The Best Credit Cards with Airport Lounge Access

Sandra MacGregor
Jan 16, 2023
6 min read
Sandra MacGregor
January 16, 2023
6 min read

For credit card users who fly often, airport lounge access is a coveted perk that can significantly ease the airport experience. While some cards give you access to a wide selection of airport lounge programs, others are airline specific. When choosing the card that will work best for you, it’s important to consider what kind of lounge networks you want access to (and what you’re willing to pay for that access), as well as how much use you’ll get out of the other travel extras on offer.

Here are some of the best credit cards with airport lounge access and several other travel perks.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Arguably the top plastic pick among frequent fliers, the Platinum Card from American Express gives cardholders access to more than 1,400 airport lounges in over 140 countries, including the creme de la creme Centurion Lounge. What makes this card such a popular choice for travelers is that it offers an unmatched array of travel-related extras like generous travel credits, travel insurance and no foreign transaction fees, just to name a few. 

However, as the Platinum Card from American Express card comes with one of the largest bank-busting yearly fees of any reward card, it’s essential to ensure that you can use the perks to get your money’s worth. With this card you’ll earn 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, as well as on prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com. Get 1x on all other purchases.

Lounge access: 

  • With more than 1,400 airport lounges spread across more than 650 cities in over 140 countries, the Platinum Card from American Express offers complimentary access to the largest number of airport lounge networks, far more than other premium travel credit cards. While some cards might offer you membership in Plaza Premium or Priority Pass Select, the Platinum card offers access to both and then some! Lounges include Centurion Lounge, Plaza Premium and Priority Pass lounges, International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Club and Escape Lounges 
  • In general, there is no yearly cap on the amount of times you can visit a lounge (though as with all lounge programs discussed here, you may not be granted access if the lounge is deemed to be at capacity and some lounges may choose to limit access to within three hours prior to your flight). The number of guests you can bring varies by lounge program, but generally ranges from no guests up to two free guests. Note also that guest policies can sometimes vary by country. Enrollment is required. 
  • Many of these lounges feature excellent amenities like full meals, premium bars, nap pods, spas and showers

Other travel perks: 

  • Up to $200 in airline statement credits to cover things like baggage fees
  • $200 Uber cash with Uber Eats and rides with Uber in the US
  • $189 CLEAR credit (a program that helps you get through airport security faster)
  • Premium Global Assist hotline for 24/7 assistance when traveling
  • $200 statement credits each year on prepaid properties from the Fine Hotels + Resorts collection
  • $100 statement credit for Global Entry or $85 for TSA PreCheck
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status and Hilton Honors Gold Status
  • Complimentary memberships in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred and National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Travel insurance: Rental car loss and damage insurance, baggage loss, trip delay and trip cancellation insurance 

Yearly cost: $695

Major bonuses: 100,000 Membership Rewards once you spend a minimum of $6,000 on purchases on the card in your first 6 months

Chase Sapphire Reserve 

Another perennial favorite among globetrotters, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers cardholders unlimited free visits to more than 1,300 airport lounges in 500 cities worldwide through enrollment in the Priority Pass Select program. The card also comes with lots of other travel benefits and one of the most comprehensive suites of travel insurance available. Get 5x points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining, with all other spending worth 1 point per $1 spent.  

Lounge access: 

  • Free membership to Priority Pass Select lounges only (though the program features over 1,300 lounges around the world). 
  • You can access lounges as often as you want and are allowed two free guests per visit. 

Other travel perks: 

  • Receive one statement credit of up to $100 every four years for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck or NEXUS 
  • Get 50% more value for your points when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Automatically receive up to $300 in statement credits yearly for travel purchases charged to your card 
  • Impressive suite of travel insurance: Trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, emergency evacuation and transportation
  • No foreign transaction fees

Yearly cost: $550 

Major bonuses: 80,000 bonus points after charging at least $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card 

If you’re a Delta devotee and want to enjoy airline-specific extras and Delta Sky Club lounges, this card’s for you. Unfortunately, with just over 50 locations, the network of lounges is quite limited; but on the bright side, it is one of the few cards to offer a yearly companion voucher. Earn 3x miles on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and 1x on all other purchases. 

Lounge access: 

  • Unlimited complimentary Delta Sky Club access with two single-use guest passes per year
  • Access to American Express Centurion Lounges but only when flying Delta and no free guest passes

Other travel perks: 

  • Earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles once you spend $30,000 in purchases up to four times per year
  • Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+ or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck
  • Free first checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights
  • Upgrade priority over other Medallion members within the same fare class 
  • 20% off inflight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

Yearly cost: $550

Major bonuses: Get 95,000 bonus miles once you spend $6,000 in purchases in your first 6 months.

