- Airport lounges can provide excellent value, especially when food, drinks, showers, and beds are provided.
- Airport lounges can be obtained cheaply, sometimes even free, without frequent flyer status or flying first class.
so, ready to ditch airport workbench naps and overpriced foodcourt eats ? here ‘s how to get access to airport lounges for bum, flush barren !
How to Get Access to Airport Lounges: An Overview
|Top pick||Lounge selection||Access||Best for|
|Credit cards||The Platinum Card® from American Express (read more)||Best||Unlimited||All-around travel benefits such as earning points on everyday purchases (with a huge welcome bonus for use on flights, hotels, etc), making purchases overseas (no foreign transaction fees), free car insurance, airline credits, and unlimited lounge access. (See Rates and Fees)|
|Third-party lounge pass||Priority Pass||great||Pay-per-use or unlimited||Travellers needing at least 2-3 lounge accesses per year with a variety of options around the globe|
|Airline lounge/status membership||n/a||limited||Pay-per-use or unlimited||Frequent flyers who have points/status with a single airline – otherwise, the above options are better|
|One-time access||Our $23 hack through Dragon Pass (read tip #3)||big||Pay-per-use||One long layover, infrequent travellers|
bill : there are significant criteria to check when considering lounge access. To avoid disappointment, constantly review the terms & conditions. Things to look for include :
- Number of lounge entries provided (unlimited or a set # of visits)
- Whether guest entries are provided (& how many)
- Duration of lounge visit permitted (usually 4-6 hours)
1. Use credit cards that give free lounge access
This is the easiest way to gain free, unlimited access to the largest potential number of airport lounges around the populace, plus several other benefits that every traveler should have. Having the right credit card can be the dispute between sitting in Starbucks on a 5-hour stop, or indulging in bottomless champagne before boarding for your next trip .
The Platinum Card® from American Express
- 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after spending $ 6,000 on your tease in the first 6 months
- $200 per year in hotel credit on select prepaid bookings
- $155 Walmart+ credit, covering the cost of a monthly membership
- Up to $200 in Uber rides and eats savings in the US annually, and Uber VIP status
- 5x points on up to $ 500,000 per year spent on flights booked directly with airlines, or through American Express Travel
- Unlimited access to 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide through the American Express Global Lounge Collection ( including Priority Pass Select lounges )
- No foreign transaction fees
- Annual fee: $695. Terms apply.
- Learn how to apply – See Rates and Fees
The Platinum Card® from American Express is our #1 pick for airport lounge access ( read more about this tease ). This circuit board has the largest consortium of outright lounge entree, including American Express lounges, The Centurion Lounge, spouse networks, Delta Sky Club, and Priority Pass Select lounges .
To put that in perspective, the regular price on a Priority Pass membership for inexhaustible access to their network of lounges is $ 429 USD per year. By spending a bit more on this wag, this access is included, but with a long ton of other lounges and benefits .
even if you entirely used the lounge access once, you ‘re besides getting a huge welcome bonus of 100,000 points ( which you can use towards flights, hotels, etc. ), up to $200 in Uber credits annually, no foreign transaction fees ( frequently 2.5 % – 3 % per transaction ), and much more. In curtly, this is a capital all-around credit rating menu for travel, so if you frequently use the card and its benefits, you will more than make up for the annual fee. Click hera to read more about this card .
If the annual fee is distillery besides a lot, or for other options, consider these cards :
Chase Sapphire Reserve
- 50,000 reward points ( worth $750 ) after meeting the minimal spend of $ 4,000 in the inaugural 3 months
- $300 annual travel credit
- Includes trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, lost luggage insurance and more.
- 5x points on tune change of location and 10x points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards ( after using the wide travel credit ). 3x points on other travel and dining .
- Free access to 1300+ airport lounges worldwide through Priority Pass Select
- Can transfer your reward points to moderate airline and hotel loyalty programs
- No foreign transaction fees
- Annual fee: $550
- Learn More
While both The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve both offer Priority Pass loiter access, there is one important deviation : restaurant access. Usually Priority Pass members get discounts off their bill at participating airport restaurants ( around $ 28- $ 30 USD ). This is included in the Chase Sapphire Reserve membership, but American Express cards no longer provide this restaurant discount .
2. Buy a third-party lounge pass
If you have several flights in your future, do n’t underestimate the measure of an airport lounge pass. A crack grants introduction to more than 1,110 lounges global ( much more than an airline ‘s own lounge authorize ), offering release amenities like drinks, food, alcohol, showers, wireless local area network, world power, and more. Given that this eliminates your costs on dine, and sometimes even hotel costs ( when bed amenities are available ), a excrete could pay for itself after fair a couple of visits .
- The Priority Pass grants access to over 1,200+ airport lounges around the world
- Lounges include complimentary drinks (sometimes including alcohol), food, wifi, and sometimes shower and bedding facilities.
- Get discounts at participating airport restaurants (usually $28-$30 USD off of your bill)
- Access most lounges using your digital membership card in the app (physical card still needed at some locations)
- Prices start at $49/USD with this 50% discount (usually $99 USD).
