Choosing the best airport lounge at DFW — and how you can get inside
Editor’s note: TPG staffers visited most of these lounges in late 2021. We've updated this guide with four more lounges a TPG staffer visited in June 2022.
Here in the U.S., you’d be hard-pressed to find an airport with more diverse lounge options than Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).
From American Express and Capital One to various U.S. airlines and unique Priority Pass options, this airport is chock-full of great choices that range from standard airport lounges to private napping suites and even a video game room.
So if you find yourself on a layover with time to spare in Dallas, you’re in luck. Depending on your lounge access credentials (many popular rewards credit cards can get you in), you could spend an entire afternoon lounge hopping. But maybe you need to just pick the best lounge for your situation and set up shop.
Either way, TPG has you covered. Four TPG staffers flew through Dallas on various trips and collectively sampled 13 different DFW lounges thanks to access provided by their credit cards or elite status.
Here, we break down the experience in each lounge in an effort to help you find which is best for your next trip.
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Capital One Lounge (near D22)
The Capital One Lounge in DFW — near Gate D22, and in the same part of the concourse as the American Airlines Flagship Lounge — opened in late 2021. It offers great hot and grab-and-go food, a full bar and ample seating. If that sounds idyllic for an airport lounge, it pretty much is.
On the day TPG’s Summer Hull visited in early December 2021, there was a small event going on to allow some airport staff to experience the lounge. But even with that event, the space wasn’t overcrowded or the food picked over in any way.
There are multiple different sitting areas in a horseshoe around the center of the lounge, where the individual small plates are located. The Capital One Lounge also offers a Peloton room, a relaxation room and a shower suite.
While the physical space is quite nice, it’s the food and beverages that make the Capital One Lounge incredibly tough for its competitors to beat — or even meet.
From macaroni and cheese with bacon to bibimbap, a beet salad, brownies and a chicken pot pie, there were ample selections for in-lounge culinary enjoyment.
If you need to just grab something to eat on the go, you can do that, too. There's an assortment of sandwiches, salads, yogurts, beverages and more available near the entrance.
How to get access to the Capital One Lounge
Anyone can pay $65 for a lounge visit. But better yet, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or Capital One Spark Miles for Business will get you two complimentary lounge visits per calendar year. Additional visits can be purchased for $45 apiece if you have one of those cards and have used up your two included annual visits.
If you want to be a frequent Capital One Lounge visitor, however, you’ll probably want the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which gets you and up to two guests per visit unlimited access.
Finally, note that several airlines partner with the Capital One Lounge to offer lounge access to select premium cabin and elite passengers.
American Airlines Admirals Club (near D24)
From small to huge, American Airlines Admirals Clubs tend to offer consistency. And American has an Admirals Club in every DFW terminal. Near the end of 2021, TPG's Katie Genter visited the Admirals Club near Gate D24 to check out this lounge’s offerings.
There is ample seating, including typical lounge seating, bar seating, desk seating with office chairs, table seating and a TV room. There is also a small children’s room.
Like all Admirals Clubs, this location offers complimentary snacks and drinks and a full-service bar.
During her visit, afternoon snacks were offered, including soups, a mezze selection, spinach and artichoke dip, naan bread, salads, cheese cubes, snack mixes and a selection of desserts. There was also more substantial food and higher-quality drinks available for purchase from a menu.
This lounge also offers complimentary Wi-Fi. During her visit, the Wi-Fi tested at 9.94 Mbps download and 10.07 Mbps upload speeds. And Katie reports there were an adequate number of toilet stalls and sinks in the women’s restroom.
However, Katie only stayed in the Admirals Club for about an hour before heading to the nearby Capital One Lounge. She likes the Capital One Lounge due to its meal-worthy complimentary dining options and smaller crowds (at least for now).
How to get access to the Admirals Club
You can access all Admirals Clubs with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® as long as you’re flying American that same day. Plus, you can bring up to two guests if they are also flying American.
Alternatively, you can buy a single-visit pass for $59 or 5,900 miles. Or, if you plan to visit Admirals Clubs frequently, you can buy an Admirals Club membership. Annual membership rates vary based on your current AAdvantage elite status and whether you are a new member or a renewing member. But, rates start at $500 for an individual membership and $1,100 for a household membership.
