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Amex Platinum Continental lounge access ends 9/30/11 — game plan for access

by on Wed September 15, 2010 • 4 Comments

Continental Airlines Presidents Club access will end at the end of September, 2011 for cardholders of  The Platinum Card from American Express. They’ll also lose the ability to transfer Membership Rewards points into Continental miles come next September. To make up for it, American Express is offering a $200 annual credit toward airline change, baggage, lounge, and other fees.

Here’s our recommendation on a game plan if you value lounge access:

1. Amex Platinum holder, frequent Continental or United flyer

If 80% of your travel is with Continental anyway, your best bet is to keep your Amex Plat until September of 2011, then switch to the Chase Continental Presidential Plus credit card  that offers lounge access to all Continental/United clubs for an annual fee of about $375 ($75 less than Amex Platinum). Chase handles United credit cards, so the Presidential Plus lounge benefit will remain after the Continental/United merger, though the card name may change.

Amex will prorate your annual fee when you cancel so you won’t be double paying. Chase branded cards will be the only way you can earn Continental or United miles — Amex will no longer have mileage transfer into Continental OnePass next October.

2. Not yet an Amex Platinum holder or member of airline club

If you’re only using Continental a few times a year, and primarily earn miles with another carrier like Delta, you may want to stick with the American Express Platinum. It still gives you access to American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and US Airways lounges (basically every major carrier except the new United/Continental). You will also get a $200 annual credit toward airline fees. That includes any lounge visit fees, meals purchased on board, change or luggage fees. Effectively it turns your $450 annual fee into just $250. However we only recommend the card if you value lounge access.

3. Amex Platinum holder, infrequent Continental flyer

In your case, you’re coming out well in this deal. If you don’t use Continental lounges often you’ll still get the $200 annual credit toward airline fees and enjoy the usual benefits of the card, sans Continental mileage transfer.

Click here for our full review of The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Wild Card: Ameriprise World MasterCard

The Ameriprise World Elite MasterCard carries a $150 annual fee and has ‘Priority Club’ membership included. Priority Club gets you into 600 airline lounges worldwide free of charge. It includes all Continental, most United Red Carpet, all US Airways, and many international lounges. The catch is you have to pay a fee of $27 for each guest you bring in.

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4 thoughts on Amex Platinum Continental lounge access ends 9/30/11 — game plan for access

  1. Ernest

    I think someone didn’t do their homework. American Express Platinum Cardmember can still use Continental Airlines Presidents Club lounge with the Priority Pass in most of the Airport Atlanta/ Dallas/Houston, because most of their lounge are Continental Airlines Presidents Club. Read your Priority Pass Booklet.

    1. MileCards

      @Ernest – We wish that were the case. There are two types of Priority Pass. One is the regular standalone you purchase directly through Priority Pass. That one still has access.

      The other is Priority Pass “Select” which is used for credit card benefits like with the Platinum Amex. It has a gold stripe on the left.

      That one is no longer valid at the Continental or United lounges. There have been signs at the lounges pointing this out recently.

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  3. MichaelM

    Regarding the Wild Card comment… friend who just received an Ameriprise World Elite Master Card also received a SELECT Priority Pass card, so there’s no advantage to that route.


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