Credit Cards With Airport Lounge Access

This benefit is often found on cards with annual fees, but it can pay for itself. Here are cards with the perk.

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Traveling by air can be an adventure, but trying to chill at the airport before a flight can quickly lose appeal thanks to noisy, crowded terminals and overpriced food and drinks.

The problem may have you wondering: "What credit card gives access to airport lounges?" The solution could be a travel credit card that offers access to the relative serenity of an airport lounge. Lounge access can help you escape the airport terminal chaos and offers such amenities as complimentary food and drinks, ample personal space and sometimes a bed or shower.

So when it comes to choosing a credit card, it helps to know which ones can get you waved through an airport lounge door.

Credit cards with airport lounge access

(Note: As of April 2021. This table does not include cards designed for small-business owners.)

CARD NAME

LOUNGE ACCESS DETAILS

Receive up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for LoungeBuddy.

50% off day passes at the Alaska Lounge when you pay with the card.

2 free annual Lufthansa Business lounge vouchers.

Complimentary access to lounges in the Priority Pass Select network.

Full membership access to Admirals Club lounges, plus access for up to 2 guests or immediate family members traveling with you.

Complimentary access to lounges in the Priority Pass Select network.

Complimentary Delta SkyClub access.

10 free annual Priority Pass lounge visits.

Complimentary access to lounges in the Priority Pass Select network.

HSBC Elite Credit Card

You and 1 guest get free access to over 1,000 airport lounges provided by LoungeKey.

Complimentary access to lounges in the Priority Pass Select network.

Complimentary access to lounges in the Priority Pass Select network.

Complimentary access to lounges in the Priority Pass Select network.

Complimentary access to lounges in the American Express Global Lounge Collection.

SkyPass Visa Signature credit card

2 free annual KAL lounge coupons.

The UNFCU Visa Elite credit card

5 free annual Priority Pass lounge visits.

2 single-use United Club passes annually.

Complimentary United Club membership offers access to all United Club locations and participating Star Alliance affiliated lounges.

Priority Pass Select membership allows 4 free visits per year.

Nerdy tip: Capital One is also adding branded airport lounges in 2021, though it's unclear which Capital One cardholders will have access and how much access might cost.

Types of airport lounge networks

Different credit cards unlock access to different kinds of airport lounges — for you and maybe even for your traveling partners. These cards typically charge an annual fee, but they can save you several hundreds of dollars compared with a stand-alone airport lounge membership.

Here are common airport lounge networks available with some credit cards:

  • Priority Pass lounges: Priority Pass is a network that offers members access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide. You get access by purchasing a membership plan through the Priority Pass network or by applying for a credit card that offers complimentary Priority Pass Select membership.

  • Airline-specific lounges: Some airlines have their own exclusive airport lounges, such as the American Airlines Admiral’s Club, Delta SkyClub and United Club. You can sometimes get in for free if you purchase a business class or first class ticket. Otherwise, you'll have to pay for membership, and the cost generally varies according to your frequent flyer status with the airline. But a co-branded airline credit card can offer free visits to these lounges, typically for a lower cost than a membership.

  • Exclusive membership: Some airport lounges are even more exclusive. The American Express Global Lounge Collection, for example, is available only to cardholders of The Platinum Card® from American Express and to Centurion members. Terms apply. The American Express Global Lounge Collection includes AmEx’s Centurion and International American Express lounges, Delta Air Lines SkyClubs, Priority Pass Select, Plaza Premium, Escape and Air Space lounges.

NerdWallet's best credit cards for airport lounge access

For overall lounge access: The Platinum Card® from American Express

American Express Platinum Credit Card
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The Platinum Card® from American Express gives you access to a vast network of lounges. In fact, as of July 1, 2020, AmEx expanded The Centurion® Network to include an additional 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations around the globe. The card offers 5 points per $1 spent on airfare purchased directly from airlines or booked through American Express Travel; 5 points per $1 spent on hotels booked on amextravel.com; and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Terms apply (see rates and fees).

It has a $695 annual fee, but the long list of perks can help offset the cost. Here are a few that merit a glance:

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • A $200 annual airline fee credit for checked bags, in-flight meals and other travel expenses.

  • Up to $200 annually in Uber credits for rides in the U.S.

  • Up to $179 back annually on your CLEAR® membership.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

  • Terms apply.

For airline lounge access: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Citibank Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® Credit Card
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The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® gets you and immediate family or up to two guests into Admirals Clubs that have nearly 50 locations worldwide and 60 partner lounges in select domestic and international destinations. You’ll earn 2 miles per $1 spent on American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per $1 on everything else.

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® has a $450 annual fee, but its perks and features can offset the cost. And if you’re eyeing it for the airport lounge access, consider that the cost of an annual Admirals Club membership is valued at $650.

Perks include:

  • A free first checked bag for you and up to eight companions on your reservation when you have a domestic American Airlines itinerary.

  • 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after spending $40,000 in purchases annually.

  • Priority check-in, airport screening and boarding when flying with American Airlines.

  • Up to $100 in statement credit every five years when you use your card to pay a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee.

  • 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card.

If you’re not loyal to any brand, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® can also offer access to airport lounges worldwide through Priority Pass Select. This card, too, packs a lot of value for frequent travelers in the form of perks and rewards. It has a $550 annual fee.

For lower annual fee but limited lounge access: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Hilton Honors Ascend
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You don’t have to pay an excessive annual fee to get your foot in the door. The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, for example, offers complimentary Priority Pass Select membership and 10 free lounge visits per year. It has an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

This card gives you 12 points per $1 spent with a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio; 6 points per $1 spent on all eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations; and 3 points per $1 spent on all other qualifying purchases. Terms apply (see rates and fees).

Other key incentives include:

  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/25/2021. Plus, enjoy $0 intro Annual Fee for the first year, then $95. Offer expires 8/25/2021. Terms Apply.

  • A Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.

  • Terms apply.

What’s next?


To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, see this page.

All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through NerdWallet. All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The American Express® Green Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.

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