Best credit cards for airport lounge access in 2021

This page is a marketplace where our partners can highlight their current card offers. The reviews and insights represented are editorial, but the order in which cards appear on the page may be influenced by compensation we may receive from our partners.

The types of lounges you can use vary significantly from card to card. So, today I’ll take a closer look at the best travel rewards cards from our partners that offer complimentary airport lounge access.

Best consumer card for airport lounges

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

4.5/5
at American Express's secure site Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

Rewards

5 - 10X points
more info

Intro Bonus

75,000 points
details

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
more info
Why we chose it

The Amex Platinum is unmatched when it comes to travel perks and benefits. If lounge access, hotel elite status and annual statement credits are important to you, this card is well worth the high annual fee.

Pros

  • The current welcome bonus on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,500, not including any points you may earn from the temporary 10x bonus categories
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, and at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more (enrollment required)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway

Cons

  • The $550 annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning bonus rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories
  • The annual airline fee credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards
  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Best consumer card for airport lounges

The Platinum Card® from American Express

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
4.5/5
  • 10X Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • 5X Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

Intro Bonus
tooltip

75,000 points

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Excellent/Good
Why we chose it

The Amex Platinum is unmatched when it comes to travel perks and benefits. If lounge access, hotel elite status and annual statement credits are important to you, this card is well worth the high annual fee.

Pros

  • The current welcome bonus on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,500, not including any points you may earn from the temporary 10x bonus categories
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, and at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more (enrollment required)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway

Cons

  • The $550 annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning bonus rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories
  • The annual airline fee credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards
  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Best business card for airport lounges

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

4/5
at American Express's secure site Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

Rewards

1.5 - 5X points
more info

Intro Bonus

125,000 points
details

Annual Fee

$595

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
more info
Why we chose it

The Business Platinum Card from American Express is a great card for frequent travelers looking to add a touch of luxury to their business trips. While the card does come with a high annual fee, you’re also getting a ton of valuable benefits in return. They include generous annual travel credits, unparalleled lounge access that includes Amex Centurion Lounges and more.

Pros

  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $200 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program; and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep $595 annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 125,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's an extra half point per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year when you book on amextravel.com.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
  • Pay Over Time Option: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Best business card for airport lounges

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
4/5
  • 5X Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • 1.5X Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's an extra half point per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.

Intro Bonus
tooltip

125,000 points

Annual Fee

$595

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Good, Excellent
Why we chose it

The Business Platinum Card from American Express is a great card for frequent travelers looking to add a touch of luxury to their business trips. While the card does come with a high annual fee, you’re also getting a ton of valuable benefits in return. They include generous annual travel credits, unparalleled lounge access that includes Amex Centurion Lounges and more.

Pros

  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $200 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program; and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep $595 annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 125,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's an extra half point per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year when you book on amextravel.com.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
  • Pay Over Time Option: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Best for Priority Pass lounges and restaurants

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

4.5/5
at Chase's secure site

Rewards

1 - 3X points
more info

Intro Bonus

60,000 points
details

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
more info
Why we chose it

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of our top premium travel cards. With a $300 travel credit, generous 3x points on dining and travel purchases and other benefits, you can get excellent value that far exceeds the annual fee on the card.

Pros

  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel directly through Chase Ultimate Reward

Cons

  • Steep initial $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best for Priority Pass lounges and restaurants

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
4.5/5
  • 3X 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit.
  • 3X 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.
  • 1X 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro Bonus
tooltip

60,000 points

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit
tooltip

740-850
Excellent
Why we chose it

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of our top premium travel cards. With a $300 travel credit, generous 3x points on dining and travel purchases and other benefits, you can get excellent value that far exceeds the annual fee on the card.

Pros

  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel directly through Chase Ultimate Reward

Cons

  • Steep initial $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

3/5
at Citi's secure site

Rewards

1 - 2X miles
more info

Intro Bonus

50,000 miles
details

Annual Fee

$450

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
more info
Why we chose it

The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is the best for those who fly American Airlines and want Admirals Club lounge access. It also gives you helps you earn and maintain elite status and comes with priority perks.

