Are there any distinct advantages to owning a premier credit card in 2018? Collecting points, perhaps, but the cost of owning the card in the first place makes most of the benefits rather moot in our opinion. Discounts from hotels? Easy to find yourself with a quick internet search. Insurance to cover your travel? Well, even our basic current account offers travel insurance.
With this in mind, American Express is attempting to make their Platinum card something special.
If you hold a Platinum or Centurion card, you’ll be aware you have free access to various airside lounges, of which include the premier American Express Centurion lounges, irrespective of your travel class. However the locations are still rather rare, often limited to the domestic terminal and only at airports dotted around the States. Current locations are at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Miami International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Houston’s George Bush International Airport, Hong Kong International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport. A LAX Centurion lounge is opening in 2019.
For those of us who still prefer to travel by rail, particularly across Europe, are there any benefits to owning a Platinum card?
We’ve seen various rail lounges and they really aren’t up to much. Distinctly small, cramped and limited to free coffee, orange juice and perhaps a couple of cakes. However, if you travel by Eurostar, there are small selection of fantastic lounge options at select railway stations. By presenting a ticket on day of travel and your American Express Platinum card you will gain access to the Eurostar Business Premier Lounge at several railway stations which include London St. Pancras, Ebbsfleet, Paris Gare du Nord and Brussels Midi/Zuid.
The recently-opened Paris Business Premier Lounge really does reflect the style you’d find in a First Class lounge at an airport. Located near the gates/tracks for direct access to trains, free wifi, an extensive selection of magazines, the lounge itself is decked in marble, with luxurious seating and a bar you’d expect to find at a top hotel. There’s a limited selection of food options but you always get a different range depending on time of day for instance fresh pastries at breakfast and decent sandwiches for lunch. The premium attraction is the centre bar serving alcohol, which is particularly handy for an end-of-week drink before the journey home.
It’s worth adding that, unlike an airport lounge, the Eurostar Business Premier Lounge is limited to the cardholder. You aren’t able to take any guests (unless they also have a card for free access). Of course, you don’t have to travel Business Premier to gain access to the Premier Lounge. You can travel Standard Premier, show your AMEX card and you’re in.
So, if you hold a Platinum or Centurion AMEX card, do try to drop by the lounges when you’re travelling Eurostar, which just provides another reason to travel by train than by plane.