Review

American Express Lounge Sydney overview

Beautiful features, tasty food and fast wifi, but can get crowded in mornings

I first visited the American Express-branded lounge at Sydney International Terminal 1 when it opened back in 2015. Since then, the Point Hacks team has gotten to visit the lounge a number of times, so we’ve updated this guide with new photos, a wifi speed test and a comparison with the SkyTeam Lounge next door.

There is 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.

Lounge Details

The lounge is open every day from 6am until 11pm.

Both the download and upload speeds using the wifi connection are excellent:

Lounge Location

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.

Located right next to each other and operated by the same company, Plaza Premium, you might want to read our comparison of the two lounges in our review of the SkyTeam Sydney Lounge if you are flying a SkyTeam carrier.

American Express Sydney Lounge  - 8

American Express Sydney Lounge Entrance

At the entrance, there’s a green wall which helps set the tone for the design of the interior.

American Express Sydney Lounge Entrance Wall

Lounge Seating

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

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.
American Express Sydney Lounge  - 4

American Express Sydney Lounge  - 1

There are also window side seats that are inward-facing.
American Express Window side seats

Food & Drink

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 Food Area

American Express Sydney Lounge Hot Food

American Express Sydney Lounge Salad Bar

American Express Sydney Lounge  - 2

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 some major Business lounges at Sydney International, so could be worth seeking out.

Cards eligible for access

Access to American Express lounges is available to those holding an eligible American Express card.

What I learned from chatting to American Express about 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, being slightly busier before lunch with many international business travellers taking flights leaving in the morning

Other American Express lounge reviews

Summing up: the American Express Lounge Sydney

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

The food and drink offerings are about the average you’d expect from an international lounge in Australia.

The big misses this lounge makes are a lack of a family room/kids’ area and shower facilities.

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.

I would happily spend a few hours here catching up on work or having a drink and something to eat before a flight.

American Express Platinum Charge - Up to 80,000 Membership Rewards points

With 80,000 Membership Rewards points bonus available on sign up, the American Express Platinum Charge Card is a great card for those who want to earn Membership Rewards points on everyday spend with lots of new and enhanced additional benefits. Read the Point Hacks guide for the full rundown.

  • 80,000 Membership Rewards points signup bonus
  • $450 travel credit annually
  • 3 Membership Rewards points earned per $1 spent at restaurants, 2 points earned per $1 on travel spend, and 1 point everywhere else except 0.5 points per $1 for utilities and the ATO
  • Unlimited access to over 1,200 lounge across 130 countries - including Virgin Australia Domestic, Delta, Priority Pass and American Express lounges globally
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts perks & discounts
  • Complimentary status & memberships with a number of hotel loyalty programs including Accor Plus Membership valued at $395 per year
  • Complimentary The Australian Financial Review Premium digital subscription
  • Complimentary Travel Insurance cover extended to additional card members (PDS)
  • $1450 p.a. annual fee
  • Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18 month period are ineligible for this offer. Previous and existing bank-issued American Express companion cardholders are eligible for this offer.
  • Minimum spend of $3,000 in the first 3 months is required to receive bonus Membership Rewards points
  • 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 receive a maximum of $300 per applicant for this card. More about this →

American Express Lounge Sydney overview was last modified: March 28th, 2018 by Keith

Comments Expand Comments

  1. Sam

    Hi Keith. I have a CBA Amx Diamond Card. 2 Annual entry. Can I use it at one go..meaning both my wife and I can use without she paying for it?

  2. Chris

    Yeah – it’s small and it’s packed. I used it as a lounge for my 3 hour layover in Sydney and we were fortunate enough to snag the last table. We then spent the next couple of hours watching frustrated travellers doing laps, desperately trying to scavenge a space with many leaving defeated, or agreeing to split up onto the remaining single stools.
    It’s by no means a ‘bad’ lounge, but they need to tweak it. I suspect the entry bar is a little low judging from the number of people flowing in. Also, they could police the usage. A loud family with young kids decided to setup camp in the corner and hog a lot of chairs and the staff seemed uninterested in asking them to give up some room.
    It’s a good lounge if you can get in – just don’t count on getting in.

  3. Mr Mink

    I tried it one morning out of SYD to AKL on my Westpac Black. It was packed, and it is fairly small, as there are a lot of flights ex SYD to China etc in the mornings now. The design seemed quite nice, but too squeezy in space terms. Tried a quick coffee to say I had been there, then glad to exit to the much more spacious QF lounge as Gold anyway. Not sure I will be back, even though now QF Ultimate Amex, unless for another quick coffee on way to gate? But you can do that more comfrotably in QF lounge.

  4. Peter

    Hi there,

    My Family and I recently tried to enter the Amex Lounge Sydney airport and were denied entry as this service was too full. We were told we could enter in 45min once called by the front desk. The whole idea of this service is to provide a comfortable environment to wait for your flight, if you have to wait 45min then this defeats the purpose as you are not at the airport for any longer than necessary.
    We are not regular overseas travellers and not being able to use this service provided is disappointing.

