It’s no secret…

Traveling can be stressful.

It takes a fair amount of planning and organization.

Unfortunately, even with all that planning, that doesn’t mean you’re safe from long layovers, delayed flights, big crowds, and interruptions to your trip.

Wouldn’t it be nice if, in the middle of all the chaos, you had a place to retreat?

A place where you could get away from the crowds, find a comfy chair, and have any drink of your choice.

Even a place where you could go to do your work or read in peace?

An airport lounge could be the escape you’re looking for.

What is an airport lounge?

Airport lounges are the perfect place to “get away” from the hustle and bustle of a busy airport.

Depending on the lounge you visit, you could find yourself not only enjoying a place where you can stretch out and get comfortable, but you could also enjoy access to:

  • selection of hot and cold food,
  • drinks,
  • wi-fi, and some lounges even offer…
  • conference rooms for meetings,
  • a place to shower and to freshen up, and even…
  • pre-flight massages.

Doesn’t that sound like a relaxing way to spend your LONG 3-hour layover?

Related: 17 Drool-Worthy Credit Card Perks Explained

How to get access to an airport lounge

While airport lounges do offer many great perks…

They do come at a cost.

(Otherwise, we would all be traveling in the lap of luxury and the lounge would lose a bit of its exclusivity.)

Here are a couple of ways to access an airport lounge:

  • Purchase a membership. If you travel frequently this option could make sense (although keep in mind that even with a pass you might still need to pay a fee each time you visit). Or…
  • Purchase a day pass. If you only travel once or twice a year, you may not mind paying this fee.

But what if you don’t want to pay?

What if you want to access these lounges without making a purchase?

Short of asking a stranger if you can be their “plus one,” getting a credit card that comes with complimentary lounge access may be your best bet.

Credit cards that offer airport lounge access

There are a good number of credit cards that offer some form of lounge access.

Some cards will give you unlimited access to certain lounges, while other cards will give you a certain number of passes annually.

And in another case, some cards will give you a lounge membership ‒ but you’re still required to pay a fee whenever you visit a lounge.

Whatever the case is, having one of these credit cards in your wallet could save you money and take your traveling to a whole new level.

Unlimited lounge access

There are some cards that claim to give you “unlimited access.”

But it’s important to know what that really means.

Is it specific to just one airport or one lounge?

Or, will you be able to enjoy this exclusive perk all over the world?

Check out the following table to see 4 cards that offer “unlimited access” and what that really means.

Credit Card Lounge Access Details # of Lounges Worldwide
  • Unlimited free access at Maple Leaf Lounges for the primary cardholder.
  • Priority Pass membership with no included visits.
16
  • Unlimited free access to Maple Leaf Lounges for the primary cardholder.
  • Priority Pass membership with unlimited visits for the primary cardholder.
1,016
  • Priority Pass membership with unlimited visits for the primary cardholder and one guest.
1,100
  • Unlimited free access to the National Bank Lounge for the primary cardholder and guest. (Only located at the Montréal-Trudeau Airport.
1

Related: When A Travel Rewards Card Is Worth It – And When It Isn’t

Limited lounge access passes

There are even more cards in this second category, and if you’re not a super frequent traveler, one of these cards could fit the bill.

Cards that offer cardholders a certain number of lounge passes will award them annually, and allow cardholders to use them as guest passes as well.

If you have 4 annual passes, and you’re taking one trip with 3 friends, you could all enjoy some serious mid-travel relaxation.

Check out the following table to see 10 cards that offer “limited access” and find out the details.

Credit Card Lounge Access Details # of Annual Passes # of Lounges Worldwide
  • 4 free visits annually to Priority Pass lounges.
4 1,000
  • 2 free visits annually to Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey.
2 1,000
  • 4 free visits annually to Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey.
4 1,000
  • 1 free visit annually to a Maple Leaf lounge ONLY on a reward flight.
1 16
  • 4 free visits annually to a Maple Leaf lounge ONLY on a reward flight.
  • 6 free visits annually to Priority Pass lounges.
10 1,016
8 1
  • 6 free visits annually to Priority Pass lounges.
6 1,000
  • 10 free visits annually to Priority Pass lounges.
  • 4 free visits annually for secondary cardholders.
10 1,000
  • 1 free visit annually to a Maple Leaf lounge ONLY on a reward flight.
1 16
  • 6 free visits annually to Priority Pass lounges.
6 1,000

Related: Canadian Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee

Complimentary airport lounge memberships

Finally, there are some credit cards that will give you a complimentary airport lounge membership.

These cards will give you access to airport lounges, but you will still be required to pay whenever you visit a lounge:

  • $27 US fee for members and
  • $27 US fee for guests of members.

If you travel much at all, the cost could really add up.

Especially if you’re traveling with a spouse or partner.

And with 1,000 lounge locations worldwide, you probably will be finding quite a few of these lounges throughout your travels.

Although not the best benefit, the following cards do give cardholders a complimentary airport lounge membership:

Related: American Express Fixed Points Travel Program Bonus

We’d love to hear from you

What about you?

Are you an avid airport lounge visitor?

Do you have a favorite airport lounge?

Do you see the value in this luxurious perk, or are you okay to go without?