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Economy Pax Can Pay to Access Select Cathay Pacific Lounges — Yoga Studio Included

March 02, 2019
3 min read
Economy Pax Can Pay to Access Select Cathay Pacific Lounges — Yoga Studio Included
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Cathay Pacific is well known for having some of the nicest airport lounges of any airline. And starting Monday, the airline is opening some of these lounges to qualifying economy passengers for a fee.

As reported by the Australian Business Traveler, Cathay Pacific is starting a paid-entry trial at seven airport lounges from March 4 to June 30. Marco Polo Club (the airline's pay-to-join loyalty program) members who don't otherwise have access to the lounge will be able to pay HK$600 (US$76) or 9,000 Asia Miles per person to enter. At current TPG valuations, those miles are worth $117, so you're going to want to choose the cash option.

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Unfortunately, there's going to be an additional cost to most US-based travelers. Unlike almost every other airline loyalty program, the Marco Polo Club charges a US$100 membership fee to join.

The trial will start at the following airport lounges:

  • The Pier Business Class, Hong Kong
  • Vancouver Cathay Pacific Lounge
  • Paris Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounges
  • Melbourne Cathay Pacific Lounge
  • Manila Cathay Pacific Lounge
  • Penang Cathay Pacific Lounge
  • Kaohsiung Cathay Pacific Lounge

For most of these lounges, you'll be able to pay at the entrance. However, to access The Pier Business Class Lounge in Hong Kong, you'll need to pay the entrance fee at the check-in counter or at the transfer desks in areas E2 or W1.

The Pier Business Class Lounge made the news recently when it opened a brand new yoga and meditation studio. I had the chance to check out this space just days after it opened. While there were some kinks to work out, it's an excellent space to stretch, practice yoga or relax during a layover:

While the yoga studio is a nice draw, it's likely not worth paying the entrance fee if you have a premium credit card. There's an excellent and centrally-located Centurion Lounge open to The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express card members nearby. Just as in the US, I've found that this Centurion Lounge faces crowding issues, but it has some great food and drink options.

Image by Peter Madden for TPG.
Image by Peter Madden for TPG.

Priority Pass members also have the choice of two different Plaza Premium lounges in Hong Kong's Terminal 1 and one landside lounge between Terminal 1 and 2. You can score an unlimited Priority Pass membership through a credit card, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve, Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express or Citi Prestige® Card. You can also get 10 annual Priority Pass lounge visits through the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card or the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. Enrollment required for select benefits.

The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex and Citi Prestige 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.

Featured image by Image courtesy of Cathay Pacific.
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $2,000.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
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  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
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  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
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  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
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  • Terms Apply.
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Apply for The Platinum Card® from American Express
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Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best luxury travel rewards card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 100,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $2,000.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. And if you fly, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees