The Top 4 Credit Cards for Airport Lounge Access

These days travel can be a stressful and uncomfortable venture. Aside from putting strict and inconvenient security measures in place, airports are also extremely crowded meaning you’ll spend more hours than you want to checking in and getting to your plane. If you get there early enough to sit in the waiting area, you’ll be fighting for seats and charging stations too. Wouldn’t you rather fully relax before a flight with room to spare, cold drinks and a pleasant meal? Then you should be spending your airport downtime in a lounge.

If you travel a lot and want to try the lounge experience, there are several credit cards that will give you access. Some allow guests, others offer free drinks, but every lounge requires a special membership. Here are the top four credit cards that provide access to airport lounges.

4. United MileagePlus Club Card

The United MileagePlus Club Card will give you access to three separate lounges in airports around the world – United Clubs, Amtrak Acela lounges, and Star Alliance-branded business lounges. The one stipulation is that you show them your United Club membership card, not the credit card itself.

Other benefits of this card include earning 2x United miles on United purchases and 1.5 United miles on everything else. You’ll have your close-in ticketing fees waived, be extended two free checked bags each for two travelers and get special benefits such as priority boarding. The card also offers a 50,000-mile bonus to new customers after spending $3,000 in the first three months. It requires an annual fee of $450.

3. Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

If you mostly fly Delta and you’re looking for Sky Club access, this is your card. You can bring up to two guests and any children under the age of 21 into the lounge with you at a discounted rate of $29 each.

As far as non-lounge benefits, the Delta card gives you a chance of earning 30,000 MQMs each calendar year. You’ll earn half after spending $30,000 and another half after spending $60,000. All cardholders are offered priority boarding, 20% off in-flight purchases and a free checked bag. If you’re a business card holder, you can automatically save 3-10 percent on business expenses from Hertz, OfficeMax, FedEx and more, and you’ll receive an annual Reserve Companion Certificate for first/business class travel within the 48 adjoining United States that’s also good on economy class. The annual fee for this credit card is $450.

2. Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

This Mastercard provides member access to the Admirals Club and allows extensions to immediate family members or up to two additional travelers. Access is also good for authorized users on your account and the card has a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus for new customers after spending $5,000 in the first quarter.

Other travel benefits include 2 miles earned for every dollar spent on eligible American Airline purchases, 25 percent saved on eligible in-flight purchases and priority boarding with a free checked bag for you and up to eight companions on the same airline. You can also earn 10,000 elite-qualifying miles after spending $40,000 during a single calendar year. The annual fee is $450.

1. Platinum Card from American Express

The number one card on our list offers access to a vast array of airport lounges. For starters, there’s Delta Sky Club on Delta airlines and the Priority Pass Select membership (with two free companions). The Priority Pass can be used at almost every major airport lounge, already making this card worth its $550 annual fee. The card is also good in Centurion Lounges found in airports like Dallas (DFW), LaGuardia (LGA), Miami (MIA), Seattle (SEA), Houston (IAH), Las Vegas (LAS), Philadelphia (PHL) and San Francisco (SFO) as well as Hong Kong (HKG). Centurion Lounges are great because they offer free drinks, amenities and a wide selection of hot and cold foods. However, you can no longer buy a day pass for $50 unless you have a Business Platinum Amex Card, a Centurion Card or an Amex Platinum.

Other airline benefits of the American Express Platinum Card include a $200 credit to use on fees charged by one chosen airline per calendar year. You can use the credit for everything from in-flight meals to checked baggage. You’ll also get $200 per year for Uber travel and earn 5x Membership Rewards points on tickets booked directly through the airline or through Amex Travel. 5x points can be earned by prepaying for hotels booked through Amex Travel too.

Even if you fly economy, you deserve comfort and calm before your flight. These cards can help you achieve that. While the annual fees might seem high, if you’re a heavy traveler you can earn back more than enough to make up the difference.

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