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Flying brings its own unique sort of misery – delays, squalling babies and all the unfortunate side effects of air travel. Your credit card can offer relief. Some offer access to airport lounges, where you can escape the frenzy of the airport and enjoy food, drink and Internet access. Here are several cards that will get you into airport lounges and make your next trip a little more pleasant.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is probably the first card that comes to mind for airport lounge access. The card gives you access to the Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs and Airspace Lounges, and you can enroll in Priority Pass Select at no additional cost. These programs span more than 900 airport lounges worldwide. Though its annual fee is $450, its perks are attractive to any frequent traveler: a $200 annual airline fee credit (to offset checked bag fees, snacks and such), a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check, and a great sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms Apply
» MORE: NerdWallet’s best travel credit cards
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
The United MileagePlus® Explorer Card offers two one-time-use United Club passes per year, in addition to other United Airlines perks like one free checked bag apiece for up to two people, no foreign transaction fees, and 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets bought from United and 1 mile per $1 spent elsewhere. The card has an annual fee of $95. Its signup bonus is pretty good, too: Special offer: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® gets you (and any authorized users) into the Admirals Club and offers a host of other perks. It comes with a competitive signup bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*. The annual fee is $450. You’ll get one free checked bag for you and up to eight people on your reservation, plus priority boarding. The card earns 2 miles per $1 spent on American Airlines, and 1 per $1 spent elsewhere. Plus, you’ll earn 10,000 elite qualifying miles every year you spend $40,000.
Other cards that offer lounge access*
|United MileagePlus® Club Card
||United Club – full access for you and your companions
||annual fee is $395
|Delta Reserve Credit Card
||Delta Sky Club – full access for cardholder; spouse/domestic partner and children under 18 or up to two guests receive access at a discounted $29 per person
||annual fee is $450
|*As of December 2014