The Guide to Chicago Airport Lounges

Chicago airport lounges offer limited Priority Pass access. Use airline status and credit card loyalty instead.
Ramsey Qubein
By Ramsey Qubein 
Published
Edited by Meg Lee

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Chicago has two major commercial airports: Chicago-O’Hare and Chicago-Midway. The former serves as a major hub for American Airlines and United Airlines, while Southwest Airlines has a large presence at Chicago-Midway.

With plenty of flyers traveling through the city on a daily basis, there are a number of airport lounges available to those who want a quiet space to relax before their flight.

Find out which airport lounges are available to travelers at Chicago-O’Hare, plus the latest information about a new, first-ever airport lounge at Chicago-Midway.

About Chicago’s airport lounges

Chicago-O'Hare

Depending on how you access a lounge and with which airline you’re flying, there are several lounges at Chicago-O’Hare worth exploring. The airport has lounges in Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5.

Your best bet to get into a lounge here will be if you’re flying with United or American or if you hold elite status in one of these airlines’ loyalty programs. A small number of international airlines also have lounges in Terminal 5.

Unfortunately, Chicago-O’Hare doesn’t have many options for Priority Pass members or those who have access to American Express Global Lounge Collection lounges.

You may get access to lounges depending on your elite status level with an airline, even if traveling in economy class.

Chicago-Midway

Chicago-Midway doesn’t currently have any lounge options, but it will be opening its first-ever lounge in late 2024. Called "The Club MDW," it will part of the network of lounges dubbed "The Club" be accessible to Priority Pass members.

If you want to purchase Priority Pass membership, an annual pass for unlimited lounge visits costs $469. Cheaper memberships are available but only allow a limited number of visits per year.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you don’t have lounge membership through an airline, check to see if your credit card includes access to Priority Pass lounges.

Chicago-O'Hare Terminal 1: United Clubs and Polaris Lounge

Terminal 1 is primarily used by United Airlines and select partners. It has four lounges for passengers traveling on United and partner carriers. Here are the lounges available at Chicago-O’Hare Terminal 1.

Chase United Airlines Mileage Plus Credit Card
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United Club

  • Three locations: near gate B6 (Concourse B), gate B18 (Concourse B) and gate C10 (Concourse C).

  • Open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

  • Must present a boarding pass to enter.

  • Open to United Club members, one-time pass holders, United and Star Alliance premium cabin passengers and eligible elite status holders (including Star Alliance Gold) on eligible international flights. Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum and VIP members plus Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge members, all of whom must be traveling from Chicago-O’Hare on United, can also visit United Club locations. Access is also available to certain United credit cardholders.

United Clubs offer hot and cold buffet meals and drinks from an open bar. Work stations, free Wi-Fi, seats with power outlets and Illy coffee machines come standard.

Polaris Lounge

  • Located near gate C18 (Concourse C).

  • Open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

  • Must present a boarding pass to enter.

  • Open to United Polaris and Star Alliance premium cabin passengers as well as eligible elite status holders (including Star Alliance Gold flyers on non-United flights) on international flights. Star Alliance Gold members who are traveling domestically on United cannot use the Polaris Lounge, but may access the United Club instead.

Polaris Lounges have a more substantial buffet of hot and cold food items, an a la carte menu in a sit-down restaurant, an upgraded bar with complimentary drink selections, lounge areas, showers and nap rooms.

🤓Nerdy Tip

United Club members can bring a spouse and child under 21 or up to two guests. The United Club℠ Infinite Card comes with lounge membership that can be used when flying United or a Star Alliance partner.

Chicago-O'Hare Terminal 2: United Club

Terminal 2 is used by United Airlines as well as a handful of other airlines like Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways. Here is information on the sole lounge at Chicago-O’Hare’s Terminal 2:

United Club

  • Located near gate F9 (Concourse F).

  • Open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

  • Must present a boarding pass to enter.

  • Open to United Club members, one-time pass holders, Star Alliance premium cabin passengers and eligible elite status holders (including Star Alliance Gold) on eligible international flights. Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum and VIP members plus Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge members, all of whom must be traveling from Chicago-O’Hare on United, can visit United Club locations.

United Clubs offer hot and cold buffet meals and drinks from an open bar. Work stations, free Wi-Fi, seats with power outlets and Illy coffee machines come standard.

Cards with United Club access
Chase United Airlines Mileage Plus Credit Card
United℠ Explorer Card
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Chase United MileagePlus(R) Club Card Credit Card
United Club℠ Infinite Card
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Chase United Mileage Plus Explorer Business Credit Card
United℠ Business Card
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on Chase's website

United Club℠ Business Card
United Club℠ Business Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rates & Fees
Details

Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95):

Lounge access: Two one-time United Club passes after account opening and each year for your cardmember anniversary.

Annual fee: $525.

Lounge access: Primary cardholders get a United Club membership.

Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $99.

Lounge access: Two one-time United Club passes after account opening and each year for your cardmember anniversary.

Annual fee: $450.

Lounge access: Primary cardholders get a United Club membership.

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Chicago-O'Hare Terminal 3: American Admirals Clubs and Flagship Lounge

Terminal 3 is primarily used by American Airlines and some of its partner carriers. Here are the details for the lounges located at Chicago-O’Hare Terminal 3.

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American Airlines Admirals Club

  • Three locations: near gate G8 (Concourse G), between gates H6 and K6 (Concourse H/K) and near gate L1 (Concourse L).

  • Open daily from 6:15 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. (Concourse H/K lounge is open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.)

