Dodge the New Airline Lounge Restrictions: Get Access No Matter What Airline You Fly

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Dodge the New Airline Lounge Restrictions:  Get Access No Matter What Airline You Fly

Andrew RDodge the New Airline Lounge Restrictions:  Get Access No Matter What Airline You FlyMillion Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

While some credit cards, like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® and Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card, used to offer folks unlimited free access to Admirals Club or Delta SkyClub lounges whenever they were at the airport, many major airlines are now restricting access to their lounges unless you have a ticketed flight on their airline that day.

Since I’ve been in the points and miles hobby, my favorite perk is being able to access airport lounges around the world with the Priority Pass Select membership that comes with my Chase Sapphire Reserve®.  I’ve saved ton of money on food and drinks, relaxed in comfortable seats, used faster Wi-Fi than what’s usually available in the airport, and more!

And the great thing is, you can be flying any airline and still get the same benefits.

Hang Out at the Plaza Premium Lounge in Heathrow Like We Did on our Connecting Flight Home From Europe – Complimentary Buffet Dinner and Open Bar! All Free with Priority Pass!

I’ll walk you through credit cards that offer you access to lounges worldwide no matter what airline you are flying!

Which Cards Give You Access to Airport Lounges No Matter What Airline You’re Flying?

The best way to get access to over a thousand lounges around the world is becoming a Priority Pass member.  And lots of cards offer complimentary Priority Pass membership as a perk.

Priority Pass Select membership comes with these cards:

I’ll share some of my favorite cards on this list and tell you about other great benefits you’ll get in addition to Priority Pass lounge access!

Best Credit Cards With Priority Pass Select Membership Included

1.   The Platinum Card or the Business Platinum Card from American Express

Apply Here:   The Platinum Card® from American Express

Read our review of The Platinum Card from American Express

Apply Here:   The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Read our review of The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The Platinum Card from American Express and American Express Business Platinum Card are terrific cards for frequent flyers.  Both cards offer excellent travel perks, including admission to the widest range of lounges of any credit card through their Global Lounge Collection.  The Platinum cards include access to Priority Pass Select lounges, Centurion Lounges (some of the nicest lounges in the world!), International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Club lounges (if you’re flying Delta that day), and a few others!

Head over to our post on how to find American Express Platinum airport lounges to see how easy it is to find lounges around the world!

In addition to lounge access, the AMEX Platinum cards come with lots of extra benefits.  Currently, you can earn 60,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points when you open The Platinum Card® from American Express and meet the minimum spending requirements.  You’ll also get:

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with a $550 annual fee, however, this can pretty easily be offset if you take advantage of all the benefits you get with this card!

If you own a small business, you may want to consider opening The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, where you can earn up to 75,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.  The annual fee on this card is $450, $100 less than the personal version of the card.

Get Access to All of These Lounge Networks for Free With Your AMEX Platinum Card!

This card also has a slew of great benefits, like:

  • 5X AMEX Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
  • Up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year on a selected airline for incidentals such as baggage fees, lounge day passes, & more
  • 1.5X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1, on each qualifying purchase of $5,000 or more
  • Statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) with the card
  • Terms apply

 2.   Hilton Honors Cards From American Express

Apply Here:   Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

Read our review of the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

Apply Here:   The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Read our review of the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

For folks not planning on traveling more than a few times a year, the Hilton Honors family of cards might be the perfect way to gain access to Priority Pass lounges.  That’s because both the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card come with 10 free Priority Pass visits per year at any of the 1,000+ Priority Pass airport lounges around the world.

Each of these cards only have an annual fee of $95, so you’ll be paying much less in annual fees than you would with the AMEX Platinum cards.  Considering access to a lounge can cost anywhere from $30 to $60, using Priority Pass even just 3 times a year would make the annual fee worth it.

