American Express credit card w/lounge access?

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tbayav8er
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American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#1 Post by tbayav8er » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:25 am

Hey everyone,

I've recently started an airline job, and have quickly found one of the hardest things to do is eat healthy, and not spend a tonne of money.

Someone told me about an American Express credit card that gives you access to all of the lounges, with buffet style food, good coffee etc.

Anyone use this? It's a pretty expensive credit card, but could be worth it if I'm using it all the time to get food in the lounges.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#2 Post by fish4life » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:11 am

if you want to eat healthy I don't think airport lounges are a solution
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#3 Post by altiplano » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:16 am

It's expensive at $600 or $700 a year. You get a bunch of perks the first year that cover a lot of that, but still...

The food in the lounges isn't that healthy. It's packed with airline employees too...

I don't know where/what you fly but it's difficult to use on most turns, limited time unless you show up early for check in or stay late after you're done for the day.

I signed up, but cancelled shortly after... Healthier & cheaper brown bagging it.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#4 Post by skypirate88 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:26 am

The card is essentially free the first year after the perks. Saying the food is healthy is perhaps a stretch, but it is nice to have a hot meal during a long day. I find it pretty easy to find time, bit that depends on what you fly.

It saves buying stuff from the various airport vendors. I don't know how Altiplano does it, but I can't bring enough food for a 4 day trip.

For me, it was worth getting the card.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#5 Post by Gear Jerker » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:51 am

The American Express Platinum card is most likely the one you're referring to. The solution is strength in numbers. One card is around $700, like you said. However, you can add up to (if I'm not mistaken) 10 supplementary cards, and when I did the math the unit cost per card comes down to around $230. So if you know/trust the guys from your initial class, see if everyone wants to go in on cards. Or, get in touch with other buddies. That being said it requires some vigilance as one person becomes the primary card holder and is responsible for the account. Everyone needs to be clear that it's just for lounge access, and not for use on any transactions.

Get a group of people you trust and it's definitely worth it.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#6 Post by valleyboy » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:10 pm

Don't get confused -- AMEX platinum cards are not credit cards - you can not carry a balance -- so by all means cost share with your buddies -- LMFAOoooooooo -
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#7 Post by co-joe » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:07 pm

valleyboy wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:10 pm
Don't get confused -- AMEX platinum cards are not credit cards - you can not carry a balance -- so by all means cost share with your buddies -- LMFAOoooooooo -
Great till one of your buddies uses it at the peelers to make it rain....
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#8 Post by Spokes » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:28 pm

I often had access to The premier lounge in Vancouver simply by virtue of having an Amex corporate card. Not all premier lounges gave this service though.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#9 Post by PostmasterGeneral » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:39 pm

I did the math on it, and for me it simply didn’t work out to any sort of cost advantage. Basically what it came down to was if you’re not a commuter, it ends up costing you more to use the lounge.

I know it’s popular with the Encore guys because they have those multi hour sits away from base, but really, if you’re smart, it’s pretty easy to eat for relatively little while on the road, and that’s coming from a guy who absolutely refuses to bring any sort of food with me whatsoever.

If I’m in YVR, Hanami has a Crew menu for $12 lunch. Pearson or Montreal, duck outside security and get a chicken salad at St. Hubert or the cafeteria. Calgary’s lounge is way the hell on the Westjet side, so food court Edo is your best bet, etc.

Not to mention the food in the lounge is the same 4 entrees repeated over and over coast to coast, and believe me it ain’t healthy.

Where the lounge card would REALLY shine is when you’re off duty. I could easily spend the $700 annual fee in alcohol probably before the third month was up, I tell you whut!
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#10 Post by tbayav8er » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:53 pm

PostmasterGeneral wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:39 pm
I did the math on it, and for me it simply didn’t work out to any sort of cost advantage. Basically what it came down to was if you’re not a commuter, it ends up costing you more to use the lounge.

I know it’s popular with the Encore guys because they have those multi hour sits away from base, but really, if you’re smart, it’s pretty easy to eat for relatively little while on the road, and that’s coming from a guy who absolutely refuses to bring any sort of food with me whatsoever.

If I’m in YVR, Hanami has a Crew menu for $12 lunch. Pearson or Montreal, duck outside security and get a chicken salad at St. Hubert or the cafeteria. Calgary’s lounge is way the hell on the Westjet side, so food court Edo is your best bet, etc.

