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Curious Timing: Plaza Premium Leaves Priority Pass — But Sticks With Amex Platinum Cards

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


News broke yesterday that Plaza Premium airport lounges will no longer accept Priority Pass memberships.

But the timing of when this kicks in is rather interesting.

Plaza Premium No Longer a Priority Pass Client?

First, here’s the potentially big deal for some international travelers who hold cards with complimentary Priority Pass Select memberships. (Think the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card (See Rates and Fees), Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card (See Rates and Fees), etc.)

David Flynn’s post at Executive Traveller notes:

Plaza Premium PR & Corporate Communications manager Yuman Lau … confirmed to Executive Traveller … “As a result, it is with regret that we have decided not to renew our contract with Priority Pass and LoungeKey, effective 1 July 2021 except for a small number of lounges which are still under review.”

Ms Lau was unable to provide more details on which lounges might still welcome Priority Pass and LoungeKey cards, or why those lounges could be exceptions to the global cull.

A statement issued by The Collinson Group to media said “certain Plaza Premium lounges will be removed from the Priority Pass Programme as of July 1st 2021.”

(So I guess it’s possible that some Plaza Premium lounges won’t be affected — though I’m not holding my breath.)

While Plaza Premium has only one US lounge (DFW), the company offers a decent slate across the rest of the globe. And what’s particularly nice is they have several “arrivals” lounges. In other words, you pick up your luggage landside — and can go into an arrivals lounge to enjoy a bite to eat and maybe a shower before heading off to your business meeting, hotel, or next leg of a mileage run 😉 . (Read my review of the Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow T4.)

A seating area and meeting room at the Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 4.
Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 4

Amex Platinum Card Members: Not Affected?

But the news isn’t all doom and gloom for members of The Platinum Card from American Express (See Rates and Fees) and The Business Platinum Card from American Express (See Rates and Fees). Yes, those cards come with complimentary Priority Pass Select membership.

But Plaza Premium is still part of “The Global Lounge Collection,” American Express’ lineup of about 1300 airport club lounges.

What does this mean for Platinum Card holders?

Well, your Platinum Card (again, consumer/personal or business) will be your admission ticket — not your Priority Pass card or app.

That’s about it.

Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong (Read Rene’s Review)

So Why is the Timing So Suspect?

There are a ton of rumors that The Platinum Card from American Express (See Rates and Fees) will raise its $550 annual fee to $695.

Lucky over at OMAAT says, “This change is expected to kick in for new cardmembers as of July 2021, and for existing cardmembers as of January 2022.” (Bold mine.)

Kind of convenient timing?

Platinum Card from American Express

I know that July 1 starts a new financial quarter for many businesses (and a new fiscal year for a few, too). So the July 1 date of Plaza Premium ditching Priority Pass and Amex (potentially) raising the Platinum Card’s annual fee could be purely coincidental.

But part of me wonders if Amex will trumpet that Plaza Premium access is still available through Platinum Cards. It’s just one more potential selling point to get more people to jump aboard the Platinum train. And given the recent Centurion Lounge guest changes, it’s becoming clear that Amex is focusing its premium cards on the wealthy, jet-setting international travelers and craving to provide “exclusive” experiences for them.

(And if you want a Platinum Card but are risk-averse, now’s the time to consider getting one at the current annual fee — especially with its current welcome offer — before it could go up in a few months.)

Final Approach

For those who don’t hold The Platinum Card from American Express or The Business Platinum Card from American Express but plan to regularly travel internationally, Plaza Premium ditching Priority Pass could be incredibly disappointing.

But something could be afoot — especially with the potential Amex Platinum annual fee jumping in a few weeks.

What do you think of Plaza Premium leaving Priority Pass?

 

To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards featured above, please visit the following links:

 

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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.

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