How to Get Airport Lounge Access (Without a First Class Ticket)

Updated 06/14/17
aimee song—how to get airport lounge access

There's something tantalizingly cruel about airport lounges. For those without access, it's like a mirage: You can picture glasses of wine being poured and row upon row of fresh fruit and pastries on offer, but without a business or first class ticket, it's just out of reach. At least, that's what we'd always thought. 

If you'd rather pass your time at the airport in a plush lounge than crammed at the departure gate (who wouldn't?), The New York Times highlights a lesser-known way to get access: Use your credit card. "For frequent travelers, paying a few hundred dollars a year for a Visa or American Express card may be well worth it, not only for the award points, but also for perks like lounge access," they explain. 

One of the top-rated credit cards for lounge access is Chase Sapphire Reserve. It comes with membership in Priority Pass Select, which includes 1000 lounges worldwide. Plus, every travel-related expense you put on your card, such as taxis and hotel rooms, is deducted from the annual fee. 

Another option is a co-branded airline credit card. American Express Platinum includes access to the Global Lounge Collection while the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard comes with an American Airlines Admirals Club membership. Who knew shopping could be the secret to airport lounge access?

Do you use a credit card to get lounge access? Tell us if you think the perks outweigh the fees.

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