Credit cards with free airport lounge access

Enjoy access to airport lounges around the world for free with these credit cards. Find out how to get access and compare your card options.

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Traveling business man relaxing in a VIP lounge at the airport texting on their phone while waiting for his flight - travel concepts (Traveling business man relaxing in a VIP lounge at the airport texting on their phone while waiting for his flight -

Comparison of lounge access cards

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rewards earn rate Rep. APR Link Lounge access Representative example
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card
22.2%
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £140 per annum
2 points per £1 spent with selected partners
1 point per £1 spent elsewhere
56.6% (variable)
Go to site
More Info
2 complimentary visits every year, plus membership of Lounge Club, allowing further access at £20 per visit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with an annual fee of £140 (£0 in first year), your representative APR is 56.6% APR (variable).
American Express Platinum Business Card
N/A (this product is a charge card).
£595 p.a.
1 point per £1 spent
N/A (this product is a charge card).
Go to site
More Info
Unlocks access to more than 1200 airport lounges across 130+ countries, including The Centurion Lounges and membership of PriorityPass.
Coutts & Co Silk Credit Card Visa
14.71%
£0
N/A
14.7% (variable)
More Info
Membership to LoungeKey, access to over 700 airport lounges worldwide. Charged at £20 per person per visit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 14.71% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 14.7% APR (variable).
HSBC Premier Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 9 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
1 point per £1 spent
18.9% (variable)
More Info
Membership to LoungeKey, access to over 750 airport lounges worldwide. Charged at £20 per person per visit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
Barclaycard Business Premium Plus Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 6 months reverting to 14.9%
£150 per annum
N/A
49.4% (variable)
More Info
Two free visits a year (with additional visits charged at £20 each).
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 14.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £150 per annum, your representative rate is 49.4% APR (variable).
Santander World Elite Mastercard
0% for 18 months reverting to 18.9%
£15 per month
0.5% cashback
49.8% (variable)
More Info
Membership to LoungeKey, complimentary access to over 1000 airport lounges worldwide.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £15 per month, your representative rate is 49.8% APR (variable).
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard
18.9%
£195 per annum
2 points per £1 spent
59.3% (variable)
More Info
Membership to LoungeKey, complimentary access to over 750 airport lounges worldwide.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £195 per annum, your representative rate is 59.3% APR (variable).
Coutts and Co Silk Charge Mastercard
N/A (this product is a charge card).
£0
N/A
N/A (this product is a charge card).
More Info
Access to over 700 executive airport lounges in over 300 major airports worldworld. £20 per person per visit.
Allied Irish Bank (GB) Visa Gold Card
N/A (this product is a charge card).
£75 per annum
N/A
N/A (this product is a charge card).
More Info
Priority Pass - access to over 600 executive airport lounges.
The Platinum Card
N/A (this product is a charge card).
£575 per annum
1 point per £1 spent
N/A (this product is a charge card).
More Info
Complimentary access to over 1,200 airport lounges across more than 130 countries worldwide through Priority Pass, with supplementary cardholder as guest. Access to the new Centurion Lounge, coming soon to Heathrow Terminal 3.
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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:

  • Spending requirement. You may need to make an eligible purchase or spend a specific amount of money on your credit card each year to be eligible for complimentary airport lounge passes.
  • Programme enrolment. Credit cards that offer airport lounge access through a member-based service such as Priority Pass may require you to enrol in that programme to receive your complimentary passes or access.
  • Valid ticket. Most airport lounges require all guests to have a valid ticket for a flight departing that day.
  • Dress code. Lounges often have dress code requirements, such as smart or smart casual attire and no shorts.

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:

  • Annual fee. Credit cards with complimentary lounge passes are usually platinum or frequent flyer cards with a hefty annual fee. While most rewards cards have an annual fee below £100, for a high-end card the fee can potentially cost you hundreds of pounds each year. Make sure the extra features including the lounge passes, frequent flyer programme and complimentary insurance can justify this cost. You may get lucky and find one that waives the fee for the first year, making it more enticing.
  • Rates. Depending on the way you plan to use the credit card, interest rates can make a big difference in the card’s value. The purchase rate, cash advance rate and balance transfer rate may all differ in one card, so you will need a good idea of how you plan to use it before you start making comparisons. For example, if you are using it to earn points towards flights but don’t plan on carrying a balance, look for low purchase rates with extended interest-free days.
  • The number of lounges you can access. This feature is dependent on the airline and network that the card is working with. An American Express customer with a platinum card, for example, could have access to 1,100 airport lounges worldwide across 120 countries, and more than 20 in London alone.
  • The rewards programme or airline provider. Many of the credit cards with airport lounge access are a part of a rewards programme that could be tied to a specific airline. If you favour one airline over another, this is definitely worth considering. Another thing to look for is whether or not your exclusive lounge access is contingent on the number of points you have earned.
  • Lounge perks. Airport lounges use various perks to please their first-class passengers and frequent flyers. This could be as elaborate as massage tables in a garden-like setting – like those in some Qantas First Lounges, or the Wi-Fi access, showers and free wine that is available in Virgin lounges. The credit card you choose will determine the perks you are entitled to when waiting on flights.
  • Other benefits. See what else the card is offering outside of the complimentary access to airport lounges. You could find some that have money-saving balance transfer offers if you are carrying a lot of debt, or bonus rewards like loyalty points or air miles.

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 airport lounge
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 airport lounge
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 airport lounge
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 airport lounge
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?

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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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