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Airport lounges. If you use them regularly, you know the benefits. If you’ve never been to one, you likely imagine that they’re fantastic, luxurious places where you can escape from the normal chaos of a busy airport, where you get free food and drinks and some peace and quiet.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
Should you get a credit card with lounge access?
While the quality of the airport lounge experience might differ according to the airport you’re at, the age of the lounge itself and the airline you’re flying with, it’s generally true that having access to a lounge does upgrade the flying experience to a certain degree. You do often enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with having access to a space that limits who can and cannot enter.
If you don’t currently have a credit card that offers lounge access and are maybe considering signing up for one, how do you decide if the option is right for you? Here are several things to take into consideration.
1. Do you travel for work?
Airport lounges are a boon for busy business travelers. Trying to get work done in the terminal before your flight? You’re lucky if you can answer a few emails because any in-depth work, calls or anything that takes more than an iota of brainpower will have to wait. There’s often just too much going on around you to get anything done.
Airport lounges remedy this by providing a quiet space often geared toward business travelers. In many lounges, there are actually entire zones set apart just for these business travelers, where silence is plentiful. Additionally, lounges usually offer free WiFi, making your work even easier. Plus, there are spaces where you can conduct calls without being disturbed or disturbing anyone else.
Your employer might pay for you to have access to an airport lounge when you travel. But if that’s not the case, you might want to sign up for a credit card that comes with lounge access.
Business Cards With Lounge Access
Here are a few business cards to consider that come with lounge access. Note that many of these are also some of the best small business credit cards available.
The Business Platinum Card from American Express
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express comes with access to airport lounges in 140 countries (which, according to Amex, is more lounge options than any other card on the market; enrollment may be required). Cardholders get access to the Centurion Lounge and international Amex lounges. They also get access to Amex partners like Delta Sky Club or Priority Pass lounges.
Other benefits include 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Cardholders earn 1.5x points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
Plus, select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Card or any of the Additional Cards on your Platinum Card account.
Additionally, unlock over $1,000 in value per year for statement credits on select purchases, including tech, recruiting, and wireless with the Business Platinum Card.
Cardholders can get up to $189 back per year to enroll in CLEAR® membership when they use their Card to enroll. CLEAR® uses biometrics to assign you a touchless ID, allowing you to move faster through security at select airports and stadiums across the U.S. You can cover the cost of a CLEAR membership with up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year after you pay for CLEAR with your Business Platinum Card®.
Also, get access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting with The American Express Global Lounge Collection®. You’ll have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market (as of 9/2021).
You also get a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
New The Business Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders have the opportunity to earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
The annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees).
Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card
The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card comes with access to the Delta Sky Club plus you can bring up to two guests with you for $50 each when flying on Delta. Delta Sky Clubs include access to food and drinks, WiFi, satellite TV, flight assistance, and more.
When you purchase a Delta flight with your Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card, you will receive complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge or Escape Lounge – The Centurion® Studio Partner.
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express, one of the best Delta credit cards, also comes with the ability to earn 3x miles per $1 spent on 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. If your purchase qualifies for a category that has a higher mileage accelerator, only the higher accelerator will apply (ex: you would earn 3X miles on purchases made directly with Delta instead of 1.5X).
Cardholders can also earn an additional 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $30,000 in purchases on their card in a calendar year, up to 4x times per year, getting them closer to Medallion Status.
Additionally, save 15% On Award Travel With TakeOff 15. Eligible Card Members now enjoy exclusive savings on Delta flights. Not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
Welcome Bonus and Additional Perks
New Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card cardholders can earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after spending $5,000 in purchases on their new Card in their first 3 months.
Plus, with complimentary access to Delta Sky Club®, relax before your Delta flight, or find downtime between connections. You’ll also receive two Delta Sky Club One-Time Guest Passes annually so you can share the experience with your traveling partners.
The annual fee is $550 (See Rates & Fees).
