Buffet food, intimate seating and a well-stocked bar – the American Express Lounge in Melbourne usually welcomes American Express Card Members before international flights. It sits adjacent to the Plaza Premium Lounge and is actually operated by the same company, with shared bathroom facilities.
In my opinion, the American Express lounge wins on design and work-friendliness but the Plaza Premium Lounge wins on more food options and natural light.
Editor’s note: The American Express Melbourne Lounge is currently closed. This review has been refreshed in 2021 to simplify imagery with our new image galleries and to remind readers of their potential lounge options once broader international travel opens up again. The original text was published in July 2019, with some COVID-19 updates added as required.
The American Express Melbourne Lounge is located in the underground lounge precinct of the International Terminal 2 at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport. That means it is only accessible by passengers departing on international flights. After security and passport control, take the escalator opposite Gate 7 down to the entrance on the lower level.
For those familiar with the airport, this lounge is located opposite the Qantas International Business Lounge.
It can accommodate up to 65 guests at a time, which is now significantly smaller than its Sydney counterpart. That seems like a quite low number, so you may expect this lounge to get crowded as knowledge of its opening becomes more common. In the case of capacity constraints, guests will be directed to the adjacent Plaza Premium Lounge.
Seating & layout
The lounge area is split into two main areas, both of which are very open. There is a main food and drink area with a long communal table running down the middle and tables along the side, with a range of seating heights and options:
I especially love the lounging area with individual work booths and a variety of sofa options for larger groups. The solo seats on the side come with individual lighting and power ports, so it’s a great place to bunker down and get some work done before the trip.
However, this lounge has missed the mark with no natural light or apron views. Unfortunately, this is a problem that is common to all other lounges in this ‘dungeon’ part of the airport. Having said that, Amex have done a great job with the lighting in this space.
Food & drink
The food on offer during our visit on opening day in 2018 was, to be expected, fantastic. However, reports from travellers note that the quality of the food has reduced somewhat since then. When the lounge reopens, it remains to be seen what the lounge offering will be under COVID-19 rules.
One plus is that the alcohol selection includes premium and top-shelf spirits such as Four Pillars Gin, Seppelt wine, Canadian Club 12-Year-Old and Naked Grouse Scotch. There is also an all-day barista coffee service, plus self-serve non-alcoholic drinks.
This facility shares bathrooms with the Plaza Premium Lounge next door – unfortunately, there are no showers. Amex’s Melbourne Lounge also has high-speed WiFi and printing facilities available.
American Express Lounge Melbourne access options
Access to American Express lounges is available to those holding an eligible American Express card. See our full guide to Amex Lounges to find out which cards offer unlimited access and which ones give out 2 passes a year.
If you’re flying Economy or Premium Economy frequently and value lounge access, American Express lounges free you from 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 Card Member.
Even if you travel in Business Class, with accompanying lounge access elsewhere with your ticket, this lounge could be worth seeking out for comparison purposes.
As for guests, children under 18 enter free. For anyone else, you must use one of your complimentary passes. The only exception is for Platinum and Centurion Card Members, who can bring two guests for free.
Summing up: our take
American Express’ investment in a standalone lounge at Tullamarine is great news for those who travel from or through Melbourne Airport. Once it reopens again, we’re sure there will be many travellers itching to use the lounge access perks that come with their shiny Amex cards.
What is great
- Free entry for eligible American Express Card Members
- Modern and stylish aesthetics
- Breakfast highlights of pancake machine and juices
- Lots of power outlets
- Barista coffee
- Fast wifi
What is not great
- Small space
- Lack of natural light
- Lack of quantity and variety of food
- Limited seating options
- No children’s play area
Frequently asked questions
Access to American Express lounges in Australia is available to those holding an eligible American Express card. These include cards such as the American Express Explorer, American Express Velocity Platinum and the Qantas American Express Ultimate. See the full range of cards in this guide.
No, you cannot. Given that this lounge is located airside in the international terminal, you will need to first pass through immigration and customs on arrival. You would then need to be departing on another international flight to access this lounge.
Let us know in the comments below what you think of the new lounge as you pass through for the first time!