I've often heard about the lavish life of airport lounges but it wasn't until last year that I finally had the chance to experience one. A lot of people think that you can only access an airport lounge if you are first class passenger or if you pay a lot of money. With my Delta Amex I can obtain discounted entry into the Delta Skyclub.
Before my flight on Emirates to Milan, Italy from JFK I had about 2 hours of down time. Rather than sit at the gate or pay for expensive meal and drinks, my friend and I sought out to find the Delta Skyclub. After walking for what seemed forever I made it to the Delta Skylounge in T2. I was greeted by a friendly host and the ability to relax in a reclining chair or the rooftop lounge. There was also unlimited food and drinks, a quiet room, showers and spa services. When it was time for my flight, the concierge called for a driver to take us to our Emirates gate! Why did I go to this lounge? It's because I own a Gold Delta Amex and it allows for discounted access to Delta Sky Club lounges. At the time I only paid $29 for myself and a guest. That deal is no longer available but it is $29 for each person up to 2 guests. Normally it is $59 per person for a day pass.
The Fine Print
- You can bring up to two guests with you by paying a reduced rate of $29 per person.
- Delta Sky Club Reduced Rate benefit ($29 per person) is limited to Gold and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Members and up to two guests and may be used only in conjunction with same-day ticketed air travel on any airline.
- The name on your ticket must match the name on your Delta Credit Card.
- The complimentary access for the Delta Reserve card is per visit for a single entry to one Delta Sky Club location.
- Children 2 years old or younger can accompany you at no charge. Children between 3 years old and 20 years old can benefit from the reduced rate of $29 per person.
- You must be at least 21 or be accompanied by an adult over the age of 21 to enter Clubs with a self-service bar.
Take a look at the inside of the JFK Delta Sky Club
What are other ways to get free or discounted access to an airport lounge? I'm glad you asked! :) Check out the following ways to get access.
Status or Class
Some airlines include access into a premium lounge with the purchase of a business or first class ticket. There are also lounge perks for those who have achieved an elite status with an airline.
Alaska Lounge-Receive same day free access with a first class ticket
American Airlines Admirals Club-Lounge access isn't available if you’re traveling on American Airlines solely within the U.S. (except qualifying transcontinental flights) or between the U.S. and the Caribbean, Canada, or Mexico (except Mexico City). Your access is determined by showing your boarding pass departing on an international flight marketed and operated by a oneworld carrier that is five hours or longer, or connecting to one on the same day or before 6 a.m. the following day.
Delta - In addition to day passes, passengers who are Delta One or Delta SkyTeam Premium Cabin, 1st class International and SkyTeam Elite Plus (Delta Diamond, Platinum or Gold Medallion) receive access to the Delta Sky Club. The number of guest vary based on the ticket, status or credit card.
Emirates- You can access their lounges if you are First Class or Business Class, or if you’re an Emirates Skywards Platinum or Gold member traveling in Economy Class.
Ethihad-Passengers flying First and Business class have access to all of their lounges.
United customers traveling in United Polaris℠ first class are invited to relax in United Global First Lounges. United Polaris first class and United Polaris business class customers also may access Arrivals Facilities at some airports.
Alaska Lounge-Day passes are available for only $45 per person and can be purchased at Alaska Lounge locations in Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland or Anchorage.
American Airlines Admirals Club-Available at select locations for $59. Excludes airports with clubs under construction.
Delta Sky Club- You can purchase at the club's check in desk for a single Visit Pass Rate of $59
Emirates Dubai Airport Lounges- Emirates Skywards Blue member can pay US$100 to access Emirates lounges at Dubai International airport regardless of your class of travel. Gold and Silver members receive free access and can invite a guest for a charge.
United Club one-time passes are available for purchase for $59 at club locations or through the United app on your device. This pass will allow one person one-time access to any United Club location.
You can also bid on day passes on Ebay.
In addition to the discounted access you can receive by carrying certain airline cards. Some of the more elite airline credit cards that have the higher annual costs and more perks that include free access or memberships to lounges.
Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express-Complimentary access to Delta Sky Club Lounges and discounted access for up to 2 guests. Annual fee of $450.
Citi Prestige/American Airlines-Cardholders can have access to all domestic Admirals Club location and all international Admirals Club locations when departing on the same day on an American Airlines operated. They also receive a Priority Pass Select lounge network membership.
United MileagePlus Club Card-The United MileagePlus Club Card offers a United Club membership, which includes complimentary access for spouse and children under 21, or as many as two guests (worth up to $500)
Third Party Lounges
You can buy annual passes to lounges through a third party vendor that does not have any ties to a specific airline.
Priority Pass-Access to over 1,000 worldwide lounges available through 3 different plans starting at $99 annually. Click to view details.
Alaska Lounge-You can join starting at $450 for new members for the year.
American Admirals Club-You can join starting at $500 or 85,000 miles.
Delta Airlines- You can join starting at $495 annually or monthly installments
United- There is an initiation fee of $50 or 7,000 miles for all new United Club memberships and Membership rates are based on the prospective member's current MileagePlus status level. renewals. Bonus: If you join within 30 days of your one-time pass purchase, United will waive the price of your initiation fee,$50.
In addition to the previous mentioned ways to receive access to airline lounges. You can access lounges that are partners of airlines. Rules are based on the lounge and airline status.
Delta Partners-Air France, KLM Crown and Virgin Austrailia Lounges
One World-Includes over 10 airlines such as Qatar, British Airways and American Airlines to name a few. If your oneworld frequent flyer tier status is Emerald or Sapphire, or you are traveling in a First or Business Class cabin on any oneworld member airline, you can access some 650 airport lounges throughout the world.
Be A Guest
If you don't have access maybe someone that you're traveling does and you can use a guest pass. Always check with the squad to see who is a member of what to maximize discounts! You may be able to get in for free or for a low price based on the programs terms and conditions.
Don't Forget To Research
All lounges are not created equal. Before you get excited and book access. Consider reading the reviews of the lounge on Lounge Buddy. Pay attention to what's offered and the hours before booking. Compare costs to eat at a restaurant (if you were already planning to do so) and drinks vs entry into the lounge.
There are many ways to get access to airport lounges without buying an expensive first or business class ticket. You can enjoy relaxation, food and less crowds, shower or get some work done. The decision to pay for an airport lounge should be based on time of layover, where the lounge is located, reviews, what it offers and your budget.
Where is your favorite airport lounge located? Comment below!