- NOTE: The unlimited version of this pass is included in several credit cards, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (read more about this card) and the Chase Sapphire Reserve
- The Dragon Pass grants access to over 1,100+ airports globally
- Most lounges available in Asia, followed by Europe
- Lounges may include food, drinks (sometimes including alcohol), wifi, and even shower or bedding facilities
- Get additional discounts on restaurants, limousines, and meet & greets
- Plans start at $99 USD/year, with even the cheapest plan including 1 free lounge access
3. Buy one-time access to a lounge for as low as $23
Most airport lounges now offer pay-per-use submission to anyone, even if you are n’t flying with that airline. Pay-per-use access broadly costs between $ 25- $ 75 USD per visit. Be certain to check the duration allowed, which is frequently 4-6 hours ( though truthfully this is not always monitored ). erstwhile passes can be pre-purchased on-line from Plaza Premium Lounge, Dragon Pass, and LoungeBuddy. however, you can besides good walk up to any loiter and necessitate at the battlefront desk. Most of them will be more than happy to sell you erstwhile access .
But here’s a little known trick: by creating a free account with Regus ( an office space booking military service ), you are eligible for a free DragonPass membership, waiving the annually fee and reducing each sofa booking to a flat rate of £19 ($23 USD). The initial apparatus only takes about 10 minutes. After that, plainly use the free app to browse for the loiter you want, then go to the front desk and show your digital ID within the app. The payment will be processed automatically with the batting order on your file. here ‘s how to do it !
1. Create a free account on the MyRegus website.
Fill in each step of the form as prompted. When you ‘re finished, the foliate head will read “Your registration was successful!”. Click “ GO TO LOGIN ” and login with the electronic mail address and password you just registered with .
2. Go to the “Quick access” section, then click “Partner offers”
Click “ Go to external site ” under the “ Airport Lounges ” section. A new windowpane will open letting you register for a DragonPass account.
3. Complete the form to register your free DragonPass account
once completed, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with your membership ID and password .
4. Download the free DragonPass app for iOS or Android
5. Log into the app using the membership number and password that was sent in your confirmation e-mail
6. Choose a lounge!
After selecting an airport, you can browse available lounges for purchase. Each sofa has photos, amenities, hours, location, and evening exploiter reviews. once you ‘ve chosen the lounge you want, good tap the “ Member Access ” button at the bottom, followed by the “ Add Visits ” release to pay for access. After paying, simply show your digital membership card with the QR code to the front desk and they will process your sojourn. Too easy !
besides be sure to check out the restaurants department. Your membership mechanically gives you discounts at a number of restaurants in the airport, angstrom much as 25 % off !
View photos, amenities, hours, access instructions, and even reviews for each available loiter. Getting access to a loiter is american samoa simple as showing your digital membership menu. But beginning, you ‘ll need to pay for a visit on your explanation. Be certain to check out the restaurants section, where discounts can be had for a much as 25 % off.
4. Find free access with the LoungeBuddy app
LoungeBuddy is an all-in-one app ( iOS only ) and website for all things lounge access. They have a comprehensive examination database of airports and lounges all around the global. Each lounge is displayed with photos, amenities, reviews, and details on how to access the lounge, be it with a travel credit rating batting order, frequent circular status, or paid access .
All lounges within an airport are listed in LoungeBuddy with photos, amenities, reviews, and access instructions. All lounges within an airport are listed in LoungeBuddy with photos, amenities, reviews, and access instructions. LoungeBuddy will alert you if any of your credit cards, elect statuses, or lounge memberships grant you free access to a sofa. You can besides purchase entree within the app ( AMEX wag required ). The coolest feature of speech of the app is that you can fill in your profile and check off the travel credit cards, loiter memberships, and elect statuses that you have, adenine well as whether you are an active US military member. The app will then automatically highlight the lounges that you have free access to based on your profile .
It ‘s besides possible to purchase one-day loiter passes directly within the app, but you can only pay with an American Express poster. unfortunately, the app is iPhone only right now, but you can still inquiry and buy access to lounges on the web site. For $10 USD free credit towards a lounge elapse, download the app, go to Settings > Credit, and enter the code guYu66zaHY
5. Get free access as an active military member
If you ‘re an active military member, a number of airport lounges are available to you for free. But first, it ‘s worth noting that the previously mentioned Chase Sapphire Reserve waives the annual fees for active military personnel. thus if you ‘re a military penis, there ‘s no cause not to get this cards, as you will have access to lounges worldwide for no tip any .
other methods of military airport loiter entree include :
- United Club: Free access to active duty military members and their families taking a United operated flight on the same day. Present your military ID (or be in uniform), boarding pass, and sponsoring documentation.
- American Airlines Admirals Club: Free access
- USO (United Service Organizations): This non-profit organization operates many airport lounges that are free to military personnel around the U.S. Use the location finder to see if your airport has one.
