How to get Free VIP Airport Lounge Access

Written by Marco Carvajal

Photographs by Marco Carvajal

As I discussed in my previous article, airport lounges are the way to start your vacation right at the airport before you fly. Free VIP Airport Lounges While Traveling

Now on this article I explain some of the ways to have access to airlines and airport lounges free of charge

It usually costs from $35 to $60 x person to enter each airport lounge, also most lounges offer yearly memberships where you pay from $400 to $700 to use certain lounges, for example specific airline lounges like Delta Sky Club, Americal Admirals Club, unlimited during one year, but that is not free, so I am going to tell you how to do it.

The best way to get a free membership to use airport lounges free of charge is to apply for certain credit cards that will give you free access to the lounges. These credit cards charge an annual fee that can range from $300 to $550 per year average, but there are also ways to offset the cost of this credit card membership.

For example, some credit cards will give you not only free access to certain lounges, but also will give you a $150 or $200 airline credit that you can use to pay for baggage charges, ticketing charges (not the actual ticket) or inflight drinks or meals. You can get certain credit card insurances like accident protection for your regular purchases and double the warranty on electronics to an additional year, so at the end, your annual credit card membership fee becomes zero when you make the math.

Airport Lounges Travel

Most of these credit cards also offer additional credit cards at very low membership cost with similar travel benefits, so you could give a card to your spouse, children (usually 13 years and older) or business partners and they can enjoy access to airport lounges just like you, and for a very low cost since additional cards have a much lower annual fee.  If you get a few additional cards for let’s say $50 per card or free, and you pro-rate the cost together with your annual fee, then your per-person membership goes down, making the cost of the credit card very low compared to all the benefits you get including the free access to airport lounges.

If you don’t have good credit, and cannot obtain one of these credit cards, then you could ask one of your friends who has good credit to get you an additional credit card to the main card and use your additional card only to enjoy the travel benefits, without having to use your friends actual credit limit.

There are also other ways to receive free lounge access using miles, with certain frequent flyer miles status. In some cases, military personnel and their families receive free access to lounges, like in the case of United Airlines Club lounges when traveling with United airlines the same day, with a military uniform.

If you don’t mind to pay to have access to the lounge, sometimes the visit fee from around $35 to $60 is worth it when you count all the meals, convenience and drinks you receive free, included in your day pass. Especially if you travel with small children, some lounges give free access to children, so you only have to pay your access fee and could bring with you your whole boy scouts’ group to enjoy a nice meal and a luxury relaxing area free of charge inside the lounge. If you decide to pay a fee per visit then a way to save on the airport lounge day pass is to explore Priority Pass membership, what can be paid or be obtained free of charge through a few credit cards like the American Express Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige Card and Mastercard black, among other cards.

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Priority Pass 1,300 Lounges Around the World

Priority Pass is a type of membership that includes a network of around 1,300 lounges at airports in the US and internationally around the world.

If you can not obtain a credit card with the free airport lounge benefit, then another way to reduce the cost of your free is by obtain a membership with Priority Pass, a company that charges you a flat fee of $32 per visit to any of the lounges included in their network. This can represent a saving as some of the lounges can charge up to $50 or more per visit, but with your priority pass, you will only pay $32 per visit charge through priority pass. You won’t have to pay the lounge directly. Priority Pass also offers unlimited memberships where you pay one annual fee and then you visit all the clubs you want throughout the year, but if you have a credit card that gives you priority pass free of charge, then you get all the benefits free.

Priority pass doesn’t own the lounges, they have an agreement with several lounges so it is a very nice option as it gives you plenty of choices.

TIP: Some lounges don’t enforce a time limit, but some lounges only allow you to stay 3 hours, so in most of these cases all you have to do if you have your free Priority Pass or other free membership is to check in again after 3 hours. I stayed in a lounge in Italy that had a time limit of 1 hour, but I stay there for about 5 hours, just checking in again every hour with my priority pass.

Airport Lounges Travel

Airline Lounges

Most airlines have their own lounges and usually, you can obtain the right to use their lounges if you travel with such airline and you have certain credit cards. For example, Delta Sky Club can be used free of charge for American Express Platinum, Delta Reserve Amex.

Other Lounges.

There are many non-airline lounges like the Amex Centurion Lounge and other independent airport lounges.


A new concept added recently in several airports are the Minute Suites, they give you a small private bedroom with a sofabed, a nice large TV and wifi. Normally you will pay $42 per room for one hour at the MinuteSuites, But if you have a credit card that gives you free priority membership then you can enjoy 1 hour free of charge. Some Minute Suites include a shower, but most don’t.

Airport Lounges Travel

Credit Cards giving you free access to certain airport lounges

These are some of the best credit cards to get free airport lounges access, not just for you, also for your additional credit cardholders.

Please note that this information is provided based on my experience and for the most update accurate information is better to contact each credit card directly. Also, this is based on US-based Credit Cards, as the same credit cards based in other countries might offer different benefits.

  • Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
    Gives you free access to American Airlines Admiral Club for you and your immediate family or for up to 2 traveling guests.

The following are some of the Credit Cards that include a free membership to Priority Pass free of charge. Usually, this type of priority pass gives you free unlimited access for yourself and also for 2 more guests

  • The Platinum Card from American Express
  • The Business Platinum Card from American Express
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Citi Prestige Card
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
  • Mastercard Black Card
  • Mastercard Gold Card
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card

Airport Lounges Travel

The following credit cards give you free acess to United Airlines lounges

  • United MileagePlus Card
  • United Club Business Card

The following credit cards give you free acess to Delta Sky Club lounges

  • The Platinum Card from American Express
  • The Business Platinum Card from American Express
  • Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express
  • Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

There are many ways to obtain free access to VIP airport lounges, even if you have to pay an annual fee to a credit card, there are ways to offset the annual fee or to reduce the fee if you are an additional cardholder. Flying with access to airport lounges makes a big difference in your enjoyment of any trip since the moment you are at the airport waiting for your flight.

Instead of waiting in a simple chair in the waiting area for boarding and paying high prices for meals and drinks inside the terminal, work your way to obtain access to an airport lounge and start to enjoy your trip with style before you fly.

Airport Lounges Travel

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