Edited by: Juan Ruiz
& Stella Shon
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If you’re a frequent traveler, consider a premium credit card that offers complimentary airport lounge access. You’ll receive lounge access with these cards and a whole treasury of travel benefits.
Premium credit cards offer generous welcome bonus offers, travel purchase credits, free internet access, the ability to earn travel rewards, luxury perks and benefits, assistance when things go wrong, and travel and purchase protections.
Don’t buy a lounge membership or even a day pass until you’ve reviewed our collection of credit cards to consider for complimentary lounge access. These cards provide this perk to authorized users, which can offer discounted or complimentary lounge access, and our breakdown on how much lounge access is worth.
Personal consumer credit cards are the go-to cards for securing complimentary lounge access, as you’ll find a more comprehensive selection than with business credit cards.
It’s challenging to compare credit cards on lounge access benefits alone, as a card with a high annual fee may offer other perks or rewards that more than offset that annual fee. You’ll have to investigate further to see if a card is suitable for your situation overall and not just a perfect fit from a lounge access perspective.
|Personal Card||Welcome Offer and Annual Fee||Lounge Access and Guest Access Info|
If you’re looking for a rewards card that offers top-notch perks and benefits, you need to look no further than the Amex Platinum card.
You’ll have access to 1,400+ airport lounges worldwide within the American Express Global Lounge Collection:
The Amex Platinum card offers many more benefits to add more value. You can access annual and monthly statement credits (enrollment required) like Uber Cash, CLEAR Plus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and more. Plus, you’ll receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold and Hilton Honors Gold elite status (enrollment required) and important travel insurance and purchase protections, including trip delay insurance and cell phone protection.
The Capital One Venture X card is a standout option because not only does it offer Priority Pass and Capital One Lounge access for you and up to 4 complimentary authorized user cards, but it also earns 10x points on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5x points on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and 2x miles on all other purchases — allowing cardmembers to rack up miles quickly.
Plus, the card offers an annual travel credit of $300 for bookings made through Capital One Travel, 10,000 bonus miles each card anniversary, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, complimentary Hertz Gold Plus President’s Circle status, and more.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is an excellent all-around premium travel rewards card. Beyond the airport lounge access it offers via Priority Pass and Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club, it also offers 10x points on car rentals, hotels, and dining booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5x points on airfare booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and 3x points on all other travel and dining purchases.
The card also offers an annual travel credit of up to $300, partnership benefits with Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart+, and flexible redemption options like booking through the Chase travel portal with a 50% bonus or access to Chase transfer partners.Hot Tip:
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders with Priority Pass membership uniquely have access to non-lounge experiences at airports, including credits at restaurants and services at Be Relax Spa.
For those looking for airport lounge access without needing to pay a hefty annual fee, the Hilton Surpass card is a great option thanks to its 10 complimentary passes each year to Priority Pass lounges.
It is an excellent option for those who frequent Hilton hotels thanks to its complimentary Hilton Gold Elite status, which offers 80% bonus points, complimentary room upgrades, daily food and beverage credit, and late checkout. Plus, it earns 12x points on Hilton stays, 6x points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. restaurants, and 3x points on all other purchases.
For dedicated Hilton loyalists, there is no better card option than the Hilton Aspire card. You get full Priority Pass lounge access and complimentary top-tier Hilton Diamond status, including 100% bonus points, suite upgrades, complimentary breakfast, Hilton executive lounge access, and more.
You’ll also earn 14x points on Hilton purchases, 7x points on select travel and at U.S. restaurants, and 3x on all other purchases. Along with an annual up to $250 airline fee credit, an annual up to $250 Hilton Resort statement credit, and 1 Free Weekend Night Award each cardmember anniversary, redeemable at nearly any Hilton hotel worldwide.
If you’re a frequent United flyer, you should strongly consider adding the United Club Infinite card to your wallet. Those who hold it receive perks like a complimentary United Club membership, free first and second checked bags, and complimentary Premier Upgrades on United-operated award tickets (upon availability).
As if that weren’t enough, you’ll also receive expanded award availability on United flights, a 10% discount on United Economy Saver awards within the continental U.S. and Canada, a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck/NEXUS credit, complimentary IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status and a $75 annual IHG credit, and the ability to earn additionally Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) toward your next level of United status.
Regarding business cards, there are significantly fewer options that offer airport lounge access, but there are still a few compelling options. So for any business owner looking for a great card that also provides lounge access, here are the top options:
|Business Card||Welcome Offer and Annual Fee||Lounge Access and Guest Access Info|
Access to 1,400+ airport lounges through the Amex Global Lounge Collection, including Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Club lounges (when flying same-day Delta), Plaza Premium Lounges, Priority Pass lounges (upon enrollment), select Virgin Clubhouses, and more
Like the personal version, the Amex Business Platinum card is for you if you’re a business owner looking for a rewards card loaded with great benefits. This is our #1 business credit card for getting into lounges worldwide.
It offers the same access to over 1,400 airport lounges worldwide as the Amex Platinum card but also includes annual credits (upon enrollment) for airline incidentals, CLEAR Plus, Dell, Indeed, Adobe, and wireless phone services. It also comes with complimentary hotel elite status with Marriott and Hilton (upon enrollment), a 35% airline bonus when using Pay With Points (up to 1,000,000 bonus points per calendar year), and more.
For business owners that are Delta loyalists, the Delta Reserve Business card is a must-have. In addition to complimentary Delta Sky Club and Amex Centurion Lounge access when booking and flying same-day Delta with the card, you also receive 15% off on Delta award tickets, an annual companion certificate, complimentary upgrades upon availability, complimentary checked bags, and more.