United Club Infinite Card

If you find yourself flying United frequently, the United Club Infinite Card is the best way to get rewarded for your loyalty. However, as with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express card, the United Club airport lounge network is on the small side with just over 45 locations. The card will also help you get more free United flights faster with earn rates of 4 miles per $1 spent on United-related purchases. Also enjoy getting 2 miles per $1 on all other travel spending and dining, and 1 mile per $1 spent on other purchases.

Lounge access: 

  • Cardholders get complimentary and unlimited access to all United Club locations and participating Star Alliance affiliated lounges. 
  • You can bring up to two adult guests (or one adult and any dependent children that are under the age of 21) per visit. 

Other travel perks:

  • Complimentary United Club membership
  • Up to $100 fee credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS 
  • The primary Cardmember and one traveling companion get their first and second checked bags free
  • 25% back as a statement credit for purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on United-operated flights 
  • IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status 
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Strong insurance offerings: Trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement and baggage delay insurance

Yearly cost: $525

Major bonuses: Earn 80,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months 

Capital One Venture X 

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card stands out because it has one of the lowest annual fees for a premium credit card that offers unlimited lounge access to three different lounge networks, covering over 1400 lounges worldwide. On top of its lower-than-average fee, the card features noteworthy travel extras. Get 10x miles on hotels and rental cars when booked through Capital One Travel. Earn 5x miles on flights that you book through Capital One Travel. Get 2x miles on all other spending

Lounge access: 

  • Get unlimited visits per year for yourself and up to two guests at Capital One Lounges, Priority Pass, and Plaza Premium Lounges worldwide. 

Other travel perks: 

  • Up to $300 per year in travel credits that you’ll receive as statement credits when travel bookings made via Capital One Travel 
  • 10,000-mile bonus every year on your account anniversary 
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit of up to $100
  • Travel accident insurance and auto rental collision damage waiver
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free upgrade to Hertz President’s Circle status

Yearly cost: $395

Major bonuses: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months

Citi® / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard®

For those looking for a credit card with lounge access, the Citi® / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard may only offer worthwhile rewards if you fly American Airlines often. That’s because you’ll only get access to Admirals Club and partner airline lounges (for a total of about 90 locations). There’s also some good airline-specific perks as well. Earn 2x miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1x mile for every $1 spent on other purchases 

Lounge access: 

  • Access to Admirals Club lounges with nearly 50 locations, as well as about 40 partner airline lounges worldwide. 
  • Unlimited lounge visits for cardholder and their immediate family (spouse and children under the age of 18) or up to two traveling guests.

Other travel perks:

  • First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines flight for cardholder and up to 8 companions traveling on the same reservation
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Priority boarding 
  • Priority check-in and priority airport screening for cardholder and up to 8 travel companions
  • Save 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases on American Airlines flights 

Yearly cost: $450

Major bonuses: Get 80,000 bonus miles after spending $5,500 within the first 3 months.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card 

It may seem surprising to find a hotel loyalty credit card on this list, but the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card offers a lot of value for its $450 annual fee. On top of airport lounge access, the card has a number of helpful benefits especially for those who spend significant amounts of time in a hotel. The card is also a big earner, giving users 14x points on purchases at Hilton hotels and resorts, 7x points on select travel and food purchases, and 3x points on all other spending. 

Lounge access:

  • The card comes with Priority Pass Select lounge access, which offers access to over 1,200 airport lounges around the world.
  • Unlimited visits for the cardholder and up to two guests.

Other travel perks:

  • $250 airline fee credit. Cardholders select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $250 per year in statement credits for incidentals like checked baggage
  • $100 property credit for qualifying charges at participating hotels and resorts
  • Annual free night award and get an additional night after you spend $60,000 on purchases per calendar year
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance, as well as lost or damaged baggage insurance

Yearly cost: $450

Major bonuses: The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card has a welcome offer of 150,000 points after spending at least $4,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card is another hotel branded card that has much to offer in addition to airport lounge access. Cardholders will enjoy a strong selection of luxurious offerings like generous travel and dining credits, however, the annual fee is definitely on the high end. The card gives you 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties and 3 points at restaurants and eligible flights. You’ll get 2 points on all other purchases you charge to the card.

Lounge access: 

  • The card provides a free Priority Pass Select membership for access to over 1,300 airport lounges around the world.
  • You and up to as many as two guests get unlimited free airport lounge access.

Other travel perks:

  • Up to $300 in statement credits per year at eligible restaurants worldwide
  • A yearly free night award at participating hotels
  • $100 property credit for eligible charges at select properties
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Insurance, such as cell phone protection, lost or damaged luggage insurance, as well as rental car, and trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

Yearly cost: $650

Major bonuses: The card consistently features very generous bonuses, such as 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months.

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Last Updated 
January 16, 2023
Sandra MacGregor

Sandra MacGregor has been writing about personal finance, credit cards and travel for over a decade. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the UK Telegraph, the Washington Post, and the Toronto Star. She spends her free time traveling (which is how she learned the importance of using the right rewards credit cards while globetrotting), and has lived around the globe.

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