Best credit cards of current year

Best credit cards for airport lounge access

Airport lounge access and other valuable travel perks help these cards rise to the top. CardRatings editors compare the best credit cards for airport lounge access. View More

Let’s face it: Airports are not generally the most pleasant of environments, what with their fluorescent lights, blaring intercoms, screaming children and harried travelers. Enter the airport lounge – an oasis in the midst of an otherwise chaotic landscape and experience. But getting in isn’t cheap, so take a look at our picks for the best airport lounge credit cards from our partners and get even more than a great lounge experience.

Access to these lounges, as you may know, can be pricey. An annual pass could set you back more than $550 and a day pass is likely to cost you at least $50 (do that a few times, and it adds up quickly). The fee may be worth it given the complimentary drinks and food many lounges offer as well as the calm away from the storm while you await your flight, but there’s a better way: How about paying a lesser annual fee for a credit card that both grants you lounge access and provides you with a host of other benefits that stretch well beyond your time in an airport?

There are a number of luxury credit cards out there that offer complimentary airport lounge access as one of the many perks offered to their members. These cards also offer travel fee reimbursements, concierge services and so much more, making those hefty annual fees all worth it.

Here are our picks for the best cards for airport lounge access. View Less

author Brooklyn Lowery
Terms apply; see the online credit card application for full terms and conditions of offers and rewards.

List of Winners

  • CardName – Best for Access to Multiple Airport Lounges
  • CardName – Best for Priority Pass Airport Lounges
  • CardName – Best for Authorized Users
  • CardName – Best Business Card for Airport Lounge Access
  • CardName – Best for Flying With American Airlines
  • CardName – Best for Delta Airlines Travelers
  • CardName – Best for United Airlines Travelers
  • CardName – Best Hotel Card for Airport Lounge Access

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Why We Like It: Yes, the annual fee is hefty but given the extra perks that come with this card, there are ample opportunities to offset the annual fee in credits and perks, and, besides those, you'll have a card that opens doors to luxury when you travel. (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser; enrollment required for some benefits)

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Bonus Offer
80,000 points Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $8,000 in the first six months
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
Regular APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Lounge Access Details: Cardholders and authorized users can relax at the airport in peace and quiet with complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection worldwide. The collection includes a number of network lounges such as The Centurion Lounge and Delta Sky Club lounges (when flying with Delta) as well as the full range of Priority Pass lounges (you must enroll separately for access to Priority Pass lounges, but membership is complimentary).

Lounge Access Guest Policy: The variety of lounges available to cardholders means there's also a variety of guest policies to navigate. Each network has different rules – some even differ by country or location. Many allow at least two guests at no charge, but your best bet will be to map out your lounge path before your trip to fully understand what options will be available to you and your companions. When it comes to the Centurion Lounges, cardholders can pay a $50 fee for each guest ages 18+ or $30 for children aged 2-17, with proof of age. If you want to bring up to two complimentary guests, you'll need to spend $75,000 in eligible purchases per calendar year on your card to qualify. One thing to keep in mind is that Platinum Card authorized users do receive access to the Centurion Lounges and you can add up to three authorized users to your account for an annual fee of $195.

The Bonus: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees. Add up to three authorized users per card for a flat annual fee of $195. After those three, each additional user is $195 annually.

Rewards: Earn 5X the points per $1 spent on flights booked directly with the airlines or through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) as well as on eligible hotels booked through amextravel.com. Earn one Membership Rewards point per $1 spent on your other eligible purchases.

Other Perks: Receive up to $200 annually in Uber Cash for your rides or Uber Eats orders and up $200 credit for airline incidental fees annually with a pre-selected airline. There are numerous other credit opportunities available as well.

Terms Apply. Enrollment required for select benefits.

PROS:

  • This card is well-known for its many valuable perks and benefits.
  • Cardholders can earn 80,000 points after spending $8,000 with the card in the first six months.
  • Airport lounge access includes Global Lounge Collection as well as the Centurion Lounge, Delta Sky Club and Priority Pass Select lounges.

CONS:

  • This card charges one of the highest annual fees of any card on the market.
  • Most purchases will only earn one point per $1 spent – it's particular flight and hotel purchases that earn more.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 77.1 77.8
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.9 7.7
Customer Service 7.5 8.1
Website/App Usability 7.4 7.8
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.3 7.9
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.4 7.6

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

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Why We Like It: Super flexible and valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points along with fee credits, a solid rewards-earning structure and that airport lounge access – what's not to like? Oh, by the way, this card plays well with its Ultimate Rewards friends (we'll explain in Card Details below).

