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The fabled airport lounge might seem like a mysterious wonderland locked away behind tinted glass doors. Until you’ve been inside.
When the airport becomes your home away from home, a lounge becomes a coveted refuge away from the stressful cacophony of the terminal. You can access a spread of complimentary food and drinks, WiFi, private workstations and, sometimes, even showers.
Normally, airport lounge access costs about $50 per visit, or you can buy an annual membership for around $450 plus fees. Actual pricing varies by the type of lounge, and not all lounges allow anyone to just walk up and buy a pass for the day. (Delta SkyClubs, for example, did away with this option in 2018.)
Other privileges that come with an airport lounge pass include complimentary magazines and newspapers, free Wi-Fi, and dedicated customer service agents to update you about your flight status or assist with travel disruptions.
For true road-warriors, the annual $450 fee is well worth it. Even if you don’t travel every week, however, some credit cards help lower or even eliminates the cost of accessing airport lounges. Savvy travelers use points to unlock airport lounge access while others sign up for credit cards that include access to specified lounges as as a benefit.
So, which credit cards give you access to airport lounges? We have our seven faves listed here:
7 Best Credit Cards With Lounge Access
Chase Sapphire Reserve
- access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with an annual fee of $550 – But if you’re a frequent traveler, it might be worth every penny.
Through Priority Pass Select, Sapphire Reserve cardholders can get access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. Plus, every four years, cardholders are eligible to be reimbursed for the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee.
Right now, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is offering triple points on travel and dining expenses, plus 1X points on all other eligible purchases. Zero foreign transaction fees make international travel a breeze.
Plus, every year, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get a $300 gift in the form of travel credit or reimbursement for any travel expenses incurred throughout the year.
Learn more, read our Chase Sapphire Reserve Review.
United Club℠ Card
The United Club℠ Card is a premium co-branded airline card for people who love United Airlines and their Star Alliance Partners. Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, it also comes with a $450 fee.
This card grants you access to the United Club Lounge and also unlocks Premier Access for priority boarding and two free checked bags.
This card lets you cash in on 1.5X miles on your purchases, whether travel-related or not, but you only get 2X miles on United purchases.
There are no foreign transaction fees, putting this card on par with the best travel credit cards on the market.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
- 60,000 membership rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
With a higher-than-average annual fee of $550, the Amex Platinum Card needs to step up its travel rewards credit card game to be a favorite among frugal travelers.
That said, it kind of has, though the Chase Sapphire Reserve has stepped in over the years and filled in the gaps that Amex was not filling.
Nowadays, the Platinum Card is still worth carrying if you are a traveler with a few specific preferences.
Mainly, this card is great for Hilton and Marriott lovers plus hotel-goers who want access to perks like free nights and 5X points on booking through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program.
If you are a luxury traveler, this is the card for you.
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
If you want to enjoy luxury travel with a friend, we recommend the Delta Reserve Credit Card.
Right now, the card offers an annual fee of $450, but that will soon change in January 2020.
This card grants you Delta Sky Club access plus the ability to bring along up to two friends with you for $29 each. (This will increase to $39 in January 2020, as well.)
Plus, receive one complimentary companion certificate per year with every renewal. This card’s miles earning is acceptable, at double the miles on Delta purchases and 2X the Skymiles on all other purchases.
The real value in this card is in its annual miles boost, earning cardholders 15,000 miles in bonuses when they spend $30,000 or more in the calendar year.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
- 125,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
Here’s a co-branded Hilton and Amex credit card that comes with no foreign transaction fees and complimentary Priority Pass Select and 10 free airport lounge visits per year.
If you love Hilton, this card brings you an unmatched 12X Hilton Honors bonus points on every Hilton purchase and 6X points on spending at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations.
For all other purchases, users accumulate 3X Hilton Honors points on every dollar. Enjoy Hilton Honors Gold status and, with spending of over $40,000 per year, you’ll be upgraded to Hilton Honors Diamond status.
Citi Prestige® Credit Card
Another Priority Pass Select partner, the Citi Prestige®, is for the avid traveler.
This card delivers $250 in annual travel credits every calendar year, and it also offers some nice rewards on spending.
Right now, this card is offering some of the best, uncapped reward redemptions on spending across the board.
Enjoy 5X ThankYou points on air travel and restaurants, 3X on hotels and cruise lines, and 1X points on all other purchases.
Your points easily transfer to particular airline loyalty programs like TrueBlue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and Singapore Airlines. When you book three hotels through ThankYou.com, cardmembers are offered a fourth-night stay for free.
United℠ Explorer Card
- 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months
Chase is known for having some of the best travel rewards credit cards. The co-branded United Explorer card is not the most popular of Chase’s travel cards, but it’s on our list because of its anniversary gift of two complimentary United Club passes that are deposited into your account every anniversary.
You’ll also get 25% of your United spending back as a statement credit when you purchase food, beverages, and Wi-Fi onboard with your United Explorer card.
As a United Explorer member, the primary cardholder will also receive priority boarding on United flights, as well as one free checked bag.
The rewards are pretty straightforward, at 2X miles per $1 spent on United purchases, restaurants, and hotel stays. Like many of Chase’s travel credit cards, cardholders receive a $100 statement credit every 4 years for the TSA Precheck or Global Entry fee.