Lounge Access Options with AMEX Platinum, Priority Pass and United Club Cards–Field Testing

Before our recent Med Cruise, I investigated all our options for lounge access, and picked out an arsenal of cards to carry with us. The cards we brought along for lounge access were my American Express Platinum card, my Star Alliance Club Card, and both Bruce’s and my Priority Pass Cards. Here is our experience using these cards.

Atlanta Airport

The first leg of our trip was Atlanta to Amsterdam.  We were leaving out of the international terminal, but I wanted to check out the new United lounge in the T-gates. When you exit the North Terminal security you are in the T-gates.  We found the new United Club which is around gate T12.  The club is on the second floor with access via elevator or stairs.  We received a friendly greeting and presented my Star Alliance Lounge Card, and our Delta boarding passes.

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The new lounge is rather small and was absolutely packed.  We could not find a seat!  Not only that, but there were no alcoholic beverages on offer.  It seems that the lounge liquor license is still pending, so the lounge is “dry” in the meantime.  Since we wanted to SIT and have a DRINK, we decided to leave and check out options in the international terminal.  We took the Plane Train from the T-gates to the F-gates.

I was eager to check out the new Delta SkyClub in the international terminal where I have access via my American Express Platinum card.  I was pretty sure that Bruce would not be able to get in as a guest, but we tried anyway.  They would not let him enter, so he sat at a table in the food court while I checked out the lounge for research purposes :).

The new SkyClub is very similar to the full-service lounges that you find overseas.  Here’s the view to the left as you enter the club.

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The folks with their backs to the picture are at the bar.  To the left of the picture are the hot food selections.  To the right is the salad and sweets bar.  I had a tasty chicken and cranberry salad, a hot corn popover and a Sweetwater 420 which was on tap.  I was in and out of the club in a hurry because Bruce was waiting outside all by his lonesome, but I did have a quick look around.  The club is huge!  There are stairs which take you up to a second floor viewing area where you can watch Delta’s big jets come and go from their international destinations.

Amsterdam

We had a seven hour layover in Amsterdam on our way to Venice which we used for sightseeing.  Upon return to the airport, we did have time to check out an Aspire lounge.  This was our only option from our boarding gate.  First I tried to gain access with the Platinum card (no go), and then I tried the Star Alliance card. Still no go.  Then I brought out Bruce’s Priority Club card.  This was the ticket!  We entered and had some cappuccinos and small sandwiches while we waited for our Venice flight to board.

I really enjoy having lounge access, especially on long international itineraries.  Earning miles and points is my primary consideration when I apply for cards, but having lounge access is becoming more than a pleasant side benefit.  I will not pay hundreds of dollars a year for the privilege, but I will consider it when making applications.  I just got the United Club card for Bruce (no fee first year on a targeted offer) which gives Star Alliance lounge benefits.  I just canceled mine because the $395 annual fee is due.

Although you must have a same-day boarding pass to access the lounges on the cards that I used,  it does not have to be on the corresponding airline.  For example, we were in the United lounge, but we had Delta boarding passes.

 

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