A Very Positive Enhancement For Amex Platinum Members

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American Express hasn’t won a lot of favors with their recent changes to their Platinum benefits. They’ve cracked down on families using the lounges by limiting all cardholders to a maximum of two guests. They announced that the 50% rebate when using pay with points will be cut to 35%. And of course they tried to disguise a fee increase by adding Uber credits, which are annoying to use at best.

But now we’ve finally got something to get excited about.

Those with The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN can now access Escape Lounges within the United States. These lounges are now part of the American Express Global Lounge Collection, and eligible cardmembers can bring two guests in the lounge at no additional cost. These are really nice lounges which I would rank well ahead of the typical domestic lounges of the network carriers. That’s the good news.

Amex-Platinum-Escape-Lounges

The bad news is that there are only three Escape Lounges in the US, including Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Hartford, and Oakland. And the Minneapolis location was already a Priority Pass lounge anyway, which means Amex Platinum members would have already had access via their included Priority Pass Select membership.

So this new agreement really only impacts the lounges in Hartford and Oakland.

My Experience With Escape Lounges

I had the chance to visit the Escape Lounge in Minneapolis last fall and was quite impressed. The lounge was spacious with plenty of seating. In fact, it was nearly empty when I arrived on a Friday afternoon last fall, a stark contrast to the often crowded Amex lounges.

EscapeLoungeMSP2
Escape Lounge Minneapolis

The food options were also really good with a variety of hot and cold dishes to choose from. I would rank it way ahead of your typical Admirals Club or United Club in that regard.

There were sandwiches and soup such that you could really make a meal of it if you wanted to. And also snacks for the lighter appetite, or if you want to grab a bag of chips to take on the plane. (Although that may be frowned upon.)

EscapeLoungeMSP
Escape Lounge Minneapolis

They also had a menu for ordering items a la carte, though again, I thought the buffet options were sufficient.

EscapeLoungeMSP3
Escape Lounge Minneapolis Menu

The only real downside of the Escape Lounge in Minneapolis was that the restrooms were outside the lounge.

I haven’t visited the Escape Lounges in Oakland or Hartford, but believe they are similar.

Bottom line

I’m glad to see that American Express is adding benefits for Platinum cardholders. The streak of bad news was getting kind of depressing.

Access to Escape Lounges in the US won’t be a game changer for most — particularly given that the Minneapolis location was already a Priority Pass lounge — but for those flying in or out of Oakland or Hartford, it will definitely be a nice option.

Are you excited about Escape Lounges being added to the the American Express Platinum Card benefits? 

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Comments

  1. You know what? I’m actually fine with a limit of two guests in the lounges. If it were three guests, that means the lounge would turn into romper room with a bunch of kids going around, because then families of four would be admitted en masse. Many lounges are already way overcrowded as it is. I’d even be happy with a limit of one guest.

  2. “Excited” is not quite the word I would use to describe adding lounges in two medium sized airports, neither of which are hubs. I’m thinking “crumbs” is more what I’m feeling.

  3. I am very happy about the stricter guesting policy. The lounges are crowded and two guests is generous.

    Most elite status programs and allow only one guest and most lounge memberships allow no guests unless a higher annual price.

  4. IM FINE W ONLY 2 GUESTS, SFO WAS GETTING TO BEING A ZOO,NO SEATS, 20 KIDS ORDERING ‘CRAFT’ COCKTAILS W ONE BAR TENDER

  5. I now have access to two lounges in my home airport of BDL.

    Aer Lingus uses the Escape lounge for its BDL-DUB flight. Looks reasonably nice. It is convenient to the Delta, Southwest, JetBlue and Aer Lingus gates. Somewhat less so for AA and UA. Maybe a 10 minute walk from the furthest AA gate.

  6. Serious clickbait, but my mistake for not reading author line first. “Very positive enhancement”… that we get access two lounges. Jeez.

  7. I’d also like to know why the email address that I usually comment with has been banned specifically from commenting on Travis’s articles.

    The worst thing I ever said in a comment on an article of his was that I thought it was rude to take luggage cart to your hotel overnight…

  8. Normally like posts from Travis, but this one, as noted by a couple other comments, was wide of the mark, especially the title.

    After reducing the 50% rebate mere months after introduction, adding two lounges in off-the-beaten-track airports is a “very positive enhancement” much like patting someone on the back is a “very positive enhancement” after kicking him in the nuts.

    This does nothing to stem the tide, IMO.

  9. I agree that this is hardly an enhancement. This literally probably affects only a few hundred people.

    The best enhancement that AMEX has made lately to limit the guests in it’s lounges. It has gotten to the point where the biggest benefit was virtually useless due to overcrowding. Shoot..I think it should be ONE guest!

  10. Yea this was a rather pointless article about two mew lounges added. Also amex limiting guests to two people i am all for. Nothing worse than the brady bunch filling up the lounge when you are trying to relax

  11. Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Hartford, and Oakland? What’s next, a lounge @ Huron Regional Airport?

  12. C: I certainly don’t have the authority to ban anyone. And even if I did, I wouldn’t ban you over a silly comment about luggage carts.

    Perhaps you should visit the hotel sometime — then you’d see that that there is actually a huge luggage cart parking adjacent to the lobby specifically to encourage people to use the carts to get between the terminal and the hotel.