United Business Card
The United℠ Business Card comes with 2 United Club one-time passes per year. Additionally, get a $100 United® travel credit after 7 United flight purchases of $100 or more each anniversary year.
United℠ Business Card cardholders earn 2x miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, dining (including eligible delivery services), at gas stations, office supply stores, and on local transit and commuting. Earn 1x mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Also, cardholders can receive a 5,000-mile “better together” bonus each anniversary when they have both the United℠ Business Card and a personal Chase United® credit card.
New United℠ Business Card cardholders can earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months their account is open. Plus, enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
With perks like a free first checked bag (a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip—terms apply), 2 United Club one-time passes per year, and priority boarding privileges, the United Business Card has plenty to offer.
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card comes with complimentary Priority Pass Select membership (once enrolled). You’ll get 10 free visits to a selection of over 1,300 Priority Pass airport lounges every year.
Also, enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status with your Hilton Honors Business Card.
Cardholders earn Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases on their Card:
- 12x at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio
- 6x at:
- U.S. gas stations
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- On wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers
- On flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel
- Also on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
- At U.S. restaurants
- 3x on all other eligible purchases
And there’s a limited-time offer! New The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card cardholders can earn 165,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. This offer ends on 04/05/2023.
There is a $95 annual fee (See Rates & Fees).
Find more extensive details in our The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card review.
2. Do you travel often?
This question needs to be asked when you sign up for any credit card that comes with travel-related benefits. As nice and posh as those benefits sound — flight upgrades, lounge access, free hotel stays, VIP perks — if you don’t travel enough to earn them, you may be better off looking for something else, especially if you’re paying an annual fee for it.
If you’re considering a travel credit card with lounge access but you only fly two or three times a year, you might want to forgo that travel credit card and instead pick a credit card that will give you more benefits that you’ll actually use on a regular basis. A cash back credit card, for instance, may be a better choice.
Related: Cash Back vs Travel Rewards Credit Cards
3. Who do you travel with?
Do you travel solo? With your partner? Or with the whole household? If you travel often with children, you might want to reconsider getting a credit card with lounge access. Travelers who come to a lounge with children in tow are sometimes frowned upon. Most travelers in a lounge are seeking to escape the noise that often accompanies said children.
Now, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. You can find certain lounges that offer kid-friendly spaces where families are more than welcome. However, it is something to look into and consider.
Additionally, there is likely going to be extra costs for bringing guests. Take this into consideration if you travel with other people often.
4. Are you loyal to a particular airline?
Many credit cards that you might consider for their lounge access perks are tied to a particular airline. Additionally, some lounges only allow you to enter if you’re flying with that airline on that day. Because of this, it helps to be loyal to a particular airline, whether you just like one airline or you find that one airline more conveniently serves the routes you travel most often.
For instance, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® comes with access to the American Airlines Admirals Club® membership (a value of up to $650). So if you frequently fly on American Airlines, this may be worth your consideration.
If, though, you’re only ever looking for the best flight deal you can, then you might find that doing so prohibits you from using your airline-specific lounge membership on a regular basis. As such, signing up for a co-brand airline credit card with lounge access could be a waste.
Still, cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express come with lounge access and aren’t tied down to one airline. The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with access to Priority Pass Select membership while the American Express Platinum comes with access to the Amex Global Lounge Collection. To add to their appeal, both cards are also some of the best metal credit cards available.
5. What kind of routes do you typically fly?
Another thing to consider is the routes you generally fly. If you often find yourself on red-eye flights or with layovers, then a lounge can be a great resource to you, as some offer places to refresh and even shower after a long travel day. Others offer places to catch a few winks before you have to head out to your destination.
6. How much money do you usually spend at the airport anyway?
The annual cost of a credit card with lounge access could be negated if you spend a lot of money every time you go to the airport. Plus, you’ll be saving money on things like dining and drinking. If you think that the free food, drinks and WiFi you’ll find in a lounge may make up for the cost of a credit card with lounge access, then you could save money by signing up.