Additionally, these cards come with lots of extra benefits.  The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card offers 125,000 Hilton points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.  You also get:

  • 12X Hilton bonus points per $1 spent at any Hilton portfolio hotel or resort
  • 6X Hilton bonus points per $1 spent at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations
  • 3X Hilton bonus points per $1 spent on everything else
  • Complimentary Hilton Gold elite status, plus, earn Diamond elite status after you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year
  • Earn one weekend night per year after spending $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year
  • Terms Apply

If you have a small business, you may want to consider the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, which currently offers 125,000 Hilton bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.  This card has similar benefits to the Ascend card, including:

  • 12X Hilton bonus points per $1 spent at any Hilton portfolio hotel or resort
  • 6X Hilton bonus points per $1 spent on select business & travel purchases (including wireless phone services from US providers, US restaurants, US gas stations, car rentals, and more)
  • 3X Hilton bonus points per $1 spent on everything else
  • Complimentary Hilton Gold elite status, plus, earn Diamond elite status after you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year
  • Earn one weekend night per year after spending $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year, and earn a second free night award after spending a total of $60,000 on purchases in the same calendar year
  • Terms Apply

3.   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Apply Here:   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve 

I think the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the perfect in-between card if you’re looking for a card with Priority Pass Select membership.  The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $450 annual fee, however, it has a annual $300 travel credit, which erases the first $300 you spend a year on travel, essentially making the annual fee $150.

Travel purchases include flights, trains, taxis, Uber (and Uber Eats!), and more, so earning the $300 travel credit is pretty easy to do!

The Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you Priority Pass Select membership for free which is a great perk.  In addition, you can currently earn 50,000 valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

With the Sapphire Reserve, you’ll also get:

  • 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel (excluding $300 travel credit) & dining worldwide
  • 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards point on all other purchases
  • $300 annual credit every cardmember anniversary for travel purchases such as airfare and hotels
  • $100 statement credit for Global Entry
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Visa Infinite benefits like $25 food and beverage credit at the Luxury Hotel Collection and complimentary car rental elite status with Silvercar
  • Rental car discounts with National Car Rental and Avis

I love my Chase Sapphire Reserve and with the 3X Chase points I can earn on dining and travel, I earn a ton of Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

Relax in Airport Lounges for Free Using Your Priority Pass Membership and Grab a Meal and Some Drinks Before Your Flight!

Bottom Line

Before I started getting into miles and points, I had no idea what I was missing by not having airport lounge membership.  It’s a great way to de-stress and stay comfortable before boarding.

Lounges typically have free food, sometimes buffet meals, and free drinks, including alcohol, which allows you to save a ton considering inflated airport prices.  You also have much more comfortable seating than you would in the terminal, and you get faster Wi-Fi to finish up any last-minute work you need to get done or download any last minute movies to watch on your flight.

Priority Pass membership allows you to use airport lounges no matter what airline you are flying.  That’s a bigger deal now more than ever because most major airlines have restricted access to their own lounges to folks who are flying on the airline that day.

Luckily for us, Priority Pass membership comes as a free perk on lots of travel cards, including:

What’s your favorite way to get complimentary airport lounge access?

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Hi,
For the 10 free pass into the lounge, is that physical passes we get or we just show our CC at the lounge entrance? Can we give the pass to family members to use or the CC holder must be travelling at the same time?
Thanks,
Jean

Okay – maybe I missed something, but… the above article seems to indicate you can get into DL lounge with Amex Biz Plat even when you are not flying on DL. I was under the impression that you MUST be flying on DL sameday.

Hi Gary – You’re right – I’ve updated the post to make that clear.

Thanks… thought I had missed out on something – like spending 3 hours in Boston airport with two DL lounges, but no access to it or any other one.

There is a huge problem with almost all the lounges across all the airlines. That is there are too many people accessing them and they become overcrowded. That is why the airlines have been cutting back and limiting who can get into their lounges. Years back, they were nice, but now, especially in the bigger airports, they are crowded and people have their children in there running around. Many times it is hard to find a place to sit and when you get to where the food and drinks are available, they are already picked oved and, many times, nothing is there.
So, I do not know what the answer is, but it is not getting better.

I have heard stories of PP people barred, at least temporarily, from some lounges. I had 45 flights last year and went to dozens of lounges and was never turned away. Maybe the airports I went to? I imagine major city/hubs there are more issues? I and my family have gotten tremendous value from the program. My attitude is I hope the lounge is open/available but if not, that’s ok, I’m not entitled to it. It’s a wonderful privilege the vast majority of travelers never have.

“not entitled to it”?? If you have a membership, you ARE ENTITLED to it. I am confused.

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