March 20, 2023

Flying on a first or business class ticket has many perks. The extra legroom, complimentary drinks, and in most cases, lounge access, are some of the best benefits. The good news is you may be able to experience the comfort of airport lounges even when you don’t have a first-class ticket in hand. There are ways to get into airport lounges—no matter what airline you’re flying with or what class ticket you purchased.

Here are some of our favorite ways to gain access to airport lounges:

Purchase a Priority Pass Membership

Priority Pass is a membership that allows you to enter airport lounges all over the globe. There are over 1,200 participating lounges and restaurants, and that list continues to grow as the brand expands. All you need to do is present your membership card at participating lounges, and you’ll instantly upgrade your airport experience.

Buy a Day Pass

Yes, many lounges let everyday people buy a day pass. This is a great way to get access at the spur of the moment. Just check with the lounge to see if it’s an option. Apps like Lounge Buddy can help point you in the right direction as to which lounges sell day pass usage. You can also look at lounge reviews to see if a particular lounge is worth your money.  

Some airline lounges offer their own day passes for purchases—for example, United Airlines and American Airlines both charge $59 for their day passes.

Lounge Pass is another resource that makes buying a pass simple. Search on their website or app for your airport and buy a pass. The prices vary based on location. Just show your purchase confirmation to enter the lounge of your choosing.

Choose Your Credit Cards Wisely

With the right credit cards, you can hack your way to smarter travel. While many individuals use credit cards as a way to accumulate miles and points for free flights and hotel stays, they can also be used to benefit in other ways.

Some credit cards offer lounge access to their card members. Carefully look at your credit perks to see what features are included and as you look at new credit card offers; choose your next card wisely!

Earn Elite Status

If you tend to stick with a particular airline for most of your travel, you want to make sure that you’re earning your way toward elite status. For top spenders and point earners, this can include access to the airline’s branded lounges. Check with your preferred airline to see what is offered to elite status holders.  

These are some of the best ways to get airport lounge access without buying a first-class ticket. The above methods can transform your view of the airport—once you step into a lounge, the airport feels a little less hectic and a lot more enjoyable.

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