Why Citi Prestige and Amex Platinum Offer You Better Lounge Access Than Chase Sapphire Reserve

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UPDATE: As of 10/6/2016, The Platinum Card® from American Express has added a new way to earn more points – 5X points for flights booked directly with the airlines or with American Express Travel. Look for our new article on this and other benefits of the Platinum Card® from American Express.

With the addition of the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM to the high end travel rewards market, and the discussions about all of its benefits and services to offset the $450 annual fee, we thought that it would be a good time to compare the airport lounge benefits associated with each of the 3 top cards in this upscale travel rewards category. What we found out might surprise you.


Chase Sapphire ReserveSM

Chase Sapphire Reserve credit cardEven with the whopping 100,000 Ultimate Rewards sign-up bonus, and the other bells and whistles that come along with the new Chase Sapphire ReserveSM, Point Savvy believes you could do better with airport lounge access.

The Chase Sapphire ReserveSM offers a Priority Pass Select membership that includes the primary cardholder and traveling companions, with no limits, according to Chase. But, each lounge itself reserves the right to limit the number of companions you bring along with you. So, if it’s a bad weather day in Chicago with lots of delays when you need access the most, chances are that your traveling buddies will not be allowed inside with you. Additionally, you must have your physical Priority Pass membership card with you to access the lounge. If you happen to forget it at home, you may purchase a one-day pass and then call Chase so that they can issue you a statement credit in the amount of the day pass. You can use this benefit up to two times per year. There is a certain hassle-factor associated with this. First, only select Priority Pass lounges offer day passes. Second, you must lob in a call to Chase to get the credit if they do, and third you must use your Chase Sapphire ReserveSM credit card to pay for the pass.

That said, there are over 900 Priority Pass lounges worldwide, and that’s still a lot of lounge access.

priority-pass-lounge-1200-x

Plaza Premium Lounge in Heathrow London Airport

Citi Prestige® Card

citi-prestige-card-wbuttonLike with Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige® offers Priority Pass Select membership as well. Not having your card is not a problem; however, as you have access to a digital membership card with your Citi Card. You are allowed access with up to two traveling companions free of charge, but they can still turn people down based on capacity and individual lounge discretion.

Due to the long-standing partnership between American Airlines and Citi, the Citi Prestige® card gives you complimentary and unlimited access to American Airlines Admirals Clubs® for the primary cardholder and immediate family or up to two traveling guests when traveling on American through July 22, 2017. This gives you an additional 90 lounges to choose from worldwide. All in all, Citi Prestige® offers just a little leg up on Chase Sapphire ReserveSM in the lounge access category, and earns a second place spot in our rankings.

Admirals club lounge

O’Hare Internation Airport American Airlines Admirals Club Lounge offers a room just for families.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Amex Platinum credit cardWith access to all of American Express “Lounge Collection® locations around the globe, the Platinum Card® from American Express earns the coveted spot of top dog on our list. At the premium level you’ll find the “Centurion Lounge Network®” offering travelers anything from gratis fine dining prepared by world renowned chefs, craft cocktails, and shower suites, which makes traveling much more enjoyable. At the second tier, you’ll gain access to International American Express Lounges® abroad, and Delta Sky Club® access when you’re flying Delta. Additionally, like the other two cards, you will have Priority Pass Select membership, but free entry is only available to the cardmember. Additional companions can gain entry, but will be charged for a day pass.

That said, we still think that membership still has its privileges when it comes to the Platinum Card from American Express and the airport lounge perk.

Do you have a story to share with us about an Airport Lounge experience? Point Savvy would love to hear what you have to say. Please feel free to comment below.

Centurion lounge

Access to The Centurion Lounge is complimentary for Global Platinum Card and Centurion Members.

Chase Sapphire ReserveSM

Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card

  • New! Earn 100K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,500 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases such as airfare and hotels charged to your card
  • 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Plus, no foreign transaction fees
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,500 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 900+ airport lounges worldwide with complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre√®
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions – as long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Bonus
100,000 miles

Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%

Ongoing APR
16.24%-23.24% variable

Annual Fee
$450

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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.