Pros

  • Earn a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 on the within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Offers Admirals Club lounge access
  • Help earning up to 10,000 EQMs that go toward elite status
  • Priority check-in, airport screening, boarding and a free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions
  • 25% discount on inflight food and beverages
  • Receive a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Fee Statement Credit (up to $100)

Cons

  • No travel protection benefits
  • Miles redemption limited to American Airlines and its Oneworld partners
  • 25% inflight credit doesn't include Wi-Fi
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Best for American Airlines flyers

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
3/5
  • 2X 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1X 1 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on other purchases

Intro Bonus
tooltip

50,000 miles

Annual Fee

$450

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Excellent, Good
Why we chose it

The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is the best for those who fly American Airlines and want Admirals Club lounge access. It also gives you helps you earn and maintain elite status and comes with priority perks.

Pros

  • Earn a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 on the within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Offers Admirals Club lounge access
  • Help earning up to 10,000 EQMs that go toward elite status
  • Priority check-in, airport screening, boarding and a free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions
  • 25% discount on inflight food and beverages
  • Receive a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Fee Statement Credit (up to $100)

Cons

  • No travel protection benefits
  • Miles redemption limited to American Airlines and its Oneworld partners
  • 25% inflight credit doesn't include Wi-Fi
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

3.5/5
at American Express's secure site Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

Rewards

1 - 3X points
more info

Intro Bonus

50,000 miles
details

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
more info
Why we chose it

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card is the premier choice for Delta loyalists who value an accelerated path to elite status, Delta SkyClubs lounge access, an annual companion certificate and strong earning rates on Delta purchases.

Pros

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months
  • MQD waiver each year that you spend $25,000 on the card
  • Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
  • Delta SkyClub access when flying Delta

Cons

  • High annual fee of $550
  • Lower fee Delta cobranded cards offer superior earning categories
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Complimentary access into the Delta SkyClubs® for you when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® .
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Best for Delta flyers

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
3.5/5
  • 3X Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
  • 1X Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

Intro Bonus
tooltip

50,000 miles

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Excellent/Good
Why we chose it

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card is the premier choice for Delta loyalists who value an accelerated path to elite status, Delta SkyClubs lounge access, an annual companion certificate and strong earning rates on Delta purchases.

Pros

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months
  • MQD waiver each year that you spend $25,000 on the card
  • Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
  • Delta SkyClub access when flying Delta

Cons

  • High annual fee of $550
  • Lower fee Delta cobranded cards offer superior earning categories
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Complimentary access into the Delta SkyClubs® for you when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® .
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

3.5/5
at American Express's secure site Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees

Rewards

1.5 - 3X points
more info

Intro Bonus

60,000 miles
details

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
more info
Why we chose it

If you’re a high-budget business owner and fly Delta often, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card is an elite airline card with a sleuth of benefits. While the card does come with a high annual fee, the impressive benefits including exclusive Delta SkyClub and Amex Centurion lounge access, airport, free checked bags, priority boarding and a fast track to Delta’s elite Medallion flying status by spending a considerable amount on the card.

Pros

  • Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) waiver when you spend $25,000 in a year on the card
  • A companion certificate that can be used for a domestic first-class, Delta Comfort+ or domestic main cabin round-trip flight
  • Exclusive lounge access

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • Limited reward earning rates outside of Delta purchases
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • With Status Boost®, earn 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, up to 4x per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Plus, throughout 2021 earn an additional 3,750 MQMs after making $30,000 in purchases, up to 4x. That’s in addition to the 15,000 MQMs that you would earn with Status Boost.
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® Access and complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • After you spend $150,000 on your Card in a calendar year, you earn 1.5 Miles per dollar (that’s an extra half mile per dollar) on eligible purchases the rest of the year. If your purchase qualifies for a category that has a higher mileage accelerator, only the higher accelerator will apply.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you spend overseas.
  • Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.
  • Terms and limitations apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Best for Delta business travelers

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

TPG Editor's Rating

tooltip
3.5/5
  • 3X Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.
  • 1.5X After you spend $150,000 on your Card in a calendar year, you earn 1.5 Miles per dollar (that’s an extra half mile per dollar) on eligible purchases the rest of the year.

