Airport lounges are a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of a busy airport, enjoy a complimentary cocktail and bite to eat, and just relax before your flight. Lounge offerings and size vary by chain and airport, but most standard lounges have free drinks (including alcohol!) and food along with nice and comfortable seating to relax and charge up. Bigger lounges I've seen offer extensive food menus, showers, massage and nail services, and even rooms to nap in! From what I've seen, lounge entry prices range from $45-$100 depending on amenities.
I'd never stepped foot in one before getting a credit card that offers free lounge access (you can read about that credit card and ALL its perks HERE) and now I always try to get to the airport a little early to enjoy one. While you can pay your way into one, here are a couple ways to get into a lounge for FREE!
Credit cards with priority pass
This is how I can now get into airport lounges for free! My credit card comes with a free membership to Priority Pass, which is essentially an airport lounge membership. There are a number of credit cards that offer a complimentary Priority Pass membership, including Amex, Chase, and Capital One.
Top Tier Status With An Airline
Many airlines (including Delta and United) provide lounge access for their top tier, frequent flyers. It really pays to book directly through an airline and stay loyal to one!
Fly Business Or First Class
I know I know, if you are already paying up for a business or first class ticket you probably wouldn't bat an eye at paying to enter an airport lounge, but if you got a free or cheap upgrade you are still eligible to enter the lounge for free so make sure to advantage of that perk!
A variety of brands of lounges offer free access to military members. Some lounges offer free access to dependents while others only offer to active duty members in uniform for the complimentary access but it never hurts to ask for their policy!
Credit Card W/ Airline Credit
A lot of credit cards offer airline credit where you are credited back a certain amount of money per year when you pay for amenities directly with an airline (baggage, seat upgrades, drinks + food onboard, etc). If the airline you select to receive credit from has lounges you can get credit back for buying a lounge pass through them!
Fly With Friends / Make Friends
A lot of people with credit cards that allow them to enter lounges are allowed to bring two complimentary guests with them into the lounge. If you are flying with others, see if they have this perk! Chatted with a stranger at bag drop off and see them entering the lounge? Maybe they'll accompany you in as their guest. You never know!
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