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Bonus
60,000 bonus points Earn 60,000 bonus points – worth $900 in travel when redeemed through Chase Travel℠, after spending $4,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
Regular APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Lounge Access Details: Cardholders and authorized users enjoy complimentary access to more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world after a one-time enrollment in Priority Pass Select.

Lounge Access Guest Policy: The cardholder and authorized user receive complimentary Priority Pass lounge access and can bring two accompanying guests each at no additional charge. Additionally, this card still offers access to Priority Pass restaurants and non-lounge perks at airports (think Minute Suites and spa services) that most other credit cards don't offer with their lounge access programs.

The Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points (worth $900 when redeemed through Chase Travel℠) after spending $4,000 in the first three months.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees. Each authorized user is $75.

The Rewards: When you book through Chase Travel, earn five points per $1 on flights and 10 points per $1 on car rentals and hotels (after earning your $300 annual travel reimbursement). Earn three points per $1 spent on dining at restaurants worldwide and on travel after your reimbursement (more on that below) and one point per $1 spent on all your other purchases. Redeem your points through Chase Travel and they're worth 50% more. You can also transfer your points 1:1 to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs. Furthermore, you can combine points earned with this card in the same bucket as points you earn with other cards in the Ultimate Rewards universe, such as Chase Freedom® Unlimited or Ink Business Cash®. Learn more in our Guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Other Perks: Take advantage of up to a $300 reimbursement each account anniversary year to cover travel purchases charged on your card. Furthermore, cardholders are eligible for a reimbursement to cover their Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.

PROS:

  • You just need to use your card to make $4,000 in purchases in the first three months to earn a bonus worth up to $900 in travel. This is one of the most valuable bonuses available.
  • Besides airport lounge access, this card also includes a statement credit opportunity worth up to $300 per year, which can help a great deal in covering the annual fee.
  • You can earn triple points not just on travel but also on dining, so you have another way to rack up your points. Plus, there's that extra earning available when you make certain travel bookings through Chase Travel.

CONS:

  • This card has one of the highest annual fees of any widely available card out there and could become expensive to carry if you don’t use the benefits or perks.
  • You only earn bonus points on dining and some travel-related purchases. If you spend a great deal in other categories, such as groceries or even gas, you’ll earn more with a different card. Perhaps consider adding another Ultimate Rewards-earning card to your portfolio to maximize these purchase rewards.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 75.6 83.2
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.5 8.2
Customer Service 7.6 8.3
Website/App Usability 7.7 8.3
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.1 8.7
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.3 8.4

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR

This is just one of several cards in the Ultimate Rewards universe and all of them have different strong suits. To truly maximize your rewards earning, you'll want to carry more than one Ultimate Rewards card so that you can strategically use the one that offers the most rewards for a given purchase. Then – and this step is important – combine all the points earned on those other cards into the bucket housed under your Sapphire Reserve® card in order to take advantage of that 50% more value when redeeming for travel through Chase Travel.

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Why We Like It: With a lower than typical annual fee for this level of card, there's a lot to like – including airport lounge access for authorized users – with the Venture X card.

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Bonus
75,000 miles 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
Regular APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
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Lounge Access Details: Cardholders and authorized users can enjoy unlimited complimentary access to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network.

Lounge Access Guest Policy: Cardholders and authorized users enjoy unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network. It's unusual for authorized users to receive their own lounge membership, making it possible for them to travel without the primary cardholder and still take advantage of the lounge access.

The Bonus: Earn 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 in the first three months. Those miles are worth $750 in flexible travel.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees.

The Rewards: Earn 10x miles for hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5x miles on flights booked through the portal. Additionally, earn 2x miles on all your other purchases.

Other Perks: The list of additional perks is long with this card, especially considering its relatively low annual fee. Take advantage of $300 annual credit for travel booked through Capital One Travel; enjoy 10,000 bonus miles each year, worth $100 in travel; save with up to $100 reimbursement to cover your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.

PROS:

  • Earning 2x miles per $1 spent on your purchases (plus that extra earning on certain travel booked through the Capital One portal) means it's easy to rack up rewards here.
  • An annual bonus of 10,000 miles is a nice "thanks for another year as a customer" gift.
  • No annual fee for authorized users is almost unheard of in the premium card market – take advantage of this offer to fully maximize what Venture X has to offer.