Lastly, the Hilton Business Amex card is worth a look for any traveling business owner that frequents Hilton hotels. Holding it will enhance your Hilton stays by offering complimentary Hilton Gold elite status, 12x points on Hilton stays, and a Free Weekend Night Reward after spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year; but also 10 complimentary Priority Pass visits each year (upon enrollment).
When traveling, complimentary lounge access for you and your family or other travel companions is a great perk.
There are times, however, when others may be traveling without you and would greatly benefit from complimentary lounge access. Adding an authorized user can allow them to enjoy the same travel benefits with the credit card, including complimentary lounge access.
These are some of the cards that grant lounge access for authorized users and a breakdown of the associated fees.
|Credit Card||Lounge Access for Authorized Users||Annual Authorized User Fee|
$195 per authorized user (rates and fees)
||$0 for up to 4 authorized users|
||$175 per authorized user|
||$75 per authorized user|
Not all credit cards with a lounge access benefit offer it for free. Some include a basic lounge membership (normally worth about $99) and then discount the access fee. Your complimentary membership might be with Lounge Club, Priority Pass, or LoungeKey — all similar or related global lounge networks.
For example, the American Express® Green Card offers up to $100 in statement credits annually when you purchase airport lounge access through LoungeBuddy with the card. LoungeBuddy has partnerships with more than 400 lounges worldwide, and entrance fees range between $30 to $40 per visit, which should cover 2 to 3 lounge visits per year for Amex Green cardmembers.
The Amex Green card comes with a much more palatable
All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points.
You don’t need a premium credit card to enjoy access to airport lounges, but you will need to secure a potentially pricey lounge membership or a day pass. And remember, not all lounges can be accessed with a card, such as PS LAX.
This breakdown of membership costs illustrates the approximate value of the complimentary lounge access you can receive with premium cards.
|Lounge Network or Service||Single 1-Year Membership Cost||Cost To Add a Spouse, Partner, or Guest to Membership||
Single-day Pass for 1 Person
|American Airlines Admirals Club||Up to $850||$800 additional for household membership, depending on elite status||$79|
$50 for guest
|Delta Sky Club||$545||$300 additional for Executive Membership which includes access for up to 2 additional guests||
$50 (for Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card holders until 12/31/23)
$25 to $55 per visit
$19 to $60 per visit
|Plaza Premium Lounges||N/A||N/A||
$35 to $65 for a 2- to 6-hour pass
|Priority Pass Select||$469||N/A; annual membership covers only cardholder, additional guest $35 per visit||
$35 per visit for cardholders with basic $99 annual standard membership
|United Club||$550 to $650, depending on elite status||$650 additional for spouse or partner||$59|
If you’re a frequent traveler who purchases several single-lounge access passes per year or an annual lounge membership, you may fare better by selecting a premium credit card that includes complimentary lounge access.
The added value of credit card welcome bonus offers, additional travel perks, rewards, credits for travel purchases, and travel and purchase protections can make securing a premium travel credit card a wise economic decision.
Lounge access is one of the most valuable travel perks, so securing this benefit on a priority pass credit card makes sense for serious travelers. Plus, if you’re purchasing a lounge access membership elsewhere, it’s a simple decision to consider a premium credit card that includes this perk.
And while lounge access may be important, you’ll want to consider the whole package of benefits that come with each card, as lounge access will be just one of many valuable benefits available on a premium travel card.
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For the trip delay insurance benefit of the Amex Platinum card, up to $500 per covered trip that is delayed for more than 6 hours; and 2 claims per eligible card per 12 consecutive month period. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
For the cell phone protection benefit of the Amex Platinum card, coverage for a stolen or damaged eligible cellular wireless telephone is subject to the terms, conditions, exclusions and limits of liability of this benefit. The maximum liability is $800, per claim, per eligible card account. Each claim is subject to a $50 deductible. Coverage is limited to two (2) claims per eligible card account per 12 month period. Eligibility and benefit level varies by Card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.
The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the American Express® Green Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, click here.
The best credit card for lounge access is the one that fits your travel priorities and budget. If you travel often with a specific airline, for example, you may consider that airline’s branded credit card. If you frequent airports with Priority Pass lounges, you may consider a different credit card entirely. If you’re looking for a card with a lower annual fee than the typical $450 fee for premium cards, your choices will be limited, but a few are available. Narrow your options to the cards that match your lounge access priorities and then review the entire card packages before applying. Many travelers like the Amex Platinum card (or the Amex Business Platinum card), as it gets you access to the largest number of airport lounges worldwide.
Priority Pass is a global lounge network that offers lounge access with different membership levels and price points. Priority Pass partners with credit card issuers who include complimentary membership for cardholders. Depending on your card’s membership, you may enjoy complimentary unlimited lounge access or have a limited number of complimentary passes annually, then $35 per visit, or pay $35 for every visit.
Most of the credit cards that offer complimentary lounge access have hefty annual fees. However, the Hilton Business Amex card has a lower annual
Adding an authorized user to your credit card will not hurt your credit score because you’re still responsible for paying and managing the account. The authorized user is simply an additional user. With that said, if the authorized user makes a lot of purchases you don’t know about and you fail to make sufficient payments on your card or are late in making payments, your credit score will be affected. For this reason, you’d only want to add an authorized user you know and trust.
If your credit card comes with Priority Pass Select membership, you will need to register with Priority Pass to receive a digital membership card and subsequent physical card that will arrive in the mail. You can then use your Priority Pass Select membership card to gain access to Priority Pass lounges.
Airline-branded credit cards and other premium credit cards such as the Amex Platinum card allow you to use your credit card for lounge access. For others, you’ll need your Priority Pass Select card. You’ll need to reference your associated credit card agreement when you receive your card to determine which card to use for lounge access.
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