Members of military have access to a wide stove of early travel discounts besides. Be sure to check out our ultimate lead to military travel discounts to see even more .
6. Get an airline or alliance lounge membership
Certain airlines offer paid memberships which provide entrance to affiliated lounges. Anyone can join these programs, but the fees are still quite high, and you ‘re restricted to a much smaller selection of lounges. For those reasons, most people will find better value using one of the previously mentioned credit cards to get points and discounts beyond lounges, or by signing up immediately with Priority Pass .
On the other hand, most of these passes can be purchased with points from the airline, or obtained at a discount for frequent flyers who have attained a high status. If you have the points or status to discount these passes, then an airline lounge membership may be the best respect for you .
Airlines and alliance programs that allow paid lounge membership include :
Always review the terms and conditions of entry before buying a membership. There are normally particular stipulations around aspects like duration of stay, # of guests allowed if any, ampere well as which airports and regions are included in the membership .
7. Gain entry with elite points status
If you earn enough points or miles through a credit wag or airline platform, you can gain free or discounted entry to airport lounges once you ‘ve reached a sealed status. Keep in heed that frequently there are requirements to maintaining said status, such as earning a certain numeral of miles per year or reaching minimal spends. To learn how to cursorily accumulate such points, check our early guide here .
Programs that offer loiter access for points status include :
- Air Canada Altitude Status: Lounge entry granted to Maple Leaf and select Star Alliance lounges for business and first class passengers, as well as Altitude Elite 50k, 75k and Super Elite 100k members. Aeroplan 25K and 35K members get two one-time lounge guest passes.
- Hawaiian Airlines Club Membership: Those with Puluani Gold (20k HawaiianMiles) or Puluani Platinum (40k HawaiianMiles) gain “club” (lounge) access. Tips for increasing your points here.
- United Club Membership: Lounge entry granted to first and business class flyers, active U.S. military personnel in uniform (or with leave orders or rest and recuperation papers), Air Canada Maple Leaf Club members, Star Alliance Gold members, and United Club members. Premier Platinum and Premier 1K status grants $50 and $100 discounts to United Club respectively.
- Delta SkyMiles Membership: Lounge access is available for those with Gold 50k MQM, 60 MQS), Platinum (75k MQM, 100 MQS), and Diamond status (125k MQM, 140 MQS).
- Qantas Club Membership: Lounge entry available for those with Silver Status (300 status credits), Gold status (700 status credits), Platinum 1,400 (status credits) and Platinum One (3,600 status credits).
- Alaska Airlines: Lounge access granted to first class ticket holders, MVP Gold (40k miles), and MVP Gold 75k (75k miles).
8. Gain access with your ticket
This one is n’t precisely a privy, and it ‘s not very careful, but buying a excellent ticket is the judge and true direction of getting into an airport loiter. however, in an attempt to boost sales, lounge access is now appearing in early classes such as premium Economy depending on the airline. If you have any kind of ticket greater than economy, decidedly take a spirit and see if it includes lounge access !
9. When in doubt, ask!
not certain if you have lounge access ? It never hurts to ask ! A few things that could happen…
Read more: How to Get Slime Out of Carpet
- You may find out that your ticket grants you lounge access. What a pleasant surprise! (We’ve had this happen in Thailand).
- You may have a credit card that grants you access. Once in Canada we showed one of our Aeroplan credit as a shot in the dark to see if it got us anything. To our surprise, that actually granted us lounge access!
- Lounge access might be available as an affordable add-on to your ticket, or the check-in attendant may know of cheap or free lounges in the airport
- If you’re really nice, the lounge receptionist could give you a freebie. Once we had free access to an airport lounge, but it didn’t allow a guest in. After looking sad and disappointed, the kind attendee took pity on us and allowed both of us in for free!
- While not very common, some airlines actually offer free lounge access. For example, Bangkok Airways has a lounge free to all passengers of any class, full of snacks and refreshments. Porter Airlines in Canada has snacks, refreshments, comfy chairs, and free wi-fi available to all passengers at the Billy Bishop airport.
There ‘s a multitude of lounges and ways to access them, sol who better to ask than the staff ? Try your fortune and ask both the check-in and lounge attendees ! There ‘s no dishonor in playing the speechless tourist card .
The Thrifty Gist
- Using the right credit card is the best way to gain access to a huge number of airport lounges for free. Though annual fees can be high, the huge points welcome bonus, annual credits, lack of foreign transaction fees, and lounge access more than make up for it if used properly. The Platinum Card® from American Express is our #1 choice. Read more about this card here.
- The Priority Pass or Dragon Pass are great value if you travel at least several times a year.
- If a long layover is coming your way, a one-time pass can definitely be worth it for the food, drink, and sometimes shower or bedding facilities. Buy it at the lounge front desk, or use our hack in tip #3 to get $23 access to 1,100+ lounges around the world.
- The LoungeBuddy app and website has complete guides to airport lounges around the world. Fill in your profile with your credit cards and memberships, and you’ll see exactly what you have access to automatically.
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