Finally, Oneworld elite members and passengers in premium cabins may get access when flying on qualifying itineraries. See this page on American's website for more details.
American Airlines Admirals Club (between C19 and C20)
TPG’s Clint Henderson took a tour of the Admirals Club in Terminal C and called it “a full throwback to the 1990s.” Henderson said, “The Terminal C space looks like the lounges from the ’90s movie ‘Up in the Air.'”
The lounge is massive and didn’t feel too crowded, but Clint said he felt a bit ripped off paying $59 for a one-day pass. That’s because the food offerings were pretty grim. You’ll find reheated soups, cheese cubes, carrots, celery, a spinach dip and some prepackaged side salads. There are also apples and oranges wrapped in cellophane.
The one thing the food offerings do have going for them is the trays of cookies. Honorable mention goes to the chef bar where you can get guacamole and chips during certain hours of the day, though this wasn’t available when Clint visited.
The other thing people like about this lounge is the bar, which is always bustling. In fact, there are complaints the lines at the bar can be exceedingly long though that wasn’t the case when Clint was there.
Service wasn’t especially friendly, but the agents at the check-in counter were nice. If you like space, this is the lounge for you, with multiple seating areas and styles of seats (no lie-flat couches though).
Wi-Fi is lightning fast, clocking in at 19.5 Mbps for downloads and 19.3 Mbps for uploads.
There is also a large business center with private booths for working and even a printer with a fax machine (I love the ’90s!). We do love the Eames-style lounge chairs, though the rest of the furniture is pretty dated.
Clint said, “I’d skip this lounge next time, and head instead to the one in Terminal D – American’s premium lounge offering, and a nicer experience overall.”
American Airlines Admirals Club (between B3 and B4)
Katie visited the Admirals Club in Terminal B between gates B3 and B4 in June 2022. This lounge is near where the walkway from Terminal D reaches Terminal B. If you're looking for tucked-away, quiet cubicles to work in, the Terminal B Admirals Club may provide just what you need.
The rest of the seating is in one large room with a raised ceiling. But the seating feels packed in and the space is rather dark.
There's a bar at the end of the large room. The drink options are similar to what you'd find in most Admirals Clubs — plenty of house drinks to choose from, as well as some premium options that carry a surcharge.
Just before you get to the bar, there's a selection of snacks in a corner. There are the same snacks Clint and Katie reported above when they visited other DFW Admirals Clubs in late 2021. There was also a make-your-own taco bar with tortillas, ground beef, beans, cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo and sour cream at this lounge when Katie visited in June 2022.
There is Wi-Fi in the lounge. When Katie did a speed test in the business center, she found 9.90 Mbps download and 9.91 Mbps upload speeds. There are also several conference rooms you can rent and spacious bathrooms. However, you should know that there's no kids room.
Like Clint and the Terminal C Admirals Club, Katie would recommend skipping the Terminal B Admirals Club in favor of the one in Terminal D (or the Centurion Lounge, American Flagship Lounge or Capital One Lounge, if you have access to any of these).
American Airlines Flagship Lounge (between D21 and D22)
The American Airlines Flagship Lounge in Dallas reopened in March 2022 after closing during the coronavirus pandemic. This lounge is located in Terminal D between gates D21 and D22, adjacent to the Capital One Lounge.
The lounge is huge, with many different types of seating. Near the entrance, you'll find the buffet and a variety of tables and counters appropriate for eating or working. Katie says she particularly enjoys the counters by the window, which offer views of the tarmac.
Speaking of the buffet, American's Flagship Lounges offer a buffet of similar quality to Amex Centurion lounges, but with a much wider variety. You'll find sushi before the flights to Asia depart, and Katie loved the housemade chips. The buffet is designed for travelers to have a meal, not just a snack.
There's also a huge drink selection — and it's all self-serve (besides the Champagne station as you enter the lounge, which is usually staffed). Whether you want to drink coffee, sparkling water, wine, Champagne or a mixed drink, it's all available here.
Walking farther into the lounge, you'll find quads of chairs by the windows, the Flagship First Dining room, a counter of workstations with dividers between the seats, a staffed customer service desk, shower rooms, bathrooms, a snack bar, a video room and a quiet room.