3 Rewards Cards With Airport Lounge Access and Travel Benefits
For many people, aspects of traveling can be a chore. But I figured out the ways to get rid of most of the hassles at an early age. This includes gaining elite status, not checking a bag, signing up for CLEAR and TSA PreCheck to zip through security lines, boarding early to get overhead space, and of course, getting the right credit cards to earn more miles and points and gaining access to airline clubs. There you can avoid crowds, enjoy free food/snacks, wait out delays more comfortably, and have access to the top reservation agents to help change tickets.
Almost everything listed above can end up costing you next to nothing if you get the right cards. This is what I usually carry in my wallet.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®: For Priority Pass Lounges
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: For Centurion Lounge Access
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: For American Airlines Lounges
Below are a few details on what these cards with airport lounge access offer.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers complimentary Priority Pass Select access for the primary and authorized users. You can also bring up to two accompanying guests. Each additional companion costs $27 per visit.
Another reason to consider this card? Points are worth 50% more when you book award travel. It also comes with a $300 annual travel statement credit and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.
You also get access to valuable Chase travel partners. Points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio.
Plus, earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
The annual fee is $550. Each authorized card costs $75.
Read more in our Chase Sapphire Reserve review.
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express has an eye-popping number of travel and lifestyle perks. Regarding airline lounge benefits, you get complimentary access to The Centurion Network, which many frequent flyers consider to be one of the best networks.
Other lounges that you can visit include Priority Pass, Delta Sky Club (with an active Delta Airlines itinerary), Escape, and Airspace (enrollment may be required, terms apply).
Cardholders can get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when they pay with your Platinum Card®.
Also, select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Card.
The annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees), which is higher than most premium cards. However, you also get an above-average amount of benefits, valued at over $1,400.
You can also save a few bucks as you pay a flat $175 annual fee for up to three additional cards. Whether you request one, two, or all three, you pay the same cost, and your authorized users can enjoy lounge access when the primary user isn’t traveling with them.
Welcome Bonus Offer
I had to mention the enhanced welcome bonus offer, one of the best card offers available now.
New The Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 on purchases on their new Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership.
Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards
Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is the premium credit card for American Airlines flyers. You get Admirals Club membership for yourself and up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you (up to $650 value).
Other featured benefits include a free checked bag for you and up to eight companions, 25% in-flight food and beverage savings on American-operated flights, and priority boarding and check-in. This card also offers a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
For a limited time, earn a total of 4 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases through December 31, 2022. After that, earn 2 miles per $1 on eligible American Airlines purchases.
Earn 1x AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.
Plus, earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases.
New Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® cardholders can earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
This is one of the best credit cards for American Airlines flyers. The annual fee is $450. Authorized user cards are free.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to what type of traveler you are. Look at your needs. Yes, credit cards with lounge access can be a great resource to have in your wallet. But, you want to be sure that you’re not signing up for a credit card with an annual fee that’ll just go unused.
In conclusion, depending on what you’re looking for, one of these premium cards with airport lounge access might work for you. Having access to airport lounges has proven to be a valuable benefit that might save money. However, if you don’t travel often enough to take full advantage of the benefits, consider a card with a lower annual fee.
- Best Credit Cards For Free Hotel Nights
- Best No Annual Fee Travel Credit Cards
- The Best Gas Credit Cards
For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, please click here.
And For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, please click here.
- 1 Should you get a credit card with lounge access?
- 2 1. Do you travel for work?
- 3 Business Cards With Lounge Access
- 4 2. Do you travel often?
- 5 3. Who do you travel with?
- 6 4. Are you loyal to a particular airline?
- 7 5. What kind of routes do you typically fly?
- 8 6. How much money do you usually spend at the airport anyway?
- 9 3 Rewards Cards With Airport Lounge Access and Travel Benefits
- 10 Chase Sapphire Reserve
- 11 The Platinum Card from American Express
- 12 Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- 13 In Conclusion