American Express

Priority Pass extended my membership even though I cancelled my AMEX Platinum card (sort of but not really)

Image via loungebuddy
Image via loungebuddy

So if you have an American Express Platinum card, you know that it comes with a hefty $450 annual fee. When I signed up, I got a huge bonus that ameliorated that – but there are other benefits that help offset it as well. At the time I got a $100 global entry reimbursement, two $200 airline fee reimbursements, and free lounge access to AA, US Air, and Delta lounges. The AMEX Platinum also comes with a free membership to Priority Pass, which allows you to get into a bunch of lounges around the world, most of which are not airline specific.

Well, AMEX has been getting killed on the lounge front – first AA and US decided to no longer allow guests access (as of March 22nd), and then Delta decided to only allow the cardholder in for free (guests will now require a fee). The Priority Pass membership always had a $27 fee for guests as well.

I got super excited when I read this letter from Priority Pass I received in the mail: “(We) would like to offer you a unique opportunity to remain within the program…we would like to offer you our standard membership, at no charge, until the expiry date on your current membership card.”

I practically jumped up and down – how generous! And my card doesn’t expire until October 2015. Alas, it seemed to good to be true and it was just that. With the standard membership, you still need to pay $27 each time you access a lounge. I guess that’s useful for like, a 10 hour layover or something or if I traveled internationally a lot in economy, but I generally wouldn’t pay $27 for lounge access. That’s still cheaper than say buying a day at AA’s Admiral’s Club ($50), but both represent bad value to me.

You can get free ramen at the Priority Pass lounge in Tahiti...but can you eat $27 worth?
You can get free ramen at the Priority Pass lounge in Tahiti…but can you eat $27 worth?

Priority Pass also offered me the chance to be a Standard Plus member ($199) or a Prestige member ($319), both at a discount from regular prices. Standard Plus gets 10 free visits while Prestige gets unlimited visits. Again, neither of these represent a good value for me, but I just thought I’d post this up here, since others might get a similar offer and might find it to be a good deal. Being a Standard Plus member under this deal essentially means you get 10 lounge visits for the price of 7.5, so a good deal if you would be willing to pay $27 per visit.

Anyway, bottom line – if you cancel your AMEX Platinum, keep an eye out in the mail. Doesn’t hurt to think about the Priority Pass membership, even if like me you ultimately don’t pull the trigger.

Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

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