Airport lounges have transformed the way people would experience their air travel. Especially, with ultra-modern facilities and access to a host of affordable services, passengers now witness a new taste of luxury that enhances their overall flying experience.
Nevertheless, one question that might strike your mind is how to get into airport lounges. So, let’s discuss How to Get into Airport Lounges?
No matter whether the lounges are made available by different airlines or standalone companies around the world, these private spaces have made their way straight to the comfort and convenience of passengers. Passengers can certainly find respite amid the peaceful ambiance of lounges.
In fact, the biggest advantage that comes along is that business travelers need not worry about anything that crops up urgently during the journey such as online meetings, official discussions, submission of tasks, reports management, and more, as it can be done in a hassle-free manner.
This comprehensive guide will make you familiar with different ways to access airport lounges.
Types of Airport Lounges
There are various types of airport lounges, each catering to different types of travelers. To begin with, let’s take a look at the types of lounges that are located at airports. You can explore and choose from the following types depending on your budget, travel preferences, and frequency of travel.
This is the first type of airport lounge whose access remains limited to passengers flying with a particular airline. These lounges often offer a range of amenities, including comfortable seating, complimentary snacks, and beverages, Wi-Fi access etc. Some of them even offer shower facilities and spa services.
All in all, these lavish lounges provide a separate zone for passengers to relax and recharge before their flight.
As you may already know, there are various airline alliances including Oneworld and Star Alliance in the aviation setup. So, these alliances have certain airlines as their members. Passengers of those airlines can access the lounges operated by these alliances.
Hence the lounges are shared among different airlines that belong to the same alliance. These lounges are accessible to a wider range of travelers. No wonder, if you keep flying with different airlines belonging to the same alliance, it will be beneficial for you to gain access to these lounges.
These independent lounges do not belong to any specific airline or alliance and are available to travelers regardless of the airline they are flying with. Independent lounges also provide a luxurious experience, with additional amenities such as gourmet food and beverages, spa treatments, and much more.
Furthermore, there are even various companies offering lounge facilities and operating private suites that can be booked for private stays during layovers or flight delays.
How to Get Airport Lounge Access?
No matter which lounges you wish to visit, their access is governed by certain factors. Let’s look at the various ways how to get into an airport lounge and enjoy a pleasant travel experience.
Here are some of the major methods:
Programs to Access Airport Lounges
There are certain programs like Lounge Membership Programs, Priority Pass Program, Airlines Loyalty Program, and Frequent Flyer Program to access the airport lounges.
Lounge Membership Programs
You can register for a lounge membership program if you keep traveling frequently and enjoy an ideal retreat within the comforts of airport lounges. Made available by individual companies, these memberships provide you with access to a great network of lounges located at different airports worldwide.
Some of the well-known and most commonly used lounge membership programs are Priority Pass, LoungeKey, and DragonPass. These programs have collaborations or partnerships with airport lounges at the global level and they offer access to lounges in various countries.
Lounge membership programs usually provide unlimited access to their affiliated lounges and they charge a predefined amount on a yearly basis. Hence, you need not worry about traveling with a specific airline or buying a particular class ticket, or holding a frequent flyer status.
You may gain access to some more benefits such as spa treatments on discounted rates or dining credits. This depends on the program and membership level you select.
You can make full use of the facilities and services provided by the lounges without any such limitations.
Priority Pass Program
Priority Pass is among the popular membership programs that offer access to more than 1,300 airport lounges all across the world. No matter whichever airline you are traveling with or whichever class tickets you have, you can buy a plan to access lounges belonging to the Priority Pass network.
Following are the three available plans:
- Standard for US$99 – The Standard Plan is suitable for flyers who don’t travel much. If you are the one who needs to access an airport lounge on rare occasions, you can opt for this plan and pay an additional charge of US$35 per visit to gain access.
- Standard Plus for US$329 – Regular travelers can choose the Standard Plus package. If you buy the same, you can enjoy 10 free visits and will be charged a fee of US$35 per visit from the eleventh time onwards.
