Maximizing LoungeBuddy passes with the Amex Green

Dec 2, 2019

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Lounge access can make travel much less stressful. Whether you’re traveling during the holiday season and need to escape the madness of the terminal or simply need a place to stay when your flight is delayed, lounge access can make the difference between being flustered and remaining calm.

Many cards provide Priority Pass memberships, but the American Express® Green Card takes a slightly different approach to lounge access. Instead of providing a membership to a network of lounges or a set number of complimentary lounge access passes, the American Express Green Card provides up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year when you use the card to purchase lounge access directly from LoungeBuddy through its website or app.

Lounge access through LoungeBuddy starts as low as $10 per entry, although most lounges cost between $27 and $54. So, let’s consider how to maximize the $100 annual statement credit for LoungeBuddy passes that comes as a benefit of the American Express Green Card. The card has a $150 annual fee (see rates and fees).

The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Use other lounge passes first

If you have complimentary lounge access through other means, use that lounge access when it’s available so you can save your LoungeBuddy statement credits for other trips.

For example, if you have The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express you have access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection which provides Centurion Lounge access, a Priority Pass membership and access to Airspace and Escape lounges, along with Delta SkyClubs on the day you fly. Enrollment required for select benefits.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
If you have Centurion Lounge access, you’ll likely want to visit the Centurion Lounge if there’s one at your airport. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Or, if you have select airline cards you may have access to the airline’s lounges when flying that airline or its partners. Elite status or flying in premium cabins also may afford you lounge access.

In short, it’s worth checking whether you have complimentary lounge options before booking a paid visit through LoungeBuddy.

Related: Best credit cards for airport lounge access in 2019

Research your options

If you want to book a lounge using LoungeBuddy, you can see all of the bookable lounge locations on the LoungeBuddy website. For example, the following image shows all the U.S. airports that had a lounge bookable through LoungeBuddy when this guide published. As you can tell, there are still a lot of airports where you won’t have any lounge options.

You can use the LoungeBuddy website to compare lounge options before booking. For example, the Escape Lounge at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) costs just $4 more than The Club at CVG. So, you’ll want to compare amenities, important information and reviews on the LoungeBuddy website in order to decide which lounge to visit.

Likewise, if you decide on a particular lounge, it can be a good idea to determine whether you can purchase lounge access for less through another method if you’ll easily use your American Express Green Card‘s $100 annual LoungeBuddy statement credit on other lounge visits.

Use LoungeBuddy to pay for extra guests

Amex Platinum and Business Platinum cardholders get complimentary access for themselves and up to two guests to Escape Lounges, but you can use LoungeBuddy to purchase additional guests if you’re traveling in a larger group. Likewise, if a lounge participates in both Priority Pass and LoungeBuddy, you can purchase access for additional travel companions through LoungeBuddy if you aren’t allocated enough guests through your Priority Pass membership.

Related: How to get a family of four or more into an Amex Centurion lounge

Keep track of your usage

You can certainly keep using LoungeBuddy to purchase lounge access once you’ve exhausted the American Express Green Card‘s $100 annual statement credit. But, you may want to keep a note in your phone so you can track your LoungeBuddy usage. This way you’ll know when you book the lounge visit that puts you over the $100 mark for the year, which means you won’t see any more statement credits from your American Express Green Card for additional LoungeBuddy visits the rest of the year.

Splurge on an impressive lounge

The Lufthansa Business Class lounge at JFK could be a fun splurge. (Photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy)

Maximization doesn’t have to be about getting the most lounge visits out of your American Express Green Card‘s $100 LoungeBuddy statement credit. Instead, maximization might mean using the statement credit to visit an impressive lounge that you wouldn’t normally splurge to visit. For example, you can reduce a visit for two to the Lufthansa Business Class lounge in New York JFK to just $18 out of pocket if you use the entire $100 statement credit toward that visit.

Consider international lounges

Many lounges outside the U.S. cost less than domestic lounges. This means you may be able to squeeze more lounge visits out of the American Express Green Card‘s $100 LoungeBuddy statement credit if you are abroad. And, in my experience, many of these lounges include more substantial food and better amenities than comparably priced lounges within the U.S.

For example, there are eight lounges bookable through LoungeBuddy in Singapore (SIN) that range in cost from $28 to $37 per entry, and in Bangkok (BKK) there are 11 lounges that range in cost from $28 to $34 per entry. These prices are only slightly less than you’d normally find in the U.S., though.

A few lounges are accessible for much less: the Mingalar Sky Lounge in Yangon (RGN) is just $10 for a two-hour entry and five lounges in Delhi (DEL) are $19 per entry. The Aviserv Lounge in Mumbai (BOM) offers lounge access for three hours for just $10 or lounge access for seven hours with a shower and sleep pod for $59.

That means there’s potential to really stretch your $100 statement credit if you’re traveling abroad.

Look for non-traditional options

As I was browsing through lounge options at various options, I noticed a few non-traditional options. For example, consider the Regus Business Express Lounge at London (LHR) that costs $16 for a two-hour stay. This lounge would be great if you need to work for a few hours before or after a flight.

Or, consider the Dubai International Hotel that’s inside security at Dubai (DXB) Terminal 3. You can get a six-hour stay in a private hotel room for one or two people for $143 per room through LoungeBuddy. This can be a great way to use your LoungeBuddy credit and get a relatively inexpensive transit or arrival hotel if you have lounge access through other credit cards, elite status or your ticket class of service.

Bottom line

One benefit of the American Express Green Card is an annual $100 LoungeBuddy statement credit, which you could use many different ways. You could visit a $10-per-entry lounge in Yangon 10 times or you use the credit to partially cover one night in a Dubai transit hotel. Maximization looks different for each traveler, but hopefully this guide gave you some ideas for using the Amex Green Card’s LoungeBuddy statement credit in a way that provides maximum value to you.

If you want to learn more about lounge access and the American Express Green Card, check out the following guides:

For rates and fees of the Amex Green Card, click here.

Featured image by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.

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