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 Jan 9, 2020 | By Miranda Marquit
Man sitting an airport lounge

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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.

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.

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. There are usually plenty of plugs for your electronics, and you can stay until your flight is ready to board.

Card Annual fee Eligible airport lounges
The Platinum Card from American Express $550
  • 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 Reserve Card from American Express $550 Delta Sky Club
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card $95 Priority Pass Select
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card $450 Priority Pass Select
United MileagePlus Club Card $450
  • 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, in addition to the prestigious Centurion Lounge. The type of amenities you’ll enjoy depends on the lounge. 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.

In addition to airport lounge access, as a luxury charge card, the Platinum Card from American Express offers several other valuable travel 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.

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 a 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. 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 card perks 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 restaurants; 3X points on hotels and cruise lines; and 1X points on all other purchases.

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.

6. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

When you get the Hilton Honors 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.

Because it’s a Hilton Honors-branded card, you 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.

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.

On top of the airport lounges, you can also take advantage of an annual $250 airline fee credit, 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.

8. United MileagePlus Club Card

The United MileagePlus Club Card offers users a United Club membership, which gives you the chance to relax in a number of airport lounges. Additionally, your card allows you access to participating Star Alliance lounges.

You can bring up to two guests with you into the lounge. However, you’ll need to show a same-day boarding pass beginning Nov. 1, 2019. Amenities at the 45 United Club locations include beverages, snacks, bar service, agent assistance, Wi-Fi, and private phone booths.

On top of that, as a cardholder, you’ll get your first and second bags checked free. This card also comes with check-in and screening priority, as well as boarding privileges. There are also perks at Hertz, and you can enjoy upgrades and benefits at 900 luxury hotels around the world.

Bottom line

Many of these cards come with an annual fee — 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 travel 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.

Best Luxury Travel Benefits

Benefits

  • 60,000 Membership Rewards point welcome offer
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $15 in free U.S. Uber rides each month ($20 in December)
  • $200 airline fee credit each year
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Terms apply