- Prestige for US$469 – Frequent travelers who need to fly often can select the Prestige Plan in which no additional fee will be applicable on their visit.
If you are a Priority Pass member, you can relax and enjoy free time before boarding your flight at:
- Orlando Airport Lounges
- Atlanta Airport Lounges
- Buffalo International Airport Lounges
- Manchester Airport Lounges
- Kuala Lumpur Airport Lounges
- CLE Airport Lounges
- Charleston Airport Lounges
- Boston Airport Lounges, and many more
You can explore the membership plans and choose the one as per your needs and budget. Thereafter, you can also download the Priority Pass mobile app access your digital card, and keep all other related details handy for ready reference.
Certain credit cards also offer complimentary Priority Pass membership. You can refer to the contact number provided on the website of Priority Pass and connect with the customer care team for any queries or assistance.
Plaza Premium Lounges
A part of the Plaza Premium Group, Plaza Premium Lounges serves as a network of airport lounges that offer a wide range of services and amenities for leisure and business travelers. The group is a pioneer and known as the market leader in airport hospitality services.
You can enjoy comfortable seating, food and beverages, high-speed Wi-Fi, workstations, showers, massage, and more at these lounges.
Plaza Premium Lounges welcomes all travelers, regardless of their travel class or airline. You can find access to these lounges by paying a fee at the lounge reception. You can also make an online booking and reserve your seats in advance.
These lounges also permit entry if you hold certain credit cards or even lounge membership programs that have partnerships or associations with the Plaza Premium Group.
Airlines Loyalty Program
Almost all the airlines have introduced loyalty programs that comprise annual plans and let you gain access to their respective lounges.
If you consider major airlines such as Delta, United, and American, you will find they have made available their own lounges at various airports. Hence, if you buy their loyalty programs or acquire elite status, if offered, you can have easy access to Delta Air Lines Delta Sky Club Lounges, United Airlines United Club Lounges, American Airlines Admirals Club Lounges, and more. Lounge access is one of the benefits that the flyers can enjoy along with other perks.
If you enroll in an airline’s loyalty program, you can earn points or miles that can be redeemed in the future when you wish to access a lounge. Some programs also offer complimentary lounge passes as a welcome bonus or an annual benefit. These loyalty programs can be a great way to gain lounge access without having to fly a certain number of miles.
It’s important to note that airline loyalty programs may have different tiers or levels of membership, each offering different benefits. Lounge access is generally reserved for higher-tier members or those who hold particularly mentioned credit cards affiliated with the airline. Hence, you must check the requirements and benefits of the loyalty program well in advance.
Not only this, you will also be entitled to bring guests with you within certain terms and conditions.
Thus, if you feel you need to fly out of a specific city quite often and that city’s airports have lounges of the airlines you may consider flying with then you can undoubtedly consider exploring their loyalty programs.
Frequent Flyer Programs
This is also among the most common ways to access airport lounges. Airlines offer rewards and various benefits to their regular and loyal customers. Lounge access is often one of them. Depending on your level of membership within the frequent flyer program, you can find access to various types of lounges.
Airlines usually have multiple tiers within their frequent flyer programs, such as silver, gold, and platinum. The higher your status, the more lounge access you will have. Silver members may have access to basic lounges, and white gold, and platinum members may enjoy access to more exclusive lounges with enhanced facilities and services.
The more you fly with an airline, the more likely you will earn lounge access as a frequent flyer. So, to qualify for frequent flyer lounge access, you usually need to meet certain criteria, such as flying a minimum number of miles or segments each and every year.
Many credit card companies or banks offer lounge access as a perk, and hence, play an important role in providing you with the benefits of using different lounges around the world.
Some of the cards offering lounge access are:
The Platinum Card® from American Express
You can get the Platinum Card® from American Express or the Business Platinum Card® from American Express membership and need to pay an annual fee of $695. You can gain access to more than 1,200 locations, starting with the Centurion lounges, International American Express lounges, and Delta Sky Club lounges. These cards also offer lounges belonging to the Priority Pass, Plaza Premium, Escape, and Air Space networks.
