Best credit cards for airport lounge access from our partners
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Sitting and waiting at a bustling, noisy gate just adds insult to the injury of learning your flight has been delayed. It’s moments like this that the longing for the oasis of a quiet retreat set apart from the hubbub of the general airport rises in your mind like a mirage in the middle of a desert. It’s then you start wondering about how to get into airport lounges.
Airport lounge services and amenities vary wildly among operators and locations. Many, if not most, provide free drinks and snacks, and all offer a chance to unwind in relative peace while you wait for your flight. Most airlines charge $500 or more per year for a single adult club membership, dropping prices for elite status flyers. Another option for access is through membership in Priority Pass or SkyGuide Executive Privilege Club, which offer discounted daily access to most airport lounges.
Before you spend too much time wondering whether the cost of a membership is worth it, check your wallet. Your credit card just might be able to help you out.
A handful of credit cards offer free airport lounge access bundled into their featured benefits. Before you jump to apply for one of those cards, keep in mind that signing up for a credit card with airport lounge access may not make the most financial sense for you unless you travel with colleagues or family members more than five times per year since many of these cards do come with hefty annual fees. If that isn’t you, you might get more value from purchasing airport lounge day passes or independent membership programs, and then signing up for a credit card with a lower annual fee and featuring rewards and perks you’re likely to use often.
If you are looking for a travel credit card with lounge access, look no further. We tracked down the best credit cards that offer airport club access, all for less money than the cost of joining a single club on your own when you consider the multiple other benefits and perks offered by these cards.
Mastercard Black Card
Unlimited VIP airport lounge visits paired with other members-only benefits are sure to appeal to big spenders who won’t mind paying the annual fee.
If you’ve grown weary of the standard breakable, bendable plastic and are wondering what it would be like to carry a card made of stainless steel, wonder no more. The Mastercard Black Card offers “durability and distinction” in a credit card that also nets you some luxurious perks. Recent changes to the card’s benefits (including a change from Visa to Mastercard) and a strong introductory APR balance transfer offer (15 billing cycles at 0 percent APR for transfers made within the first 45 days of account opening) have made this card an attractive alternative to elite airline credit cards.
This card’s $495 annual fee costs about a hundred dollars more than if you purchased one of Priority Pass’ “prestige” membership packages; however, you can still make this card pay for itself by taking advantage of its rewards program where you can redeem points for 1.5 percent value on cash back in the form of an account credit OR (and this is a big one) 2 percent value when redeemed for airfare, which makes 50,000 points worth a $1,000 ticket. You’re also eligible for up to $100 annually in statement credit to cover airline-related charges like tickets and baggage fees. That’s in addition to the $100 credit you can receive to cover the cost of your Global Entry application fee once every five years. Plus, the card’s 24/7 concierge service is a must for the frequent traveler as is the all-important access to nearly 500 airport lounges in cities around the world. Keep in mind, that applying for multiple credit cards for which you are unlikely to qualify will hurt your credit, so make sure your financial situation is a good fit for the card before you apply. The best credit cards for high credit scores typically have requirements beyond a score threshold.
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express is a well-rounded credit card that has benefits starting from the airport and continuing while you’re in the air and upon landing at your desired destination.