How to Access Airport Lounges (Without Flying First or Business Class)

How to Access Airport Lounges (Without Flying First or Business Class)

We may be compensated when you click on links from one or more of our advertise partners. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone. Terms apply to offers below. See our Advertiser disclosure for more details. Airport lounges — what ’ s indeed particular about them anyhow ? For starters, airport lounges are great for removing most of the stress of atmosphere change of location and making it an all-around more enjoyable know. excellent food and cocktails in a well deluxe atmosphere will do that !

It ’ second besides because most of them include not entirely snacks and premium drinks, but complimentary Wi-Fi and some exceptionally comfortable spaces that promote rest and/or productivity .

Airport Lounges : What ’ s the Big Deal ?

first, let ’ s go through the perks of a basic airline lounge to see if you find the benefits worth having :

  • Personalized assistance with your itinerary
  • Comfortable seating
  • Complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Complimentary snacks
  • Complimentary fax or phone services
  • Conference seating
  • Dedicated restrooms
  • Complimentary newspapers and television

In more bounty lounges, you will have upgrade amenities :

  • Table service dining or buffet-style food
  • Complimentary premium alcohol selection
  • Showers and private cabanas available
  • Complimentary massages or other spa services
  • Direct gate access through private corridors
  • Private transfer ability
  • Partitioned sections for first or business class passengers

Hot Tip: One of the biggest differences between regular airport lounges and premium or first base class lounges is the food selection — it ’ s much MUCH better in the higher end lounges .

Thousands of Airport Lounges Worldwide

There are thousands of lounges worldwide, and there are a numeral of ways to get into them without having to fly first class or business class. While patronize flyers may have a lot more opportunities to get into airport lounges, the casual traveler can enjoy many of these airport sanctuaries besides. To that end, here are some of our best ways for accessing the airport loiter of your choice without having to fly first base class .

Premium Credit Cards

There are a act of bounty citation cards that have the ability to get you access to hundreds of airport lounges worldwide : The Platinum Card® from American Express or Centurion® Card from American Express give complimentary access to the Amex Centurion Lounge network. It ’ s worth noting that both of these cards come with big annual fees, so consider if a credit calling card is how you will get lounge access. If you have a Priority Pass Select Card, you ’ ll besides gain access to extra lounges ( though without free guest privileges ). Chase ’ s premier travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, comes accomplished with tons of change of location benefits for a exorbitant annual tip that besides includes access to Priority Pass Select lounges. And concluding but not least, a Diners Club menu can give you access to hundreds of lounges worldwide for a $ 95 annual fee. note that you may have to pay per visit after a certain threshold, which can get expensive depending on the tease you have. Bottom Line: Centurion Lounges are credibly the nicest of these premium credit wag offerings. They include a agio bar and buffet food, in accession to spa services at choice airports. These lounges are typically very crowd due to their popularity .

Priority Pass

This is a third-party membership program that has a large network of more than 600 airport lounges worldwide. It offers 4 membership levels :

  • Standard
  • Standard Plus
  • Prestige
  • Select

The Standard, Prestige, and Standard Plus passes leave access to all Priority Pass lounges. Each adaptation carries an annual tip that is determined by the number of visits that are included :

  • Standard: $99 per year — $27 per visit
  • Standard Plus: $249 — 10 visits per year
  • Prestige: $399 — unlimited access

Select membership requires having a premium credit card, such as the Amex Platinum Card or Amex Centurion Card. Your choose membership benefits are similar to those of the Prestige level, and all of the Priority Pass levels require payment of $ 27 for each guest. Hot Tip: Although 600 lounges is a major network, we recommend checking to ensure that there ’ s a sofa in the terminal at the airport where you ’ ll be flying .

Elite Status

Having elect condition with a specific airline is a popular way to entree lounges for many frequent flyers. about all airlines have several tiers of elect status, and they normally require that you meet or exceed their mid-tier elite status before getting lounge access when you fly their airline/alliance. For case, American Airlines has 4 public elite statuses that are open to all flyers who meet the requirements : To access both the Admirals Clubs and the Oneworld business class lounges ( such as SFO ’ s Cathay Pacific Lounge ), you have to reach AAdvantage Platinum or better. And travelers must be AAdvantage Executive Platinum to use AA Flagship Lounges or Oneworld first class lounges ( such as HKG ’ s Cathay Pacific the Pier First Class Lounge ). Some U.S. carriers, like United and Delta Air Lines, are now requiring an international itinerary to access lounges even with elite status ( in some cases, this excludes Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean ). But many of them — including Oneworld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam — will let you bring a node for no extra charge. On Star Alliance carriers, Star Alliance Gold members flying domestically can access any Star Alliance Lounge in the system, including in the continental U.S. ( except domestic United Clubs, where you need a membership ). This is a terrific benefit, and it comes in handy at airports like Washington Dulles, where there is a United hub and besides a turkish Airlines lounge. ( For you United flyers, you ’ d have Star Alliance Gold if you ’ re a United Gold, Platinum, 1K or Global Services. ) On SkyTeam carriers, you can access other SkyTeam lounges across the world, excessively – but if you ’ re a domestic Delta fly, you won’t have access to these lounges within the United States. SkyTeam uses the SkyTeam Elite Plus appointment for those who are allowed access. On Delta, this would be for Gold Medallion, Platinum Medallion, and Diamond Medallion members.

