are airport lounges really worth it? what to expect and how to get in

Traveling through an airport can be stressful and expensive. Movies and TV shows always show airport lounges for business and first class travelers, but we’re here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be that way. Today we’re unveiling the mythical airport lounge experience, letting you know if it’s really worth it and more importantly- how to get in! 

Airport Lounges are not all created equally. We’ve been to some great ones, and some not so great ones. But even the not so great ones beat sitting at the gate for two hours before your flight. Honestly, if there’s an airport lounge in my terminal, I’m going to try to get in. I’ll even leave a terminal to get to one- that’s how much I like them. Even the worst ones have snacks and sodas and the nicer ones can have full menus and a full service bar- all free. In other places they can also have things like Wifi or air conditioning that’s not available in the main airport gates- like in Uganda and Rwanda. In Doha, they have showers, in Dubai they have beds

So yes, we 100% think lounge access is worth it. It completely changes the way you’ll look at layovers and getting to the airport 2 hours early. But how do you get in? There are a few ways:

You can buy a day pass.

This will cost ya though- typically $30-80 per person and will usually  come with a time limit (usually around three hours). So in that case, it’s probably not worth it unless they have a bed or shower that you really want, or you’re traveling alone and want the extra space. You can also buy a priority pass, but more on that soon.

You can enter them because of your plane ticket.

Business or first class travelers not only have access to their airline’s lounge, but also their alliances lounge as well. We talk more about alliances later in the summer school series, but you can easily look these up if you come across it on your airline ticket!

Status in an airline

Status can either be because of frequent travel with the company or because of certain co-branded credit cards. Like having the AMEX Skymiles card will get you access to the Delta lounges, plus two guest passes a year. 

Premium Credit Cards

Our favorite way is through premium credit cards, which give you access to different types of lounges. Pretty much all the premium cards (through Capital One, Chase and AMEX) give you access to priority pass lounges for free. The Chase Reserve also gives you access to priority pass restaurant credits, which is $28 per person and the new Chase lounge in Boston. Capital One has Priority pass, plaza premium lounge access and of course, access to their Capital One lounge in DFW with more coming. And AMEX has Priority Pass, Plaza Premium, Delta Skymiles, Escape and Centurion Lounges. But watch guest access on those! 

So of course, like most episodes this summer- we suggest getting your feet wet in the travel hacking world. They can get you some great fringe benefits. And while we wouldn’t get the cards JUST for lounge access, it’s nice to have on the side! Have you been to an airport lounge before? What would be (or is!) your favorite perk of lounge access? Tell us in the comments.

Want to Get Started with Travel Credit Cards?

Lounge access is just the beginning! With a little bit of preplanning and organization, you can start to use travel credit cards to get free flights, hotels and fun fringe benefits like lounge access and elite status! You can explore below for all our travel credit card resources.

Our Top Travel Credit Cards

Meet the Bargers

Bruce and Shelly are a 30-something couple always on the lookout for cheap eats, wildlife sightings and a good brewery. They started traveling together ten years ago and haven't looked back. They travel internationally at least three times a year and have been to 42 states, all while holding those pesky 9-5 jobs. They hope you can take these travel tips and live the life you've only dreamed about!

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