Explained: Non-lounge restrictions for AMEX-issued Priority Pass cards

AMEX-issued Priority Pass memberships are barred from "non-lounge airport experiences", but what exactly are those, and is the restriction absolute?

Back in August 2019, American Express introduced additional restrictions on the Priority Pass memberships issued through its cards. In short, cardholders could no longer redeem so-called “non-lounge airport experiences”.

From 1 August 2019, your Priority Pass benefit will be limited to lounge access only. Non-lounge airport experiences in the form of food and beverage credits at restaurants, cafes and bars will no longer be available

-American Express

These changes apply to American Express cards worldwide, so whether you’re in the USA or Singapore, you’ll feel the impact all the same.

Want to grab a bite at Crystal Jade Go at Changi T4? Not if your Priority Pass comes from AMEX

But just what exactly is a “non-lounge airport experience” anyway? Read in its simplest terms, this could negate much of the value of a Priority Pass membership. After all, Priority Pass is more than just airport lounges. Members can grab a meal at an airport restaurant, take a snooze in a transit hotel, enjoy a spa treatment, or even play video games to pass time. 

Well, put it this way. Because of these restrictions, a Priority Pass issued through American Express won’t be as useful as one issued through, say, Citibank. That said, the restrictions aren’t quite absolute, which is good news for AMEX cardholders. 

Which American Express cards offer Priority Pass?

The are currently three AMEX cards in Singapore which offer a Priority Pass membership.

Card Free Visits
(Per Year)
Principal Supp.
AMEX HighFlyer Card 2 N/A
AMEX Platinum Charge ∞ + 1-2 guests*
amex centurionAMEX Centurion ∞ + 1-2 guests
*Only first supp. cardholder receives a Priority Pass membership

If you have an AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend, your four annual lounge visits are not from Priority Pass; instead, you’ll receive 4x lounge vouchers in your welcome/renewal pack, valid for use at selected Plaza Premium Lounges worldwide. 

Which lounges can AMEX cardholders visit?

AMEX Global Lounge Collection

The easiest way to find out which lounges your AMEX Priority Pass lets you visit is to check the Global Lounge Collection website. Simply type in the name of the airport, and you’ll see a full list of lounges. 

⚠️ Note for AMEX HighFlyer Cardholders

The Global Lounge Collection Website was created with AMEX Platinum Charge & Centurion cardholders in mind. Therefore, not all the lounges displayed will be available to AMEX HighFlyer Cardholders. For example, Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs can only be accessed by AMEX Platinum Charge & Centurion cardholders.

If you’re an AMEX HighFlyer Cardholder, click on the “Access and Guests” tab. You can only visit the lounges which show “Priority Pass” as the mechanism of access. Do note that Plaza Premium Lounges are also under Priority Pass, even if the mechanism of access states physical AMEX Platinum or Centurion card. 

When you compare the list to that on the Priority Pass website, you’ll notice that AMEX-issued Priority Pass memberships cannot be used for:

❌ Not available to AMEX-issued Priority Pass
Category Examples
Restaurants or Bars
  • Asian Street Kitchen (SIN)
  • Caviar House & Prunier (HKG)
  • Crystal Jade La Mian XLB (SIN)
  • Intervals Bar & Lounge (HKG)
  • Ayre Hair (PER)
  • TranSpa (SIN)
  • Gulf Spa (BAH)
Video Game Lounges
  • Gameway Lounge (DFW)
  • Game Space (DXB)

These are some major restrictions, no two ways about it. Not everyone enjoys the pre-packed sandwiches, limp salads and lukewarm buffet food that so many Priority Pass lounges are fond of offering, so having the option of visiting a restaurant and getting a proper made-to-order meal can be an attractive alternative. Likewise, maybe you’re just in the mood for a relaxing massage, or want to play some video games. Those are generally off limits for AMEX-issued Priority Pass cards. 

Non-lounge airport experiences that AMEX cardholders can visit

Why I say “generally” is because the restriction on non-lounge airport experiences is not absolute. There are several places which are clearly not traditional airport lounges, yet are still available to AMEX cardholders. 

For example, you can use your AMEX-issued Priority Pass to visit:

✅ Available to AMEX-issued Priority Pass
Category Examples
Capsule Hotels
  • Bahrain Airport Hotel (BAH)
  • 9h nine hours Narita Airport (NRT)
  • CapsuleTransit (KUL)
Relaxation Pods
  • Sleep n’ Fly Sleep Lounge (DOH, DXB and others)
  • Minute Suites (ATL, CLT, JFK and others)
Coworking Spaces
  • Miracle Co-Working Space (DMK)

From what I can see, all capsule hotels and relaxation pods are fair game, so you can use your AMEX-issued Priority Pass to catch some shut-eye on a long transit. You can also visit coworking spaces where they exist- the Miracle Co-Working Space at DMK is the only one I’m aware of though. 

Grain Store Cafe & Bar

On top of this, even though the vast majority of restaurants are excluded for AMEX-issued Priority Pass cards, there are exceptions like Grain Store Cafe and Bar at London Gatwick Airport (£15 per cardholder). They’re rare, but they do exist!

What if I try to visit an excluded location?

If you visit a Priority Pass location which is excluded by AMEX, your AMEX-issued Priority Pass card simply won’t work.

I think that’s a good thing, in the sense that you don’t need to worry about a scenario where you visit an excluded location and end up getting charged.

It’s also why I keep the Priority Pass cards from my DBS Altitude and StanChart Priority Visa Infinite cards handy. While they don’t have unlimited visits, they’re useful when I want to get a meal or spa treatment instead of visiting a lounge.


AMEX-issued Priority Pass memberships have a general exclusion on “non-lounge airport experiences”, which means you won’t be able to redeem a lounge visit for F&B credit or a spa treatment.

However, this doesn’t mean that all non-lounges are off-limits. You can still visit capsule hotels and relaxation pods, though those who want a restaurant meal will have to rely on Priority Pass memberships from other cards.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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FYI that your https://global.americanexpress.com/lounge-access link doesn’t seem to work. Looks like you need to append the specific card and locale: https://global.americanexpress.com/lounge-access/the-platinum-card?locale=en-SG