Are Airport Lounges Worth It?

Emily and I are grateful to be nominated for best travel blog. We'd love your vote!
Ps: You can vote everyday!

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Airport lounges can save you money and time with convenient features like Wi-Fi, showers, snacks (or even full meals!), and much more.  Nearly every major or mid-sized airport has a lounge.

But are they worth the price?

Are Airport Lounges Worth It

Airport Lounges, Like the Centurion Studio in Las Vegas, Are a Great Place to Unwind, Eat, and Catch up on Work. But Who Gets the Most Value From Them?

I’ll explain who’ll get the most use from airport lounges.  And which cards offer complimentary access!

Why Airport Lounges?

Most airport lounges offer amenities targeted toward business travelers and frequent flyers, like:

  • Complimentary beverages, including beer, wine, and liquor
  • Snacks, and sometimes full meals
  • Wi-Fi
  • Showers to refresh before or after a long flight
  • Magazines
  • Business stations to print documents or make phone calls
  • Fax services

If you only travel once or twice a year, you probably won’t get much use from an airport lounge membership.

But some folks integrate them into their travel plans to catch up on work and refresh, like:

  • Business travelers
  • Frequent travelers
  • Folks who travel internationally
  • Families who want a place to regroup
  • Anyone who has a long layover

If you need to catch up on work, make business calls, or refresh after a long flight, airport lounges are a quiet place to spend time and unwind.

Are Airport Lounges Worth It

Grab a Bourbon on the Rocks, a Shower, or Relax on a Long Layover

Folks who visit often can get more than their money’s worth over the course of a year!

Airport Lounges and the Cards That Can Get You In

1.   Priority Pass

Link:   Priority Pass

Priority Pass is an independent lounge network with over 700 locations around the world.

The benefit of Priority Pass lounges is that you can fly on any airline and access them on the day you fly.

Are Airport Lounges Worth It

Priority Pass Has Over 700 Lounges in Airports All Over the World

You’ll find Priority Pass lounges in most major airports.  Features and benefits vary by location, but you can expect most of them to have Wi-Fi, snacks, and drinks at a minimum.  Certain locations have expanded food options, showers, business centers, and more.

Access can come in handy when you have a long layover.  Or when you’re traveling on an airline whose own lounges you can’t get into.

Are Airport Lounges Worth It

A Comparable Membership to Priority Pass Would Cost $399 a Year If You Paid Out-of-Pocket!

Cards that come with a Priority Pass membership included are:

With the AMEX Platinum cards, it’s free for the cardmember to enter, but $27 per person for all guests.

And with Citi Prestige, you can bring 2 guests or immediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age) for no extra charge.

2.   Centurion Lounges

Link:   Centurion Lounge Locations

Centurion Lounges from American Express are a perk for folks who have 1 of the of the AMEX Platinum cards (the personal card, business card, or Mercedes-Benz card) or the AMEX Black Card.

Centurion Lounges are currently in 6 cities:

  • Dallas
  • Las Vegas
  • Miami
  • New York
  • Seattle
  • San Francisco

And another location in Houston is on the way!

Are Airport Lounges Worth It

Centurion Lounges Feature Lots of Premium Amenities That Business Travelers Will Appreciate

Centurion lounges have high-end amenities like craft cocktails, fast Wi-Fi, shower suites, and seasonal meals.  So each time you visit, you can get a full breakfast, lunch, or dinner, with drinks.  That’s easily worth $50 or more!

If you have an AMEX Platinum Card, entry is complimentary for yourself and your family, or 2 companions.

All other AMEX cardholders can pay $50 for a 1-day pass at the time of their visit, if there are spots available in the lounge.

3.   AirSpace Lounges

Link:   AirSpace Lounge

AirSpace lounges are clean, modern spaces that offer unlimited soft drinks and snacks, a full bar, access to their shower facility, and several other perks.

Are Airport Lounges Worth It

Relax, Unwind With a Drink, or Grab a Shower at 1 of 4 AirSpace Lounges

So far, AirSpace lounges are in 4 cities:

  • Baltimore
  • Cleveland
  • New York – JFK
  • San Diego
Are Airport Lounges Worth It

Enjoy Lots of Conveniences at AirSpace Lounges

You can bring 2 guests with you each time you visit.

To access AirSpace lounges for free, you’ll need an AMEX Platinum card (the personal card, business card, or Mercedes-Benz card) or the AMEX Black Card.  Otherwise you’ll pay a fee such as the $25 charged at New York – JFK.

