Today, American Express announced a new enhancement to the popular Global Lounge Collection benefit. Effective immediately, worldwide members of The Platinum Card receive complimentary access to Escape Lounges at US airports, with the option to bring two additional guests at no cost.
The Escape Lounge
In the ever-expanding landscape of pay-per-use airport lounges—a booming market segment—UK-based Manchester Airport Group (MAG), the operator of Escape Lounges, is a relatively small player, especially in the US where the company operates just three lounges. MAG’s core focus has been the UK, where the company runs three clubs at Manchester airport, as well lounges at London Stansted and Nottingham East Midlands airports.
Despite a small footprint, MAG has struck interesting deals in the US. The Escape Lounge at Oakland International Airport (OAK) is the only club at the Bay Area’s secondary but fastest growing airport, and filled a significant gap when it opened in 2016. British Airways and Norwegian both use the lounge for their premium passengers.
The Escape Lounge at Bradley International Airport (BDL) is one of only two clubs at the Hartford, CT airport. And at the much larger Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), The Escape Lounge provides a cheaper pay-in alternative to Delta’s two Sky Clubs and the United Club. MAG charges $40 online and $45 at the door, while Delta and United both charge $59.
Escape Lounges welcome all travelers, regardless of airline or class of service, for a fee. The stylish lounges offer comfortable seating with space to work and relax, fast Wi-Fi, and a selection of newspapers and magazines. Patrons enjoy a complimentary buffet with breakfast, appetizers, salads, cold plates, sandwiches, and soups. Beer, wines, and liquor are complimentary, while premium wines and spirits are available for purchase.
Going forward, American Express Platinum Card members receive access along with two guests, upon presentation of their boarding pass and American Express Platinum Card. The benefit includes all future Escape Lounge locations in the US.
The Global Lounge Collection
The Global Lounge Collection by American Express is the strongest lounge access program in the credit card industry. Members based in the US receive access to over 1,000 lounges worldwide, including:
- The wildly popular American Express Centurion Lounges at Dallas-Fort Worth, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle-Tacoma, Houston Intercontinental, New York LaGuardia, and Miami airports; as soon, Philadelphia and Hong Kong airports.
- Delta Sky Clubs (when flying with Delta) with locations at all major US airports.
- Airspace Lounges, with locations at San Diego, Cleveland, and New York JFK airports.
- Over 1,000 lounges ranging from independent clubs to first and business class lounges around the globe, through a complimentary Priority Pass membership available to card members upon request. Recently, American Express improved the benefit by bundling access for two guests in addition to the card member.
The Global Lounge Collection benefits vary by country. The Escape Lounge at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) welcomes Priority Pass users, so for US card holders the new benefit is partially redundant. However, today’s announcement marks an improvement for non-US card members, who are not eligible for a Priority Pass membership.
Effective immediately, American Express Platinum card members may use the three Escape airport lounges in the US at no cost, and bring two additional guests. While US card members—who already receive access to three lounges at Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport—may see only limited value in the new benefit, the new partnership between American Express and Escape Lounges underscores the financial institution’s commitment to delivering new travel benefits at a time when competition between premium credit car issuers is at an all-time high.
Access to MAG’s Escape Lounge applies to all current and future US locations; however, it’s unfortunate that it does not extend to Europe where MAG operates a more substantial portfolio of lounges, including three clubs at Manchester airport.
Featured photo: The Escape Lounge – Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), courtesy of MAG USA.