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American Express Platinum cardholders will lose lounge access to American Airlines and US Airways lounges from March 22, 2014.
American Express Platinum Card
Although the American Express Platinum cards come with a ~$450 annual fee, one of the big benefits of the cards was the $200 yearly airline credit for miscellaneous airline fees for your selected airline.
Another big benefit was free access to airline lounges.
Currently your American Express Platinum card gets you free access to the following lounges with a same day boarding pass:
- American Airlines Admirals Club
- Delta Sky Club
- Priority Pass Select
- US Airways Club (access available without a same day boarding pass)
However, from March 22, 2014, American Express Platinum cardholders will not get lounge access to the American Airlines and US Air lounges.
American Express has been sending emails to some customers offering an extra $200 to $500 credit for losing access to the American Airlines lounges. I haven’t got an email as yet, but am hoping to get one!
But they will still get access to the Delta and Priority Club Pass Select lounges. Priority Club Select lounges include some US Air lounges and a few international American Airlines lounges, but that’s not a good substitute for losing American Airlines lounge access.
American Express has opened Centurion Lounges in Las Vegas and Dallas and American Express Platinum members can use those lounges. New Centurion lounges are being built in San Francisco and LaGuardia (New York City) airports.
But American Express won’t be able to build lounges in ALL the airports where they had American Airlines or US Air lounges.
Citi Executive American Airlines Card
This means that from March 2014, the Citi Executive American Airlines card will be the only credit card with American Airlines lounge membership.
You get 60,000 American Airlines miles as the sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months with the Citi American Airlines Executive card.
At 60,000 American Airlines miles, this is currently the largest sign-up bonus of any publicly available airline credit card.
But the card has a $450 annual fee, which is NOT waived for the first year.
American Airlines Lounge Access
The $450 fee gets you American Airlines lounge membership which normally costs up to $500. If you pay for lounge access, this could be valuable to you, but not for the infrequent traveler.
American Airlines lounge membership (either paid or from the Citi American Airlines Executive card) gets you and 2 guests access to the lounge (they don’t have to be traveling with you) and you don’t have to be flying on American Airlines.
However, additional card holders on the Citi American Airlines Executive card do NOT get access to American Airlines lounges. In contrast, additional holders on the American Express Platinum card do get access to lounges.
Other Card Benefits
Besides the American Airlines lounge membership, other benefits of the Citi Executive card are:
- 2 miles for every $1 spent on American Airlines
- Free checked bag
- Priority check-in (where available)
- Priority boarding
- No foreign transaction fees
- Up to 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) per year after spending $40,000 in a calendar year
This is a fairly cheap way to buy American Airlines miles for 0.75 cents per mile ($450 Annual Fee / 60,000 American Airlines miles).
It would usually cost ~$1,804 to buy 60,000 miles (outside of special promotions) directly from American Airlines, which doesn’t seem worth it to me.
So the card could be a fairly cheap way to top-up your account with American Airlines miles.
Based on reader feedback, the Citi Executive card with the $450 annual fee is considered as a different product from the regular Citi American Airlines cards.
You may be able to apply for the Citi Executive card even if you already have a Citi American Airlines credit card. Remember to keep ~10 days between Citi applications, and no more than 2 personal cards within any 65 day period.
Citi Executive card holders also get 10,000 elite qualifying miles for American Airlines elite status after spending $40,000 in a year. So the card could be worth it for the status-chasing Big Spenders, but not for almost everyone else.
American Express Platinum cardholders will lose lounge access to American Airlines and US Air lounges on March 22, 2014.
This makes the American Express Platinum less valuable for folks looking to get access to American Airlines lounges!
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