When it comes to elite condition lounge access, I think there are 2 independent favorites :

  • Oneworld for access to first class lounges around the world, such as the famed Qantas First Lounge in Sydney
  • Star Alliance for access to all Star Alliance Lounges in the domestic U.S. (with the exception of United Clubs)

Bottom Line: Oneworld has a great selection of beginning course lounges, while Star Alliance allows domestic U.S. sofa access .

Purchase an Annual Lounge Membership

This could be an excellent value if you fly a lot. The most popular annual lounge memberships are : Your annual membership fee allows access to any of the lounges that are operated by that airline, adenine well as a number of partner lounges ( excluding some foremost class lounges ). This access is regardless of whatever airline you may be flying that day. That means you can purchase a United Club membership and access their loiter even if you ’ rhenium flying on Southwest at the fourth dimension. The majority of these lounge memberships will besides allow you to bring your spouse, domestic spouse, and/or children with you ( or 2 other guests total ). Lounge memberships normally run between $ 350 and $ 500 annually, but they could promptly pay for themselves in comparison to day passes ( or having to spend thousands on business or first base class tickets ). If you have an Alaska Club membership or a Qantas Club membership, interestingly adequate, you ’ re besides allowed to access American Airlines Admirals Clubs across the ball. ( The reciprocal is true for Admirals Club holders who wish to access Alaska Lounges or Qantas Clubs excessively. ) These sofa memberships can be purchased outright with cash, you can use miles to buy them ( normally a bad value ! ), or you can use the airline ’ randomness business broadcast currency to negate the tip. typical benefits at a pay U.S. sofa include :

  • Complimentary snacks, like cheese cubes or cookies
  • Comfortable seating
  • Personalized assistance with reservations or ticketing
  • Private bathrooms
  • A bar stocked with well drinks and premium liquors

As you enter lounges internationally, you ’ ll know much better benefits ( even for a give membership ). Qantas Clubs in Australia, for example, include sandwiches you can make, a barista, and fresh salads. Bottom Line: Everyone can access airline lounges with a pay membership. sometimes these paid memberships allow you reciprocal cross entree to other airline lounges, besides .

Day Passes

This is the most accessible method for gaining sofa access : merely pay at the door. many lounges don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate even require that you be flying their airline ! Most of the lounges that sell day passes belong to U.S.-based airlines like Alaska Airlines ( Alaska Lounge ), American ( Admirals Club ), and United ( United Club ). There are besides numerous mugwump lounges worldwide that sell day passes, including :

  • The Club Lounges
  • No. 1 Lounges
  • Plaza Premium Lounges
  • Servisair Lounges

Day passes broadly run between $ 29 and $ 75 per entrance. however, some airline-branded credit cards give you 2 rid lounge passes for every year that you renew your card ( like the UnitedSM Explorer Card ). These passes are a great way to enjoy airport lounges without paying for annual memberships, buying expensive first class tickets, or having to fly thousands of miles per annum with a detail airline. You can besides inquire in the person airline clubs immediately regarding access, including the bequest carriers within the United States. Day passes are sold by United and American in an try to entice non-members to visit the loiter in advance of their escape, even if they aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate flying occupation class. Hot Tip: Day passes can get expensive, so if you think you ’ ll be using them much, you may want to consider an annual membership !


LoungeBuddy is an airport lounge book service that gives you the ability to purchase access to airport lounges anywhere regardless of your classify of service, sofa memberships, or elite condition. They presently have more than 280 worldwide sofa partners. Besides seeing the lounges that you can entree free of charge, you can besides buy access to a lounge from the LoungeBuddy app. And if you add any of your elite statuses, LoungeBuddy will tell you all the lounges you can access, ampere well as how many complimentary guests you ’ re allowed to bring in. Using LoungeBuddy, you can purchase access into lounges you don ’ metric ton already have access to for a nominal fee ( normally adenine low as $ 20 ). Once you buy access, you ’ ll be given a barcode you scan when you arrive at the sofa .

Super-Exclusive Lounge Access

There are a few very exclusive lounges where a first class ticket seems to be the only way to gain entry, including the Lufthansa First Class Terminal at the Frankfurt Airport and the british Airways Concorde Room at London ’ s Heathrow Airport. however, there are exceptions even then if you ’ re an invitation-only elect status tier member, like British Airways Executive Club Premier or Lufthansa ’ s HON Circle. For the most separate, though, the majority of international first gear class tickets will let you access these lounges with the ability to bring 1 guest ( who doesn ’ t need to be a first class ticket holder ) .

Final Thoughts

now that you know a few of the best methods for accessing airline lounges when you travel, you can relax more and stress less. No more waiting endlessly for a watered-down overpriced drink in at the push airport bar. No more lousy airport food and crowded seating while you wait for your flight.

rather, you can enjoy peace, tranquillity, and everything else you thought only excellent passengers were entitled to ! The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, Citi Prestige® Card, United MileagePlus® Club Card by Chase, and Centurion® Card from American Express was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, snap here .

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