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Airport lounges. If you use them regularly, you know the benefits. If you’ve never been to one, you likely imagine that they’re fantastic, luxurious places where you can escape from the normal chaos of a busy airport, where you get free food and drinks and some peace and quiet. 

credit card with lounge access
A credit card with lounge access can make your wait much more comfortable. Photo by Alex Suprun on Unsplash

Should you get a credit card with lounge access?

While the quality of the airport lounge experience might differ according to the airport you’re at, the age of the lounge itself and airline you’re flying with, it’s generally true that having access to a lounge does upgrade the flying experience to a certain degree. You do often enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with having access to a space that limits who can and cannot enter. 

If you don’t currently have a credit card that offers lounge access and are maybe considering signing up for one, how do you decide if the option is right for you? Here are several things to take into consideration.

1. Do you travel for work?

Airport lounges are a boon for busy business travelers. Trying to get work done in the terminal before your flight? You’re lucky if you can answer a few emails because any in-depth work, calls or anything that takes more than an iota of brainpower will have to wait. There’s often just too much going on around you to get anything done. 

Airport lounges remedy this by providing a quiet space often geared toward business travelers. In many lounges, there are actually entire zones set apart just for these business travelers, where silence is plentiful. Additionally, lounges usually offer free WiFi, making your work even easier. Plus, there are spaces where you can conduct calls without being disturbed or disturbing anyone else. 

Your employer might pay for you to have access to an airport lounge when you travel. But if that’s not the case, you might want to sign up for a credit card that comes with lounge access.

Business Cards With Lounge Access

Here are a few business cards to consider that come with lounge access. Note that many of these are also some of the best small business credit cards available.

Business Platinum Card from American Express

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express comes with access to over 1,200 airport lounges in 130 countries (which, according to Amex, is more lounge options than any other card on the market). Cardholders get access to the Centurion Lounge and international Amex lounges. They also get access to Amex partners like Delta Sky Club or Priority Pass lounges.

Other benefits include 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com and 1.5x points on purchases of $5,000 or more. If you use your points to book a flight, you’ll get 35% of your points back, up to 500,000 points. You also get a $200 airline fee credit and a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Cardholders can also get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply and enrollment required.

New cardholders can earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Learn about these benefits and much more in our in-depth Amex Business Platinum Card review. The annual fee is $595 (See Rates & Fees). 

Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card comes with access to the Delta Sky Club plus you can bring up to two guests with you for $39 each when flying on Delta. Delta Sky Clubs include access to food and drinks, WiFi, satellite TV, flight assistance, and more. Cardholders also get complimentary access to The Centurion Lounge when flying on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight. The eligible flight must be booked on a US-issued American Express Credit Card.

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express, one of the best Delta credit cards, also comes with the ability to earn 3x miles per $1 spent on purchases made directly with Delta. After you spend $150,000 in a calendar year, you earn 1.5 Miles per dollar on eligible purchases for the rest of the year. Eligible purchases after spending $150,000 do not include Delta purchases.

The annual fee is $550 (See Rates & Fees).

United Business Card

The United℠ Business Card comes with 2 United Club one-time passes (valued at over $100 per year) after account opening and annually on each account anniversary. This perk already offsets the $99 annual fee ($0 the first year). There is also a $100 United travel credit after 7 United flight purchases of $100 or more each card anniversary year.

Additional perks include the ability to earn 2x miles per $1 spent on United purchases, local transit and commuting (including taxis, tolls, and rideshares), gas stations, restaurants and eligible delivery services, and office supply stores. All other purchases earn 1x mile per $1 spent. Cardholders also get their first checked bag free, priority boarding, and 25% savings on in-flight purchases.

Plus, for a limited time, new United℠ Business Card cardholders can earn 75,000 miles after making qualifying purchases. There are no foreign transaction fees.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card comes with complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. You’ll get 10 free visits to a selection of over 1,000 Priority Pass airport lounges every year.

Cardholders also earn 12x points on eligible purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6x points per $1 spent on select travel and business purchases, and 3x points on all other eligible purchases.

There’s also a welcome bonus with the ability to earn 130,000 points after spending $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. There is a $95 annual fee (See Rates & Fees). Find more extensive details in our Hilton Honors American Express Business Card review.

2. Do you travel often?

This question needs to be asked when you sign up for any credit card that comes with travel-related benefits. As nice and posh as those benefits sound — flight upgrades, lounge access, free hotel stays, VIP perks — if you don’t travel enough to earn them, you may be better off looking for something else, especially if you’re paying an annual fee for it.

If you’re considering a travel credit card with lounge access but you only fly two or three times a year, you might want to forgo that travel credit card and instead pick a credit card that will give you more benefits that you’ll actually use on a regular basis. A cash back credit card, for instance, may be a better choice.

Learn more: Cash Back vs Travel Rewards Credit Cards

3. Who do you travel with?

Do you travel solo? With your partner? Or with the whole household? If you travel often with children, you might want to reconsider getting a credit card with lounge access. Travelers who come to a lounge with children in tow are sometimes frowned upon. Most travelers in a lounge are seeking to escape the noise that often accompanies said children.

Now, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. You can find certain lounges that offer kid-friendly spaces where families are more than welcome. However, it is something to look into and consider.

Additionally, there is likely going to be extra costs for bringing guests. Take this into consideration if you travel with other people often.

4. Are you loyal to a particular airline?

Many credit cards that you might consider for their lounge access perks are tied to a particular airline. Additionally, some lounges only allow you to enter if you’re flying with that airline on that day. Because of this, it helps to be loyal to a particular airline, whether you just like one airline or you find that one airline more conveniently serves the routes you travel most often.

For instance, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® comes with access to the American Airlines Admirals Club® membership (a value of up to $650). So if you frequently fly on American Airlines, this may be worth your consideration.

If, though, you’re only ever looking for the best flight deal you can, then you might find that doing so prohibits you from using your airline-specific lounge membership on a regular basis. As such, signing up for a co-brand airline credit card with lounge access could be a waste. 

Still, cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express come with lounge access and aren’t tied down to one airline. The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with access to Priority Pass Select membership while the American Express Platinum comes with access to the Amex Global Lounge Collection. To add to their appeal, both cards are also some of the best metal credit cards available.

5. What kind of routes do you typically fly?

Another thing to consider is the routes you generally fly. If you often find yourself on red-eye flights or with layovers, then a lounge can be a great resource to you, as some offer places to refresh and even shower after a long travel day. Others offer places to catch a few winks before you have to head out to your destination. 

6. How much money do you usually spend at the airport anyway?

The annual cost of a credit card with lounge access could be negated if you spend a lot of money every time you go to the airport. Plus, you’ll be saving money on things like dining and drinking. If you think that the free food, drinks and WiFi you’ll find in a lounge may make up for the cost of a credit card with lounge access, then you could save money by signing up.

In Conclusion

At the end of the day, it all comes down to what type of traveler you are. Look at your needs. Yes, credit cards with lounge access can be a great resource to have in your wallet. But, you want to be sure that you’re not signing up for a credit card with an annual fee that’ll just go unused.

Related Articles:

For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, please click here.

Holly Riddle
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