Intro Bonus
tooltip

60,000 miles

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit
tooltip

670-850
Excellent/Good
Why we chose it

If you’re a high-budget business owner and fly Delta often, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card is an elite airline card with a sleuth of benefits. While the card does come with a high annual fee, the impressive benefits including exclusive Delta SkyClub and Amex Centurion lounge access, airport, free checked bags, priority boarding and a fast track to Delta’s elite Medallion flying status by spending a considerable amount on the card.

Pros

  • Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) waiver when you spend $25,000 in a year on the card
  • A companion certificate that can be used for a domestic first-class, Delta Comfort+ or domestic main cabin round-trip flight
  • Exclusive lounge access

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • Limited reward earning rates outside of Delta purchases
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles, 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), and a $100 statement credit after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • With Status Boost®, earn 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, up to 4x per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Plus, throughout 2021 earn an additional 3,750 MQMs after making $30,000 in purchases, up to 4x. That’s in addition to the 15,000 MQMs that you would earn with Status Boost.
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® Access and complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • After you spend $150,000 on your Card in a calendar year, you earn 1.5 Miles per dollar (that’s an extra half mile per dollar) on eligible purchases the rest of the year. If your purchase qualifies for a category that has a higher mileage accelerator, only the higher accelerator will apply.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you spend overseas.
  • Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.
  • Terms and limitations apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Best for United Airlines flyers

United Club℠ Infinite Card

TPG Editor's Rating
tooltip

3/5
at Chase's secure site

Rewards

1 - 4X points
more info

Intro Bonus

Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles
details

Annual Fee

$525

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
more info
Why we chose it

Only the United Club Infinite Card grants you complimentary United Club lounge membership, worth up to $650 per year. Although this card comes with a steep $525 annual fee, the lounge benefit alone can more than cover this annual cost. Not to mention the other ongoing perks of this card, from two free checked bags and up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. For frequent United flyers, this card can provide tons of value each year.

Pros

  • Earn 4x miles on United purchases; 2x miles on travel and dining; 1x on everything else
  • United Club℠ membership for you and your eligible travel companions at all United Club locations and participating Star Alliance lounges worldwide
  • Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry/TSA Precheck application every four years
  • Free first and second checked bags for you and one travel companion on the same reservation
  • 25% inflight purchase statement credit

Cons

  • High $525 annual fee
  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles
  • Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining at restaurants and eligible delivery services
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee credit
  • Free first and second checked bags - a savings of up to $320 per roundtrip. Terms Apply
  • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flight when you pay with your Club Card
Best for United Airlines flyers

United Club℠ Infinite Card

TPG Editor's Rating

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3/5
  • 4X Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining at restaurants and eligible delivery services
  • 1X Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro Bonus
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Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles

Annual Fee

$525

Recommended Credit
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740-850
Excellent
Why we chose it

Only the United Club Infinite Card grants you complimentary United Club lounge membership, worth up to $650 per year. Although this card comes with a steep $525 annual fee, the lounge benefit alone can more than cover this annual cost. Not to mention the other ongoing perks of this card, from two free checked bags and up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. For frequent United flyers, this card can provide tons of value each year.

Pros

  • Earn 4x miles on United purchases; 2x miles on travel and dining; 1x on everything else
  • United Club℠ membership for you and your eligible travel companions at all United Club locations and participating Star Alliance lounges worldwide
  • Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry/TSA Precheck application every four years
  • Free first and second checked bags for you and one travel companion on the same reservation
  • 25% inflight purchase statement credit

Cons

  • High $525 annual fee
  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles
  • Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining at restaurants and eligible delivery services
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee credit
  • Free first and second checked bags - a savings of up to $320 per roundtrip. Terms Apply
  • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flight when you pay with your Club Card

Best credit cards for airport lounge access in 2021

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Card Best for Welcome Offer/Sign Up Bonus Earning Rate Annual Fee
The Platinum Card® from American Express Best consumer card for airport lounges 75,000 points
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
$550
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express Best business card for airport lounges 125,000 points
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's an extra half point per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
$595
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Best for Priority Pass lounges and restaurants 60,000 points
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit.
  • 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
$550
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® Best for American Airlines flyers 50,000 miles
  • 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on other purchases
$450
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Best for Delta flyers 50,000 miles
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
$550
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card Best for Delta business travelers 60,000 miles
  • Earn 3 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta.
  • After you spend $150,000 on your Card in a calendar year, you earn 1.5 Miles per dollar (that’s an extra half mile per dollar) on eligible purchases the rest of the year.
$550
United Club℠ Infinite Card Best for United Airlines flyers Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles
  • Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining at restaurants and eligible delivery services
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
$525

