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The Centurion Lounge in LaGuarida opened this morning:
Access is free for holders of The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Originally these lounges were designed for free access only for Centurion cardholders, you know them as those black cards that cost a whopping $2,500 per year with a $7,500 initiation fee that used to give elite status on airline like Continental and USAirways but no longer do.
But once the Platinum card started losing airline lounge partners they opened the Centurion lounge up to Platinum cardholders for free as well. You can bring your spouse and kids into the lounge for free. Or you can bring in any 2 other people with you for free. People who have other AMEX cards can pay $50 per person to enter.
I went to take a peak at the LaGuardia Centurion lounge on Sunday though it wasn’t open yet. It’s located in the central terminal before security, so it won’t be useful if you’re flying on Delta or USAirways which fly from different terminals. There was little signage available to find it but I took the elevator near the United check=in counter up to the floor above the departure level and it was right on the left.
It’s located before security so that passengers departing from any of the 4 wings in the central terminal can access it without going through security twice.
The LaGuardia lounge is smaller than the Dallas and Vegas lounges and it doesn’t have as many amenities like showers and massages, but it’s still a nice addition to the airport.
It’s the 3rd Centurion lounge in the US after Dallas and Las Vegas. Miami and San Francisco are due for lounges next as the network expands. There are also Centurion lounges throughout Central and South America though those aren’t as luxurious as the US lounges.
Platinum cardholders also can access a growing Airspace lounge network. They now have locations in Baltimore, Cleveland, JFK (JetBlue terminal), and San Diego. You can also bring your spouse and kids into those lounges for free. Or you can bring in any 2 other people with you for free.
These are modern lounges with free premium coffee, bottled water, and self service soft drinks. Additionally you and every guest also gets a gift card valid towards purchasing premium alcohol, local craft beers, cocktails, and meals.
-Platinum cardholders also get a free Priority Pass membership.
There are over 600 lounges worldwide that accept Priority Pass and you can access all of them for free.
-In Newark you can access the Art & Lounge. That’s the same lounge that El Al provides for their business and first class passengers. It has exclusively kosher food and Israeli art.
-In Tel Aviv you can access the Dan lounge.
See the Priority Pass site for their complete list of lounges. Note that you can’t access United lounges with the Priority Pass membership that you get from the Platinum card.
You don’t get any free guests, but secondary Platinum cardholders can get their own free Priority pass membership.
Platinum cardholders can also access Delta Skyclubs, though they can no longer bring in free guests there. However you can add 3 additional users onto a personal Platinum card for $175 ($58.33 per additional cardholder per year). Secondary users do get full lounge access so they will have access to Delta and Priority Pass lounges for themselves and they will be able to guest others into Airspace and Centurion lounges.
The Platinum card has a hefty $450 annual fee. Besides for the lounge access there are other benefits that take away from that sting.
-$200 per calendar year airline fee credit.
Every calendar year you can get a $200 airline fee refunds. That means in your first cardmembership year you can get a $400 refund thanks to a $200 credit in 2014 and a $200 credit in 2015.
-TSA Pre Check or Global Entry Fee Refund
TSA Pre-Check makes flying pleasant again. Shorter lines, no need to remove your shoes, belt, jacket, or hat. You can keep your laptop and freedom baggie with liquids in your carry-on. And you go through a good old fashioned metal detector instead of assuming the position in a nude-o-scope.
It costs $85 for 5 years but you’ll get an $85 statement credit when you pay with a Platinum card. Additional cardholders get it free as well.
Or you can get Global Entry which includes TSA Pre-Check for free. Normally Global Entry costs $100 and it also lets you bypass the customs line when returning from abroad. If you charge it on your Platinum card the fee will be refunded.
Additional cardholders qualify for a Global Entry fee refund as well.
-Starwood Gold Elite Status:
Platinum cardholders get Gold elite status for free. That gets you free Wi-Fi or you can get a 250 point rebate every time you stay at a Starwood hotel-even if you are on an award stay!
It also gets you free upgrades and 4pm late checkout.
-Lost Item Protection:
If you buy something on your Platinum card up to $10,000 and lose it within 90 days of purchase it will be fully covered. No other card I’m aware of offers lost item protection. Many cards offer stolen item protection, but that requires a police report to be filed and often it has a cap of just $1,000.
-Car Rental Perks:
A 4 hour late return fee-free grace period at Hertz and fee-waived Gold Plus membership, National Executive guarantee upgrades and faster free award rentals, Avis free weekend certificate with 2 rentals, and more.
The card also comes with free checked baggage insurance and it has no foreign exchange fees. And of course it comes with all of the amazing purchase protections that other American Express cards have as well.
So, is it all worthwhile? It’s not a great card for spending, frankly I value Starpoints earned from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express more than the Membership Rewards points from this card. Even the less expensive American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card earns more Membership Rewards points than the Platinum card thanks to its bonus categories.
But the Platinum card does continue to have very unique benefits. I’ve laid most of them out for you and you’ll just have to decide for yourself if its worth it based on your own situation
Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.