CONS:

  • The Capital One Lounge network is, well, not really a "network" just yet given there are only a few locations currently. We have high hopes for the future though and the Partner Lounge Network access is nice in the meantime.
  • While lower than the annual fees of most premium cards, it's still shouldn't be overlooked. Make absolutely certain you'll more than offset that fee in order to make it worthwhile.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 80.2 71.9
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.7 7.1
Customer Service 7.9 7.4
Website/App Usability 8.5 7.4
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.5 6.9
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.2 7.2

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

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Why We Like It: This is the business version of this card discussed elsewhere in this article and, as such, offers similar perks to what is discussed there, and then some. It's an ideal card for business owners whose work finds them frequently on the road or in the air and who are generally big spenders when it comes to their business needs..

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Bonus
150,000 points Earn 150,000 bonus points after you spend $20,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
Regular APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Lounge Access Details This card allows you access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection of airport lounges, which includes a number of branded lounges as well as the full Priority Pass Select lounge network. Enrollment required for select benefits

Lounge Access Guest Policy: Cardholders pay $50 per guest ages 18+ or $30 per guest ages 2-17, with proof of age, to access the Centurion Lounges. You can spend $75,000 in a calendar year on your Business Platinum Card to qualify for complimentary access for up to two guests per visit to Centurion Lounges. Access to other lounges in the network varies by lounge and location.

The Welcome Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $20,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of opening your account.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

The Rewards: Earn five times the points per $1 spent on flights and prepaid hotels booked at amextravel.com. Earn an extra half-point (so, 1.5 points) per $1 on eligible purchases with U.S. construction material and hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software and cloud system providers, and shipping providers and on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more, up to a cap. Otherwise, earn one point per $1 spent on eligible purchases. You'll receive 35% of your Membership Rewards points back (up to 1 million points per year) each time you Pay with Points for all or part of your flight on a pre-selected airline booked through American Express Travel. Earn 35% of your points back on business and first-class flights booked with any airline through American Express Travel.

Other Perks: offers over $1,000 in statement credits on select purchases, including tech, recruiting and wireless in the first year of membership, up to $200 in statement credits annually when incidental airline fees are charged by the airline to the card, and up to a $189 in statement credit per calendar year on your CLEAR Plus membership (subject to auto-renewal). Enrollment required for select benefits

Credit Needed: CreditScoreNeeded

PROS:

  • This card includes access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which is extensive and could be a welcome respite for the weary business traveler.
  • Besides lounge access you get a bunch of other travel benefits such as a $200 annual airline fee credit with a pre-selected airline and elevated status with Marriott and Hilton programs. Enrollment required for select benefits
  • New cardholders can earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $20,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months.

CONS:

  • This card has one of the highest annual fees of any business or consumer card.
  • The spend requirement for the initial bonus is high at $20,000, so make sure that's within your company's budget to meet.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 75.1 80.3
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.5 8.1
Customer Service 7.4 8.0
Website/App Usability 7.9 7.8
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 7.3 8.1
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.6 8.1

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

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Why We Like It: This card is all about loyalty. If you're a regular American Airlines traveler, you could very well offset the annual fee on this card plus enjoy the nice extra perks. (Citi is a CardRatings advertiser)

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Bonus
100,000 bonus miles For a limited time, earn 100,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $10,000 within the first three months of account opening.
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
Regular APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Lounge Access Details: As a cardholder, you'll have membership in the American Airlines Admirals Club, which provides you access to Admirals Club lounges at airports around the globe as well as access to a number of partner lounges. You can bring your guests traveling with you as well. Additionally, authorized users on your card can also access the lounges even if they are traveling without the primary cardholder.

The Bonus: For a limited time, earn 100,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $10,000 within the first three months of account opening.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

The Rewards: Earn four miles per $1 spent on American Airlines purchases and one mile per $1 spent on all your other purchases. You earn one Loyalty Point per mile earned with your card.

Other Perks: Check your first bag, and those of up to eight traveling companions, for free on domestic itineraries. There's also a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement available every five years.

PROS:

  • For a limited time, earn 100,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $10,000 within the first three months of account opening, which could cover numerous award flights later.
  • This card include access to the American Airlines Admirals Club as wells as several partner lounges.
  • Get first checked bag free for yourself and up to eight companions on domestic itineraries.

