Elevate Your Airport Game: Gain Complimentary & Exclusive Lounge Access
Welcome to Airport Hell
I’ve always loved the idea of going to the airport. It represents the starting point for all the incredible places you’ll see, the delicious dishes you’ll consume, the indelible memories you’ll create and the out of office message that you finally get to turn on. Unfortunately, once you actually step foot in an airport, the sheer joy and anticipation of starting your vacation quickly dissipate. Suddenly your stress levels peak and you’re suffering from a bad case of pedestrian rage.
With your senses heightened, it seems like every single person you encounter is trying to cough directly on you and the shrill music blaring from someone’s iPhone, coupled with the cries of the child throwing a tantrum in line, are the perfect cacophony of hell. Even if you manage to tune everyone out (thank you, Spotify and these awesome noise-cancelling headphones), you still have to spend what seems like eons schlepping your luggage through the airport and clearing security (always fun).
At this point, all you want to do is sit down until it’s time to board. But of course, finding a seat, or even some personal space, seems more elusive than snagging a Birkin.
American Express Priority Pass Lounge Access
That also used to be my airport reality/hell until the Canadian American Express Platinum Charge Card changed my life (yes, I realize how inane that sounds and this is not a sponsored post). Prior to getting free access through the Amex Platinum Card, airport lounges once seemed like such an extravagant luxury.
Although relaxing in comfortable chairs while sipping on a glass of champagne at the airport is luxurious, it can actually be a cost-saver too! Most lounges offer free Wi-Fi, drinks (including alcoholic bevvies), food, magazines, TV, and clean washrooms (given my pseudo-germophobia, clean washrooms are a real highlight for me!) Some even offer sleep pods, virtual golf, conference centers, shower facilities, pool and more (check out Business Insider's picks for the top 9 Priority Pass lounges in the world).
Based on my experience, the average cost of access to a lounge is about $50 per person if you do not have a lounge membership. When you consider how overpriced airport food and drinks are and factor in the cost of wireless roaming (let’s face it, waiting at the airport amounts to a lot of data-hungry Netflix binging), you can see that it may be more cost effective to spend your time in a lounge.
If you love to travel ($50 per person, per visit will add up!) but fly economy and/or are not loyal to any one airline (I tend to book the best fare regardless of the airline), you should really consider signing up for the Amex Platinum Card. With the Amex Platinum Card, you are given complimentary membership to Priority Pass which boasts access to 1000+ VIP lounges in over 100 countries and 300 cities.
With the Priority Pass membership that comes free with your Amex Platinum Card, you and one guest can enjoy free peaceful (or boozy!) stays in airport lounges regardless of your airline or ticket class. Although GC and I have thoroughly enjoyed every Priority Pass lounge visit, I should note that not all lounges are created equal - some are in dire need of a reno. However, in all of our travels, the lounge has always been better than the seats, or lack thereof, by the gates.
How to Get Complimentary Access to Airport Lounges, a Free Flight, AND MORE!
I should warn you that the Amex Platinum Card's annual fee will cause some initial sticker shock, but please keep on reading to see how you are actually making this cost (and more!) back.
Here’s how to score this deal, my Canadian friends:
Sign up for the Canadian Amex Platinum Card. The annual membership fee is C$699.
Amex will give you a C$200 annual travel credit that can be used each year toward any single travel booking of C$200 or more charged to your card.
If you were to purchase the Priority Pass for unlimited lounge access it would cost US$399 annually.
Amex will give you 50,000 points for signing up if you spend C$3k in the first three months but if you use my sign-up link (click here) and spend C$5k (on anything) in the first 3 months, you will get an additional 10,000 points for a total of 60,000.
You must know someone who has the Amex Platinum Card to get the additional 10k sign-up bonus offer. If you use a generic link, you will only collect 50k points.
These points can be converted into other frequent flyer and hotel programs, including 1:1 to Aeroplan and Avios. Tip: American Express typically offers a bonus of ~25% during the year when you transfer your points to certain programs, like British Airways Avios. If you wait for the bonus, your 60k points can effectively become 75k points!
With 60k Aeroplan points, as per Aeroplan’s website, you’ll have enough to travel to many places including Italy, France and Spain.
Even if you don't go the Aeroplan or Avios conversion route (which gives you better value for your points), you can still use Amex points toward certain purchases made on your Platinum Card.
Even if you spend your points in the worst way possible, 60,000 Amex points are worth C$420: 1,000 Amex points = C$7 statement credit; 60,000 Amex points = C$420 statement credit.
Finally, the Platinum Card comes with other awesome complimentary perks, including:
Priority at Pearson Airport – trust me, nothing beats flashing your card to expedite your way through security when you chose to hit your snooze button one too many times;
Platinum Concierge – I have used the concierge to provide ideas for fun and unique nights out and to make restaurant reservations and recommendations when I travel;
3 points for every $1 in card purchases on eligible dining in Canada;
2 points for every $1 in card purchases on eligible travel;
1 point for every $1 in all other card purchases;
Extensive insurance coverage;
Membership to hotel programs - a few week ago we were upgraded for free at El San Juan Hotel Curio Collection by Hilton and received free breakfast at the hotel because of our complimentary Hilton Honors Gold membership from Amex; and
A sleek metal credit card.
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve been enjoying the #loungelife or if you plan on visiting an airport lounge soon! Happy luxe travelling!
I have attempted to summarize some of the benefits of the Platinum Card as of March 2019 but please click here to read the full details, changes/updates and the fine-print.
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