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the best cards for airport lounge access.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
The Amex Platinum Card provides access to American Express Centurion Lounges, including the Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The Amex Platinum has a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees). But if you travel frequently and value the lounge membership benefits of this card, you’ll likely get your money’s worth from the card.

Lounge access

The Amex Platinum is the best consumer card for lounge access because it provides entry to the greatest number of high-quality lounges. First and foremost, you’ll get access to Amex’s Centurion Lounges. Although Amex closed its Centurion Lounges during the early parts of the coronavirus pandemic, all U.S. Centurion Lounges are now open. Plus, Amex has several new and expanded Centurion Lounges in the works.

Unfortunately, unless you can show that you’re in transit from another flight, you’ll only be able to access Centurion Lounges within three hours of scheduled departure. And access upon arrival is no longer allowed. You can bring up to two guests at no additional charge, as well as any children under 2. However, do know that this is changing in Feb. 2023 when guests will no longer be complimentary unless you charge $75,000 annually on the card.

You’ll also be able to access Delta Sky Clubs when you’re flying Delta or select Delta partners on the same day. And Amex Platinum cardmembers get a Priority Pass Select membership with two guests included. However, this Priority Pass Select membership won’t provide access to restaurants in the Priority Pass network. Enrollment required for select benefits.

But you can also access various other lounges in the American Express Global Lounge Collection, including Escape Lounges, Airspace Lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges and international American Express lounges.

Related: Who should (and who shouldn’t) get the American Express Platinum?

Other card benefits

The Amex Platinum Card earns five Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on airfare booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 of these purchases per calendar year) and five points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel. And the Amex Platinum has many other perks. Some of the top perks include:

Enrollment required for benefits listed above. 

To learn more, check out our review of The Platinum Card from American Express.

Official application link: The Platinum Card from American Express

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
The Amex Centurion Lounge at Miami International Airport. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

The Business Platinum card has slightly different benefits than its personal Platinum counterpart, along with a slightly higher $595 annual fee (see rates and fees). But it’s a compelling option for business travelers who can use the credits and perks it provides.

Lounge access

The Amex Business Platinum is the best overall business credit card for lounge access. Like the personal Amex Platinum, the Business Platinum offers access to Amex’s Centurion Lounges as well as to Delta Sky Clubs on same-day Delta flights. You’ll also get a Priority Pass Select membership with two guests included. Enrollment required for select benefits.

The entire American Express Global Lounge Collection is also available to Business Platinum cardmembers. However, the same restrictions on Centurion lounge access — admittance only within three hours of departure, no access upon arrival and two free guests only — also apply to the Business Platinum.

Related: Credit card showdown: Amex Platinum vs. Amex Business Platinum

Other card benefits

The Business Platinum Card has many of the same perks as the personal Platinum Card. But there are some differences. The Business Platinum Card earns five Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel. You’ll also earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more, up to 1 million additional points per calendar year.

You’ll get an annual airline-fee credit of up to $200 on one airline of your choice each calendar year, Gold Elite status with MarriottGold status with Hilton and up to $200 in annual Dell credits (for U.S. purchases) (enrollment required for these benefits). Plus, you’ll get a 35% rebate when you book a first- or business-class flight through Amex Travel using Pay with Points (up to 500,000 points back per calendar year). This discount also extends to any flight class on the airline you selected for your airline fee credit. Enrollment required for select benefits.

To learn more, see our review of the Business Platinum Card from American Express.

Official application link: The Business Platinum Card from American Express

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Priority Pass lounge in Punta Cana (Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Being a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder gets you a Priority Pass Select membership, which can get you into this lounge in Punta Cana. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is easily the best travel card for Priority Pass lounge access. Admittedly, the card previously had competitors in this area. But the Citi Prestige® Card is now far less appealing than other premium travel cards. And Amex cards fell behind when they stopped offering Priority Pass restaurant access.

