I just overheard one of the staff say “I get tired here walking around, it’s so huge” – in jest of course, but it sums up the fundamental changes that are in store for American Express cardholders using the lounge at Sydney International Airport.

The old lounge was small, it was getting tired and the popularity of it was making it less than desirable. So fast forward to today, and travellers can now access a 600 square meter lounge and enjoy all the trimmings of a first-class service no matter what class you’re booked to fly on.

As a frequent flyer, I’ve had access to many an airline lounge around the world, and perhaps behind the Qantas First Class lounge here in Sydney, this new lounge is right up there with the best of them.

A huge range of different seating options from booth style seating near the kitchen for five or size, to small tables, quiet corners, an extended sit down bench and your usual lounge style chairs and tables in an open space.

Upon entry as is always the case you hand over your AMEX card and boarding pass. Eligible AMEX cards get a certain number of lounge visits per year, this visit used one of my two on my Velocity Platinum Card, if I want to use more than the next one, I can do so for just $55 per visit.

$55 for the luxury of a place to sit, an open bar, a wide open kitchen with a range of foods.

Bar service sits smack bang in between the kitchen and lounge areas, with self service soft drinks and nibbles available.

Of course, there’s a range of snacks, magazines and newspapers, and WiFI that was 70mbps down and 60mbps up at our testing.

The one downside is for Qantas customers and other travellers using the lower gate numbers. This new lounge is located on the far side of the airport terminal, in the gate 50-63 area. A lot further away from your Qantas flight than the previous lounge, but in the same area as the Singapore, Emirates, Air New Zealand lounges and ideal for most of those airlines.

Frankly, I’ve preferred being in here for my Qantas flight than in the Qantas Business Lounge, which while enormous – can get crowded, and probably has just one primary advantage other than location – and that’s the wide range of food and snacks.

Now, I’m off to have a pre-flight shower in one of the three shower suites – because if there’s one travel hack I’ll share with anyone, it’s to get a shower in wherever possible – it makes you feel way better just before your flight and hopefully a bit of a kip on board.

Might grab another plate of the Beef Lasanga too – because I’m off to Japan for two days, and I probably won’t eat a thing there:)