How to Get Airport Lounge Access


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Airport lounge access is one of my favorite benefits that I get with my higher annual fee cards. I usually try and arrive earlier when I fly so I can visit a lounge, have a small meal, and unwind a little. It is such a nice perk! When you have a layover between flights, time flies in an airport lounge. A few times, I have even showered during a layover! It makes all the difference in how I feel when I arrive at my final destination.

The two lounges I use most when traveling domestically are the Priority Pass Lounges and the American Express Centurion Lounges. If you are traveling business or first class, airport lounge access is included with the price of your ticket. Having certain credit cards also allows you airport lounge access even when traveling economy!

Priority Pass Lounges

Priority Pass Lounges are found in many airports. There are over 1,200 lounges in more than 500 cities across 143 countries. Sometimes there is more than one lounge in a single airport. I usually look up their locations in any airport I am traveling through and read reviews to decide which is the best one to go to. With Priority Pass, you can gain access to the lounges for yourself and two guests. It is always fun to share a lounge pass with someone because they are so impressed I can get them in for free!

Recently, my sister, friend, and I went to the Priority Pass Lounge in Puerto Vallarta. We enjoyed sandwiches, chips, cookies, and cokes before flying home. Having a nice breakfast, lunch, or dinner every time I travel makes the cost of the annual fee a lot less daunting!  

woman sitting in priority pass lounge in puerto vallarta
Just relaxing in the Puerto Vallarta Priority Pass Lounge before my flight home

Credit Cards that come with a Priority Pass include:


women in priority pass lounge in Bangkok
Priority Pass Lounge in Bangkok, Thailand – airport lounge access is a game-changer!

Restaurant Access

A great perk with Priority Pass is access to 25 restaurants in U.S. airports that don’t have an actual lounge. I can order $28 worth of food. Yes, that’s right! $28 for me and $28 each for two guests! This is a huge saving and beats grabbing an overpriced, premade deli sandwich.

Sadly, American Express is not offering this with their Priority Pass access. However, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card, and Citi Prestige Card will continue to offer this benefit.

American Express Centurion Lounges

The other airport lounge I use and like, even more, is Centurion Lounges. They usually have a shower available, a little better food, and are just a little nicer in my opinion. I get so excited when I am traveling to an airport with a Centurion Lounge and can use my airport lounge access!

Currently, there are lounges in Charlotte, Dallas, Denver (read my review here), Hong Kong, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York (JFK and La Guardia), Pheonix, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle. A new lounge is set to open in London (my daughter lives there so yay for me!)

You can access these lounges by having an American Express Platinum Card – a huge reason it will always be in my wallet. Again, you can bring in two guests for free (coming Feb 1. 2023 guests will no longer be free). My husband or another guest enjoys this perk when flying with me!

Delta Sky Club Lounge

With the American Express Platinum Card, you can enjoy the amenities of a Delta Sky Club Lounge anytime you are traveling on a Delta flight. You can’t bring in a guest for free but can buy them a pass at a reduced rate. You can also access Delta Sky Clubs if you have the Delta Reserve credit card. Guests will need to pay $39 to join you. 

United Club Lounge

Another nice lounge to hang out in is the United Club Lounge. Having the United Explorer Card in your wallet gives you two free lounge passes. This allows you to use the lounge if you are traveling on a United flight and does not allow for guests. If you have the United Club Infinite card, you get a United Club membership and can bring up to 2 guests.

Admirals Club

To visit the American Airlines Admirals Club, you need to have the AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard. You can bring up to 2 guests with you. 


Bottom Line

If you travel often, or your husband does, having a card that allows you airport lounge access is a game-changer! My husband laughs that I enjoy airports so much. He thinks I am crazy but I go to airports early just for the lounges. Yes, I am addicted to my lounges! Having an hour of quiet and a nice snack is part of my preflight routine. Airport lounges have completely changed my flying experience.

Main image courtesy of


A Pinterest graphic about how to get free airport lounge access
American Express Centurion Lounge

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