  13. Escape MSP is a pretty decent domestic lounge. I reviewed it a few months ago but I hate that it doesn’t have a restroom. The manager told me they were “working on a solution”.

  14. Oakland had a 14 million passenger count last year and is growing .. including nonstop international service to london gatwick, barcelona, mexico and Copenhagen and Stockholm. Its a primary hub for southwest (they might as well own the airport) on the west coast and gets a substantial amount of business travel. The Escape Lounge in Oakland is on the small side (but then again its a small airport) and I am personally excited about Amex access to this lounge.

  15. The title of this post would be one of those Facebook will no longer publish in its newsfeed since its considered “clickbait”. Add the word “Lounge” to the title so people know what it might be about and maybe not…

  16. Well, I live in Oakland, so this is “very positive” for me at least. Oakland has needed a lounge for a while, and I was bummed when they finally got one that wasn’t affiliated with any existing lounge programs.

  17. Oakland is the business traveler’s hub for SF. Frequent flights up and down the West Coast and few weather delays like SFO. WN is great for flexible business travel too. No change or cancel fees!

  18. Love the trip reports in this blog, but you have to be joking that adding access to lounges in Oakland and Hartford is “very positive”. To be fair, I didn’t even know Hartford had an airport. I get that you need to generate fees from credit card issuers, but this obvious shilling is embarrassing.

  19. @Travis, I’m glad that you haven’t banned me. And I wasn’t trying to relitigate the cart matter, just trying to point out that I’ve never said anything truly horrible on one of your posts.

    But I can comment with my normal email on everybody else’s posts and the comments just don’t show up on your posts. Odd.

  20. Am I the only one missing this? The msp escape lounge is and has been a priority lounge. What’s there to be excited about.

  21. I went to the Minnesota Escape lounge earlier this month: already included in the Priority Lounge program. No idea why this is worth mentioning here.

  22. I have been using the Escape lounge for over a year with the Priority Pass from Chase which allows me to bring my wife and 2 kids with me while Delta would charge me to bring them. Although I have access to the Delta lounges the Escape lounge at MSP has some advantages over the Delta lounge depending on your needs. The Escape lounge is a quiet place if tou want to relax or work/make a call while the Delta lounges can be a zoo with so many people. It also offers bottles of water you can take with you while the Delta lounge only offers water to drink inside the lounge. Food is way better at the Delta lounge but the Escape offers a decent selection if you get that at the right time before they run out of food. The bug advantage of the Escape lounge at MSP is if you are flying out of the E or D concourses since there are no Delta lounges close to those gates. I have used Escape lounges in many countries and they are often very good.

  23. I’m curious why you say the Uber credits are annoying to use. I find it pretty seamless; they show up in my account and get used without me ever thinking about it. My first Uber of the month ends up being $3-$4 instead of almost $20. I find the Uber credit much easier to use than the airline credit. I rarely have fees, with the exception of WiFi on United planes that don’t have GoGo. I ended up having to use the Gift Registry trick. It would be much better for me if they just made that $200 apply to any airline travel transaction.

    In terms of the overall article, I agree with the other posters in that this isn’t a “Very Positive” enhancement for me… more like a very minor enhancement that I’ll likely never need to use.

  24. I haven’t found it difficult to use the Uber credit at all. I don’t consider it a huge enhancement to the benefits of the card but I can’t think of how it could actually be easier to use.

  25. Wow this is huge! TWO TWO TWO lounges added in medium sized airports that most people never get to.

    But seriously, this is worth writing about?

    Especially with this headline? A Very Positive Enhancement For Amex Platinum Members

  26. Misleading headline. Not even news. Been to Minneapolis and yes it was not crowded but very disappointing food. Also, if I want paid food, I might as well go to a restaurant.

  27. As someone mentioned somewhere on another blog yesterday, the situation with the MSP Escape Lounge is now becoming clearer: I went in this morning to that lounge and there’s a posted sign at the desk that the location will no longer accept Priority Pass effective July 14.

    For what it’s worth — today may be an exception — this is the first time I’ve ever been in the MSP Escape when they had virtually no food items out. Just muffins and a yogurt parfait. Bar open, but the receptionist said they weren’t sure when they would start putting out hot food again.

    This lounge is a great alternative for Amex Plat holders to the Delta clubs at MSP when they are packed, or when I’m not flying Delta. Hope they are able to prosper under the new arrangement.

  28. Edit: I had the date wrong in my previous post. Effective “June 14” the MSP Escape lounge will no longer accept PP. Sorry, typing too fast.

  29. If the headline accurately stated ‘Two new Escape lounges added for Amex Plat holders’ then nobody but nobody would have bothered clicking on the link.

    Instead we get suckered in to reading about a paltry two lounges added after being promised ‘A Very Positive Enhancement..’

  30. The Amex Centurion lounges in LAS, DFW and MIA are still always packed despite the new limitation on guests to 2. Personally I wish it was 1 guest.

    If you’re a frequent flier with pretty much any network then the highest published elite tier offers 1 guest.

    I remember really enjoying the Amex Centurion lounges when they first opened and within 3 months they became unusable due to capacity issues, no space and slow internet.

    The Escape lounges will quickly get filled up.

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