In the past, airport lounges were reserved for only a select few. A private and tranquil pre-flight experience was reserved for the most frequent flyers or elite members.
But the growing popularity of credit cards that grant lounge access means you can feel like a million bucks before takeoff… without spending a million bucks on your ticket.
First, consider a high-end credit card from a bank. As airport lounges become increasingly popular (and crowded), there remains a certain cachet and appeal to hide in a somewhat exclusive space away from the masses.
There are three mainstream premium bank cards – with annual fees of $400 or more – from Chase, Capital One and American Express – all with airport lounge access.
The card that comes with the most lounges in the world is the Platinum Card from American Express. With this card, you are guaranteed access to more than 1,400 airport lounges in 140 countries.
Additionally, in 2013, American Express entered the business of owning and operating its own salons. Centurion Lounges, with 14 locations across the United States, are among the most upscale airport spaces in the country and include fine dining, spa services and shower rooms.
Of course, the card costs almost $700 per year. But this champagne upstream is just different.
But maybe you are loyal to a specific airline, but not loyal enough to gain access to the lounge. This is where a premium airline credit card can come into play.
Cards from carriers like United, American, and Delta provide Airline Club access, but only when you’re flying on that carrier. For example, if you’re a Delta loyalist who’s still stuck in savings, it might be a good idea to access Delta Sky Club via a premium Delta credit card.
And a pro tip: you can access most airline-specific lounges upon arrival and before departure.