Skip to Content

How to Get Free Airport Lounge Access With Your Credit Card

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. TRAVELING WELL FOR LESS HAS PARTNERED WITH CARDRATINGS FOR OUR COVERAGE OF CREDIT CARD PRODUCTS. TRAVELING WELL FOR LESS AND CARDRATINGS MAY RECEIVE A COMMISSION FROM CARD ISSUERS. OPINIONS, REVIEWS, ANALYSES & RECOMMENDATIONS ARE THE AUTHOR'S ALONE, AND HAVE NOT BEEN REVIEWED, ENDORSED OR APPROVED BY ANY OF THESE ENTITIES. READ MY DISCLOSURE AND PRIVACY POLICIES.

You’ve seen the frosted glass doors. Caught glimpses of the large soft leather chairs. Seen frazzled travelers walk in and come out relaxed and smiling.

Those frosted glass doors are the gates to the kingdom. In other words, entrance to the airport lounge.

You can get free airport lounge access from your credit card.

Originally published on January 29, 2018. Updated on February 26, 2021.

How to Get Free Airport Lounge Access with Your Credit Card

An airport lounge is a great place to relax before waiting for your flight. You can purchase an airport lounge membership through programs like Priority Pass or Lounge Buddy. But you might not have to. Because one or more of your credit cards may offer it for free. | airport lounge | airport lounge access credit cards | which credit cards give you free lounge access | https://www.travelingwellforless.com

Al Mourjan Lounge in Doha

I’ve shared all the tips and tricks on how to get into every airport lounge. One of those tricks is something you may already have in your wallet.

Nope, not cash. Something else, something that you might not realize.

You can get free airport lounge access with your credit card. Keep reading to find out which credit cards come with lounge access.

Credit Cards for Airport Lounge Access

Airport lounges are a haven from the insanity of the terminal. A quiet retreat with free Wi-Fi, food, drinks, and showers. And in some lounges, you can get massages, manicures, and pedicures!

But an airport lounge membership can cost up to $550 a year. Some lounges like the Centurion Lounges are so exclusive you can’t buy a membership.

You have to be a member of the club or have the right credit card.

Why pay for an airport lounge membership when you can get it for free?

Several credit cards give you free airport lounge membership as part of the card benefits. These are the best credit cards for airport lounge access.

The Platinum Card from American Express

My favorite credit cards for airport lounge access are the American Express Platinum cards: personal card and the business card.

The Platinum Card from American Express and the Business Platinum Card from American Express give you access to more lounges through the American Express Global Lounge Collection.

With the Global Lounge Collection, you get access to over 1,260 airport lounges worldwide. Part of this network includes American Express’s Centurion Lounges.

You get free food from award-winning chefs, free drinks (including alcohol), free Wi-Fi, and a spa.

The spa offers free massages, manicures, and pedicures! You can book an unlimited number of treatments if space is available. 🙂

The Centurion Lounge is open only to Amex Platinum Card (personal or business) and Centurion Cardholders and their guests. Because of space limits, you can no longer buy a $50 day pass if you have a different American Express card.

Your Platinum Card from American Express and the Business Platinum Card from American Express also give you a Priority Pass Select membership and a $10 credit for food or drinks at Airspace Lounges.

Pro-tip: You can bring in two guests for free. Each additional guest at Priority Pass lounges costs $32 and $20 or more at Airspace lounges.

If you’re flying Delta, you can use the Delta Sky Club lounges for free. There are so many lounge options with the Amex Platinum cards, that’s why they are one of the 5 cards I always keep in my wallet.

You also get 5x points on airfare purchases, 1x point on all purchases, a $200 annual airline fee credit, a $100 credit for Global Entry application (or renewal), free Hilton Honors Gold status, and $200 Uber discounts (Amex personal card).

You pay no foreign transaction fees on either card. (see rates and fees) (see rates and fees) The annual fee for Amex Platinum card is $550. (see rates and fees) With the $300 travel credit, it’s more like $250. The annual fee for the Amex Business Platinum card is $595 ($695 if application is received on or after 01/13/2022). (see rates and fees)

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is another best travel rewards card that includes airport lounge access.

You get a free Priority Pass Select membership with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Authorized users also get a free membership.

Pro-tip: There’s no fee or limit on how many guests you can bring to the lounge.

When you use your card to pay for travel through the Chase travel portal you earn 10X points on hotels and car rentals and 5X points on airfare. When you book direct, you’ll earn 3X points. You also earn 3X points on dining. On everything else, you earn one point per dollar spent.

