By: Luke Sims
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Hi Travel Junkies,
It was only a few years ago (before I found 10xTravel) that I was sitting in an uncomfortable chair, listening to the gate agent announce the fifth flight delay, and being pelted by cheerios by the curly-headed brat in the seat behind me. You’ve been there, right?
Today, I want to help you break free from the chains of sub-par airport comfort and discover the oasis you deserve – airport lounges.
If you’re new to the concept of airport lounges, check out our primer on what to expect in a lounge. If you’re tired of settling for mediocre and ready to reclaim your freedom, it’s time for you to check out 7 of the best credit cards that give you free access to airport lounges.
1) The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card and the Business Platinum Card from American Express give you access to tons airport lounges across the globe. Most notably, you receive access to perhaps the most luxurious lounges in the United States, Centurion Lounges – available in New York (LaGuardia), Dallas, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Miami, and Seattle.
Although each Centurion Lounge is different, some of the features that go beyond normal lounge amenities include micro-spas, a soundproof family room, premium bars, and hot buffets. You can bring two complementary guests per visit (so spread the love). I fly out of New York often and, although this is probably the weakest Centurion Lounge of the collection, it’s always nice to sling back a few free whiskeys and stay out of the mess that is LaGuardia.
The Platinum Card also gives you access to Delta SkyClub (when flying Delta) and Priority Pass Select membership (immediate family or two guests included). Although not as sumptuous as Centurion Lounges, your Priority Pass membership will come in handy because of their large (and growing) inventory of lounges.
2) Chase Sapphire Reserve
Along with the many fantastic perks of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, comes access to Priority Pass Select airport lounges. Priority Pass has a network of over 1,000 lounges in over 120 countries, making it a valuable companion to any traveler (and immediate family or two guests).
Although the Chase Sapphire Reserve does not get you into Centurion Lounges, it does provide you with a $300 annual credit that can be used on travel-related expenses – yes, that includes lounges!
So, if you find yourself in a situation where you really want to visit a lounge, but there are no lounges offered by your current stack of credit cards, the annual travel credit can cover you.
3) Citi Prestige
This card gives you (and two guests) access to American Airlines Admirals Clubs when traveling on American, with more than 90 lounges around the world. Unfortunately, this benefit will expire on July 23, 2017, because American is revamping their Admirals Clubs.
You also receive membership to Priority Pass Select, giving you access to more than 1,000 lounges around the globe for your immediate family or up to two guests.
4) Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card provides a Priority Pass Select membership (including immediate family or two guests). The card also offers a reimbursement of up to $300 per year for any lounge passes you buy with the card, giving you flexibility to ‘treat yo self’ anytime you need.
Authorized users also receive access to Priority Pass lounges which is an amazing benefit. Even better, it’s free to add authorized users!
5) Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard
With this card, you receive American Airlines Admirals Club membership. Access is given to your immediate family and any authorized users of your card, or up to two guests, to more than 90 lounges worldwide.
Admirals Clubs are getting an “extreme lounge makeover” (or at least that’s what their website says), with renovations underway at Miami, New York (JFK), Los Angeles, Chicago (ORD), and Dallas/Fort Worth. Hopefully these changes are “extremely” good..
6) United MileagePlus Club Card by Chase
The United MileagePlus card offers access to United Clubs, Star Alliance business lounges and Amtrak Acela lounges. There are more than 50 United Club lounges across the globe, including Tokyo, London, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Guam, and many airports in the U.S.
This perk will be even better once they finish rolling out their new Polaris lounges in the next few years. The first Polaris lounge is already up and running at Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) and has received great reviews.
7) Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express
Delta Reserve cardholders get complimentary access to Delta SkyClub, which costs $450 per year for anyone purchasing membership. Although you do not get complimentary guest access, you do get a discounted rate of $29 per person for up to two guests.
There are over 45 Delta SkyClub lounges across the globe, with the majority of them located in the U.S. at many major airports. A particularly nice international SkyClub location can be found at Tokyo-Narita (NRT).
The Platinum Card from American Express sets itself apart with access to the luxurious Centurion Lounges. Each of the other cards have a solid offering of lounges at many major airports and are a must for any frequent flyer.
You don’t have to settle for fighting over an armrest with a 6 year-old anymore, it’s time to indulge in hot buffets and enjoy free beverages (of the alcoholic variety).