Not to mention the food in the lounge is the same 4 entrees repeated over and over coast to coast, and believe me it ain’t healthy.

Where the lounge card would REALLY shine is when you’re off duty. I could easily spend the $700 annual fee in alcohol probably before the third month was up, I tell you whut!

Thanks for the info! Can I ask why you refuse to bring any food with you on the road? Just too much extra stuff to lug around?
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#11 Post by PostmasterGeneral » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:46 pm

Exactly. Not to mention that after even 2 days, how much of that lunch meat or leftover spaghetti is still actually fresh? Having ice packs on top of a half empty Tupperware of noodles and fish certainly isn’t my idea of eating healthy fresh food.

Sure, leave it in the fridge in the crewroom, but even then it’s four days old by the end of it.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#12 Post by altiplano » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:11 pm

I mean there are grocery stores and healthy places to stock up on lunch supplies in every city... I don't know where you guys fly and lay over but you don't have to carry cold cuts around for four days... worst case you pick up something from airport here and there... lots of good options in most cities.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#13 Post by montado » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:33 pm

Lounge card sounds like a great idea, but consider the months you are on vacation, bid single days pairings, or maybe you are off the line working with the union or in training.

So depending on all those factors, I never felt it gave much value at least for the way my schedule works out. The Calgary lounge domestic side is awful. I always was curious what’s amex pays the lounge when you check in. Considering crew are not drinking I bet the lounges love it..you pretty much go in and clean up the stale plastic wrap Sammy’s left to over from the day before.

Even I feel you work it out and figure you could save a couple hundo a year with the card... would you not rather have the choice where and what you eat...rather than always feel you better use your card because you already paid!

And lastly that advice to share an account to subsidize the cards... I have done some crazy financial things...like buy bitcoin... but this feels more risky than that game so no thanks!
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#14 Post by PostmasterGeneral » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:38 am

altiplano wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:11 pm
I mean there are grocery stores and healthy places to stock up on lunch supplies in every city... I don't know where you guys fly and lay over but you don't have to carry cold cuts around for four days... worst case you pick up something from airport here and there... lots of good options in most cities.
It’s almost a matter of principle to me at that point. We are “aviation professionals”, why can’t we afford to buy ourselves lunch? We get paid per diems that more than cover what you need to spend on food in a day (at least at my airline) so why not use them for which they’re intended?

I eat pretty healthy and I do have some unique dietary requirements depending on where I’m at in my fitness regime, and I’ve never had an issue eating right when on the road.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#15 Post by tbayav8er » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:37 am

Thanks for all the input, everyone! I don't think I will get this card. I'll just get some bananas, apples, peanuts and granola bars to put in my flight bag. That should be good for some snack food while flying, and I can just buy some subway or whatever at the airport.

One thing I found really awesome on my first pairing was skipthedishes.com. Found a good, reasonably priced restaurant, and had skip the dishes deliver the meal directly to my hotel room.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#16 Post by xchox » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:31 pm

Lounge Access is a slightly over rated. Nice. But not what some people make it out to be. That being said, some of the other perks are pretty amazing. $700 is a steal if you use the benefits as often as I do.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#17 Post by valleyboy » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:27 pm

Jeezusss you guys -- what are per diems for or are you working for a non union shop -- one thing never changes -- we pilots are a cheap bunch and if you can't afford to feed yourself you are working for the wrong company. After haunting various J class lounges the food sucked and the only thing good was the free booze and the nuts --
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#18 Post by Kaykay » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:29 pm

Sounds to me like we have a few picky eaters in this thread :P

I got myself the platinum card and for commuting as everyone said, it's nice to have. I seem to have enough 1hr+ sits that it works for me and I kept a log the first year i had the card and it worked out to be cheaper in the end. Although honestly now, the novelty has worn off a bit and I only really use it for commutes and for vacations.

If you want to eat "healthy" with a lounge pass, just have the salads, and smaller stuff rather than the hot dishes coated in five kinds of sauce. If you think Edo is the bastion of hope for healthy eating...I'd suggest you look up their nutrition info as it's really not much better for you (the published values do not include all the sauce everyone loves to smother the food with either). Subway maaaaaybe? Depending what you order honestly.

