Compare credit cards with airport lounge access

Get plenty of amenities like Wi-Fi, drinks and meals.

Last updated:

Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

Given the terrific amenities and growing numbers of airport lounges around the world, it’s no wonder more travelers want access between flights. If you rarely fly first or business class, picking up one of many credit cards with lounge access is one of the best ways to add this luxury to your travel routine. Here’s a list of cards that offer lounge access and how to choose the card that’s right for you.

How do credit cards with free lounge access work?

For the most part, many credit cards that offer complimentary lounge access also require an annual fee. On one hand, you can think of this annual fee as paying for the “price” of lounge admission. On the other, lounge memberships are often worth hundreds of dollars alone, and credit cards that offer lounge access typically offer far more benefits than just lounge access.

Cobranded lounge access

Many cobranded airline credit cards offer complimentary access or discounted access to the airline’s line of airport lounges. For example, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® offers Admirals Club Membership, allowing access to Admirals Club lounges.

General lounge access

Other credit cards, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, grant access to a broader lounge program such as Priority Pass. These lounges are tied to no particular airline and can vary greatly from location to location.

Why choose a credit card with lounge access?

If you’re a frequent traveler, there are a few reasons to shoot for a credit card with lounge access. Of course, these cards also come with a few trade-offs.

Pros

  • A relaxed environment. Experience a relaxing lounge outside the typical airport waiting area chaos.
  • Refreshments and meals. Enjoy complimentary drinks, snacks, meals and buffet options while waiting to be called for your flight.
  • Convenience. Catch up with work by taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi and cozy chairs, tables and workstations.
  • Other card benefits. Earn points that can later be redeemed for airfare, merchandise and more as the majority of these cards are part of a rewards program.

Cons

  • Restrictions. In some cases, you might be restricted to which amenities are available to you inside the airport lounge. Not all lounges will necessarily have the same amenities.
  • Card fees. You’ll pay higher annual fees than you would with a regular credit card.
  • Accessibility. With some of these cards, you’ll find that the lounge you have free access to is not available at certain airports.
  • Limitations. Complimentary passes often have limitations to who is allowed access. If you are traveling with a large group, you might find that not everyone will be able to wait with you inside the lounge.

How much is airport lounge access worth?

Lounge networkOne-day passOne year membershipDiscountsCost to add a guest
American Airlines Admirals Club$59
  • Individual new $650 or 65,000 miles
  • Individual renew $600 or 60,000 miles
$25 discount per American Airlines elite status tier ($625 to $550 for individual new membership)N/A
Delta Air Lines Delta Sky Club$59 or 5,000 miles
  • Individual membership $545 or 54,500 miles (member only)
  • Executive membership $845 or 84,500 miles (member plus up to two guests included)
N/A$39 per guest if you have an individual membership (effective January 30, 2020)
United Airlines United Club$59$650 or 85,000 milesBetween $550 or 75,000 miles and $600 or 80,000 miles depending on your elite status tierN/A
Alaska Lounge Alaska Airlines$50$450Between $300 and $400 depending on your elite status tierN/A
Priority Pass Select$99 annual membership plus $32 per visit$429N/A$32 per guest per visit
The Centurion Lounge*Available as complimentary perk only to The Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders*Available as complimentary perk only to The Platinum Card® from American Express cardholdersN/AUp to two guests free of charge, $50 one day pass for additional guests
Lounge BuddyStarting from $25 per day or per hour (only available to American Express cardholders)N/AN/AN/A

Our pick for lounge access

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Spend $4,000 in the first 3 months when you open your account to earn 50,000 bonus points — worth $750 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards on travel.
  • Earn 3x points on travel and dining at restaurants, and 1x point on everything else you buy.
  • Get $ annual travel credit each year on your card anniversary year as reimbursement for travel purchases.
  • Transfer points in 1:1 ratio to partner airline and hotel reward programs.
  • Access to Priority Pass Select airport lounges once you enroll in the program.
  • Get up to $100 credit as reimbursement for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
  • Get a one-year Lyft Pink membership (a minimum value of $199) and DashPass subscription with DoorDash.
Read less
Read more
See Rates & Fees

Compare cards with airline lounge access

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Luxury Card Mastercard® Black Card™
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
$495
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare or cash back
$995
Earn 2% point value when redeemed for airfare or cash back through the Luxury rewards program.
United Club℠ Infinite Card
100,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
4x miles on United purchases, 2x miles on travel and dining and 1x miles on all other purchases
$525
Get United Club membership with access for you and two guests at any United Club or Star Alliance lounge -- a value of up to $650 annually.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See terms
See terms
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Best credit cards for airport lounge access

Best credit card for variety of choice: The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express
This well-known luxury card offers one of the widest selection of airport lounges available on a credit card. Your choices include Priority Pass, the American Express Global Lounge Collection and much coveted access to Amex Centurion lounges.

