Looking for Airport Lounge Access? 8 Credit Cards That Come with Privileges

Travel in comfort and style when you use one of these credit cards offering airport lounge access.
Last updated Jun 21, 2021 | By Miranda Marquit
Man sitting an airport lounge

FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

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 points 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.

In this article

8 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)
Terms apply
  • The Centurion Lounge
  • International American Express Lounges
  • Priority Pass Select
  • Escape Lounges
  • Delta Sky Club
  • Plaza Premium
  • Airspace
Chase Sapphire Reserve $550  Priority Pass Select
Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard $450 American Airlines Admirals Club
Citi Prestige $495 Priority Pass Select
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card $550 (See rates and fees)
Terms apply
Delta Sky Club
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card $95 (See rates and fees)
Terms apply
Priority Pass Select
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card $450 (See rates and fees)
Terms apply
Priority Pass Select
United Club Infinite Card $525
  • United Club
  • Participating Star Alliance airport lounges

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.

Best Luxury Travel Benefits

Benefits

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months
  • 10X points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months)
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $200 hotel credit, $240 digital entertainment credit, $200 in Uber Cash, $300 Equinox credit, $200 airline fee credit
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Select benefits require enrollment.
  • $695 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees

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.

#1 Premium Travel Credit Card

Benefits

  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 3X points on travel and at restaurants
  • $60 annual DoorDash credit in 2021
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access

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.

Free checked bags & more

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Benefits

  • 50,000 bonus mile sign-up offer
  • 2X miles at gas stations, restaurants, and on American Airlines purchases
  • First checked bag free

4. Citi Prestige

Citi Prestige cardholders get unlimited complimentary access to the lounge for you and up to two guests as long as you’re enrolled for Priority Pass. Additional guest passes are $27 apiece. There are more than 1,200 airport lounges in the network; you can find out which airports have lounges by visiting the Priority Pass website.

Other perks of the Citi Prestige card include a complimentary fourth night stay at a hotel as well as a travel credit of up to $250 each year. This card also rewards you with 5X points on airline purchases and at restaurants; 3X points on hotels and cruise lines; and 1X points on all other purchases.

Luxury Travel Benefits

Citi Prestige

Citi Prestige

Citi Prestige

Benefits

  • 50,000 bonus point sign-up offer
  • 5X points on airline purchases and at restaurants
  • Up to $250 travel credit every calendar year
  • Complimentary 4th night hotel stay
  • Transfer points to airline partners

5. 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.

Access to Delta Sky Club Lounges

Benefits

  • Earn 80,000 bonus miles (plus 20,000 Medallion Qualification Miles) after spending $5,000 in the first 5 months
  • Generous rewards rate for Delta flyers
  • Complimentary Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $550 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees

6. 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.

Robust Welcome Offer

Benefits

  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 12X points at participating Hilton hotels and resorts
  • Free weekend night reward stay after spending $15,000 in a calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $95 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees

7. 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.

Fabulous Rewards for Hilton Fans

Benefits

  • Earn 150,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • 14X points on eligible Hilton purchases
  • $250 in annual Hilton Resort credits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $450 annual fee. Terms apply.

8. 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.

A Premium Card for United Flyers

Benefits

  • 75,000 bonus miles
  • 4X points on United purchases and 2X points on other travel and dining
  • First and second checked bags are free (terms apply)
  • United Club membership
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck Credit

FAQs

What business credit cards offer lounge access?

These business credit cards offer lounge access:

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.


Bottom line

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.

New, Higher Sign Up Bonus - Worth $1250 Toward Travel

Benefits

  • Best offer ever! 100,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 2X points on eligible dining and travel purchases
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits

Author Details

Miranda Marquit Miranda Marquit has been covering money for more than a decade and is a nationally-recognized financial expert and journalist, appearing on CNBC, NPR, Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, FOX Business, and numerous other outlets.