How to get to the airport lounge

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With airports getting busier and more stressful to commute, it’s no wonder publishers are looking for calm amid the chaos and ways to improve their in-flight experiences. The best solution is to seek shelter in the airport terminal. Depending on the lounge, amenities may include full-service cocktail bars, gourmet dining, showers, mini spas, forward-looking relaxation areas, and dedicated work areas (not to mention the simpler luxuries of personal space, power outlets, and free Wi-Fi).

Once upon a time, entrance to the airport lounge was exclusive to those holding business or first class tickets, but times have changed. Nowadays, logging in often entails getting the right credit card or making a purchase. Here are seven different ways you can get to the airport lounge and turn your airport experience into an enjoyable one.

Get a first class credit card with lounge benefits

Many high-fee travel credit cards offer airport lounge access as an essential benefit of being a cardholder. Access to lounges varies by card, but at least, most first class travel credit cards offer a form Entry advantage Select membership that gives unlimited access to more than 1,300 airport lounges in the Priority Pass network globally. Entry is granted on the flight date, regardless of airline or class, with up to two guests free.

These are with Platinum® Card from American Express ($695 for annual fees, see Prices and fees) without much effort Best personal credit card available for airport lounge access—It has plenty to choose from outside of the Priority Pass group (registration required). They also have access to over 40 Amex-branded Centurion and Escape lounges, Delta Sky Club lounges, Plaza Premium lounges, AirSpace lounges, Lufthansa lounges and more. friends Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card ($395 annual fee) Enjoy the Priority Pass network, Plaza Premium lounges, and Capital One’s growing network of branded lounges rich in amenities. Chase Sapphire Reserve® (annual fee of $550) Cardholders will soon have options outside of Priority Pass lounges; Chase’s new lounge concept, Chase Sapphire Lounge by the Club, To be revealed later in 2022.

Other personal credit cards that offer Priority Pass Select membership with unlimited access to lounges include Citi Prestige ($495 annual fee), Hilton Honors Aspire Card (annual fee of $450), and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card ($450 annual fee – see Prices and fees).

For frequent flyers of older airlines such as American, Delta, or United, it can be helpful to have an airline premium credit card with lounge benefits. The United Club℠ Infinite Card (annual fee of $525), for example, comes with a United Club membership while Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® ($450 annual fee) with access to Admirals Club and . lounges Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Annual fee of $550) Provides entry to the Delta Sky Club.

Get a $95 Hilton Surpass Credit Card

It may seem odd that a low-fee hotel-brand credit card would be the smartest and cheapest solution to accessing airport lounges, but that’s just the case. with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card ($0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95, see Prices and fees), you get 10 free lounge visits to over 1,300 Priority Pass lounges for each year enrolled in Priority Pass Select membership. You can use these 10 visits for yourself or your travel companions, all at once or spread out throughout the year.

Obviously, this isn’t unlimited entry for a high-fee card, but for those who travel infrequently or want to relax at the airport, it’s a wise choice. No other personal credit card with this level of fee provides such lounge access.

Purchase a Priority Pass membership

You do not need a credit card to enter the lounges at Entry advantage network. It is possible to purchase a membership outright (although that doesn’t make sense from a financial point of view).

There are three membership tiers—Standard, Standard Plus, and Prestige—all of which have annual membership fees and guest fees.

Priority Pass membership level Annual fee Arrival Guests
Basic $99 $32 per visit $32 each
Standard Plus $299 10 visits free, $32 afterwards $32 each
prestige $429 Unlimited $32 each

If you are considering buying a Priority Pass MembershipIt is more cost effective to obtain a credit card. As seen above, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card It basically offers the same Standard Plus membership but for an introductory annual fee of $0 the first year, then $95 instead of $299. Meanwhile, the cost of Prestige membership is in the ballpark of the annual fee that most premium credit cards charge (while credit card membership allows two guests for free for $32) each.

Purchase an annual membership to a network of legacy airlines

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines have their own lounge networks, which can be accessed with an annual membership.

While the rate can vary based on elite status or being an active cardholder of a co-branded credit card, here are the initial non-elite membership fees:

  • Alaska Airlines Alaska lounge membership: $450
  • Admiral Airlines Club Membership: $650
  • Delta Sky Club Membership: $545
  • United Airlines United Club Membership: $650

Note that while Alaska lounges allow members to enter when traveling by air on the same day on any airline, other legacy airlines require same-day air travel on metallic airlines or partner airlines. It’s also important to note that the annual fee for lounge membership with American, United, and Delta is higher than the annual fee for their respective premium credit cards, which come with lounge membership.

buy day pass

Airport lounge access can be obtained by purchasing a one-day pass for select lounges within the Priority Pass network, Plaza Premium lounges and some airline-branded lounges. A great way to find out which lounges are accessible for the day is to download a file Lounge Body application or visit the website. The app and website have useful information about nearly every lounge around the world and indicate what’s accessible for one-time use and how much it costs (starting at $25). At the time of publication, due to overcrowding and the COVID legacy of lounge closures, far fewer lounges are available for daily tickets than in early 2020.

Type London Heathrow (LHR), for example, into LoungeBuddy, and the page will fill up with details on each of the airport’s 44 lounges, including eight that can be booked for the day through LoungeBuddy (say maybe because three of the eight are temporarily closed) . The five one-day passes include the Lufthansa Business Lounge in Terminal 2A for $74 per person and the Plaza Premium Lounge in Terminal 4 for $39 per person. Before booking, note your departure station and ensure that you can physically access the lounge through the designated security checkpoints in your building.

Although LoungeBuddy is a useful tool, it does not sell day tickets for older airline lounges. Those seeking to access the United Club for one-time use can do so for $59 through the United app. American also sells day tickets to the Admirals Club through its website for $59. Alaska Lounge Day tickets can be purchased directly from the San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York JFK lounges for $60 per person. Delta does not sell one-day passes.

Fly long distances in business or first class

A long-haul international flight boarding pass in Business or First Class can be your ticket to some of the world’s best airport lounges – ones that even credit card holders or Priority Pass members can’t access. For example, the only way to get to the Air France La Première lounge is to get a first class ticket on Air France.

One of our favorite lounges on the planet, Qatar Airways’ stunning Al Murjan Business Lounge at Doha Airport is for passengers traveling in First Class and Business Class on Qatar Airways (Elite, Comfort and Classic) and Oneworld Class passengers in First Class and Business Class Business. However, business (Lite) and Economy Class passengers on Qatar Airways can pre-purchase lounge access (at the time of publication the price fluctuates around $100).

In some cases, a Business Class or First Class ticket no longer guarantees lounge access. This applies to domestic tickets within the US as well as short-haul international flights from the US to the likes of the Caribbean and Central America.

Achieve elite status and travel internationally

Some airlines grant airport lounge access to the best elite members under specific conditions. For example, those with Delta Gold and Platinum Medallion status count as SkyTeam Elite Plus and have access to SkyTeam lounges for international flights, even on economy class tickets. United Airlines Mileage Plus Gold, Platinum and 1K members can access United lounges with an international boarding pass on the same day, regardless of class of travel, as well as Star Alliance partner lounges when Star Alliance member airlines fly outside United State.


Admission to airport lounges, with the promise of indulgence before travel, was previously reserved for first class and business ticket holders only. Nowadays, it is easily accessible for those who hold the appropriate credit card or are willing to pay for entry.

While the above offers are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may change or may no longer be available.

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