I more or less agree with altiplano. If health is your concern, make good food at home and bring it with you. Veggies and fruits take a lot more time to go bad than meat does and most cold cuts are pretty bad for you anyway so personally I just load a lunch cooler with cut up veggies and fruit and use a couple ice packs and make sure I have a fridge everywhere I go and re-freeze the ice packs each night. Four day old celery or strawberries taste a whole lot better than four day old pizza.

But it's definitely correct to say that it depends what you do and where you work when thinking about whether a card is worth it. Just my opinion though.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#19 Post by flyinhigh » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:40 am

tbayav8er wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:37 am
Thanks for all the input, everyone! I don't think I will get this card. I'll just get some bananas, apples, peanuts and granola bars to put in my flight bag. That should be good for some snack food while flying, and I can just buy some subway or whatever at the airport.

One thing I found really awesome on my first pairing was skipthedishes.com. Found a good, reasonably priced restaurant, and had skip the dishes deliver the meal directly to my hotel room.
By your handle I will ask if you are a commuter? from YQT (Damn it, another one :)) If you are a commuter, the card is certainly worth it as you may spend hours in the airport before or after a pairing. The lounge gives you access to relax away from the hustle and bustle and get a decent cup of coffee. For me, that alone makes it worth it.

If you're not a commuter, don't bother. The food is always the same, and is far from healthy. That said, although I do have access, I don't exclusively eat in them any way. I am always up for a good something or other.

If you feel you do want access, you can always look at the Priority Pass. It's $399 US and still gives you access.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#20 Post by HansDietrich » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:06 am

I personally am a huge fan of the AMEX Platinum card. If you think of it this way, it's $700 a year for the fee. If you're at the airport 15 days a month and are able to have one meal in the lounge, say lunch or dinner, that's $700 / 12 (months) = $58.33 per month and further divide that by 15 (days) you'll get about $3.90 a day for meals. With that money you can't even buy a Venti coffee from Starbucks. I think it well worth it. You can make healthy choices dude. The food is healthier or just as healthy than anything the Airport shops / restaurants offer.

Also, don't forget you can share the card (if you want). When you're not working / in uniform you can enjoy a beer or rum and coke. I think it's worth it. Sure you can pack your lunch from home, but that's not that easy, considering that you may be gone from home from 3 - 8 days at a time, depending on whether or not you're a commuter.

So, to sum it up, I'd get it.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#21 Post by altiplano » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:08 am

Maybe worth mentioning as an alternative...

Priority Pass membership is included with Wealthsimple Black ($100K managed). That's only $360/yr (0.4% on 90K) and you get your portfolio managed.

You need to have $100K to invest though... if you're looking for a free lunch that might not be where you're at yet. But you never know.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#22 Post by av8ts » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:17 am

I’m a commuter and the Amex card is definitely worth it. $700 however you get a $200 travel credit so it’s really $500. Divide that by 12 months and you don’t need to eat very many meals in the lounge to make it worth it. Plus the card has the usual travel/rental car insurance. And you get a free Priority Pass card that I’ve used in many countries while on vacation.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#23 Post by skypirate88 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:43 am

To add, you also get 50000 welcome points if you spend 3k in the first 3 months. That is worth about 450 bucks. I used the points for a bunch of Home Depot gift cards.
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#24 Post by complexintentions » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:58 pm

How do the brown-baggers get away with bringing fruit, vegetables, or meats across borders? Do they just hope the cute little beagles don't catch them or do they just fly within Canada?

It'll be a cold day in hell before I give $700 to a credit card company. They've given me thousands of dollars in cash back over the years. I much prefer that arrangement. :mrgreen:
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Re: American Express credit card w/lounge access?

#25 Post by atphat » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:12 pm

complexintentions wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:58 pm
How do the brown-baggers get away with bringing fruit, vegetables, or meats across borders? Do they just hope the cute little beagles don't catch them or do they just fly within Canada?

It'll be a cold day in hell before I give $700 to a credit card company. They've given me thousands of dollars in cash back over the years. I much prefer that arrangement. :mrgreen:
The list of food you cannot bring across the US border is actually quite small. Never had an issue. I love the lounge. But I'm bougie like that. Wait...on second thought the lounge is terrible, and a total waste of money. Steer clear! Way too many epaulettes in there already. Georgian...i'm looking at you
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