CONS:

  • Although this card is good for airport lounge access, it charges a high annual fee. You’ll need to consider whether you can take advantage of other benefits and rewards, especially if you don’t use the lounge access perks.
  • This card primarily awards American Airlines purchases. All other purchases earn only one mile per $1 spent. .
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 77.4 76.1
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.6 7.7
Customer Service 7.5 7.8
Website/App Usability 8.3 7.7
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.1 7.6
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.7 7.3

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

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Why We Like It: It's another card that rewards your loyalty, in this case to Delta Airlines. As with most branded airline cards, that loyalty gets you things like priority boarding and in-flight discounts, which are nice to have if you frequently find yourself taking to the skies with the same airline.

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Offer
95,000 miles Earn 95,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new card in your first six months.
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
Regular APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Lounge Access Details You'll enjoy complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club when traveling on a same-day Delta marketed or operated flight. You will receive four Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes each year. After that, you may bring up to two guests at a per-visit rate of $50 per person, per location. Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card members will receive 15 visits per year to the Delta Sky Club; to earn an unlimited number of visits each year starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.

The Welcome Offer: Earn 95,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new card in your first six months.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

The Rewards: Earn three miles on every $1 spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and 1 mile per $1 on other eligible purchases.

Other Perks: You'll receive a round-trip companion certificate each year when you renew your card, which could go a long way to offsetting the annual fee. Furthermore, you'll check your first bag for free.

PROS:

  • This card includes complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club, as well as four one-time guest passes each year, and reduced rate for some of your guests after that.
  • The welcome offer for new cardholders offers a nice supply of bonus miles (see full terms in the Card Details section).
  • This card includes other valuable benefits like a round-trip companion certificate each year you renew and first checked bag free.

CONS:

  • This card has a high annual fee which could be expensive if you aren’t a frequent Delta flyer.
  • Most of the benefits and perks are related to Delta so you might find it difficult to get much value out of the card unless you are a Delta fan.

We have not polled this card yet, but would love to hear your thoughts on it if you are a cardholder. Comment below or email us at editor@cardratings.com to share more about your experience.

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Why We Like It: Lounge access along with numerous other money saving perks for the regular traveler make this card a nice addition to a United-loyalists wallet. Plus, all those perks come together to form a nice path toward offsetting the annual fee.

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Bonus
90,000 miles Limited-time offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after qualifying purchases.
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
Regular APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Lounge Access Details: Enjoy access to United Club locations as well as participating Star Alliance-affiliated lounges around the globe. The primary cardholder can bring along two adult guests or one adult and dependent children under the age of 21.

Limited-time offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after qualifying purchases.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

The Rewards: Earn four miles per $1 for United purchases; two miles per $1 for other travel purchases and on dining, including eligible delivery services; and one mile per $1 for all other purchases

Other Perks: Check your first AND second bag for free and take advantage of credit for your Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or Nexus application fee, among other credits and money-saving opportunities.

PROS:

  • The list of possible credits to make your trip simpler (and a bit less expensive) is lengthy.
  • Getting your first checked bag free is pretty common with airline cards, but this card goes a step further and gives you a second checked bag free as well.
  • Save more with 25% off your United in-flight purchases.

CONS:

  • That annual fee is not to be overlooked. Ensure you can more than offset it by putting the perks and rewards to good use.
  • As with any co-branded card, this one is good for the United-loyal – but not TOO loyal. If you already fly with United enough to earn status and rack up plenty of miles, this card probably isn't going to be terribly useful to you.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 78.3 70.8
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.8 7.1
Customer Service 7.6 7.0
Website/App Usability 8.1 6.9
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.0 7.1
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.9 7.3

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

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Why We Like It: This card can help you achieve luxury experiences at both the airport and your hotel. Not only does it offer VIP hotel perks, but it also offers a few travel benefits that are sure to make your experience at the airport more comfortable as well.

Read our full CardName review.

Welcome Bonus
95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
Annual Fee
AnnualFees
Regular APR
RegAPR
Credit Score
CreditScoreNeeded

Lounge Access Details: Unlimited lounge visits for you and up to two guests at no additional charge per visit once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which offers access to over 1,200 airport lounges around the world.

The Bonus:Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.

The Annual Fee: AnnualFees

The Rewards: Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar spent on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program; 3X points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines; 2X points on all other eligible purchases.

Other Perks: As a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member you can earn 50% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar or the currency equivalent that is incurred and paid for by the member; Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases, card members are eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit; Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your card; Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®; Each calendar year you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status; cell phone protection; and more. Terms apply. Enrollment required for select benefits.

