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Emily and I don’t have to buy an airline lounge membership because we have credit cards, like the American Express Platinum and Mercedes-Benz Platinum card that give us airport lounge access.
American Express Platinum Cards
American Express recently increased the sign-up bonus for Personal version of the Platinum card to 40,000 points after spending $3,000 within 3 months. As always, terms and restrictions apply.
American Express also recently increased the sign-up bonus for the business version of the Platinum card to 40,000 points after spending $5,000 within 3 months.
The sign-up bonus for the Mercedes-Benz Platinum card is 50,000 points after spending $3,000 within 3 months.
Other benefits of the Business Platinum card, the Platinum card, and the American Express Mercedes-Benz Platinum card include:
- Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year on a selected airline for incidentals such as baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more
- Access to airport lounges (Delta, Priority Pass, Airspace, and American Express Centurion Lounges)
- NO foreign transaction fees
- TSA PreCheck OR Global Entry statement credit
The $450 annual fee (Platinum personal and business card) and $475 annual fee (Mercedes-Benz Platinum card) are NOT waived. But the $200 yearly airline credit makes the annual fee effectively $250 and $275.
Link: Priority Pass
One of the perks of our American Express Platinum cards is Priority Pass membership. You get free access to Priority Pass lounges with a valid ticket for same day travel AND your Priority Pass card. The Priority Pass card is a separate card, different from your American Express Platinum card.
You can use any Priority Pass lounge location worldwide regardless of which airline or if you’re flying on a cheap ticket. So even if you’re using your Southwest Companion Pass, you can visit a Priority Pass lounge.
Your partner and children under the age of 21, or 2 traveling companions can be your guests in the lounge. But you pay $27 per person for each guest. Usually children under 2 years are free.
There are over 600 Priority Pass lounges, mostly international. So you might not get a lot out of your Priority Pass if you don’t travel internationally or fly through 1 of the 32 US airports that have a Priority Pass lounge. And some of these lounges are in the international terminal, so you may not be able to access them if you’re traveling domestically.
Here are some of the US airports that have a Priority Pass lounge:
- Chicago (ORD)
- Houston (IAH)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Miami (MIA)
- Minneapolis/St. Paul
- New York Area (JFK, EWR, LGA)
- Orange County
- Orlando International (MCO) and Orlando Sanford (SFB)
- San Diego
- San Francisco (SFO)
- San Jose
- Washington, DC (IAD, DCA)
Here is the full list of Priority Pass lounges along with their restrictions.
How to Get Your Free Priority Pass Membership
You have to request your separate free Priority Pass to enter the Priority Pass lounges. To enroll call the number on the back of your American Express card or enroll online after logging into your American Express account.
Log into your Platinum American Express account and enroll in Priority Pass in 1 easy step.
You’ll receive a confirmation online.
And a few weeks later, you’ll receive the card in the mail.
Once you have your card you can enter the Priority Pass lounges.
Who Can’t Register for Priority Pass Online
Adding an additional card holder to the Business Platinum card costs $300 per card!
However, it costs $175 to add up to 3 additional card holders to personal platinum cards. And each additional user can get their own Priority Pass card (and Global Entry reimbursement). So it could be worth adding your family members as additional card holders because you pay $175 whether you add 1 or 3 additional users.
Authorized users on your Platinum cards can also sign-up, but they have to call 800-525-3355 (Mercedes-Benz Platinum and Platinum personal) or 800-492-8468 (Business Platinum card).
Most of the Priority Pass lounges are international, but there are 32 airports in the US that have a Priority Pass lounge.
So if you want to relax before your flight, you can access the lounge with a valid boarding pass and Priority Pass card. But you have to enroll in Priority Pass and get a Priority Pass card BEFORE you enter the lounge!
You can enroll in Priority Pass online or over the phone.
And authorized users on your Platinum cards can get their own Priority Pass membership, but they have to call.