5 Things to Know About American Express Lounge Access

Get to know AmEx's lounge benefits, from Centurion Lounges to Delta Sky Clubs, and the cards that provide access.
JT Genter
By JT Genter 
Edited by Kevin Berry

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

American Express offers many credit cards with airport lounge access. But American Express lounge access isn't equal across all AmEx cards. AmEx lounge benefits for some cards include complimentary access to over 1,400 airport lounges around the world while other cards don't even allow you paid access to Centurion Lounges. Terms apply.

Let's review the must-know details of AmEx lounge access — including which American Express cards have lounge access and how to access American Express lounges.

1. Which American Express cards have lounge access?

American Express offers dozens of different types of cards, but most AmEx cards don't include lounge access. So, the first thing to know about American Express lounge access is which cards include lounge access benefits.

Not surprisingly, AmEx's premium travel cards offer the best AmEx lounge access benefits. Both The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express include access to AmEx Centurion Lounges as well as the vast AmEx Global Lounge Collection. Terms apply.

In addition, several airline and hotel co-branded credit cards offer some sort of American Express lounge access. Each card has its own limitations and restrictions, but here's a quick overview:

Terms apply.

The American Express® Green Card offers up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for LoungeBuddy purchases. The upside of this perk is that you can use it for any type of lounge that sells day passes. However, the card doesn't get you access to AmEx's premium lounges. Terms apply.

2. Which American Express cards include Centurion Lounge access?

Centurion Lounges are some of the most highly regarded airport lounges available. Domestic travelers can enjoy more than a dozen Centurion Lounge locations in major airports across the U.S. plus another 11 Centurion Lounges in major airports around the world.

Although each of these lounges displays the American Express logo, only cardmembers of certain AmEx cards get lounge access to these Centurion Lounges.

The six AmEx cards that include complimentary access to the Centurion Lounge are:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express.

  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.

  • The American Express Corporate Platinum Card.

  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.

  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card.

  • The Centurion Card.

Terms apply.

3. Benefits for AmEx lounges include much more than Centurion Lounges

Centurion Lounge access is the marquee lounge benefit of premium AmEx cards. However, Centurion Lounges are just a small subset of the many lounges available to eligible cardmembers through American Express lounge access benefits.

AmEx lounge benefits for Platinum and Centurion cardmembers include access to over 1,400 total lounges through the full AmEx Global Lounge Collection, which includes lounges in the:

  • Centurion Lounge.

  • Delta Sky Club.

  • Airspace.

  • Plaza Premium.

  • Lufthansa.

  • Priority Pass.

  • International American Express Lounges.

4. AmEx lounge access may include Sky Clubs when flying Delta

AmEx and Delta are close partners — especially when it comes to American Express lounge access. Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card cardmembers can access Centurion Lounge locations when flying on a same-day Delta marketed or operated flight in the U.S., Hong Kong or London. Likewise, certain AmEx cardmembers get access to Delta Sky Club lounges.

Complimentary Delta Sky Club access is granted when the following types of cardmembers are traveling on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight:

  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.

  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card.

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express.

  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.

  • Centurion Cards.

Terms apply.

In addition, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card customers can access the Sky Club by paying $50 per person when flying on Delta or a Delta partner. Terms apply.

5. How to access American Express lounge benefits

Just because your American Express card has lounge access doesn't mean you'll necessarily get into the lounge. Each type of lounge in the AmEx Global Lounge Collection has a slightly different policy about when eligible cardmembers can enter.

For example, Centurion Lounge access requires that you're within three hours of the stated departure time on your same-day, confirmed boarding pass. You'll need to show that boarding pass along with your eligible AmEx card and your government-issued identification at the lounge reception to enter. Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card customers must be flying on a same-day Delta-marketed or operated flight to get access. Other eligible AmEx cardmembers simply need to be on any confirmed flight.

Likewise, at some other lounges in the AmEx Global Lounge Collection, you need to show your eligible card, I.D. and boarding pass to access your AmEx lounge benefits.

However, AmEx cardholders have to take the extra step of enrolling their card to access Priority Pass lounges. Once you enroll, you'll need to wait for your Priority Pass Select card to arrive in the mail before you can access Priority Pass lounges. Be sure to enroll your eligible AmEx card well ahead of your next trip.

Final thoughts on AmEx lounge access

If you want to access AmEx lounges when traveling, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the various ways to get in. Different American Express cards offer lounge access, and the entry policy depends on the card you have.

AmEx offers Platinum Card members a dedicated website that makes it easy to find which airport lounges they can access. Other AmEx cardmembers will need to read the benefits of their card closely. If your AmEx card includes Priority Pass membership, don't forget to enroll well ahead of your next trip so that you have time to receive your membership card in the mail.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.