You also get a yearly $300 travel credit which is automatically applied. No need to call or submit any paperwork.

Other benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve include a $100 Global Entry application fee credit and rental car discounts from Avis, National Car Rental, and Silvercar. When you book a hotel with the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection you get free breakfast, in-room Wi-Fi, and other special perks.

You pay no foreign transaction fees. The annual fee is $550. With the $300 travel credit, it’s more like $250.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

If you have the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card you get free airport lounge access.

Because one of the many perks of this card is a Priority Pass Select membership.

You also get a free award night each year, $200 in statement credits at US restaurants the first six months you have the card, $300 statement credit each year at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, a $100 credit every year on 2 nights stays at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis, free Marriott Gold status (free upgrade, free Wi-Fi, late checkout, and bonus points), fee credit for GlobalEntry or TSA PreCheck, 6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x points on airline tickets booked with the airlines, and 2x points on all purchases.

There are no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees) so you can use your card when traveling internationally. The $450 annual fee is easily offset by the yearly credits. (see rates and fees)

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

As a Hilton Honors American Express Surpass cardholder, you get 10 free airport lounge passes every year.

This card’s perks include a free weekend night every year and free Hilton Gold status (a free upgrade, free breakfast, free in-room Wi-Fi, and late checkout). You can earn a second free weekend night when you spend $45,000 a year. When using this card you earn 12x points as Hilton hotels, 6x points on certain travel and business expenses, and 3x points on everything else.

There are no foreign transaction fees so you can use your card when traveling internationally. The annual fee is $95. (see rates and fees)

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

With the Hilton Honors American Express Business card, you get 10 free airport lounge passes each year.

You also get a free weekend night each year, free Hilton Gold status (free upgrade, free breakfast, free in-room Wi-Fi, and late checkout), a second free weekend night when you spend $45,000 a year, 12x points as Hilton hotels, 6x points on certain travel and business expenses, and 3x points on everything else.

There are no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees) so you can use your card when traveling internationally. The annual fee is $95. (see rates and fees)

United Mileage Club Infinite Card

The United Club Infinite Card and United MileagePlus Club Business Card give you a free membership to the United Club ($650 value).

When flying on a Star Alliance flight, you get free access for your and a guest to any Star Alliance Business Class lounge worldwide.

Pro-tip: In Singapore, you can only get into the Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Gold Lounge.

You earn 4 miles per dollar spent on United and 2 miles per dollar spent on travel and restaurants, including certain delivery services. You earn 1 mile on everything else.

This card gives you and a travel companion free first and second checked bags ($320 value). You also get Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle Elite status.

You get free breakfast, room upgrade, in-room Wi-Fi, and other perks when you book a hotel with the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.

There are no foreign transaction fees. The annual fee is $525.

Pro-tip: Save on annual fees: you get 2 free United Club passes from the United Explorer card

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

You get a free entry to the Delta Sky Club with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card.

Pro-tip: You’ll pay $39 per guest for up to two guests.

One nice benefit of these cards is the annual companion certificate. Your companion flies for free (including First Class) in the continental US when they travel with you.

Both cards give you 3 miles for every dollar spent on Delta purchases, 1 mile on other purchases, priority boarding, and a free checked bag.

The Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card participates in the OPEN Savings program. So you’ll save 3% to 10% on purchases at businesses like FedEx, Hertz, and OfficeMax.

You pay no foreign transaction fees on either card. (see rates and fees) (see rates and fees) The annual fee for the Delta Reserve card is $550. (see rates and fees)  The annual fee for the Delta Reserve Business card is $550. (see rates and fees)

Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

The Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard gets you free American Airlines Admirals Club membership ($650 value). You can invite your immediate family or two guests to the Club.

Pro-tip: Authorized users can get their own free membership

This card also offers priority boarding, a free checked bag for you and up to 8 travel companions, and 2 miles per dollar spent on American Airlines purchases and 1 mile on everything else.

You get $100 credit for Global Entry or TSAPreCheck and a 25% discount on inflight purchases.

Plus you can earn 10,000 elite qualifying miles when you spend $40,000 in purchases in a calendar year with the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard. This is great if you fly a lot on American Airlines as I do.

There are no foreign transaction fees. The annual fee is $450 which is offset by the Club membership and checked bag fee savings.

Citi Prestige

Like the Amex Platinum cards and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Citi Prestige Card gives you a free Priority Pass Select membership ($429 value).

