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.
On entry there’s a green wall which helps set the tone for the design of the interior.
The lounge is split down the centre, with a long bar and high seating.
In terms of food and drink, there’s a barista service, well stocked bar, and a range of food options throughout the day.
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:
- American Express Platinum and Platinum Business Cards
- American Express Centurion and Business Centurion Cards
Eligible for two entries per calendar year:
- David Jones Platinum American Express
- Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
- American Express Velocity Platinum Card
- American Express Explorer Card
- ANZ Frequent Flyer or ANZ Rewards Black American Express Card
- Westpac Altitude Black & Earth Black American Express Cards
- Commonwealth Bank Diamond Awards American Express Card
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.
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
Point Hacks earn a maximum of $330 per applicant for this card. More about this →