Getting into an airport lounge isn’t what it used to be. You can buy your way into standalone lounges!
But first, what’s a lounge?? In case you didn’t know, many airlines have exclusive lounges located at airports, but only select passengers can get inside. These lounges offer amenities like comfortable seats, food, drinks, internet, and more, but just purchasing a ticket with your airline doesn’t always guarantee lounge access. So how do you get in a lounge?? Find out here.
Get a Credit Card With Your Airline
Many airlines offer credit cards with lounge access, but keep in mind that you may need to get a specific credit card to qualify for the lounge. If you want to go the credit card route, we recommend that you choose to open a credit card with an airline based in your home airport or whatever airport you fly out of most frequently so that you can get as much use out of it as possible.
Of course, before you open a credit card, make sure you double-check which lounges are available at your local airport. Every airport is different and you don’t want to expect to find a certain airline lounge only to discover there isn’t one.
Buy a First Class Ticket
Buying a first-class ticket can sometimes get you into an airport lounge! It does depend on the airline but many first-class ticket purchases also come with access to the airline’s lounge.
Of course, check the benefits of your airline’s first-class tickets before assuming! Buying a first-class ticket can be quite the splurge so you definitely want to make sure that airport lounge access is included before clicking “submit payment.”
Buy a Day Pass
Many airlines now offer day passes for lounges, and prices can be around $60+ per person depending on the lounge. You may think it’s silly to spend that much on a room in an airport but trust us when we say that it can be worth it in certain scenarios for the free food, comfy seats, and quieter atmosphere.
You typically only have the option to purchase a day pass for the airline with which you’re flying that day, so keep that in mind when choosing your airline and airport. If you end up with a long layover an airport lounge can be a lifesaver!
Sign Up For a Lounge Membership
With some airlines, there are annual passes or memberships for lounge access and it can end up being worth it, especially if you’re a frequent flier! For example, you can purchase a United Club Membership with United Airlines, an Alaska Lounge Membership with Alaska Airlines, and an Admirals Club Membership with American Airlines.
Like any annual pass, these memberships typically require an annual fee, and we’ve seen costs range from $300 to $1,250+ for a household. If you typically fly on one airline, you might want to check out what their annual membership fee is!
Fly With Someone Who Has Lounge Access
If you really want a shortcut, find a friend who has lounge access. Some airline lounges allow members to bring guests along, which means you could get in for free (although you may want to thank your friend with a small gift or something).
However, before you assume your bestie can get you in the lounge, double-check whether the lounge actually allows guests (or a limited amount) before visiting. Otherwise, your friend may be heading into the lounge and leaving you in the dust!
Sign Up For a Frequent Flier Account
If you have an airline you fly often, even if you don’t have a credit card through them, sign up for a frequent flier account and always link it to your flight purchase. With an account, you can sometimes get credit for miles even if you don’t purchase through the airline’s site (like if you use a third party like Expedia), and accrued miles/loyalty points can sometimes grant lounge access.
These memberships are typically free so there’s not a whole lot to lose, although it may take you some time to earn your way to lounge access. American Airlines offers the AAdvantage program, United Airlines has the MileagePlus program, and Southwest Airlines has the Rapid Rewards program, among many other programs out there.
Look Into Third Party Companies
And finally, there are some third-party companies that sell lounge passes that you can use for different airlines. Your mileage may vary with these companies, however, so choose carefully. Companies like Priority Pass and Lounge Buddy offer ways to get lounge access to select lounges around the world.
Some companies require a membership before you can get lounge access, whereas others allow you to purchase one-time lounge passes. Make sure you vet whatever option you choose and understand that you might not be able to get into the lounge you’re most interested in.
Don’t cross an airport lounge off your list because you may never know when you may need one! Whether you’re experiencing long layovers or flight cancelations or maybe you just want to save on drinks at dinner, an airport lounge can be a great spot to relax.
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Have you ever been in an airport lounge? Tell us in the comments!