The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Lounge access

Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get a Priority Pass Select membership that includes access to airport lounges, restaurants, cafes and markets participating in the Priority Pass Select network. Primary cardmembers and authorized users each get their own Priority Pass Select memberships. However, you will need to enroll in Priority Pass before you have access. And, once registered, you can bring up to two guests into each lounge with you.

Many Priority Pass airport lounges are reopening, but some are still closed. So, check the lounge’s page on the Priority Pass website to determine whether a particular lounge has reopened.

Related: Sapphire showdown: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Other card benefits

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 10x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on Lyft through March 2022, 3 points per dollar spent on other travel and dining worldwide and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. The card also offers a $300 annual travel credit and travel protections such as trip delay protection and delayed baggage protection.

To learn more, check out our Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card review.

Official application link: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

American Airlines Admirals Club entrance
The AAdvantage Executive Card can get you into Admirals Clubs when you fly American. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard has a $450 annual fee, with no charge for up to 10 authorized users. Suppose you’re mainly interested in the card for Admirals Club access. In that case, you’ll notice that the annual fee is lower than the cost to purchase or renew an individual Admirals Club membership.

Lounge access

The AAdvantage Executive Card comes with an Admirals Club membership for the primary cardholder. Admirals Club membership includes access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges and other lounges with which American Airlines has reciprocal access privileges. Authorized users, on the other hand, only have access to American’s Admirals Club lounges.

The primary cardholder and each authorized user can bring immediate family members or two other guests into the lounge. However, you must show a boarding pass for same-day travel on any departing or arriving flight that is marketed or operated by American Airlines, marketed and operated by any Oneworld carrier or marketed and operated by Alaska Airlines.

Note that only some American Airlines lounges have reopened. You can see a current listing of open lounges on American Airlines’ website.

Related: 3 reasons why this is the best card for Admirals Club lounge access as travel returns

Other card benefits

With the AAdvantage Executive Card, you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. Plus, you’ll get Group 4 priority boarding and your first checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation. And you can earn 10,000 elite qualifying miles after making $40,000 in purchases within the calendar year.

To learn more, see our Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard credit card review.

Official application link: Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Delta Austin Lounge
The Delta Sky Club lounge in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Katherine Fan/The Points Guy)

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card has a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees). But the card offers Delta Sky Club access as one of its benefits — and this single benefit may justify the annual fee if you travel with Delta frequently.

Lounge access

Delta Reserve cardmembers have complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs when traveling on a same-day Delta-operated or Delta-marketed flight. However, not all Delta Sky Club locations have reopened. You can see a list of the open Sky Club locations on Delta’s website.

You can also access Delta Sky Clubs when traveling on a Delta partner flight that isn’t marketed or operated by Delta. But, in this case, you’ll need to pay $39 per visit. You can bring up to two guests, or a partner and children under 21, for $39 per person per visit. But Reserve cardholders also get two one-time guest passes each year for complimentary guest access to the Delta Sky Club.

Delta Reserve cardholders also get access to American Express Centurion Lounges when traveling on a Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight paid for with a U.S.-issued American Express card. You’ll only be able to access the lounge up to three hours before your flight or during connections, though. And although you can bring up to two guests, you’ll pay $50 for each.

Related: Credit card showdown: Amex Platinum vs. Delta Reserve

Other card benefits

The Delta Reserve Card earns 3 miles per dollar spent directly with Delta and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

You and up to eight companions on the same reservation will get your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 priority boarding when flying with Delta. You’ll also receive a domestic first class, Comfort+ or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card.

Elite status is also more attainable with this card. When you spend $25,000 on your card within a calendar year, you will get a Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver for Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion status. For Diamond Medallion status, you’ll need to spend $250,000 on the card.

For more information, check out our Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card review.

Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)
Visiting a Delta Sky Club is a bit different during the pandemic. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card also offers Delta Sky Club access as one of its benefits. As such, the Delta Reserve Business Amex can be helpful for business travelers who frequently fly on Delta.