Pro-tip: Your immediate family or two guests can join you for free in the lounge.

Other benefits of this card include a $250 yearly air travel credit and $100 reimbursement for Global Entry application/renewal.

But the most valuable perk is the 4th-night free hotel. When you stay four nights, you get the 4th night free. You only pay taxes and fees.

When using the Citi Prestige you earn 5x points on airline tickets and restaurants, 3x points on hotels, 2x points at restaurants, and 1 point on everything else.

There are no foreign transaction fees. You’ll pay a $495 annual fee but it’s offset by the travel benefits.

Ritz-Carlton

Another card that gives you a Priority Pass Select membership ($399 value) is the Ritz-Carlton card.

With the Ritz-Carlton card, you can bring your immediate family or two guests into the airport lounge.

You also get a $300 travel credit and $100 Global Entry credit. Plus you get Ritz Carlton Gold status your first year.

This card gives you 6x points at Ritz Carlton and Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x points on airline tickets, car rentals, and restaurants. You’ll earn 2 points on all other charges.

You’ll pay no foreign transaction fees and an annual fee of $450.

Conclusion

An airport lounge is a great place to relax before waiting for your flight. And it’s the best place to go if your flight is canceled, especially if you need to get on another flight.

You can purchase an airport lounge membership through programs like Priority Pass. But you might not have to. Because one or more of your credit cards may offer it for free.

Cards like the American Express Platinum: personal and business give you free entry to over 1,260 lounges worldwide. While cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express give you a free Priority Pass Select membership. It’s a good idea to check the benefits of your travel rewards cards.

Which is your favorite credit card for airport lounge access?

Pin this to your travel, travel tips, or vacation board:

Airport lounges are a quiet retreat with free Wi-Fi, food, drinks, and showers. Some lounges offer free massages, manicures, and pedicures! Membership can cost up to $550 a year. But you’re in luck. Because several credit cards give you free airport lounge membership as part of the card benefits. These are the best credit cards for airport lounge access. | airport lounge | airport lounge access credit cards | which credit cards give you free lounge access | https://www.travelingwellforless.com

Comment, tweet, or share this post.

Get the best credit card signup bonuses.

Follow us on Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube

Got a question? Or want help, suggestions, travel tips, learn how to travel for free, find out about travel deals, and maximize your miles and points? Use the subscription box below to sign-up and get post updates by email.

For Amex Platinum rates and fees, click here.
For Amex Business Platinum rates and fees, click here.
For Marriott Bonvoy Brillant rates and fees, click here.
For Hilton Surpass rates and fees, click here.
For Hilton Business rates and fees, click here.
For Delta Reserve rates and fees, click here.
For Delta Reserve Business rates and fees, click here.

Traveling Well For Less has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.


Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card

TSouthwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card's newest signup bonus can get you up to 2 years of free flights! The welcome offer is 100,000 points: 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months; another 50,000 points after spending a total of $12,000 in the first 12 months.
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 3X points on Southwest purchases, 2X points on internet, cable, phone, streaming, ride share, and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, $75 yearly travel credit, 4 upgraded boardings each year, and no foreign transaction fees.
 


Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginning travel hackers. It is the first card you should get to start traveling for free because the welcome offer is 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5X points on travel when booked through the Chase portal (2X if direct purchase), 3X points on dining , $50 yearly credit on hotels booked through the Chase portal, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.
 


Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of my favorite cards for earning cash back card and travel rewards. It offers a welcome offer of $200 after spending $500 in the first three months.
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5% cash back at grocery stores the first 12 months (up to $12k), unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee. When paired with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can use your points to travel for free.
 
← Previous
The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas Happy Hour
Next →
How to Earn a Southwest Companion Pass in 2 Easy Steps (Expired)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Mama Maggie's Kitchen

Thursday 11th of March 2021

This is awesome! I want to get this, too! A free airport lounge access is really good.

Chef Dennis

Tuesday 9th of March 2021

This is rally great to know! I will be keeping this in mind. Knowing that we can use our credit cards to access free airport lounge is awesome.

MELANIE EDJOURIAN

Tuesday 9th of March 2021

That sounds like something I need to check out before we travel next. I wonder if my card has this available. Thanks for the info x

Kathy

Tuesday 9th of March 2021

This is great to know. I have never actually traveled on a plane before. I'm hoping to sometime, so it's great to know about this.

Beth

Tuesday 9th of March 2021

My daughter loves to travel. I'll have to let her know about these different ways to get free airport lounge access.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.