United Club℠ Infinite Card
This card lets you get a United Club membership. It also has certain participating Star Alliance lounges all across the globe. You need to pay $650 per year or use 85,000 miles for a United Club membership, while the membership of the United Club℠ Infinite Card comes at a price lesser than that of the United Club.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
You can hold the membership of this card at a yearly fee of $395. This card offers unlimited access to facilities at Capital One Lounges. You can also gain access to more than 100 Plaza Premium Lounges which also include Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses. Not only this but access to a wide network of Priority Pass lounges is also available.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
This card offers complimentary access to Delta Sky Club and American Express Centurion Lounges. You can buy the membership and pay a yearly charge of US$550.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
You can buy a membership on this card and pay an annual fee of $550 per year. It lets you access over 1,300 airport lounges in numerous cities through Priority Pass Select, which is a membership facility made available for customers of a bank or financial institution belonging to the US. It is generally offered as a credit card benefit.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
This card provides access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges. You can buy a card membership and pay an annual charge of $595.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
If you hold this card, you can get the Priority Pass Select membership and enjoy access to more than 1,200 airport lounges. The annual charge of the card is $450.
So, these are some of the major cards that offer a host of benefits. Some cards provide complimentary access to certain lounges, while others offer discounted or priority access. You can apply for a suitable card as per your budget, origin of travel, and frequency of travel.
Nevertheless, make sure to read the complete terms and conditions to take note of the requirements and limitations associated with the lounge access benefit, as there are some credit cards that may demand a minimum spending threshold or other eligibility criteria.
Certain American Express credit cards also offer access to Amex lounges to their card members. You can enjoy complimentary access or entry at a discounted rate to various lounges located at airports around the globe.
One of the most popular Amex Lounge Programs, the Global Lounge Collection is made available to American Express Platinum Card and Platinum Corporate Card holders. It provides complimentary and unlimited access to more than 1,400 lounges. Some Priority Pass Lounges, American Express Proprietary Lounges, The Centurion Lounge, Delta Sky Club, Plaza Premium Lounges, and more belong to this category.
One Day Passes
It is true that you may not wish to enroll in a frequent flyer or get a lounge membership. But you can still access some of the airport lounges by purchasing a one-day pass. Many lounges offer this option and this is even best for travellers who don’t fly much.
So, you can enjoy a range of facilities for a defined duration and add flavor to your travel journey before flying out.
These passes are a good option if you have a layover or long hours or if you need to wait for another flight after your own flight has got delayed. The cost of a one-day pass depends on the airport and the lounge. Usually, it goes from $30 to $100. Some lounges also offer free entry or discounted rates for children or group bookings.
Here is a list of airports offering lounges with a one-day pass facility:
- San Diego Airport Lounges
- Amsterdam Airport Lounges
- Bradley Airport Lounges
- JFK Airport Lounges
- Seattle Airport Lounges
- Orlando Airport Lounges
- St Louis Airport Lounges
- Newark Airport Lounges
- Tampa Airport Lounges
Please Note: A one-day pass can be bought through the lounge’s website or directly when you visit the lounge. But you must be aware that some lounges may have limited availability for day passes, when they are full with capacity, majorly during peak season.
So, it’s always advised to check with the lounge and contact the customer support team beforehand to obtain a one-day pass.
How to Get Access to Airport Lounges for Free?
As you already know, there are costs involved with most methods of accessing airport lounges. However, there are also certain ways to get access to lounges for free.
Giveaways and Contests
One such method is through lounge pass giveaways and contests. Airlines, credit card companies, and other travel-related companies keep running promotional campaigns that offer free lounge passes as prizes.
You can follow their social media pages, subscribe to their newsletters, etc., in order to keep receiving notifications or updates on their latest offers.
Travel Credit Cards
Travel credit cards make for another option to access lounges for free. They offer complimentary lounge access as a sign-up bonus or an annual benefit. Applying for these certain travel credit cards lets you gain lounge access without paying any extra charges.