  • Must present a boarding pass to enter.

  • Open to Admirals Club members, one-time pass holders and some American Airlines co-branded credit cardholders. Eligible AAdvantage, MileagePlan and Oneworld elite status members and premium cabin passengers can all enter if flying on a qualifying flight. Admirals Club members can also bring their immediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18) or up to two guests. Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® holders also get Admirals Club access as a card perk.

American’s Admirals Clubs offer buffet snacks and an open bar. Some include pop-up stations with avocado toast in the morning and made-to-order guacamole in the evening.

Work stations, seats with power outlets and lounge areas are also available. If you’d like to take advantage of the Club’s shower facilities, you’ll need to head to the location between the H and K Concourses.

American Airlines Flagship Lounge

  • Located between gates H6 and K6 (Concourse H/K).

  • Open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

  • Must present an eligible boarding pass to enter.

  • Open to ConciergeKey travelers, eligible AAdvantage and Oneworld elite status members on international flights and premium cabin passengers on eligible international, premium transcontinental and long-haul Hawaiian island flights. One-day passholders can also enter for $150 per person or 15,000 AAdvantage miles. Also eligible to enter are Alaska Airlines MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members on eligible flights.

American’s Flagship Lounges are a step up from the Admirals Club and have expansive buffets with hot and cold items, self-service bars, a range of snacks, work stations, showers, seats with power outlets and premium Champagne and wine.

Chicago-O'Hare Terminal 5: Delta Sky Club and international airline lounges

Since Delta moved its operations to Terminal 5, it joins a few other domestic carriers as well as most other international airlines operating from Chicago-O’Hare.

🤓Nerdy Tip

It’s not easy for travelers departing from Terminals 1, 2 or 3 to access these lounges since they must leave the secure area, take a train and re-clear security. If you’re connecting through O’Hare with a flight leaving from Terminal 5, a free shuttle within security is available after showing an eligible boarding pass.

That said, these four Chicago-O’Hare airport lounges are best suited for passengers departing from Terminal 5.

Delta Sky Club

  • Located between gates M11 and M14 (Concourse M).

  • Open from 4:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day except Saturday when hours are 4:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Must present a boarding pass to enter.

  • Open to Delta Sky Club members, Delta One passengers, premium cabin passengers traveling internationally on a SkyTeam flight and Medallion members (except Silver) flying internationally in a premium cabin. Non-Delta members with SkyTeam Elite Plus status traveling on an international itinerary also receive access, as do those who hold The Platinum Card® from American Express, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card or select Centurion cards from American Express. Travelers may only access the lounge up to three hours prior to their flight. Anyone holding a basic economy ticket will not receive access. Terms apply.

The Sky Club offers a buffet of hot and cold food items, an open bar (including a dedicated wine bar), work stations with power outlets, an interesting collection of artwork and plentiful seating overlooking the Delta gates.

Cards with Delta SkyClub access
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
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on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
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on American Express' website

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The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
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on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
NerdWallet Rating
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on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Annual fee
$650
$650
$695
$695
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British Airways Lounge

  • Located between gates M11 and M12 (Concourse M).

  • Open from 12:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

  • Must present a boarding pass to enter.

  • This lounge is open to premium cabin and eligible Oneworld elite status members on international British Airways or Oneworld flights.

In the lounge, a range of self-service snacks and an open bar are available, although there is limited seating given its small size.

SAS Lounge

  • Located near gates M19 and M20 (Concourse M).

  • Opening hours vary based on flight schedule.

  • Must present a boarding pass to enter.

  • This lounge is accessible to SAS passengers and eligible elite status passengers on other Star Alliance flights from the terminal.

While compact, the lounge has a decent spread of snacks, self-pour refreshments including alcohol and work stations with power outlets.

Swissport Lounge

  • Located near gate M13 (Concourse M).

  • Open from 7 a.m. to 12:30 a.m (7 a.m. to 9 p.m. for Priority Pass members).

  • Must present a boarding pass to enter.

  • This lounge is available to Priority Pass members and eligible customers with access via their airline. If you have access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, you also have Priority Pass membership, giving access to this lounge.

The lounge offers visitors a buffet of snacks, an open bar and seating although power outlets can be hard to find. This is not one of the most attractive lounges at the airport, but it is the only Priority Pass option.

Chicago-Midway: The Club at MDW

Opening in late 2024, this new Priority Pass-accessible lounge will be available near the Central Market between Concourses A and B.

This will become the first Chicago-Midway airport lounge.

Top cards with Priority Pass
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
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on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
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on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
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on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rates & Fees
Annual fee

$695.

$395.

$650.

$195.

$400.

Priority Pass benefits

Priority Pass Select membership. Enrollment required.

Terms apply.

Full Priority Pass Select membership. Includes two guests per visit. No restaurants.

Priority Pass Select membership. Enrollment required.

Terms apply.

10 complimentary Priority Pass lounge visits per year. Enrollment required.

Terms apply.

Eight free Priority Pass lounge visits per year.

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For Midway passengers without a qualifying card or Prioriy Pass membership, a day pass can also be purchased for those with a boarding pass for $50.

Chicago airport lounges recapped

Chicago-O'Hare has several lounge options across United, American, Delta and international airlines. Chicago-Midway, meanwhile, will be opening an airline-agnostic lounge for Priority Pass members in late 2024.

As it currently stands, travelers need to rely on their airline ticket, elite status or lounge membership to give them access to a Chicago airport lounge.

The information related to United Club℠ Business Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.


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