4.   American Airlines Admirals Clubs

Link:   Admirals Club Locations

American Airlines has ~50 Admirals Club locations globally.

Are Airport Lounges Worth It

Emily and I Visited the Admirals Club in Kansas City, Which You Can Access With Your Citi AAdvantage Executive Card or Citi Prestige!

If you fly American Airlines a lot, or if this is the only lounge option in your city, Admirals Clubs are great places to unwind, grab a drink, and catch up on some work.

Are Airport Lounges Worth It

Admirals Club Memberships Start at $500 for Individuals Without American Airlines Elite Status, but You Can Get Access With the Right Credit Card!

There are 2 credit cards that include access to Admirals Clubs as perks:

Keep in mind access with Citi Prestige is only available if you’re traveling same-day with American Airlines.

5.   Delta Sky Clubs

Link:   Delta Sky Club Locations

Most Delta Sky Clubs are in Delta hub airports, like Atlanta, Detroit, or Minneapolis, but you’ll find other locations at major airports.  Membership prices start at $450 for individuals.

Are Airport Lounges Worth It

The AMEX Delta Reserve Card and AMEX Platinum Card Gets You Access to Delta Sky Clubs!

Delta Sky Clubs are a great way to relax before or after you fly!

If you like to fly Delta, you’ll have access to ~30 Delta Sky Club locations when you have the AMEX Delta Reserve card or AMEX Platinum Card.

With the AMEX Platinum Card, you’ll need a same-day ticket on a Delta flight to enter.

6.   United Clubs

Link:   United Club Locations

United Clubs feature the usual amenities like snacks, drinks, and free Wi-Fi.  You can also get assistance with your flights on United Airlines.

Are Airport Lounges Worth It

The Chase United Club Card Is Your Ticket to ~45 United Club Locations World-Wide

Memberships start at $550, so this is a great perk that can save you a lot of money if you fly United Airlines a lot!

Are Airport Lounges Worth It

Instead of Spending $550 on a Club Membership, You Can Get in With the Chase United Club Card!

There’s only 1 credit card that will get you access to ~45 United Club locations, and that’s the Chase United Club card.  

Bottom Line

Folks who might want access to airport lounges include:

  • Business travelers
  • Frequent travelers
  • Folks who travel internationally
  • Families
  • And anyone who wants a quiet place before or after their flight!

Airport lounges usually feature Wi-Fi, drinks, snacks, showers, and a place to catch up on work.

Many credit cards will get you access to certain lounges.  And if you are loyal to American Airlines, Delta, or United Airlines, each 1 has a credit card that comes with a lounge membership subscription.

Do you use airport lounges?  Do you have 1 that you’d recommend in particular?

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 responses to “Are Airport Lounges Worth It?

  1. You know what would be a useful article topic? Which Priority Pass lounges are the best (or actually worth visiting at all)? I suspect though that most bloggers don’t particularly spend time in these lounges since they all probably have elite status with one or more airlines and use those lounges instead. Is there a list somewhere (maybe on FlyerTalk) where people keep track of “worthy” lounges around the world?

  2. @Andrew: That’s a great idea, but I don’t personally know of such a list. I did make pretty extensive use of the Priority Pass network during my year of travel in 2014. One that stands out in my memory was in PMI (Palma de Mallorca). It wasn’t at the level of a Centurion Lounge, mind you, but my friend Cate & I had a good time and LOTS of snacks and drinks. We were eventually surrounded by a small army of plates, glasses and mugs and had a few good giggles about that alone. So it was a nice little private Tapas party, and a great, relaxing way to pass the last few hours before a late flight back to Barcelona. Anyway, I’ll look around for a review site that tracks worthy P.P. lounges as you suggest, and will post back if I find one.

  3. How come there’s no mention of Alaska Airlines and its superb Boardrooms? Yes, they’re mostly on the West Coast, but they also have agreements with Delta and American Airlines, and even Plaza Premium (YVR) and Cathay (SFO) for lounge use! They are pretty consistent in their service and have decent drink and food options – all hail the pancake machine!

    -AS fan

  4. I have been using the lounges through the Lounge Club offered by The Ritz Carlton Club. Just wish they had more available i.e. Denver Airport

  5. For american express platinum card, enrolling in priority pass is a free perk with this card and paying hefty $475 annual fee.

    if i had this card, can my spouse come with me/kids etc?

    Or only the card holder would be allowed to go in this lounge?

    Can you specify?