Please bear in mind you may also have to meet the minimum spending requirements in order to receive such benefits through these cards.
As this is common at various lounges, members of certain types can bring one or two guests with them for free. Thus, if you have a friend or family member who has lounge access through their frequent flyer status or credit card, they may take you along as a guest.
Isn’t it a great way to enjoy the lounge facilities without paying yourself? But you must be aware of the related terms and conditions and guest policies of the specific lounge that you wish to visit.
Alternative Ways to Access Airport Lounges
If you’re looking for some other ways to access airport lounges, there are a few options.
- You can book a business or first-class ticket, as these ticket classes often include lounge access as part of the fare. While it may be a bit costly, it provides an enhanced travel experience with major benefits.
- You can avail of certain airline promotions or deals. Airlines keep running promotional offers through which you can get complimentary lounge access. You can even get discounted rates for some routes or flights. Nevertheless, these offers are run for a certain period of time. Hence, you can stay tuned to online updates from airlines and take the benefit of those deals.
- Some airports even offer stand-alone lounge facilities that are not limited to a specific airline. They are available for public use. Space can be reserved by paying a predefined fee, regardless of the airline or ticket class. These lounges may not offer the same type of luxury as offered by those run by airlines. But still, they serve as peaceful zones where you can unwind, feel comfortable, and relax before the departure of your flight. You can conduct your homework and collect information about stand-alone lounges at the airport through which you need to fly.
That was a detailed guide on how do you get access to airport lounges. So, as you have read, whether you are a frequent flyer, a member of a loyalty program, or you hold a credit card membership or a lounge membership, there are several ways to find access to airport lounges.
There are even independent lounges that offer access through a one-day pass and don’t require you to be traveling with a specific airline or be in a particular class.
With certain tips and ways to use airport lounges, you can definitely enhance your overall travel experience and start your journey on a great note. Well, that’s a perfect way to stay away from the crowded waiting areas and enjoy some peaceful moments while waiting for the boarding time of your flight.
If you discover the secrets behind accessing lounges at airports, you can surely make the most of your much-awaited travel. No matter whether you are traveling for a holiday or it’s a business visit, you can stay assured of modern amenities at airport lounges.
Faqs on How to Get Airport Lounge Access?
Here are some of the most commonly asked queries on How to Get into Lounges at Airports?
You can access airport lounges through frequent flyer programs, airlines’ loyalty programs, credit card memberships, and lounge membership programs including priority pass, and one-day passes. You can explore the membership plans and buy a suitable one as per your budget, origin of travel, preferred airline, and frequency of travel.
You can access Amex lounges if you hold the Platinum Card® from American Express or the Business Platinum Card® from American Express. These cards are available for an annual membership of US$695.
There are several ways to access lounges for free. You can stay connected with social media channels and newsletters of airlines as they keep announcing promotional campaigns in which lounge passes are offered as prizes. So, you can make use of such giveaways and contests. Besides, you can also buy travel credit cards that offer complimentary lounge access. Apart from this, guest policies of various lounges allow lounge members to bring up to two guests with them for free. Hence, you can come along with your friends, family members, or colleagues who are eligible for lounge access.
Military members and their dependents can find free access or entry to most airport lounges at discounted rates. It depends from one lounge to another whether they need to show a particular ID document or more to enter a lounge. Moreover, many airports house USO Lounges that are meant exclusively for the military community. They can enter for free along with their dependents while taking care of the required documents to be presented at a lounge.
You can access Delta Air Lines Delta Sky Club lounges through various methods. Some of them are given below:
– Buying a Delta Sky Club membership; the annual charge starts at US$545
– Travelling on a domestic Delta One flight, an international Delta One flight, or a connecting flight to or from an international Delta One flight
– Holding Diamond, Platinum, or Gold Medallion membership with Delta and traveling on an international itinerary with Delta or a SkyTeam partner airline
– Holding the Platinum Card® from American Express, the Business Platinum Card® from American Express, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, and the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card