Lounge access

Like the personal Delta Reserve credit card, Delta Reserve for Business cardholders have complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs when traveling on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight. You can also get access when flying on a Delta partner flight not operated or marketed by Delta, but you’ll have to pay $39 per visit. You get two one-time complimentary guest passes each account year. But you’ll need to pay $39 per person per visit for other guests.

Cardholders also get access to Centurion Lounges when traveling on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight when paying the fare with a U.S.-issued American Express card. You can access the lounge up to three hours before departure or during connections. And you can bring up to two guests by paying $50 per person per location.

Related: Choosing the best credit cards for Delta flyers

Other card benefits

The Delta Reserve for Business earns 3 Delta miles per dollar spent directly with Delta and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. However, you’ll earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases after $150,000 in spending each calendar year.

Like the personal Delta Reserve, you’ll get a first free checked bag for you and up to eight companions on the same reservation, along with Main Cabin 1 priority boarding when flying with Delta. You’ll also get a round-trip companion certificate for bookings in domestic first class, Comfort+ or Main Cabin each year upon renewal. Plus, you can spend to get a Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver.

For more information, see our Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card review.

Official application link: Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card

United Club Infinite Card

United Club lounge (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Get access to United Clubs when flying United with the United Club Infinite Card. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The United Club Infinite Card offers United Club membership as a perk. So, this card can make sense for frequent United flyers.

Lounge access

The United Club Infinite Card offers United Club membership for the primary cardholder. This membership gives the primary cardholder access to United Club locations with a same-day boarding pass for travel on United, a Star Alliance partner or a contracted partner. United Club members can bring two adults or one adult and dependent children under 21 years of age as guests.

Not all United Club locations have reopened yet, though. To see which lounges are currently open, check the list on United’s website.

Related: The best credit cards for United Airlines flyers

Other card benefits

The United Club Infinite Card offers various other perks besides lounge access when flying United. For example, you’ll earn 4 miles per dollar spent on United purchases, 2 miles per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. And you and one companion can get your first and second checked bags free on United-operated flights when you buy the tickets with your card. Plus, you’ll get a statement credit of up to $100 every four years to reimburse a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.

For more information, see our United Club Infinite Card review.

Official application link: United Club Infinite Card

Comparing benefits for the best credit cards with airport lounge access

CREDIT CARD ANNUAL FEE LOUNGE ACCESS PRIMARY BENEFITS
The Platinum Card from American Express $550 (see rates & fees) Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges and other lounges in the American Express Global Lounge Collection when flying any airline (enrollment required for select benefits)Delta Sky Club when flying Delta or select partner airlines 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel and prepaid hotels booked through Amex TravelAirline fee credit up to $200 each calendar year (enrollment required for select benefits)

Uber Cash up to $200 each calendar year (enrollment required)

Terms apply

The Business Platinum Card from American Express $595 (see rates & fees) Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges and other lounges in the American Express Global Lounge Collection when flying any airline(enrollment required for select benefits)Delta Sky Club when flying Delta or select partner airlines 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel1.5x points on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more

35% rebate when booking eligible flights through Pay with Points (up to 500,000 points per calendar year)

Terms apply

Chase Sapphire Reserve $550 Priority Pass lounges and restaurants when flying any airline 10x points on Lyft (through March 2022)3x points on travel and dining

$300 annual travel credit

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard $450 Admirals Club membership for the primary cardholder and access for authorized users (limited to when you’re flying American Airlines or select partner airlines) 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases

Group 4 priority boarding

First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight companions

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card $550 (see rates & fees) Delta Sky Club access when traveling on a Delta-operated or Delta-marketed flightCenturion Lounge access when traveling on a Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight for which you paid with a U.S.-issued Amex card 3x miles on eligible purchases made directly with DeltaFirst checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 priority boarding for you and up to eight companions

Round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card

Terms apply

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card $550 (see rates & fees) Delta Sky Club access when traveling on a Delta-operated or Delta-marketed flightCenturion Lounge access when traveling on a Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight for which you paid with a U.S.-issued Amex card 3x miles on eligible Delta purchases

First checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 priority boarding for you and up to eight companions

Round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card

Terms apply

United Club Infinite Card $525 United Club access when traveling on United, a Star Alliance partner or a contracted partner 4x miles on eligible United purchases

First and second checked bags free for you and a companion

Priority boarding

Low-annual-fee options

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

The annual fees on the cards discussed so far in this guide all top $400. These cards carry enough benefits and earn enough points to recoup the annual fee many times over for some travelers.

