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Alternative ways to obtain airport lounge access?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by wanderlust, Feb 9, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. wanderlust
    • Original Member

    wanderlust Silver Member

    I was wondering if anyone knew of the variety of ways to obtain lounge access without having first/business class international tickets or paying an annual membership fee. These are a few I'm aware of, anyone have ones to add?
    • Credit cards:
      • American Express Platinum Card (link)
      • Citi Chairman
    • Priority Pass (link)
    • One-day passes from airlines, e.g., AA ($50), Delta ($50), United ($50), US Airways ($50), Alaska ($40) . . .
    Which FF programs grant lounge access for the highest levels of status? Any? Thanks guys!
  2. mowogo
    • Original Member

    mowogo Gold Member

    The following airlines offer lounge access on international iteneraries at the levels listed below:
    Delta: Platinum Medallion; Diamond Medallion (Which can also choose to have a skyclub membership as a perk)
    American: Platinum; EXP
    Continental: Gold; Platinum
    United: Premier Executive; 1K
    US: Gold, Platinum; Chairman's (which offers club membership as an incremental reward for Chairmans Preferred members who continue flying beyond the standard qualification requirements)

    Air Canada offers lounge access to all members who achieve star gold status, and anybody that achieves the appropriate level to earn Star Alliance Gold status will have access to Star Gold Designated Lounges. In the US it is a little more convoluted as members of Continental, United, and US with access based on status can not use the United, Continental, and US Airways clubs, but can be granted entrance to foreign carrier lounges on domestic itineraries.
    k2o, Freddie Listo and NewGamePlus like this.
  3. Blue Skye
    • Original Member

    Blue Skye Silver Member

    Delta grants lounge access to its Diamond Medallion Elites.

    At the moment, the CO branded, Presidental Plus credit card comes with lounge access. (the annual credit card fee grants you full Presidents Club membership) The PC membership also gets you into the United Red Carpet and US Airways lounges.
  4. DoubleJ
    • Original Member

    DoubleJ Gold Member

    Have someone guest you
    k2o and vbroucek like this.
  5. mowogo
    • Original Member

    mowogo Gold Member

    In addition to the business class lounges of other Star Alliance airlines.
  6. SuzanneSLO
    • Original Member

    SuzanneSLO Silver Member

    It doesn't avoid paying an annual fee, but I get access at a reasonable price by paying for an additional Amex Plat card on my boss's account. With up to 3 additional cards available for $175 per year, I have heard of families who share a card for the lounge benefits. For $625 per year, you can get 4 cards, each of which has lounge access. Of course, you need to have the right family! I don't.. They fly United! -- Suzanne
  7. pjoalfa
    • Original Member

    pjoalfa Silver Member

    Note that access for AA elites is also granted for F or Z class on 3-class transcon domestic.
  8. leeivan86
    • Original Member

    leeivan86 Gold Member

    There is also the Ammeriprise world elite mastercard which gives unlimited lounge access for an annual fee of $150 a year through the prestige level in the priority pass program and I hear that your supplementary card holder also receives an additional priority pass card too.
    Wanaflyforless and wombat18 like this.
  9. hulagrrl210
    • Original Member

    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

    United also allows Premiers into the RCC on international itineraries if they are traveling in Business or First (unless that has changed since 2009)
    Gargoyle likes this.
  10. mowogo
    • Original Member

    mowogo Gold Member

    That is because you are accessing it by booking class, not status
  11. thetenken
    • Original Member

    thetenken Silver Member

    United P.S. NY -> LAX/SFO First class passengers are allowed access to RCC lounges and International First lounges.


    United also offers people the buy-up option of United Premier Travel Plus, which offers lounge access as one of the amenities.

    Hiltons HHonors Surpass AMEX cardholders get Priority Pass (Select) membership.
  12. kiwi
    • Original Member

    kiwi Gold Member

    Almost all the mid & high elite statuses of FFPs based outside USA give lounge access.

    Star Alliance gold (except UA, US, CO) gives lounge access anywhere (incl US domestic) when flying *A.
    Oneworld sapphire or emerald (except AA) gives lounge access anywhere (incl US domestic) when flying *A.

    First class and top status usually gives ability to guest an extra person into the lounge.
  13. Tiki
    • Original Member

    Tiki Silver Member

    You mean anyone with a Platinum Amex can get into these lounges? I'm from Australia and Platinum Amex holders get membership in Priority Pass which gets the primary card holder into the lounge and can guest someone for $27. But this would be better as my husband's supplementary card could get him into the lounges on his own?
  14. pitmueller
    • Original Member

    pitmueller Silver Member

    I´m amazed nobody mentioned Diners Club yet.
  15. Wurm
    • Original Member

    Wurm Silver Member

    Several rail systems offer lounges for passengers in the 1.class cars: Amtrak Acela, EuroStar, Deutsche Bahn and Renfe are some examples (on Renfe, you have to be in Club Class, not Preferente).
  16. BackSlash

    BackSlash Silver Member

    Don't Forget the always useful "Hey! Look over there!"
    Its worth noting that United one-day RCC passes can be purchased online for a discount (I think its $30-something). That's my preferred way of getting lounge access at ORD or DEN when I'm connecting, since I don't do enough domestic travel to justify the annual membership.
  17. sobore
    • Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Isn't this more international and only a handful of US lounges?
  18. ArizonaGuy
    • Original Member

    ArizonaGuy Silver Member

    Don't most of the airlines offer lounge access for a certain number of miles, published or unpublished?

    I know US gives club access for 150K (or maybe it was 125K?) annual BIS miles. This is obviously uncommon for many but it fits this topic nonetheless.
  19. wombat18
    • Original Member

    wombat18 Silver Member

    Isn't US enrollment in DC still closed?
  20. airoli
    • Original Member

    airoli Silver Member

    Certain airports, especially in Europe, also have commercially available VIP services. Against a fee, you'll be escorted through check-in, into a private lounge (typically run by the airport) and then driven / escorted to your plane. These services are definitely more expensive than just a lounge day pass, but they can be worthwhile under certain circumstances.

    Here's an example from ZRH: http://www.zurich-airport.com/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-147/
    Chimpy likes this.
  21. leeivan86
    • Original Member

    leeivan86 Gold Member

    I just remembered another credit card which does provide the prestige level of priority pass as part of the card. It is the Merrill Lynch Accolades Amex which has a $299 annual fee that is waived if you have total assets in excess of 200K with both Bank of America and Merrill. An option for those who already have substantial assets with BoA and Merrill who do not wish to pay an annual fee.
  22. shane
    • Original Member

    shane Silver Member

    Here are a few more ways to get into the Delta SkyClub that haven't been mentioned:
    • $25 for a day pass for Delta AMEX cardholders
    • $90 for a 3 month pass from Delta
    • Redeem 30,000 Delta SkyBonus points for 4 day passes
    • Enter as a guest of a member (There is a thread for arranging this on FT, sure it will show up here soon)
  23. kiwi
    • Original Member

    kiwi Gold Member

    They are sometimes offered gratis by airlines to certain passengers [​IMG]
    Chimpy likes this.
  24. gemac
    • Original Member

    gemac Silver Member

    I believe Amex Platinum will only get you into an airline's lounge if you are flying on that airline that day. At least, that's the way it was when I had one.

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