You can completely upgrade your airport experience by passing the time in an amazing airport lounge.
We’re talking about opportunities to sit and relax away from busy waiting areas while enjoying free food and beverages. Even better, getting in doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
For over a decade, I’ve been using credit card benefits as one of my travel planning secrets to get to some destinations nearly free of charge. Here are some simple ways you can boost your airport experience, too.
If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive travel discounts and trip-planning resources
Over 50 and love traveling? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member, you could be missing out on huge travel perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on hotels and resorts, airfare, cruises, car rentals, and more.
How to become a member today:
- Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
- Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
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An AARP membership not only unlocks discounts that could save you hundreds on your next trip, but you’ll also have access to deals on vacation packages, guided tours, and exclusive content to help plan your next getaway.
Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (do not skip this step!). Doing so will allow you to take up to 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.
Use a credit card with lounge access
One of the easiest ways to get lounge access is having a credit card that provides an airport lounge benefit.
In many cases, that’s your key to gaining access to a network of over a thousand airport lounges worldwide. And you often don’t have to do much more than qualify for a specific credit card and enroll in the lounge benefit.
Many top travel credit cards also provide airport lounge access as a benefit.
Become an authorized user
If you don’t currently qualify for a credit card with airport lounge access, that doesn’t have to be the end of your airport lounge story.
It’s possible to have a friend or family member add you as an authorized user on one of their credit cards that provides lounge access. Depending on the card, this might cost you a fee each year.
But you typically receive your own physical credit card and don’t have to be with the primary cardholder to access applicable airport lounges. So you can travel on your own and still enjoy lounge access benefits.
Enter as a guest
If you typically travel with a friend or family member with a premium travel card, you can enter airport lounges with them as a guest.
Access depends on the card, but many premium travel credit cards provide free access for a certain number of guests. Sometimes, you might have to pay a discounted rate to enter as a guest.
Earn a $250 travel bonus with this incredible card
There's a credit card that's making waves with its amazing bonus and benefits. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no annual fee and you can earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
You can earn additional points just by using this card for your everyday purchases — unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. The 25,000 bonus points can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel or dining purchases.
If you want to travel and dine out more, the Travel Rewards card can help you get where you want to go.
The best part? There's no annual fee.
Consider a third-party lounge membership
You can join a third-party lounge program like Priority Pass or DragonPass that will give you access to its worldwide network.
These types of memberships could cost upwards of a few hundred dollars annually, but you typically have multiple plan options depending on how often you travel.
For example, you might consider a cheaper plan if you only think you’ll visit lounges a few times per year.
Buy an airline lounge membership
Apart from third-party lounge memberships, you can also purchase lounge memberships directly from airline loyalty programs.
For example, you can purchase a Delta Sky Club membership if you’re a Delta SkyMiles Medallion Member. The membership would give you access to over 50 Delta Sky Club locations.
You can typically use cash or miles to purchase an airline lounge membership. Using miles for a membership might not give you the best redemption rate (redeeming miles for travel is often better), but it could help if you're flush with airline miles and don’t want to spend extra.
Buy a day pass
Many airport lounges offer the option to pay for a one-time pass to enter, allowing you to enjoy a lounge without having a particular credit card, membership, or other access.
Note that you have to research individual lounges to see if they allow one-time entries and how much they might cost. Whether paying for a day pass is worth it depends on how much you’re willing to spend if you have a long layover and what amenities the lounge offers.
For instance, if you’re about to spend $30 on airport food anyway, it might be worth spending $35 to get into a lounge that offers unlimited food and beverages.
Fly premium class
Business and first-class travelers enjoy excellent in-flight amenities, often including more legroom and better service. These premium fares can also grant them complimentary access to specific airport lounges.
If you plan on booking a premium ticket, consider whether you receive airport lounge access at your departure airport. You can check with the airline operating your flight to see if your ticket provides any lounge benefits.
Search for lounge access with LoungeBuddy
You can book one-time lounge passes to specific lounges using the LoungeBuddy mobile app.
The app is an easy way to see how much it might cost to access specific lounges and take care of your lounge access before you even get to the airport.
LoungeBuddy can be a great way to research what lounges and amenities are available at airports worldwide, especially if you already have access to specific lounge networks with credit cards or memberships.
Earn elite status
Earning a high elite status tier with specific airline loyalty programs could provide you with a certain level of airport lounge access.
For example, qualifying AAdvantage Executive Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum Pro, and AAdvantage Platinum members can access Admirals Clubs on flights between the U.S. and Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, and many other regions of the world.
If you fly a lot with a particular airline, it is worth looking into what airport lounge benefits are available if you earn a certain elite status.
Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account
Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1
With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!
This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.
Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.
Take advantage of your military status
Many airport lounge networks offer complimentary access to active duty, uniformed military members.
Of course, the rules can vary by lounge, and your actual experience with entering specific lounges can vary depending on the employee(s) there that day.
But, in any case, active duty members can often access both Admirals Clubs and United Clubs. Military members and their spouses can often get annual fees waived on several travel credit cards.
For military personnel, accessing different lounge networks through credit card benefits is possible if you’re an eligible military service member or spouse.
Getting into airport lounges is easy if you plan ahead and follow tips to secure your lounge access.
And with the right credit card benefits, you don’t have to worry about paying to enter incredible lounges.
If you’re just starting with rewards cards, check out the top credit cards to find the right fit.
Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards
- Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
- Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
- Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
- No foreign transaction fees
- Apply Now
- Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
- 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
- Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
- Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 18.24% - 28.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
- If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
- Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
- This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
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