There’s an old credit card slogan that says, “membership has its privileges,” and nowhere is that more apparent than in the case of airport lounges. The lounges’ plush spaces and perks like complimentary food and beverages make them desirable places to wait for your flight, especially when compared to the hard chairs, noise, and limited charging stations most airport gates offer.
However, to enter these coveted lounges, you typically need to be flying first class or an elite member of the airline’s frequent flyer program. But there is another way you can gain access: Some travel credit cards come with access to airport lounges as a perk, allowing you to use them anytime you travel just by showing your card.
Here are the best travel credit cards for airport lounge access.
If airport lounge access is what you desire, this card is usually tops on the list. Become a cardholder, and you and up to two guests receive access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection with more than 1,400 airport lounges in more than 650 cities worldwide, where you can enjoy locally-inspired menus, signature cocktails, and high-speed wi-fi. The card includes access to swanky American Express Centurion Lounges with menus designed by award-winning chefs and spa treatments at select locations, and partner lounges such as Airspace Lounge, Delta Sky Club lounges when flying Delta, and Lufthansa Lounges when traveling on Lufthansa.
The annual fee of $695 is hefty, but a slew of other travel perks, such as $200 airline and hotel credits annually, are included for cardholders as well.
Have this card in your wallet, and you and two guests will receive access to new, all-inclusive Capital One Lounge locations where you can enjoy luxurious amenities such as healthy food and relaxation rooms. Capital One is new to the lounge game, and currently, their only open location is at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (Denver and Washington, D.C. locations are coming soon). But you and up to two guests will still be able to walk in the doors to more than 1,300 lounges worldwide through the card’s partnerships with Plaza Premium Group and Priority Pass (free enrollment required).
At $395 annually, the card is lower in price than other cards that come with airport lounge access and comes with other benefits such as a $200 per year travel credit.
This card geared towards travelers includes complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, where you can enjoy more than 1,300 worldwide locations that are part of the pass’s independent lounge network. If you’re traveling to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, you and up to two guests can also relax in the new Sapphire Terrace with indoor and outdoor seating, games, beverages, and grab-and-go meals.
The annual fee is $550 and includes an annual travel credit of up to $300.
If you travel American Airlines frequently, this Citi card is worth a look as it comes with an annual Admirals Club membership where you can enjoy complimentary food and beverages at nearly 50 club locations. The card comes with a $450 annual fee, but an Admirals Club membership normally will set you back up to $650 per year—plus you get other perks when flying American, like a free checked bag for you and up to eight companions on domestic trips.
If Delta is your go-to airline, this card will allow you access to Delta Sky Clubs, where you can partake in free food and drinks and sometimes even have a shower at lounges that offer them. You also get two single-use guest passes every year. Another perk is access to the high-line Centurion Lounges when you fly Delta and book with your SkyMiles Reserve card. You also get your first checked bag free when you fly Delta as part of the $550 annual fee.
This card will appeal to United Airlines flyers because it includes access for you and eligible travel companions to all United Club locations where you can enjoy complimentary beverages, snacks, and comfy places to relax or work. You and your eligible travel companions can also access Star Alliance-affiliated lounges around the world with the Infinite Card. The $525 annual fee also includes two free checked bags for you and one other person on your reservation every time you fly United.
Travel credit cards are a great way to gain access to airport lounges around the world—and garner other travel perks as well. Because each card’s benefits vary, it’s best to check the cards’ websites for any updates or changes before you apply. And once you have your chosen card in hand, you might want to get to the airport extra early so you can relax and wait for your flight in style.
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