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®, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, etc. Enrollment is required.)
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.)
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 (that, again, must be activated).
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?
That’s about it.
So Why is the Timing So Suspect?
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?
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.)
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?
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