  5. Candice

    I was shocked and dismayed by the service received at this lounge. I recently went to use the Amex lounge with my two young children and elderly parents in tow. I understand that I had to pay for an additional guest pass but was refused entry as the “system was down” so they couldn’t process the payment. When I said that I could pay in cash (the exact amount) they again refused as they couldn’t accept cash, what nonsense and certainly not the service level I expect from AMEX.

    The front desk staff was young and inexperienced and the Manager, when called, was was no better as she concurred that nothing could be done.
    Shocking customer service.

  6. Peter

    Hmmm, felt more like a Westfield’s food court when I was there recently. Overcrowded, noisy, not aligned at all with the AMEX brand 🙁

    • Apart from getting over crowded I think that it’s a pretty good lounge.

      I have just been to Centurion in SFO, Dallas and Vegas and I think Sydney had better food options with SFO second. Bars may be slightly better at Centurion and obviously they are bigger. As the Centurions are technically a domestic lounge they are at that upper range for domestic.

  7. Michael Johnson

    Was just at this lounge yesterday and found it over packed, very warm and basically an embarrassment for AMEX. They need to relocate it and get a bigger space or take their name off of this one….really poor. Stayed less than 5 minutes, the outdoor waiting areas at the gate were more comfortable for sure….mostly empty and this was 3pm on a Friday.

  8. Varun Dewan

    Hi Keith,

    Appreciate if you may help me with below questions:

    1) I am landing at Sydney domestic, can I still use the lounge (I have CBA Diamond and have few hours left to leave airport for my destination)

    2) Can I use the second pass for the next day , again from Sydney Domestic?

    Thanks

    • Keith Author

      Unfortunately the lounge is airside in Sydney International so you’ll need to have an flight departing from the international terminal and appropriate boarding pass to gain access.

  9. John s

    Does anyone know if you can use the Explorer card for lounge access in Hong Kong and Haneda (Tokyo)? Not fussed if there is a contribution required…

  10. Paul

    Does the ANZ Black Amex still grant 2 free passes per year for those with existing cards? I know that ANZ recently removed the AMEX linked card from this product.

    • Keith Author

      I believe the ANZ Amex can be used to access the Sydney as long as it remains active (until 5th August). After that point it’s game over.

  11. Hayley

    I’ve used this lounge once with my CBA Diamond Awards Amex card. It is quite small and was very full when I visited. The staff were very friendly, had a great view over the tarmac- beats sitting in a crowded noisy departure lounge (if you can manage to even get a seat). Would definately visit the Amex Lounge again next time I travel through Sydney international.

  12. Stuart

    Is this lounge in a practical location for flying in from an international flight and out on domestic 3 hours later? I’m not very familiar with Sydney airports!
    Thanks forever the guides!

    • Keith Author

      Sorry for the delayed reply… no, the American Express lounge would be of no use arriving on an international flight into Sydney as it is airside in the Sydney international departures area where you need a valid boarding pass for an international flight to access.

  13. MattJ

    Love the lounge, shame it’s a bit small and when it’s full not pleasing.

    In saying that, more AmEx lounges should be build across Australia! And a centurion one too

  14. Gilbert Leung

    I have been a regular visitor/user of the lounge since it’s opening in 2015. I agree that this is a decent place to relax before boarding but would like to highlight a few shortcomings: 1. Space is quite limited and your experience would vary greatly, depending on how busy it is during your visit. The fact that so many card variants offer admission (twice a year) certainly makes it a busy place most of the time; 2. F&B options are really limited but are generally of decent quality with timely refills; 3. The fact that only one wash room for each gender is available tells a lot about the small-ish venue; 4. Last but not the least, the service quality at the reception deteriorates greatly (and steadily) over time. I felt I was cordially welcome and received a cheerful farewell/thank you on leaving during my visits in 2015. In recent visits, the reception staff were more like gatekeepers whose focus was more on entry record processing. The reception also paid no attention when I left the lounge. It’s like “Hey it’s free, so don’t expect us to thank you for your patronage”

  15. Hi Keith, I read your updates all the time and find them very useful, so thanks. I have used my Amex Platinum Edge card to enter the Amex Lounge at Sydney Airport but I also have a NAB Platinum Amex. Does that card give me entry too?

  16. 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?

  17. 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

  18. 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.

    • 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.

      • Charles

        This Amex Lounge shares shower and bathroom facilities with the SkyTeam lounge downstairs. One can ask at the bar (not the reception) to use the shower, and they’ll sort it out. I did this Feb ’17.

      • Dean Kew

        A comment below says that the holder got entry with the platinum edge card. Do you think that it is possible to get in with the Edge based on availability / friendliness of the request?

      • Keith Author

        I would expect that that is a one-off. On my visits they have looked pretty closely at the card and compared to a print out of card images they have on hand to verify, before then swiping you in for access.

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