Lounge Access When You have the Ritz Carlton Credit Card & Amex Platinum Charge Card
Updated: Jun 12
Due to the complexity of lounge access, I felt that this element of a 2 card strategy of the Chase Ritz Carlton Credit Card & the Amex Platinum deserved its own post.
Above: LGA Centurion Lounge Meal Available
Carry your Ritz Carlton Credit Card, Amex Platinum, & the Priority Passes from each card when traveling.
While it's fine to plan out which cards you'll actually be using, you never know when you'll need to re-route where having each of the 4 cards could be beneficial. While digital Priority Passes can be beneficial, some lounges won't accept them.
Rely on the Loungebuddy App for Access Information & When Selecting Lounges
Primarily rely on the Loungebuddy app for which lounges you should go to, keeping in mind access hours and access restrictions (even what terminal you are traveling from and where you are going can matter with access).
In selecting lounges, start off by looking at star ratings, proximity, time you'll have available, and accessibility. Only once you've considered those 4 elements should you dive into what's actually offered at the lounges. The main thing I look for is "Premium Food (Free)", but you might also see things like "Beer & Wine (Free)", "Spirits & Liquor (Free)", etc. "Wi-Fi (Free" is always nice as well, but only if faster than your phone's hotspot or if you don't have service (i.e. if traveling internationally and your phone doesn't do international calls).
Lounge Ratings on Loungebuddy
General Access Rules
You won't be able to access lounges unless you have same-day flights.
With Priority Pass from Ritz Carlton as well as most other lounges you have access to, generally speaking, you're able to go in within 3 hrs before departure (& often throughout layovers if longer than 3 hrs) with unlimited guests to Priority Pass lounges where you're allowed entry. In some cases, lounges may prohibit Priority Pass users from coming in during certain times (especially when crowded). Often restricted hours are present on the Loungebuddy app, but if you'll be traveling across an airport for a lounge, you may want to call the lounge prior or on your way to ensure that it's currently accessible. You typically won't be able to get into a lounge upon arrival, but there are a number of exceptions, including some lounges even called "Arrivals lounges".
For Delta lounges, your access is limited to if you are flying on Delta also, but while you won't be able to bring anyone in with you for free (fees are $50/person after you), you will have access to lounges both prior to departure & upon arrival at your destination.
Best Lounges Upon Arrival
Delta Skyclubs when you fly Delta are going to be a solid go-to lounge option upon arrival at your final destination for your day of travel, but unless traveling with someone else with access, others won't be able to get in without paying $50/person.
Some lounges that are part of networks are less strict than others about checking for same-day departing boarding passes. It's worth it to check lounge policies individually to make sure that they require boarding passes for outgoing flights. For instance, I've read that you don't need to present your boarding pass for access to Minute Suites, a Priority Pass lounge.
It's highly unlikely that you'll be able to enter a Centurion lounge upon arrival due to their policies regarding checking your boarding pass information for your departing flight info.
Best Lounges for Groups
When looking to go with a group, and the group doesn't have their own access privileges for lounges, & you don't want to go into the lounge solo, you'll generally be best off avoiding the following lounges which only allow access for 1 person in your case:
Most lounges other than Skyclubs & Centurion lounges will have access for you and either 2 people or unlimited people, and the best lounges for large groups are typically going to be Priority Pass lounges for unlimited access as long as the lounge itself (especially restaurants) doesn't impose its own rule.
Types of Lounges:
Traditional (Meals, Rest, Wifi, Comfort, Drinks, & More)
Most lounges are traditional lounges, which range in amenities from bare bones with chips, water & wifi to free full meals of excellent quality with spa services, sleeping quarters, showering options, private rooms, & more. In some cases, you'll find grab-and-go food options, i.e. Sapphire lounges.
Gameway (Playing Video Games)
Gameway - these lounges provide 1 hr of gaming, high speed internet, luggage storage, and limited snacks/drinks that are rationed out (i.e. 1 alcoholic drink OR 1 snack & 1 non-alcoholic drink)
They're available in:
1 in Charlotte (CLT)
2 in Dallas (DFW)
1 in Houston (HOU)
2 in Los Angeles (LAX)
Minute Suites (Rest in Privacy & Quiet)
These provide locations for privacy & resting for 1 hr if 1 Priority Pass Holder, & an additional hour for another Priority Pass holder (presumably for up to 4 Priority Pass holders in the same suite). Up to 3 guests accompanying the cardholder can go in the same minute suite at no charge. Keep in mind that food & drinks available in these are for an additional cost. Here's a 2018 guide on Minute Suites via Priority Pass.
In the US, these include:
2 in Atlanta (ATL)
1 in Baltimore (BWI)
2 in Charlotte (CLT)
2 in Dallas (DFW)
1 in Detroit (DTW)
1 in Houston (IAH)
1 in Nashville (BNA)
1 in New York (JFK)
1 in New York (LGA) (express)
1 in Philadelphia (PHL)
Restaurants (Traditional Restaurants with a $27-$30/person credit)
The Chase Ritz Carlton card comes with lounge privileges at around 75 restaurantsand some non-traditional forms of "lounges". Chef Geoff's in Dulles airport near DC is an example. Restaurants are able to restrict the number of guests in these cases. The Priority Pass will give you a credit (i.e. $28) for you and additionally the same amount for those that are with you as long as the restaurant doesn't restrict the benefit to a lower amount of people that are in your total party. Also, keep in mind that you should l still tip in $ or with a credit card. More than 1 person is able to use Priority Pass at restaurants often, even if you just have 2 people with you. If you're with someone else with a Priority Pass, & your bill is likely to exceed the allowance you have, it's best for both Priority Passes to be used.
Some lounges provide a different amount than $27-$30, especially internationally & especially in locations where the dollar goes far. For instance, in Cambodia, Dim Sum Emperors provides unlimited food and beverage for a 24-hour period (the lounge is open from 6 AM-midnight).
Spas (Free treatment)
There are a number of lounges that offer various spa services. In some cases, the spa element is part of a typical lounge's amenities, especially with more premium highly rated lounges. For instance, Dallas (DFW) Centurion lounge & New York (JFK) Centurion lounge hav a complimentary spa where guests can choose from a 15 minute massage or manicure. Turkish Airlines Lounge at Bangkok (BKK) offers a complimentary 15-minute massage in the afternoon & evening. Ahlan Lounge B at Dubai (DXB) & SATS Premier Lounge at Singapore (SIN) both have massage chairs. Sala VIP International at Quito (UIO) has massage rooms.
In some cases, the lounge's primary role is as a spa, such as in the US:
1 in Atlanta (ATL)
2 in Dallas (DFW)
2 in Detroit (DTW)
1 in Los Angeles (LAX)
1 in New York (JFK)
1 in New York (LGA)
1 in Philadelphia (PHL)
2 in San Diego (SAN)
For instance, in Be Relax Spa in Atlanta, "Cardholders can use their lounge visit entitlement to take advantage of one of the following options: Be Back 15-minute Massage plus O2 (a US$38 value); Be Back 30-minute Massage (a US$38 value); Polish Change plus Hand Massage (a US$38 value); Be Feet on lounger 10-minute plus O2 (a US$44 value). Each treatment represents a single lounge visit within the Cardholders existing lounge visit allocation for which the Cardholder will, where applicable, be charged. For example, if a Cardholder registers 1 Guest they will be charged as 1 Cardholder visit + 1 Guest visit on their account."