PROS:

  • Receive either a statement credit every four years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership through any Authorized Enrollment Provider for TSA PreCheck (up to $85) when you pay the application fee with your card.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases, card members are eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit. Benefit options include: Five Suite Night Awards, a free night valued at 85K points, and mattress and box spring $1,000 discount from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • In addition to earning rewards on hotel stays, cardholders can also earn rewards on restaurant purchases worldwide and airline purchases made directly with the airline, as well as a boost of 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Terms apply. Enrollment may be required for select benefits.

CONS:

  • The annual fee isn't for everyone, but if you're looking for a luxury hotel and airport experience, this card can help you have just that.
  • This card features a lot of great travel perks, however, while the rewards rate offered on eligible Marriott Bonvoy property stays is nice, it's not quite as high as you might expect for a card with such a high annual fee.
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 77.1 74.9
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.7 7.5
Customer Service 7.7 7.5
Website/App Usability 7.9 7.4
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 7.9 7.6
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.5 7.4

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

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What are the types of airport lounge networks?

There are several distinct types of lounge networks, including

  • Airline specific lounges
  • Credit card issuer lounges
  • Independent lounge networks

Airline specific lounges include the American Airlines Admirals Club lounges, Delta Sky Club lounges, and United Club lounges, among others. Access to these lounges differs between the programs, but they are usually reserved for travelers in first or business class, elite airline members, those with paid memberships to the lounge network, or access through certain credit card ownership (such as American Express Platinum cardholders having access to Delta Sky Club lounges while traveling on Delta flights).

Credit card issuer lounges include the American Express Centurion Lounges and newly introduced Sapphire Lounges by the Club. These lounges are accessible with ownership of certain credit cards like the Platinum Card from American Express for access to the Centurion Lounges, or, in the case of the Sapphire Lounges by the Club, sometimes with Priority Pass membership.

Independent network lounges include Priority Pass lounges, Loungebuddy and the Global Lounge Network. These networks are made up of lots of different types of lounges with varying amenities. Travelers can access these lounges through credit card benefits like Priority Pass Select membership, memberships purchased directly through the networks, or through the Loungebuddy App with purchase of individual entry to a specific lounge. Independent lounges are often the ones credit cards will provide you access to, the exception being that some airline branded credit cards provide access to the airline’s specific lounges.

With many of these lounges, you can purchases day passes or even annual memberships for access. Annual memberships will run in the hundreds of dollars and day passes will quickly add up as well. If you’re a frequent airport lounge visitor, even paying a high annual fee for a credit card that grants you access will likely pay off over the course of the year.

Learn more about the various airport lounge options in our guide to airport lounge access.

What is Priority Pass?

Priority Pass is a worldwide network of lounges, restaurants and suites available to members while traveling through their 600+ affiliate airports. With over 1,300 airport lounge locations (as of this writing), there is a large number of domestic and international airports that have one or several Priority Pass lounges.

Lounge amenities vary widely but can include free refreshments, shower access and dedicated work areas. Membership can be purchased directly from Priority Pass for as little as $99 (with additional fees for each visit), but it’s also commonly included as a Priority Pass Select membership with credit cards that offer lounge access and, with those, will not require fees for each visit.

Once enrolled, members can present their Priority Pass membership to affiliate lounge locations with other travel documents to gain access for themselves and guests while traveling. The rules for credit card issuers differ slightly when it comes to which lounges can be accessed as well as how many guests can enter with the cardholder, so it is important to understand the particular rules of the membership.

Learn more about Priority Pass.

What are Centurion Lounges?

Centurion Lounges are a part of the Centurion Network of 40+ lounges across the world accessible to certain American Express cardmembers and are often considered a premier airport lounge experience.

Centurion Lounges have curated luxury amenities including regionally inspired dishes from award winning chefs with locally sourced ingredients, cocktails created by renowned mixologist Jim Meehan, and designed spaces for work or relaxation. Some unique amenities include spa treatments at the Dallas-Fort Worth Centurion Lounge Exhale spa, self care at the Equinox Body Lab at the John F. Kennedy Centurion Lounge, and the Napa Valley wine tasting area in the San Francisco International Centurion lounge.

Access to the Centurion Network lounges is available to American Express Platinum Card members, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve cardholders (consumer and business), American Express Centurion Members and eligible guests. Members with qualifying cards will have to present their valid Card, a same-day boarding pass, and a government-issued I.D. for lounge access. The Centurion Lounge is a day of departure lounge that gives members access within 3 hours of the departure time on a same-day, confirmed boarding pass.