Best lounge credit card for travel and dining earnings: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
See offer
Chase’s premier travel rewards card grants you access to Priority Pass lounges and associated discounts at participating airports. Plus, you’ll earn great rewards on a wide range of travel and dining purchases.

Best lounge credit card for American Airlines: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

The information about Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® has been collected independently by Finder and and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
This cobranded luxury card caters to American Airlines fans and comes with access to nearly 50 Admirals Club lounges worldwide. This value by itself is currently worth $650. Of course, this card also comes with a variety of travel perks.

How we picked our best lounge credit cards

We compared all credit cards that offer complimentary lounge access. Among those cards, we compared other factors that those interested in a travel card might want to learn about, including annual fees, reward opportunities, redemption opportunities, statement credits and other travel perks. We chose to highlight the cards that stood out in one or several categories.

How to choose a credit card with lounge access

Choosing a credit card with lounge access isn’t necessarily as simple as picking a card associated with your airline lounge of choice. After all, a credit card also needs to serve its primary function well for your spending needs. Here are a few factors to consider when making your selection:

  • Your preferred airline. Choose a card that offers additional rewards associated with your airline of choice on top of its lounge access.
  • Your local airport options. A card will serve you best if it offers access to lounges available at your local airport.
  • Overall coverage and availability. Not all lounge networks offer the same coverage — some focus primarily on the United States. If you’re an international traveler, you’ll want a credit card that offers access to a lounge program with coverage across the world.
  • The rewards program of the credit card. If you only plan on redeeming on flights with a specific airline, you might consider a cobranded card. If you like to keep your options open, a more generalized rewards card with lounge access like the Amex Platinum Card might prove more valuable. Some credit cards also offer additional lounge perks, such as access to the LoungeBuddy app.
  • Additional lounge perks. If you frequently travel with others, for example, you might look at the guest policy.
  • Annual fee. Most credit cards offering lounge access demand an annual fee — some larger than others. Consider how much you’re willing to pay for that access.
  • Card rates. Finally, you’ll want to pay attention to the bread and butter of any credit card: the rates and terms. If the card’s APR and fees are poor, it might not be worth the lounge access.

Card comparison breakdown

Here’s a quick breakdown of two popular lounge credit cards, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

At first glance, these two cards seem to offer similar benefits when it comes to airline lounges: access to the Priority Pass program. However, there’s a major distinction between the two cards: the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card offers 10 passes into eligible Priority Pass lounges while the The Platinum Card® from American Express offers unlimited access.

If you’re wondering why you might choose one lounge card over the other, here are a few factors to consider when comparing these cards and others like them:

  • The annual fee. While The Platinum Card® from American Express offers unlimited complimentary access to Priority Pass lounges, you’ll need to pay the hefty $550 annual fee (see rates & fees) to use the card. The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card on the other hand only demands a $95 annual fee. Considering the standard guest and member fee per visit is $32 dollars, you’d only need to visit a lounge three times to make up for the $95 annual fee (see rates & fees).
  • How often do you travel? Ten Priority Pass lounge visits might sound miniscule compared to The Platinum Card® from American Express‘s offering, but it could be more than enough for the average traveler.
  • Do you stay at Hilton Hotels? The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card also offers benefits and perks associated with Hilton’s loyalty program, including increased earning rates on Hilton points. These additional perks could provide additional value during your travel stays.
  • Do you want more diverse lounge access? While the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card offers just Priority Pass, you’ll find even more options in The Platinum Card® from American Express, including access to the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges.
  • Rewards. The Platinum Card® from American Express earns Membership Rewards points, while the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card only earns Hilton points. This could play a large role in your decision, particularly if you have a preference between point flexibility and earning rates.
  • Card terms. Finally, if the card’s terms aren’t ideal for your financial situation and preferences, it likely won’t be a great credit card choice long term.

What types of airport lounges can I access with a credit card?

This depends on your credit card. If you choose a general travel card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or The Platinum Card® from American Express, you get to access a variety of lounges, including Priority Pass Select for Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Global Lounge Collection with The Platinum Card® from American Express.

If you choose a cobranded airline card, you get either discounted or complimentary access to the following lounges:

Bottom line

If you’re a frequent traveler, a credit card with complimentary lounge access can be one of the most valuable — and relaxing — things you have. With so many choices available, you’re sure to find a card that fits your travel and purchasing needs.

If you’re not interested in airline lounge opportunities, compare the full range of travel credit cards for more options.

Frequently asked questions

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site