Review

The American Express Lounge in Sydney, plus the cards that will get you in

In 2015, American Express opened a branded lounge at Sydney International Terminal 1. I had a chance to visit and check it out, and while I couldn’t take many pictures I did come away with some great impressions of the space.

There are a range of American Express cards on the market that will offer you access to the lounge which is a really solid perk, so for Sydney residents who are premium American Express cardholders (or anyone who has to travel through Sydney International a lot), this is a nice benefit.

I also got the chance to chat with the Product Manager at American Express who was responsible for launching the lounge about how it came about. In this guide there’s a mix of American Express supplied images along with my own photos, and I’ll give you my take on the lounge too.

It’s close to gate 24 which is fairly central in the terminal complex, another few minutes walk beyond the Qantas Business and First lounges.

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American Express Sydney Lounge Entrance

On entry there’s a green wall which helps set the tone for the design of the interior.

American Express Sydney Lounge  - 7

The lounge is split down the centre, with a long bar and high seating.

American Express Sydney Lounge 1

American Express Sydney Lounge  - 6

American Express Sydney Lounge 2

American Express Sydney Lounge  - 5
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Otherwise there’s some low comfortable seating against the far wall.
American Express Sydney Lounge  - 3

Along with outward facing window seats for those who want to soak up the view.
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American Express Sydney Lounge  - 1

In terms of food and drink, there’s a barista service, well stocked bar, and a range of food options throughout the day.

American Express Sydney Lounge Food and Bar

American Express Sydney Lounge  - 2

My take

I found the lounge to be relatively quiet was there, around 1-2pm on a Wednesday with just a handful of guests.

The seating and workspaces were all comfortable and relatively informal, and the views out over the tarmac were definitely more interesting than the Qantas Business Lounge upstairs.

I didn’t get a chance to try any of the food or drink, but it looked appealing enough! Next time I’m passing through I’ll take more notes and update this guide with further thoughts.

Who is the American Express Sydney lounge useful for?

If you’re flying Economy or Premium Economy frequently and value lounge access, using the American Express lounge instead frees you from the likes of paid membership programs like Qantas Club – you can access the American Express lounge with any ticket, on any airline, as long as you are an eligible cardholder.

Even if you travel in Business Class (with accompanying lounge access elsewhere with your ticket) this is likely to be a quieter lounge than the major Business lounges at Sydney International, so could be worth seeking out.

Cards eligible for access

Access to the American Express lounge at Sydney International is limited to those holding one of the higher-end Amex cards in Australia, as well as international holders of the Platinum and Centurion cards.

Eligible for unlimited access:

Eligible for two entries per calendar year:

And some others that aren’t so common:

  • American Express Platinum Reserve Credit Card
  • American Express Corporate Platinum Card
  • American Express Qantas Corporate Platinum Card

The two entries per year can be used by the primary or supplementary cardholders on an account or by bringing a guest.

Additional visits beyond the two included with these cards are also possible at a cost of $55 per adult and $35 per child.

Children otherwise visit free during one of the included visits, which is a great perk – most other lounges / frequent flyer programs include children as one of the guests.

What I learned from chatting to American Express on the background of the lounge

  • The Lounge style, such as the green wall, the marbles, the wood and other surfaces, is consistent with other American Express airport lounges around the world
  • The majority of visitors that use the lounge are Platinum Charge cardholders and anecdotally they use the lounge over others due to its quietness and exclusivity
  • Numbers have shown the lounge is popular week in, week out – with it being slightly busier before lunch with many international business travellers taking flights leaving in the morning

Summing up – the American Express Lounge in Sydney

If you’re a frequent traveller through Sydney International in Economy or Premium Economy across a range of airlines then the lounge access as a Platinum Charge cardholder would be really valuable.

As a Black or equivalent cardholder with bank-issued American Express, then the two visits per year are a nice perk as well, and ideal for family holidays where you’ll be able to get you and the kids in without issue.

The space was calm and quiet, and I would happily spend a few hours here catching up on work, or having a drink and some food before a flight.

American Express Platinum Charge - 100,000 Membership Rewards points

With 100,000 Membership Rewards points bonus available on sign up, the American Express Platinum Charge is a great card for those who want to earn Membership Rewards points on everyday spend with lots of additional benefits. Read the Point Hacks guide for the full rundown.

  • 100,000 Membership Rewards points signup bonus
  • $300 travel credit annually
  • Unlimited access to certain airline lounges - including Virgin Australia Domestic, Delta and American Express lounges globally
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts perks & discounts
  • 3 Membership Rewards points earned per $ spent at restaurants, 2 points earned per $ on travels, and 1 point per $ everywhere else except for utilities and the ATO
  • $1200 p.a. annual fee
  • Offer ends: 31st May 2017
  • Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any other Consumer Charge Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18 month period are ineligible for this offer.
  • Bonus points require $1,500 minimum spend in first 3 months
  • Charge card, not credit card - balance requires payment in full each month but with no pre-set spending limit - more about this

Find out more or apply →

Point Hacks earn a maximum of $330 per applicant for this card. More about this →

Comments Expand Comments

    • Keith Author

      They are different beasts, and I am still yet to spend a significant amount of time in the Amex lounge to really compare, so others would be best placed to judge. In short, Qantas Lounge has more space (but more people), a kids area, a small amount of bar/table service at certain times of day and showers. The Amex Lounge is smaller, (hopefully) less popular, (I think) a smaller selection of food, with a better view.

  1. Rachel Lounds

    There’s no bathrooms in the lounge and yes it is very small but nice for an hour or so to get away from the people and noise in the airport generally. If you are like me and suffer anxiety getting through lines of people then go here for a chill before the plane ride.

  2. Phil

    Hi Keith. Does the new The ANZ Frequent Flyer Black card get you access to this lounge?
    The recent guide only mentions Qantas lounge access.
    Cheers

  3. Sue Manen

    Hi Keith
    How do I go about getting my 2 visits a year to this lounge? Do I need to apply for a guest pass or just show my Anz black Amex card?

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