Credit cards are popular financial tools that can let you earn rewards like cash back and free travel. However, credit card benefits often go beyond the pproints and miles you can earn; there are many credit cards that offer additional perks that may be highly appealing to frequent travelers.
In fact, with some travel cards, you can get complimentary airport lounge access, allowing you the chance to relax in comfort while you wait for your next flight. If you’re looking for a card that gives you the ability to enjoy stylish comfort in airports all over the world, here are several options to consider.
7 credit cards with airport lounge access
With airport lounge access, you can usually find a quiet and comfortable place to sit, as well as enjoy complimentary snacks. In some cases, you might even be able to eat a complete meal at Priority Pass restaurants. There are usually plenty of plugs for your electronics, and you can stay until your flight is ready to board. Here are some of the best travel credit cards that offer this lounge visit perk:
|Card||Annual fee||Eligible airport lounges|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||$695 (See rates and fees)
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||$550||Priority Pass Select|
|Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard||$450||American Airlines Admirals Club|
|Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card||$550 (See rates and fees)
|Delta Sky Club|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||$95 (See rates and fees)
|Priority Pass Select|
|Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card||$450 (See rates and fees)
|Priority Pass Select|
|United Club Infinite Card||$525||
1. The Platinum Card from American Express
With the Platinum Card from American Express, you get airport lounge access with several brands included in the Global Lounge Collection, in addition to the prestigious Amex Centurion Lounge. The type of amenities cardmembers can enjoy depends on the lounge network. However, you get unlimited access at participating brands, and some lounges will let you bring in guests free of charge. You typically have to show a valid same-day boarding pass to enter the lounge, and some programs may require enrollment.
In addition to airport lounge access, as a luxury travel rewards card, the Platinum Card from American Express offers several other valuable perks. This includes competitive rates and benefits at certain hotels as well as upgraded status in hotel loyalty programs, such as Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy. There are savings and upgrades with the Cruise Privileges Program and rental car rewards status with Hertz. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
2. Chase Sapphire Reserve
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you get unlimited access to Priority Pass lounges all over the world. You do need to activate your Priority Pass Select membership to take advantage of this perk. You can bring up to two guests for free; additional guests cost $27 per person. You can also get discounts in the airport for services like dining and spa treatment.
The Sapphire Reserve also comes with other perks, including an application fee statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, special car rental privileges, a $300 annual travel credit, $60 in annual DoorDash statement credits in 2020 and 2021, and a complimentary year of Lyft Pink. Plus, you get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
3. Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
With the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, you get Admirals Club membership, which comes with airport lounge access at more than 50 locations worldwide. Your authorized users get access as well. You can get amenities like snacks and, in certain locations, access to drinks and made-to-order specialties. Some lounges even have shower suites.
Immediate family members can be guests at no additional charge, as long as you’re with them. Depending on the airport, you might be able to access partner lounges, such as Alaska Lounge or Airspace Lounge, with your membership.
In addition to the Admirals Club membership, the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard also comes with your first bag checked free, credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, priority boarding privileges, and 25% savings on inflight purchases.
4. Delta Reserve Card from American Express
With the Delta Reserve Credit Card, you get a membership to the Delta Sky Club. You’ll get free access, but guests will need to pay $29 per visit.
While relaxing in the lounge, you can also enjoy food choices and complimentary drinks in some locations. Free Wi-Fi is available, and you can get help with your flight information at the club. There are more than 50 Delta Sky Club locations, and you can also access partner lounges in airports all over the world.
In addition to airport lounge access, this credit card comes with additional perks. You get your first checked bag free and priority boarding, along with an inflight discount. You can also earn miles faster with Miles Boost, as well as by spending on Delta purchases.
5. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
When you get the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card, you receive complimentary Priority Pass membership and 10 free visits per year. This card offers the Standard PLUS version of membership, so after you use up your 10 free visits, you’ll have to pay a fee of $32 per visit. Your guests will also need to pay $32 per visit. Enrollment is required for this benefit.
Because it’s a Hilton Honors-branded card, you also get complimentary Gold status in the hotel’s loyalty program when you join, as well as a free Weekend Night Reward after spending on eligible purchases.
You also earn 12X points when spending directly with an eligible Hilton hotel or resort; 6X points on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; and 3X points on all other eligible purchases.
6. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Unlimited airport lounge access with a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership is a feature of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card. You can bring up to two guests for free. Enrollment is required for this benefit.
On top of the airport lounges, you can also take advantage of an annual $250 airline fee credit (you must select an airline to activate this benefit), as well as $250 in statement credits each year for purchases at Hilton Resorts.
Additionally, there are high-earning tiers for a lot of travel booking, including 14X points on eligible purchases within the Hilton portfolio, 7X points on qualifying travel purchases made directly with airlines/select car rental companies or Amextravel.com, 7X points at U.S. restaurants, and 3X points on all other purchases.
7. United Club Infinite Card
With the United Club Infinite Card you can earn 4X miles on United purchases. With this co-branded airline credit card, you also get unique United travel benefits, including your first and second checked bags for free and a United Club membership. For any individual who purchases United airfares often or is interested in making an airline switch, this card can provide you with a lot of value.
What business credit cards offer lounge access?
These business credit cards offer lounge access:
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- United Business Card
- United Club Business Card
Keep in mind that the type of lounge access may vary depending on the card and credit card issuer, and certain complimentary card benefits may require enrollment.
How much does lounge access cost?
The costs for airport lounge access depend on what type of lounge you want to access and whether you want a day pass or a full lounge membership. For example, a Priority Pass membership would cost between $99 to $429 per year plus additional expenses depending on your membership level and if you have guests.
Day pass prices to lounges can vary, but it’s not uncommon to pay more than $40 for entry to certain lounges, though some lounges may charge less. If you want complimentary lounge access, consider getting a credit card that offers lounge access as a free benefit.
What is included in complimentary lounge access?
Credit cards with complimentary lounge access typically allow you free entry to a variety of airport lounges. Many of these lounges offer free food, drinks, and internet access. Certain lounges have additional amenities, such as showers or massage rooms.
Which credit card is best for lounge access?
Many credit cards offer complimentary lounge access, but the best one for you depends on your situation and goals. Cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum are popular rewards cards with lounge benefits, but the Amex Platinum has more premium benefits than the Sapphire Reserve (although select benefits require enrollment). If you want a business card with lounge access, consider cards like the Amex Business Platinum or the United Business Card.
Many of these cards come with a high annual fees — and some of those fees are fairly hefty. However, access to airport lounges can be a very valuable benefit, especially if you travel a lot and like the idea of a place to relax between flights.
For example, Delta Sky Club charges $545 per year for an individual membership with unlimited access to lounges. If your card offers this perk and you can make good use of the lounges, the value of the membership alone could be enough to offset the annual fee.
Carefully consider the types of travel perks you value and the experiences you want to have. Many of the best credit cards offer perks on top of airport lounge access, and when you add them all up, they can be valuable enough that paying an annual fee is worth it.