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The Best Credit Cards for Airport Lounge Access

beejaybeeohio

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Our Chase United cards give us 2 free passes Club yearly. It only works well if you've a long layover between flights or get to your departure airport early enough to enjoy waiting there instead of by the gate.

We used ours last month in SFO waiting for a delayed flight to SEA. The breakfast buffet selection was pretty good and so were the Bloody Marys I had!
 

Sandy VDH

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Chase Sapphire Reserve still gives Priority Pass, and their version still includes airport restaurants as an option. The AMEX version dropped the restaurant option, so not as good, when no lounge is available.

CSR has been my go to card. I have dumped others, and am considering a future dump, but CSR will NOT be one of them.
 

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Chase Sapphire Reserve still gives Priority Pass, and their version still includes airport restaurants as an option. The AMEX version dropped the restaurant option, so not as good, when no lounge is available.
I have both, but am trying to think of an airport where I've been that had a restaurant but not a lounge. I vaguely recall an airport like that but I can't remember where.

As someone who lives in a Delta hub city, the AMEX Plat has been a great choice. It's particularly nice b/c I can get cards for the other three members of the family inexpensively so that they all have access too, whether they are flying with me or separately. For all four of us, it comes to less than $220/person/year, and it's quite a bit less after credits, etc. that are reimbursed on the card.
 

Sandy VDH

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I have both, but am trying to think of an airport where I've been that had a restaurant but not a lounge. I vaguely recall an airport like that but I can't remember where.
IAH for one example.
 

bnoble

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I don't think that was the one I was thinking of. There are two Priority Pass lounges (AirFrance and KLM) plus a Centurion Lounge for AMEX Plats, though all are in Terminal D.
 

Sandy VDH

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I don't think that was the one I was thinking of. There are two Priority Pass lounges (AirFrance and KLM) plus a Centurion Lounge for AMEX Plats, though all are in Terminal D.
yes but if you fly domestically you are never in D, so there are restaurants is A (Cadillac Bar) and C (Landry's Seafood).
 

bnoble

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That's why I said "though all are in Terminal D."

I'm trying to remember the last time I was in IAH. It's been a whie, so I'm sure that's not the airport I am thinking of.
 

Sandy VDH

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That's why I said "though all are in Terminal D."

I'm trying to remember the last time I was in IAH. It's been a whie, so I'm sure that's not the airport I am thinking of.

I live in Houston, so IAH is always in play but not usually from Term D, as if you fly United or AA they use a different terminals. D is all the international flights that have limited gates, that are often shared with other providers.
 

rickandcindy23

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That's why I said "though all are in Terminal D."

I'm trying to remember the last time I was in IAH. It's been a whie, so I'm sure that's not the airport I am thinking of.
Denver used to have a restaurant, a steakhouse restaurant, but they dropped out of Priority Pass. Now Denver, as big as it is, no longer has a PP lounge. There are others.

Are you saying that your American Express Platinum gets you lounge access? Which one is that? Rick was somewhat interested in a business AMEX but I think he dropped that idea a while back. Maybe we will look at it again. I have never had access to the Amex lounges. Which ones do you get to visit?
 

bnoble

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American Express Platinum gets you lounge access? Which one is that?
The "straight platinum"; not co-branded with anything else. It includes:

A Priority Pass membership
Delta SkyClub (when on a same-day Delta-marketed ticket)
The Amex lounge network (Centurions, maybe a few others)


The card is expensive. I think it is up to $700 a year at this point, but that's before credits, etc. that can cut it in half if you use many of them. I use some ($200/year in airline fees, $20/month in media) but not others (e.g. $15/month for Uber)

Edited to add: Denver does have a Centurion Lounge, and a Delta SkyClub if he flies Delta.
 

rickandcindy23

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The "straight platinum"; not co-branded with anything else. It includes:

A Priority Pass membership
Delta SkyClub (when on a same-day Delta-marketed ticket)
The Amex lounge network (Centurions, maybe a few others)


The card is expensive. I think it is up to $700 a year at this point, but that's before credits, etc. that can cut it in half if you use many of them. I use some ($200/year in airline fees, $20/month in media) but not others (e.g. $15/month for Uber)

Edited to add: Denver does have a Centurion Lounge, and a Delta SkyClub if he flies Delta.
That is a great tip. Time to unlock Rick's credit freeze and get him that card.

I am taking great advantage of my Hilton credit card. Marriott is just so-so, but I am hoping my new Brilliant Amex will be a good value for the price I am paying. $300 credit for Marriott maintenance fees was easy, and now Sheraton can get up to 7X on that card.

I don't know how to determine value of cards. I am in a quandary on that.

What could really make the Amex Platinum worth $700 is the constant delays we have at DEN lately. We sat in a crowded airport for six hours in late June while Southwest decided whether or not to cancel our flight. They did finally cancel, our son picked us up at 11 PM, we had to reschedule our flight to Kona on a different airline, and we had to get up at 4 AM for our new flight. I was so exhausted by the end of that day, I cannot tell you. At least SW stepped up and got our luggage to Kona on another flight. We had our stuff within about four hours of arrival, and the drive was not that far from Hilton.
 

bnoble

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What could really make the Amex Platinum worth $700
Check the access rules. For some lounges (e.g. Delta) you cannot bring in guests. For others, it is limited. However, you can add up to three "secondary users" to an Amex Plat for $175 a year, and each of them get their own card. That's why I do for my bride and our two kids. When they have families of their own, they are on their own for lounge access. ;-)

Secondary users get some (but not all) of the perks of the primary card. Each secondary user gets the $100/every-N-years Global Entry credit, access to lounges, and comped status on Marriott (gold), Hilton (gold), National (Executive), Avis (Preferred), Hertz (Gold Plus),
 
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Check the access rules. For some lounges (e.g. Delta) you cannot bring in guests
Beginning in Feb 2023, the Centurion lounges will be charging $50/guests of platinum card holders as well.
 
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