Key takeaways

  • Lounge access is an especially desirable perk, and many travel rewards credit cards come with this benefit.
  • However, many of these cards limit the number of guests you can bring into the lounge with you — and some don’t extend lounge privileges to guests at all.
  • If you regularly travel with family members or friends, the best ways to get lounge access for them are to choose credit cards that includes guest privileges, book with third-party lounge access services or book premium fares that include lounge access.

Having access to airport lounges can make any travel experience more comfortable, and these memberships can be a big money-saver, too. After all, airport lounges always have a selection of complimentary food and beverages along with wifi access, and some even have showers and special spaces you can use to freshen up.

But, having airport lounge access only for yourself can be a major issue — especially if you travel with your spouse or partner, your kids or your friends from time to time. The good news is, there are ways to get airport lounge access for yourself and your guests, or to ensure the people you love have airport lounge memberships of their own they can use.

Travel credit cards with airport lounge access

The best way to get airport lounge access for yourself and your family or other guests involves signing up for a travel credit card — but not just any travel credit card. Look specifically for a top travel rewards card that include guest access or the ability to bring in others with your membership without paying any added fees.

Fortunately, quite a few top travel credit cards let users bring in guests, including:

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Find airport lounges that offer day passes

Even if a card offers airport lounge access for cardholders and their guests, it’s important to note that capacity controls can still apply. It’s not uncommon to head to a Priority Pass lounge and find a sign that says “full,” leaving you completely locked out of a visit you were counting on.

In this case, you may still be able to find airport lounges that offer day passes for a single day of entry. Services like LoungeBuddy and The Club can help connect you with these lounges if your preferred lounge is full, if you need space for more guests than your guest limit allows or if you don’t have access to an airport lounge membership through a travel credit card.

Book premium fares that include airport lounge access

Finally, you should know that booking international airfare in a premium cabin will typically get you airport lounge access included with major airlines and their alliance partners. For example, booking international Business or First Class flights with Delta Air Lines or SkyTeam partners will get you into Delta Sky Clubs as well as most partner lounges (terms vary).

To access this perk, you’ll likely have to book your entire family in the premium cabin to get everyone into the lounge, although there are some exceptions. For example, Virgin Atlantic airport lounges are for Upper Class passengers and Flying Club Gold members, but you are welcome to bring in a guest if they’re on the same international flight with you on Virgin Atlantic, Delta Air Lines, Air France or KLM.

The bottom line

Getting approved for the right travel credit card is the best way to lock in airport lounge access for yourself and your guests. However, you’ll want to read over specific card and membership policies so you know how many guests you can bring (and any other rules that apply). It’s also a good idea to have a backup plan if you’re counting on lounge access during your trip.