How To Get Free Airport Lounge Access

Picture this scenario: You are sitting in the overcrowded airline terminal awaiting your flight. Someone is coughing less than 8 inches from the back of your head, there’s a half-eaten sandwich in the seat beside you, and you already have a headache from that baby crying three rows down. When your flight begins to board, you see a gentleman (looking quite refreshed) emerge from a secret door marked “lounge.”

You peek in and it looks like a veritable airport paradise. Inside this lounge, it’s quiet, roomy, and seems like the ideal temperature. People are happily typing away on their computers utilizing the free wifi. The lighting is perfect and there are complimentary snacks and drinks! What? Is that a harp you hear?! You want in; but how can you get inside without paying the astronomical yearly lounge fees? If you want to escape the airport terminal horrors and gain access to blissful lounge experiences, read on for our tips and tricks!

Join a frequent flyer program

If you’re loyal to one airline, you should definitely be signed up for their frequent flyer program. The programs are free to join and as you rack up points, you’ll get rewarded with great perks. Not only can you gain lounge access, but you could also earn free checked bags, flight upgrades or priority boarding just by flying like you normally do.

Get a credit card that offers lounge access

There are a lot of credit cards that offer lounge access as a perk. If you have a high-end card like Platinum Card From American Express, Luxury Card Mastercard Black Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, these include ‘Priority Pass’ which gives holders access to over 1000 airport lounges, restaurants, and suites across the world. If your wallet doesn’t hold any luxury cards (yet,) you can still get lounge access with specific cards. If you have a favorite airline, see if they have a branded credit card like Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard or the United Explorer Card from Chase which allow access to American Airlines Admiral’s Club and United’s Club respectively.

Fork over some cash

If you don’t fly frequently enough to warrant the above two tactics, you could always pay your way in. Most domestic airline lounges offer day passes that will give you access to the lounge experience if you’re willing to shell out at least $50. If you’re flying internationally, see if Lounge Pass would be a good fit. It’s only $30-$40 for a day pass to international lounges, but some restrict your time to only 3 hours, so read all of the fine print before purchasing.

Try your luck with strangers

Although unconventional, standing outside of the lounge door and requesting access from first-class fliers or lounge members has been known to work on more than one occasion. If you’re in a rough spot and need a respite before having a mental breakdown, the kindness of strangers may save the day!

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