But if you can’t justify high annual fees or don’t travel frequently, you may want a card with a lower annual fee. So, here are a few ways to get a few complimentary lounge visits each year while paying a lower annual fee:

The information for the Amex Green card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: The best credit cards with annual fees under $100

Frequently asked questions

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about the use of credit cards for lounge access:

What is Priority Pass and how does it work?

The Club MCO at Orlando International Airport. (Image courtesy of Priority Pass)

Priority Pass is an airport lounge membership program that provides members with access to more than 1,300 airport lounges — and sometimes non-lounge experiences such as restaurants — around the world. With a Priority Pass membership, you can visit these lounges regardless of the airline you’re flying or your ticket class. You can even access Priority Pass lounges when you’re flying in economy class on a low-cost airline.

If you have Priority Pass access benefits through a credit card, you’ll usually need to enroll in Priority Pass Select. However, the access policies vary across cards, so be sure to determine what benefits your card offers before heading to the airport. For example, Priority Pass Select memberships for American Express cards don’t cover visits to restaurant lounges. And cards with lower annual fees, such as the Hilton Surpass and Hilton Business cards, only offer 10 complimentary lounge visits per year.

Related: The best credit cards for Priority Pass lounge access

Enrollment required for select benefits

What are Centurion Lounges and how do they work?

American Express Centurion Lounge in Denver
The American Express Centurion Lounge at Denver International Airport. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Centurion Lounges are high-end lounges accessible to select American Express cardmembers. These lounges are often known for offering locally curated, high-quality dining and drinks. Some Centurion Lounges even provide other perks, including spa services and wine tasting. However, Amex has modified select Centurion Lounge perks during the pandemic.

The easiest way to access Centurion Lounges is by holding an eligible card such as The Platinum Card from American Express or The Business Platinum Card from American Express. But Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business cardholders can also access Centurion Lounges when flying Delta on the same day on a ticket paid for with a U.S.-issued Amex card.

Delta Reserve cardholders don’t get complimentary guest access, but Amex Platinum cardholders can bring up to two guests with them free of charge. And Centurion members can bring up to two guests or their immediate family free of charge.

Related: 6 ways airport lounges are improving — and one way they definitely aren’t

Should I have multiple cards with lounge access?

Depending on how frequently you travel, the airports you visit and the airlines you fly, it may make sense to have multiple cards that offer access to different lounge networks. Since you can only access Delta, United and American lounges when flying each airline, it’s essential to have the correct credit card for lounge access based on the airports you’re visiting and the airline you’re flying.

Related: 4 reasons why the Amex Platinum might be the ideal credit card for Delta flyers

Are cards with lounge access worth it during the pandemic?

If you are traveling during the pandemic and travel through airports with open lounges, it can make sense to carry one or more cards that provide lounge access. But if you don’t intend to restart travel soon or plan to skip airport lounges, it may not make sense to have airport lounge cards now. I recommend assessing your credit card portfolio to determine which cards are worth their annual fees.

Related: 7 ways I’ve changed my flight routine to make pandemic travel easier

What’s included in free airport lounge access?

Airport lounges typically provide access to seating, power, Wi-Fi, nonalcoholic drinks and snacks for no additional charge. However, some airport lounges offer other amenities such as meals, spa services, shower rooms, meeting rooms and alcoholic drinks. And in some cases, these additional amenities are also complimentary for anyone who has access to the lounge.

Related: How valuable is a Priority Pass lounge membership?

How do I get free airport lounge access?

The easiest way to get free airport lounge access is to sign up for a credit card that offers lounge access as a perk. However, you may be able to snag airport lounge access with some types of airline elite status. And if you reside outside the U.S., you may find that some non-travel memberships include free access to some airport lounges.

Related: The 8 do’s and don’ts in an airport lounge

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green Card, please click here.

Featured photo of the Amex Centurion Lounge at New York-JFK by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

Chris Dong
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