Disclosure: Basic Travel Couple, LLC has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Basic Travel Couple, LLC 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.
Lounge access is by far one of our favorite Basic Travel Hacks. Because of lounge access, this perk has saved us some serious cash-money. Consequently, it helps to pass time waiting in airports more comfortable! These lounge access perks are not only in
In this Basic Guide:
- Life without Lounge Access
- Life with Lounge Access
- The Basic Lounge Challenge
- How Can I get Lounge Access?
- Priority Pass Lounges
- Priority Pass Restaurants
- Centurion Lounge
- Airline Lounges
- Admiral Lounge
- Delta SkyClub
- United Club
- United Polaris
- Top Credit Cards That Offer Lounge Access
- Lounge Reviews
- Basic Breakdown
Life without Lounge Access
Prior to Basic Traveling, we would arrive at the airport two painful hours early in order to get through security. Afterword, we usually ended up purchasing an overpriced meal in the food court while we were waiting for our gate to begin the check-in procedure. Does this sound familiar?
Life WITH Lounge Access
Nowadays, we typically will arrive an hour early to the airport thanks to TSA Pre-Check. Next, we will head straight to one of the many Airport Lounges available for FREE amenities! Each and every lounge is unique, but some amenities included in them is Coffee, Cocktails, Sandwiches, Snacks, Desserts & More!
The Basic Lounge Challenge
This has without a doubt changed our pre-flight experience tremendously. In fact, it has even resulted in our own fun game that we refer to as the “Lounge Challenge.” Put simply, we try to enjoy a snack or beverage at every lounge available during a layover. If the lounges are spread out, this makes for a great work out too! (Be careful though, we’ve almost missed flights due to this game. One time we arrived at the gate and the door was already shut. Luckily, they didn’t close boarding yet so after some convincing, we were able to get on our flight.) We only recommend this if you have a few hours to kill during your airport stay.
WARNING: This has the potential to make long layovers actually fun and not appear so daunting when you’re booking a flight!
HOW Can I get Lounge Access?
You’re probably wondering how the heck do these guys access all of these lounges?! Don’t worry, there is no secret password or handshake that will grant access. However, there is a handful of Credit Cards that can provide you with access to these perks. In addition to credit cards, earning status with Airlines and Hotels can also provide access to the coveted lounges. Let’s review the different options below:
1 – Priority Pass Lounge Network
The most popular Airport Lounge Credit Card perk out there is the Priority Pass Membership. According to the Priority Pass Website, they currently offer 1,200 Lounges in 500 Cities across 143 Countries. This means, wherever you go, chances are a lounge is available. As you can see from the prices below, access to these lounges is not cheap. Luckily, many Credit Cards provide a complimentary membership. A few of my favorite options are the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum Card.
2 – Priority Pass Restaurants
Now, these are not the traditional lounges that you’d imagine but are important to cover nonetheless. Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders have an additional benefit at certain airport restaurants which provides credit towards a meal. Typically, this credit can be extended to up to one guest. You can search within the Priority Pass website or Mobile App for Restaurants that participate. One of my favorite options is Bobby Van’s Steakhouse located at JFK Airport in Terminal 8. The cardholder and guest can each receive $28 ($56 Total) off of the final bill. The last time I visited was during an epic attempt at a Basic Lounge Challenge at JFK Airport!
3 – Centurion Lounge
The Centurion Lounges can be found in airports throughout the world offering an array of complimentary drinks and food options. They are similar to the priority pass lounges in offerings but the only drawback is that there are not as many options domestically and worldwide.
In the United States, there are 11 options:
- Charlotte (CLT)
- Dallas (DFW)
- Houston (IAH)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- New York (LGA)
- Miami (MIA)
- Philadelphia (PHL)
- Phoenix (PHX)
- Seattle (SEA)
- San Francisco (SFO)
In addition to the domestic options listed above, there is a Centurion Lounge located in Hong Kong (HKG). There are plans to open some new locations in the future in New York (JFK), Denver (DEN), and London (LHR).
The Centurion Lounge can be accessed with either the American Express Platinum Card or American Express Business Platinum Card. The one exception is for American Express Delta SkyMiles Reserve Cardholders who are flying on a same-day Delta operated flight. These cardholders also have access to the lounge but have to pay $50 per additional guest while the Platinum Cardholders are allowed, two free guests.
4 – Airline Specific (American, Delta, United)
The Airline specific lounges are another option when traveling which typically has a unique presentation based on the associated airline. Some of the most common ones that you’ll find throughout domestic airports include the American Airlines Admirals Club, Delta Airlines SkyClub, and the United Airlines United Club lounge. Inside these lounges, you’ll find complimentary food & beverages, a relaxing space, showers in some locations, and airline agents who can help out if you’re experiencing any flight delay issues.
American Airlines Admirals Club – Access to the Admirals Club is complimentary for Citi® AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® Cardholders, Business, and First Class travelers who are flying American or an Oneworld Partner, American Airlines Elite Status Members who are flying on American/Oneworld Partner, and Oneworld Sapphire/Emerald Status members who are flying on American Airlines. In addition, a day pass can be purchased for $59.
Delta Airlines SkyClub – Access to the Delta SkyClub is complimentary for American Express Platinum Personal & Business Cardholders and American Express Delta SkyMiles Reserve Personal & Business Cardholders who are also flying a same-day Delta operated flight. Elite status members (Diamond, Platinum, Gold) and Delta One passengers also have complimentary access. The paid options for accessing the Delta SkyClub are pretty limited. You can either enroll in an annual membership for $545 ($845 if you want to bring guests) or purchase a day pass for $39 (Delta Platinum Credit Cardholders only).
United Airlines United Club – Access to the United Club is complimentary for United Club℠ Infinite Cardholders. There is also a handful of United Credit Cards that provide annual one-time passes like the United Explorer or United Business Cards. Elite status members and travelers who are flying in a premium cabin also have complimentary access. The paid options for accessing the United Club include purchasing an annual membership that averages around $500 or a day pass for $59.
United Polaris Lounge – These lounges are amazing! Inside you will find all of the bells and whistles of the regular United Club Lounge plus additional benefits like multi-course sit-down meals and sleeping pods. The only way to access the United Polaris Lounge is by either booking a Polaris Business/First Class seat or a comparable seat on a Star Alliance Partner. We had the opportunity to visit a Polaris Lounge when we flew on ANA First Class from Houston to Tokyo!
Top Credit Cards that Offer Lounge Access
- Chase Sapphire Reserve (Priority Pass Lounge and Restaurant Network)
- American Express Platinum Personal or Business Cards (Priority Pass, Centurion, Delta SkyClub)
- American Express Aspire Card (Priority Pass and Diamond Lounge in select Hilton Hotels)
- American Express Surpass Card (10 Priority Pass Visits per year)
- Citi® AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® (Admirals Club)
- Chase United Explorer Card (Two United Club One-Time Use Passes Per Year)
Airport Lounges provide multiple benefits that we enjoy. First of all, the variety of free food and drink options available! This is including the excellent mimosas for those early morning flights! Second, many of these lounges offer relaxing places to sit. Sometimes it even includes outdoor seating for fresh air and even a putting green for golfers out there! Lastly, the lounge gets us out of the hustle and bustle of the busy airport and gives us a little bit of peace while we await our flight.
What’s your favorite lounge that you have visited? I’d love to hear down in the comments below or over in the 4,000 + Member Basic Travel Facebook Group!
More Basic Reading
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Disclosure: Basic Travel Couple, LLC has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Basic Travel Couple, LLC 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.