You Are Never Too Old to Go Club Hopping

Pop into the high-tier frequent-flyer lounges at the world’s major airports, says this coach to advisors of HNW clients.

By Bryce Sanders
Bryce Sanders
Bryce Sanders

Do you think your pub-crawling days are behind you? Think again. Now that are you are polished and successful, your days of drinking beer from mugs on sticky counters are behind you. We are now talking about champagne and single malt scotch. The process of going from one club to another remains the same. Read on.

Let’s assume you or your clients fly overseas on vacation. You leave or connect through major U.S. airports, and find yourself in London Heathrow or other similar airports. You consider yourself a citizen of the world.

Now let’s assume, (like me) you take the “arrive three hours early” advice seriously.  Don’t consider it wasted time seating in the boarding area; it’s time for club hopping!

Since you are a frequent flyer, you have earned status with your favorite airline.  Most airlines belong to an alliance. OneWorld is familiar to American Airlines AAdvantage members.  United Airlines belongs to StarAlliance and Delta is part of SkyTeam. We will use OneWorld as our example.

American Airlines higher tier status levels like Platinum are also on the Sapphire tier within OneWorld. Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum are on the higher Emerald Tier. When traveling internationally, these tiers get you into OneWorld partner airlines lounges at the business class and first class lounge levels respectively.

Enough background.  Here’s how you start your club hopping adventure.  We will use London Heathrow as our example.  American Airlines flights depart from Terminal 3.

  • After checking in and clearing security, you enjoy the American Airlines Admiral’s Club (or Flagship Lounge).
  • The British Airways lounges are a few steps away. That’s another good stop.  Things change, but I recall they have Johnnie Walker Blue Label scotch at the unattended bar, where you pour your own drinks.
  • Now it’s time to go a few steps further and visit the Qantas Lounge. You aren’t flying to Australia, but your OneWorld Sapphire or Emerald status gets you in here too.
  • Some Asian food would hot the spot. Fortunately, the Cathay Pacific Lounge is in the same area.

 Enter American Express

We also have the American Express Platinum card.  This provides access to their network of Centurion Lounges.  This is handy because your U.S. departure airport might have a club for your airline, but not several other overseas carriers within your network. These clubs are quite luxurious.

American Express Platinum also comes with another benefit: Priority Pass membership. This is a network of other affiliated airline clubs.  This can be handy if you are in a European city and don’t have status on that country’s major airline. There should be at least one club available to you.

Here’s a great tip: If you take the Eurostar (Channel tunnel train) between London and Paris, you will be pleased to know your American Express Platinum card gets you into their lounges!

These airport club lounges often have linen tablecloth service in addition to buffets. It varies by airline and city. Rules can change.

Here’s an urban legend. It’s been said that in Germany, a well-dressed couple with first class tickets checked into Lufthansa on a New Year’s Eve. They went through security, visited the Lufthansa Lounge and had a sumptuous dinner. Then they left the lounge, turned in their first class tickets for a full refund and drove home!  Who knows if it’s true?  Regardless, it makes a great story.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc.  He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry.  His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.




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