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Customers in an Admirals Club lounge. Photo Credit: American Airlines

Fingers crossed that this pandemic will soon turn into an endemic and we can get back to traveling the world again. The medical experts are confident it will happen. When it does, I’m going to reapply/upgrade to the premium credit cards that I had downgraded when the pandemic began to avoid their hefty annual fees since I wasn’t traveling.

For many people, aspects of traveling can be a chore. But I figured out the ways to get rid of most of the hassles at an early age. This includes gaining elite status, not checking a bag, signing up for CLEAR and TSA PreCheck to zip through security lines, boarding early to get overhead space, and of course, getting the right credit cards to earn more miles and points, and gaining access to airline clubs. There you can avoid crowds, enjoy free food/snacks, wait out delays more comfortably and have access to the top reservation agents to help change tickets.

3 Cards With Airport Lounge Access

Almost everything listed above can end up costing you next to nothing if you get the rights cards.

This is what I usually carry in my wallet.

Below are a few details on what these cards with airport lounge access offer.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers complimentary Priority Pass Select access for the primary and authorized users. You can also bring up to two accompanying guests. Each additional companion costs $27 per visit.

Another reason to consider this card? Points are worth 50% more when you book award travel. It also comes with a $300 annual travel statement credit and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.

You also get access to valuable Chase travel partners. Points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio.

Plus, earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

The annual fee is $550. Each authorized card costs $75.

Read more in our Chase Sapphire Reserve review.

The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express has an eye-popping number of travel and lifestyle perks. Regarding airline lounge benefits, you get complimentary access to The Centurion Network, which many frequent flyers consider to be one of the best networks.

Other lounges that you can visit include Priority Pass, Delta Sky Club (with an active Delta Airlines itinerary), Escape, and Airspace (enrollment may be required, terms apply).

Also, get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.

In addition to enjoying TSA PreCheck or Global Entry access, cardholders can also enjoy CLEAR perks. Cardholders can use their Card and get up to $179 back per year on their CLEAR® membership. Terms apply.

The annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees), which is higher than most premium cards. However, you also get an above-average amount of benefits, valued at over $1,400.

You can also save a few bucks as you pay a flat $175 annual fee for up to three additional cards. Whether you request one, two, or all three, you pay the same cost, and your authorized users can enjoy lounge access when the primary user isn’t traveling with them.

Welcome Bonus Offer

I had to mention the enhanced welcome bonus offer, one of the best card offers available now.

New The Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers can earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $6,000 on purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, new cardholders can choose new Platinum Card designs! Select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu. Terms apply.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards   

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is the premium credit card for American Airlines flyers. You get Admirals Club membership for yourself and up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you (up to $650 value).

Other featured benefits include a free checked bag for you and up to eight companions, 25% in-flight food and beverage savings on American-operated flights, and priority boarding and check-in. This card also offers a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Cardholders earn 2x AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1x AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases. Plus, earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible mile earned from purchases.

This is one of the best credit cards for American Airlines flyers. The annual fee is $450. Authorized user cards are free.

Summary

In conclusion, depending on what you’re looking for, one of these premium cards with airport lounge access might work for you. Having access to airport lounges has proven to be a valuable benefit that might save money. However, if you don’t travel often enough to take full advantage of the benefits, consider a card with a lower annual fee.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
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