Whether you want to take a nap, relax or work, you'll likely find a spot that works well for you. And best of all, there are power outlets at almost every seat in the lounge. Katie tested the Wi-Fi during her June 2020 visit and found 9.97 Mbps download and 9.89 Mbps upload speeds.
Katie says she has trouble choosing between the Capital One Lounge and American's Flagship Lounge when flying through Dallas and has access to both. She gives a slight edge to the Flagship Lounge, since it has better working space, self-serve drinks and a wider variety of food. But it's much more feasible for most travelers to access the Capital One Lounge than the Flagship Lounge.
How to get access to the American Airlines Flagship Lounge
Unlike the other lounges discussed in this story, there's no way to get American Airlines Flagship Lounge access as a credit card benefit.
But, you can purchase access for $150 or 15,000 AAdvantage miles per person at open Flagship Lounge locations if space permits. You can only purchase a single-visit pass if you are 21 years of age or older and are traveling the same day on a flight marketed or operated by American, or marketed and operated by any Oneworld airline.
You may also have access when flying on select first- or business-class tickets. American Airlines AAdvantage and Alaska MileagePlan elite members have access when traveling on select itineraries, while other Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members get access before and after any same-day flight marketed and operated by American or a Oneworld airline. The Flagship Lounge access policies are nuanced, so check out all the specifics on American's website.
Finally, note that Flagship First Dining is an even more exclusive perk than Flagship Lounge access. So, don't get these two exclusive perks confused.
Minute Suites (near D23)
Minutes Suites aren’t a traditional airport lounge, but one is an option in DFW if you need a quiet, private place away from the gate to take a nap, make a call, nurse a baby or just stream something on your device without distractions.
Food and beverages aren’t included here, but basic pre-packaged beverages, chips, granola bars and similar are available for purchase, with prices ranging from $2 to $4 for most selections. You can access items either at the front desk or via the minibar in your private room.
During Summer’s late-2021 visit, there was no wait to get in and the internet speed was 79.3 Mbps download and 7.72 Mbps upload.
Summer found the Minute Suites delivered on the promise of some quiet, private space. But, the space felt a little dark, dated and not somewhere you’d want to hang out for hours on end unless you need a nap or privacy away from the crowds.
How to get access to Minute Suites
You can pay $48 for one hour of quiet in the Minute Suites, with additional 15-minute periods costing $12 each. Nursing and pumping mothers can get a free 30-minute visit.
However, anyone with a Priority Pass card — available with many premium credit cards — can enjoy an hour at Minute Suites for no extra charge, with additional hours available at a discounted rate of $34. Up to three guests can enjoy the same suite as the Priority Pass member at no charge.
Related: Best Priority Pass lounges in the US
The Club DFW (near D27)
The Club DFW is a Priority Pass option in Terminal D. It’s a small lounge with three seating areas: a bar/buffet area, a quiet room and an “outdoor” area that has a view of the terminal. The bar area was very crowded during my midday visit in December 2021, while the quiet room had plenty of open seating.
As for food options, there was a buffet area near the check-in counter with a variety of breakfast options as well as coffee, juice and soft drinks. The buffet wasn’t self-serve when I visited, so travelers needed to ask a buffet attendant to make a plate for them. Unfortunately, there were no to-go options.
There is a bar too, which has a variety of beer, wine and liquor options.
My only major issue with The Club was the check-in time. It took over five minutes for an attendant to greet the growing line of patrons waiting to enter with Priority Pass cards. I chalked this up to the lounge being short-staffed, as my visit was around the same time the omicron wave started.
How to get access to The Club DFW
You can access The Club with a Priority Pass membership or pay a daily rate for access. When I visited, access was offered for $33 per day, which was advertised as a 25% discount on the standard daily rate. However, The Club DFW is now selling single visits online for $48.71.
Finally, note The Club DFW only allows access at most three hours before your flight's scheduled departure.
American Express Centurion Lounge (near D12)
The American Express Centurion Lounge at DFW is located in Terminal D and is one of the larger Amex lounges around, having benefited from a space upgrade a few years ago. As is true with many Amex lounges, there was a long line to get into the lounge when I stopped by, although luckily I didn’t have to join a waitlist.
