There are millions of travelers that visit the airport daily. A lot of people are aware of the airport lounges, but only a few are able to go inside and visit the lounge. Some might even say, the airport lounge is the shelter of the business class and the elite. Inside they shield themselves from the worldly noise and commotion of the gate terminals. While that may seem a bit over dramatic, the reality is that the lounges can seem exclusive. In actuality, to be able to visit the airport lounge is something that’s well within your reach. And, you don’t need to have a business class ticket to experience it.
Ways To Gain Lounge Access
A trip to the airport to catch a flight can at times be a little stressful. Sometimes just getting through the airport security checks is rough enough. What better way to shake off those jitters and de-stress than a moment to relax in the peace and quiet of the airport lounge. There are several ways to gain lounge access without having to buy a business class ticket. The following below are examples and should help give you some ideas on how to plan your trip and how to go about getting lounge access any time you visit an airport for travel.
Buy A Lounge Day Pass
There are airport lounges all around the world and several of those airports offer a day pass for lounge access. It pays to do a little research because the price for these passes varies from one airline to the next. Admission to these airport lounges typically ranges between $45 to $75. Day passes are more ideal for infrequent travelers or folks who don’t travel all that often. A lot of times these passes are limited to mostly domestic flights.
Generally, day passes are best for travelers who only fly occasionally. Travelers who fly fairly often may be better off purchasing a lounge or airline membership. Inside these lounges, they offer travelers a place to relax and get away from the crowds. The lounges typically offer free wi-fi, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages.
If you plan on flying international, then you may want to look into Lounge Buddy. LoungeBuddy sells day passes to over 400 airport lounges in 68 countries and costs around $40. You can easily pick up a lounge pass by paying at the check-in counter for branded airline lounges.
Pay for A Public Lounge Option
There are other airport lounges beside those affiliated with airlines. Public lounges will let you pay a fee for comfortable chairs, snacks, Wi-Fi access, food, and drinks. For example, you can visit the Airspace Lounge, located at the Cleveland airport, for just a mere $20 per day. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport even has shower facilities on top of the usual perks. A shower and other perks included will set you back about $40 for access.
If you travel internationally, then you may want to check out Plaza Premier. Plaza Premier offers massage and spa services, buffet food and drinks, and showers as well. Prices tend to vary from location to location but if you enjoy lounge access, then this international program is perfect for you and may be worth looking into.
Well worth the cost, public lounges offer a good number of perks for not a lot of money. No matter if you need to find a quite place to work, to take a shower, or just relax and wait until your flight arrives, public lounges offer VIP service for a pretty fair price.
Access from A Friend
Maybe you are traveling with your friend who is a frequent flyer or has elite status. Perhaps you meet someone while waiting and they happen to have lounge access. Travelers with elite status or those who have a qualifying credit card are able to bring a guest with them into the lounge. So being friendly to other travelers just may work in your favor. You never know, relying on the kindness of strangers may be your way inside to a more relaxing environment, as well as possibly gaining a new friend.
If you don’t want to be tied down to just one airline, then you can always purchase a membership for a Priority Pass. Membership is usually through credit card offerings and hotel loyalty programs. As one of the world’s largest airport lounge access programs, membership includes access to well over 1000 airport lounges worldwide.
The great thing about the Priority Pass is that there are multiple membership levels to help match your travel frequency. There are three tiers of membership. The Standard cost $99 annually and $27 per lounge visit. The Standard Plus costs $249 annually. It comes with 10 free visits then $27 after per visit. Finally, you have the Prestige that costs $399 annually. It comes with unlimited lounge access and at all levels guests pay $27 per visit.
As mentioned earlier, you can also get the Priority Pass via credit cards that offer the option. Several premium credit cards such as Citi Prestige or Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, come with complimentary Prior Pass Select membership. Keep in mind that most of the credit cards that offer the benefit also have an annual fee. These independent lounge networks are perfect for those who only want or need lounge access occasionally.
Buy A Lounge Membership
If you are a serious flyer then it might be worth your while to purchase an airport lounge membership. Some of your regularly traveled airports might have lounges that are available for access. So when you visit other airports that are partnered, you can feel good knowing you can relax with a visit to the airport lounge.
The cost to get an airline lounge membership varies from $350 and up, plus an “initiation fee” between $50 and $100, for the annual membership. Before making any purchase it’s a good idea to look at the destinations that you plan to visit and double-check that your lounge pass will work with those corresponding airports.
Use Your Credit Card For Access
There are quite a few credit cards that offer access to visit the airport lounge for a fee and occasionally free, while others provide constant worldwide access. Depending on how often you travel you should find a credit card that offers rewards that work with your travel schedule. Also, remember that nothing is truly free. Any credit card that offers free lounge access is most likely going to have an annual fee associated with that card. Below is an example of some of the more popular credit cards used that offer Priority Pass or airline specific lounge access as a complimentary benefit.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card has quite a few perks. With an annual fee of $450, the card gives you a $300 annual travel credit. You receive a complimentary Priority Pass. It also features up to 3x points for every dollar spent at participating partners. There are a ton of other perks associated with this as well that make this card very beneficial to have.
Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with a number of perks and benefits associated with it. The card comes with an annual fee of $550, but for that price, you get the Priority Pass Select Membership which also includes access for 2 guests. Whenever you book a flight through Delta you will get access to the Delta Sky Club. Plus you also get access to Centurion Lounges, which are often considered the best at airports.
The Citi Prestige credit card is another card that offers you a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. The annual fee for the Citi Prestige card is $450. With this card, you will receive an annual travel credit of $250 that you can put towards future airline ticket purchases. It also provides complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Clubs as well.
With so many bank and airline credit cards available, it can be difficult to decide which one is best for you. As with any credit card, make sure to do your research to see what fees are associated with the card. Overall, these cards are great because they allow you to earn your way to elite status by making everyday purchases that contribute points towards rewards.
Have An Elite Status With An Airline
Choosing an airline and staying loyal to them when flying has its benefits. A lot of airlines offer frequent flyers with elite status access to their lounge as well as other perks. Typically to reach elite status you need to have booked at least 50 flights with the airline. Although the actual number of booked flights needed to reach that level may vary from airline to airline. If you fly often enough it might be worth your time and money to just purchase a lounge membership or at the least one of the airline credit cards. That way when you purchase tickets using the credit card you can earn points that can be used for upgrade seating, purchase airline tickets, and even providing access to the lounge.