What’s the Best Way to Get Airport Lounge Access?

Sep 21, 2014

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TPG reader Gagan asked me on Facebook:

“What is the best option to get airport lounge access throughout the U.S. and internationally? I’m not a member of any frequent flyer club and have no status. Will I have to buy a pass?”

Lounge access is nice to have when traveling. Not only can you get free food and beverages, but if you’re flight is canceled, a lounge agent can help you get re-accommodated. This clearly beats waiting in a long line to get on another flight. If your flight is delayed, it’s also nice to have a more comfortable space to wait in.

TPG reader Gagan wants to know the best way to get lounge access without having elite status or being a member of a frequent flyer program.

Airport lounge access can making waiting for your flight a pleasant experience. Shutterstock.
Airport lounge access can make waiting for a flight much more pleasant. (Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

Gagan has many different options, none of which are free. The first is to look into getting a Priority Pass, which gives you access to a specific network of lounges. Another option is to just pay for access, but most lounges charge around $50 to enter the lounge. Depending on how often you need access, this can be pretty expensive.

You could also consider getting a credit card that gives you lounge access. The Platinum Card from American Express gives access to Delta and Centurion lounges, as well as Priority Pass Select membership. The Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard gives access to American Airlines and US Airways clubs. Both of these cards come with hefty annual fees, but those fees are easily justified if you make regular use of your lounge benefits.

There are a lot of options out there; I would first consider how often you travel and plan to visit lounges prior to signing up for any memberships. Getting a membership with any one airline will limit you to that particular set of lounges, so if you fly on several different airlines than that may not be the best plan.

In some cases, like if you don’t travel that much, I’d forgo the lounge all together and instead use that cash to buy yourself a nice meal or a WiFi membership.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

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