Seating is plentiful around the lounge, although seats fill up quickly during peak periods. You’ll find couches, tables and high-tops scattered around the lounge. While there are no tarmac views, you do get a sweeping view of the inside of the terminal.
Everything in the lounge was what you’d expect from an Amex Centurion Lounge if you’ve been to one in the past. There was a large buffet, which included favorites like scrambled eggs, pancakes and granola for breakfast. There were also self-serve espresso and water machines around the lounge. There were no takeaway food options when I visited.
How to get access to the American Express Centurion Lounge
The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card also provide Centurion Lounge access when the cardholder is flying on a Delta-operated flight booked with a U.S.-issued American Express charge or credit card.
Be Relax Spa (near B28)
There is a Be Relax Spa in Terminal B near Gate B28 that you can access with Priority Pass memberships that aren't a perk of American Express cards.
Similar to the Gameway location discussed later in this story, the Be Relax Spa isn't a typical lounge. Instead, it's a location where you get a spa service and then leave. The Priority Pass website states that you can get one of the following complimentary treatments during your visit:
- Be Back 30-minute massage.
- Be Back 15-minute massage plus aromatherapy and oxygen.
- Head Up on lounger 10-minute massage plus aromatherapy and oxygen.
- Be Feet on lounger 10-minute massage plus aromatherapy and oxygen.
When Katie visited in June 2022, the spa staff originally told her that only the massage chairs were available through Priority Pass. But when she specifically asked about the foot and head massages mentioned on the Priority Pass website, the staff member said the location wasn't offering foot massages because the chair was broken. And it would be a two-hour wait for a head massage.
Katie said the wait wasn't an issue, so the staff asked her to write her name, desired treatment, flight boarding time and phone number on a sheet of paper. About 90 minutes later, she got a call asking if she'd still like to get a treatment with her Priority Pass benefit.
Once at the Be Relax Spa, the staff swiped her Priority Pass card, led her to a massage chair and asked her to remove her shoes. The staff member warned her that some people find the massage chair too rough, saying to speak up if she wanted him to turn off the chair. Then, the staff member turned on the massage chair and gave Katie a 10-minute head massage.
The head massage was relaxing. And unlike other massage chairs she'd tried, this one didn't leave her feeling bruised. After experiencing the massage chair, she'd be more likely to try the 30-minute massage chair session on a subsequent visit instead of waiting for a head or foot massage.
Before you visit, check the hours on the Be Relax Spa website as they may be shorter in reality than the Priority Pass website or app would lead you to believe. For example, when Katie visited in June 2022, the spa closed at 6 p.m. even though the Priority Pass website said the spa would be open until 9 p.m. Finally, although there is also a Be Relax Spa in DFW Terminal D, that location doesn't participate in Priority Pass.
How to get access to the Be Relax Spa
You can pay for spa services at the Be Relax Spa based on the stated menu of prices. But, if you have a Priority Pass membership that isn't from an Amex card — since Priority Passes from American Express cards only cover typical lounge visits — you can choose from a selection of complimentary offerings as a benefit of your Priority Pass visit.
United Club (between E6 and E7)
Terminal D has the widest array of lounge options at DFW. But if you find yourself in Terminal E, you still have choices.
One option is the United Club, which rings in at the smaller and more basic level of United Clubs. However, there are a few different seating areas, a bar and a couple of small private rooms to take calls or work.
The day Summer visited this lounge it got pretty busy for the available space. And the food options — such as vegetable soup and a platter of corn dog nuggets — were not the most appetizing, especially after she'd seen what was on offer at the Capital One Lounge.
The complimentary WiFi clocked in at 109.7 Mbps download and 126.6 Mbps upload.
As long as you come in with tempered expectations for the offerings and amenities, the United Club can do the trick if you are looking for a lounge option in this terminal.
How to get access to the United Club
The United Club Infinite Card includes unlimited United Club visits when you’re flying with United or other Star Alliance partners. Other United cobranded credit cards, like the United Business Card, include two United Club one-time passes per year, which you can use when flying on a United-operated flight.
Premium-cabin passengers, Star Alliance Gold members, active U.S. military personnel, Air Canada Maple Leaf Club members and Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer members may also have access when flying on select itineraries. See this page on United's website for more details.