What are Sapphire Lounges by The Club?

The Sapphire Lounges by the Club are a collection of lounges currently under development by Chase with assistance from Airport Dimensions.

The first Sapphire lounges are scheduled to open soon in New York’s LaGuardia Airport in Terminal B, Boston Logan International Airport Terminal B to C Connector, and Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 1, with more locations to be unveiled at major airports. The still-in-development lounges will incorporate inspiration from their host cities, and will include food, drink, art, entertainment and wellness amenities.

The Sapphire lounges are accessible to Sapphire Reserve cardmembers as well as Priority Pass Select members.

How do I get free airport lounge access?

One of easiest ways that travelers can get free airport lounge access is with certain credit card ownership.

Excluding the annual fee that most credit cards with these benefits have, certain lounges can be accessed for free with card benefits like Priority Pass lounges for CardName cardholders and United Club lounge access with a CardName.

Other ways to get free lounge access include having status with a specific airline (for example Delta Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members have access to SkyTeam lounges and any Delta Sky Club when traveling in on a same-day, international flights) or flying in first/business class with certain airlines.

Learn more about the get free airport lounge access in our guide to airport lounge access.

What is the best card for airport lounge access?

Many travelers agree that the best card for airport lounge access is the CardName. That’s because this card gives you complimentary access to the most airport lounges covering more than just a single brand or airline. This means that no matter which airline you happen to be flying with, you’ll likely find an airport lounge to visit. Cardholders on the go can relax in Amex Centurion Lounges as well as Delta Sky Clubs (when you’re flying Delta), Priority Pass and lounges that are part of the American Express Global Lounge Collection. No other card offers complimentary access to this variety of high-quality airport lounges. Enrollment required for select benefits

If you are a business owner, the best card for airport lounge access is the business version, CardName which also offers complimentary airport lounge access.

Frequently asked questions

It's important to note that not all airport lounges are created equal and access to the various lounge networks varies widely. Chances are you are considering one of the cards above for reason far beyond its airport lounge access perks, but you should still think about the specific lounges a card grants access to and whether that's going to be the best option for you. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you consider a credit card that grants you lounge access:

Consider your loyalty. When it comes to airline-specific lounges, such as the American Airlines Admirals Club or the United Club with United Airlines, you can purchase reduced cost memberships depending upon your loyalty tier. Now, those memberships are still going to cost you in the range of the annual fees for some of the cards above (without all the rewards and more that the cards offer, of course), but if you really are just interested in airport lounge access and you have a particular airline loyalty, you can consider day or annual passes instead. That said, if you find yourself in one of these airline-branded lounges often, the additional perks of carrying one of the airline-specific cards above could very well make sense for you.

Hours/access might be restricted. This is particularly true for Priority Pass Select membership. Be aware that lounges do fill to capacity and sometimes limit the open hours or overall hours you're allowed to stay for Priority Pass Select™ members.

What about your traveling companions? Some of the cards above include lounge access for the primary cardholder (or even an authorized user traveling without the primary cardholder) as well as a certain number of traveling companions, but not all of them do. Make sure you read the fine print so you know whether you'll need to pay for day passes in order to bring companions into the lounge with you.

This depends on individual circumstances. Like most travel perks, having lounge access in general is not absolutely necessary but can make traveling a lot more enjoyable. Having any lounge access will be a huge improvement over waiting in overcrowded terminals, paying for spotty WiFi, and generally not being able to get work done or relax, but not every airport has lounges for every network, so having multiple options could come in handy.

That said, many of the credit cards that include lounge access also have high annual fees (for example, Chase Sapphire Reserve® or CardName). For some, having the premier travel rewards credit cards from multiple issuers that include lounge access makes sense if they have high annual spends in rewarded categories, are able to take advantage of other card benefits to offset annual fees, or want to maximize their access to different lounges at different airports.

Another reason why it may make sense to have multiple lounge access cards is if you typically fly a particular airline and want to have access to their lounges while also having access to a more general lounge network like Priority Pass. An example of this would be if you want to have access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges you could get the CardName; however, that card does not have Priority Pass membership included so you would need to have a second card that includes that benefit.

author
Brooklyn Lowery
Editor & Credit Card Expert

A journalist for nearly 20 years, Brooklyn has published work on a broad range of topics including personal finance and business as well as travel and human interest pieces. As a finance expert, she has provided commentary on credit cards, card rewards and personal finance for outlets including Forbes, Fox Business and many others. Her own wanderlust and travel experiences...Read more


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For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

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