Comparison of lounge access cards
What's in this guide?
- Comparison of lounge access cards
- How do credit cards with free airport lounge passes work?
- How can I compare cards with free lounge access?
- What are the alternative options?
- Pros and cons of credit cards with lounge access?
- Find lounge access discount codes for the airport you’re departing from
- Frequently asked questions about airport lounge access
How do credit cards with free airport lounge passes work?
A credit card with an airport lounge pass offers complimentary access to exclusive waiting rooms at the airport. This means you can relax in style and comfort before your eligible flights, with popular airport lounge features including Wi-Fi, food and beverages, premium seating and even beds and showers in some locations.
Most cards that offer complimentary airport lounge access provide a limited number of passes for each year you have the card, and a few provide lounge passes as an introductory benefit. Depending on the card and the type of lounge pass available, you may be able to invite a guest or provide access to a supplementary cardholder. Often you will have to meet specific requirements to access this feature, such as spending a certain amount, keeping your account in good standing or requesting the passes directly through your card provider.
Common requirements to get airport lounge access with a credit card
While the requirements you need to meet to get lounge access with a credit card vary based on the provider and the airport lounge, some of the most common conditions include:
How can I compare cards with free lounge access?
To get the most value from your credit card with free airport lounge access, you will need to compare the features of each option including:
What are the alternative options?
You don’t necessarily need a credit card to get into a comfy lounge. Many lounges offer access for a flat fee. It’s not a cheap way to do it, but on the other hand it’s easy to rack up expenses over a two- to three-hour wait in departures.
Priority Pass is a scheme that’s open to anybody, and doesn’t depend on your credit card or who you’re flying with. Members simply pay an annual fee to be part of the scheme. If you’re a regular or semi-regular traveller, it’s not a bad idea.
As a member, you can access lounges run by independent operators like Club Aspire Lounge and No1 Lounge, as well as some individual airline lounges. Overall it offers access to 1,200 lounges spread across 500 cities in 140 countries. Within the UK, there are 46 lounges in 28 airports across 23 cities – eight at Heathrow and five at Gatwick.
The design and features of airport lounges vary depending on the company or airline that operates them. But if you’ve never set foot in a lounge and want to know what they offer, here are some of the locations you could gain access to with specific credit cards.
British Airways lounge – London Heathrow
Decorated with crystal chandeliers and classic black and white photographs, the Concorde Room is sadly only available to first-class passengers. The lounge boasts private booths with full waiter service, secluded cabanas equipped with day beds, and an exclusive business suite.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse – New York JFK
This luxurious lounge provides guests with a variety of exclusive services including a salon and spa offering complimentary haircuts and mini spa treatments, complimentary made-to-order food and pool tables to pass time with friends or fellow guests.
American Express lounge – Sydney International
When you visit an American Express lounge, you can treat yourself to complimentary dining and snacks which often includes buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can also order soft drinks, cocktails, wine, beer and barista-made coffee from the bar.
Priority Pass lounge – Basel-Mulhouse
This award-winning and massive lounge includes a vast glass dome bringing natural light in, and palm trees around an indoor pond. Priority Pass is a subscription-based service that provides members with access to over 800 lounges around the world.
Pros and cons of credit cards with lounge access?
- A relaxed environment. As well as making you feel like a rockstar, an exclusive airport lounge takes you out of the chaos that’s typically found in an airport waiting area. Just don’t get so relaxed you miss your flight!
- Freebies. Enjoy free drinks and tasty snacks while waiting to be called for your flight, and in some cases even a massage!
- Convenience. With cosy chairs, tables and work stations, you can spend your time wisely by taking advantage of free Wi-Fi to catch up on work. Or not.
- Other benefits. Since the majority of these cards are part of a rewards programme, your day-to-day spending can earn you points that can later be redeemed against airfares, merchandise and more.
- Costs. Realistically, credit cards with airport lounge access tend to be premium products – expect high annual fees and minimum spend requirements.
- Restrictions. The world of airport lounges is full of partnerships between operators. In some cases, you might be restricted to which amenities are available to you inside the lounge.
- Accessibility. The brand of lounge that you have free access to won’t have a lounge at every every airport, sadly.
- Limitations. Complimentary passes are usually offered in pairs. If you’re travelling with your family or a group of friends/colleagues, some of your party could be left out in the cold.
Airport lounge access is just one small part of an entire credit card package. As well as taking into consideration the level of lounge access each card is offering, don’t forget about comparing that information against the other features and benefits that the credit card comes with.
Find lounge access discount codes for the airport you’re departing from
Frequently asked questions about airport lounge access
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