lounge at LAX if they’re flying out on British Airways?

  10. I’ll note that the Ritz Carlton Chase Visa Signature card is superior to the AMEX Platinum because it gives you access to pretty much the same lounges (via Lounge Club rather than Priority Pass/Priority Pass Select) and allows an unlimited number of guests to enter with you (rather than charging $27 per guest). In addition, I added my fiancee as an authorized user for free and she ALSO received her own Lounge Club membership allowing her to access lounges by herself (or with an unlimited number of her own guests) for free. I got the card back when it was being offered for no annual fee the first year for Marriott Platinums, and while I don’t think that offer’s still valid, it’s still not a bad deal given the $200 calendar year annual credit that can be used with ANY airline, not to mention the Ritz Club Lounge benefits (three times annually up to 7 nights), Marriott Gold status, and high sign-up bonus. IN short, this card is awesome. The only negative is sometimes it’s hard to apply the Club Lounge upgrade benefits depending on the hotel’s occupancy.

  11. Cancelled AMEX platinum in January and received a letter indicating cancellation. However, Priority Pass provided the $99 version for free for the remainder of the year.

  12. Indeed a great benefit. Especially when I transit through NRT and the ANA Lounges and UA Club are packed, I’ll use Korean Air’s Lounge until the crowd dies down. I also use it in GUM (my base) at the contracted lounge used by Delta and a host of other airlines.

  13. FYI, the link that Lantean has above about the first year free version for Ameriprise clients will work even if you are not a client of theirs. I have that very card and am not a client of Ameriprise. I’ve made money on the card this way.

    200.00 in Alaska Air gift cards in December
    200.00 in Alaska Air gift cards in January
    100.00 in Free Global Entry reimbursement
    500.00 Visited the Alaska Board room at least ten times since I’ve had the card.

    Try it, it DOES work!

  14. FWIW, Canadian Amex Platinum card holders can apply for and receive the CX Marco Polo Gold card, which also gives you OW Sapphire status and thus, access to Admirals Clubs.

    I also believe Amex Platinum Business cards provide the Priority Pass Select (?) that allows myself and a guest into lounges at no charge.

  15. Lucky-

    I have a long layover at LAX flying in from ORD and out to DFW (both in F) on AA. I’m currently a GLD and have the AMEX PLT card. Which lounges could I access at LAX. My layover is a ~3 hours.

    (P.S. Thank you very much for answering all of my questions! :])

  16. @Todd

    The MPC benefit for Canadian Amex is ending this November.
    That amex is a wooping 700 CAD, but does give the full PP membership with free guest.

  17. interesting data point–i tried to use my Lounge Club card that I got through my Ink Bold at the British Airways lounge at IAD. They told me that the card and Priority Pass cannot be used for entry after 4PM. I guess b/c BA wants to protect the lounge for their evening flights.

  18. I think there is an error/misunderstanding above, I believe 3x AU (Authorized Users) for the Plat Biz card is $300, NOT the $175 the personal cards afford.

  19. Lucky
    Email me, i have 2 biz amex plat codes for 100k with 10k spend that expire tomorrow. I wanted to give them to a blogger that was talkin bout amex but no one did all month.

  20. I think there is an error/misunderstanding above for the supplementary cards, I believe 3x AU (Authorized Users) for the Plat Biz card is $300, NOT the $175 the personal cards afford.

  21. @ Davisson – Thanks for that info. What’s more is, knowing that American Amex members got up to a $500 credit because of the loss of Admirals Club, I called Amex Canada asking for similar credit and was told “Marketing is working on something and we hope to have an update soon.” What a crock.

  22. Priority Pass is great when you travel internationally. Practically every international airport has at least 1 participating lounge. If you have the AMEX Hilton Surpass CC, you will also get a Priority Pass card, but it will cost you $27 per visit, while the AMEX Platinum CC is free for the cardholder to visit.

  23. I recently upgraded my PRG card to the Plat (when offered a 50K point incentive).

    After a month or so, I heard about AA / US lounges leaving the program. I called in and let them know that this was one of the reasons I had upgraded to Plat, and they put a $100 credit on my account for purchase of passes to AA lounges.

  24. @Lucky I got a letter from Priority Pass saying it would cost $27 to visit until the expiration date printed on PP card. My friend who used it after cancellation got a snail mail bill for the charge.

  25. Those of you who know me know I could not resist getting plat cards for 3 friends so we could spend Friday afternoons partying at the Centurion Lounge in Vegas, one benefit of living there. A simple refundable ticket–and often just a “we’re returning and don’t have our boarding passes” suffices. I think they are supposed to allow private aircraft passengers in…though the terminal is across the airport and you are not getting through security without a boarding pass..

    The others don’t need the card, but they use it when I am not around and want to eat breakfast or lunch. Gee, we must have run up a bar tab of at least $500 per person this year had payment been required.
    And to think I was going to get rid of this card just last year!
    We can get so liquored up you could put on the travel channel and we would think we had actually flown somewhere.
    The PP lounge is right across the hall from the Centurion lounge. So 2 lounges to use.
    I think the record was at Heathrow where there were 4 lounges we could have has access to eith the Citi Exec Card, flying AA business class, ad the priority card, and I thing another club for Star Alliance before 3/22.
    Why am I bothering to collect miles and why do we need food stamos? Just give everyone a platinum card with a low limit and they become wards of AMEX. Cruel, insensitive, yeah…its Friday, oh, no Thursday, and we are at the lounge drinking. I guess Friday also.

  26. it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to use my Priority Pass Select and AMEX Platinum in order to utilize these lounges. I’ve found that many lounges insist you have a same day boarding pass for their airline in order to get into the lounge and many airports only have a United lounge. Very disappointing and makes me second guess the AMEX Platinum card fee.

  27. @ Jill — For what it’s worth, with a Priority Pass membership it doesn’t matter which airline you fly.

  28. AMERICAN EXPRESS/PRIORITY MEMBERS BE WARNED THAT YOU WILL BE REJECTED BY SOME LISTED AIRPORT LOUNGES AND CLUBS. If you obtained a Priority Pass through AMEX, your use is much more limited than other Priority Pass members. Priority Pass app shows the list of airport lounges. Many of the airports have limited access to major airlines for all Priority Pass members. However, if you unfortunately achieved the Priority Pass through American Express you are much more limited and will be excluded from some clubs. For example, if you go to any United Club with your American Express obtained Priority Pass you will summarily be rejected. American Express does not clearly disclose this in marketing the Platinum Card; ignoring the rejection faced by their cardholders. Amex claiming they are building their own clubs called Centurian Clubs. They are in only three airports in the country (NOT JFK, LAX, O’hare, Logan, etc.). American Express charges each platinum member a hefty annual fee but they give back little of value to members. The limited lounge access is a clear example.

  29. Now that United is dropping out from the program, I really don’t see any benefit to the Priority Pass Select membership though AMEX. Am I missing something?

  30. @ Grounder Greg — Nothing is changing there. A Priority Pass Select membership never came with United Club access anyway.

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