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Best Credit Cards for Airport Lounge Access

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When you’re at the airport and you stroll past exclusive lounge areas, you’ll notice that many of them are reserved for customers with specific credit cards. Sneak a peek inside, and you’ll see snacks, drinks, and relaxation. The allure might inspire you to start shopping for cards that offer airport lounge access, but how do you choose the best one? Which card offers the best lounge access and other perks to cardholders? Consider factors such as APR, annual fees, and customer ratings as you search for your next credit card.

Traveling in Style 

The following six are some of the best credit cards for gaining entry to exclusive airport lounges.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The name American Express comes with prestige, and with good reason — cardholders know that this brand offers exclusive access to plenty of perks, and airport lounges are just one of those perks. The Platinum Card® is a particularly attractive option because it gives users access to over 1,400 lounges in airports throughout 140 countries. Cardholders enjoy access to the following lounges:

  • The International American Express lounges
  • Escape Lounges Priority Pass lounges
  • Delta Sky Club® lounges
  • Plaza Premium lounges
  • Air Space lounges
  • The Centurion lounges

Access to many of these lounges is complimentary, meaning that cardholders can relax free of charge while escaping the chaos of the airport. However, the Platinum Card® does come with an annual fee of $695, but for avid travelers, the perks in exchange for this fee this can quickly pay off. Other card perks include up to an annual $200 airline fee credit, up to $200 Uber Cash available annually, and up to a $179 credit per year for CLEAR® access offered each calendar year of Platinum Card from American Express membership.

Luxury Card™ Gold Card™ from Mastercard®

Weighing in at 22 grams and plated with 24 karat gold, the Luxury Card™ Gold Card™ is the key to amenities galore for cardholders lucky enough to access its exclusive benefits. The Luxury Card™ Gold Card™ offers membership to the Priority Pass™ Select network, which includes Priority Pass Select lounges, Minute Suite locations, and in-network restaurants. Some of the restaurants that offer free food to members include:

  • Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in New York-JFK
  • Point the Way Café in Los Angeles-LAX
  • Bambuza at Seattle-SEA
  • Viena at Miami-MIA
  • Yankee Pier at San Francisco-SFO

These restaurants, and many others, offer exclusive deals — including free food in some instances — to Priority Pass Select members. Enjoy great eats and access to airport lounges, too, for an annual fee of $995.

Executive World Elite Mastercard® from Citi® / AAdvantage®

Another well-known brand, Citi, partners with American Airlines to offer competitive rewards and perks to cardholders. In addition to one free checked bag, priority boarding and screening, along with discounts on in-flight food and drinks, this card offers complimentary membership to the American Airlines Admirals Club. The Admirals Club lounges feature amenities such as the following:

  • Nearly 120 shared lounges and 50 exclusive club locations
  • Ready-to-eat snacks for quick and easy refueling
  • Breakfast servings such as eggs, whole fruit, bagels, and donuts
  • Lunch and dinner servings such as soups, pasta, salads, and fruit
  • Shower suites to refresh and clean up before a flight

With an annual fee of $450 — less than many similar elite  credit cards — the allure of the Executive World Elite Mastercard® is clear. Whether you’re a constant traveler or an occasional vacationer, the luxury of the American Airlines Admirals Club can’t be beat.

Sapphire Reserve® from Chase

The Sapphire Reserve® card from Chase offers perks tailored to travelers, adventure-seekers, and busy professionals. Among these perks is access to lounges in the Priority Pass™ Select network, which includes over 1,300 lounges in more than 600 airports around the world. Priority Pass™ Select membership offers benefits such as:

  • Secluded sleeping areas to catch rest between flights
  • Complimentary snacks, drinks, and refreshments
  • Spa treatments and massages
  • Free Wi-Fi connections available in most lounges

Guests are welcome to join you in the lounge. The Sapphire Reserve® card offers other benefits, too, such as triple points on dining, a $300 annual travel credit, and $750 in travel rewards. Users are subject to the card’s $550 annual fee, but with all these perks, this can quickly pay off.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve from American Express

Another American Express offering, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve card, is a great option for cardholders seeking access to airport lounges and travel perks. Earn triple miles on eligible Delta purchases and enjoy all the luxuries of the Delta Sky Club® line of lounges. As a Sky Club® member, you can look forward to:

  • Grab-and-go food and beverage offerings
  • Wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, and cordials available
  • Breakfast offerings including Greek yogurt, sandwiches, eggs, and cereal
  • All-day offerings including noodle bowls, fresh salads, and wraps
  • Showers available in some lounge areas

There are over 120 Delta Sky Club® lounges internationally, and the exclusive amenities are a draw for travelers around the world. The American Express Delta SkyMiles® Reserve card has an annual fee of $550,but utilizing the card’s benefits will see that fee pay off quickly.

Lounge in Luxury with the Right Credit Card

The right credit card can give you exclusive perks and benefits, and for frequent travelers, airport lounges are at the top of the list. These cards are the best for anybody who wants to be able to relax and unwind between flights and enjoy the luxurious amenities of an airport lounge.

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