American Express is known to many as an issuer of payment cards (credit/pre-paid/charge), but most people don’t look at the back-end where it also runs a payment and settlement network just like MasterCard and Visa. Amex has licensed ICICI Bank and IndusInd Bank in India to issue credit cards on the American Express network.
One of the parts of the deal was to offer lounges in Mumbai and Delhi under the Altitude brand name, which would be operated by American Express, but offered to the cardmembers of the ICICI Bank and IndusInd Amex cards. I made several trips to these lounges in Mumbai as well as Delhi, however I always found the lounges empty. They were on the same concept as American Express’ own Lounges and offered a customised menu for members.
Alas, these lounges have now been closed down. From August 15, 2015, the following lounge options are being offered to IndusInd and ICICI Bank cardholders in Mumbai and Delhi:
For sure, this is not a great reflection on how both the card issuers were perhaps not able to scale up their member base, or Amex decided to charge them such a high fee that they could not send customers to the lounge often in the first place.
Anyone seen the shutters down on the Delhi lounge which is right across the American Express Lounge in Delhi Terminal 3?