Airport lounges are a great way unwind and relax while waiting for your next flight. It’s also a perfect way to avoid the chaos of a busy airport terminal and enjoy some free snacks while you are at it.
Many airport lounges have free access with the purchase of a business class ticket. But don’t worry, there are many other ways to enjoy the luxury of free WIFI, snacks, drinks and comfy chairs with an economy ticket purchase as well.
In this post, I will show you how to get cheap airport lounge access without buying expensive airfares and pricey memberships!
- Pay as you go
- Be a member guest
- Frequent flier Elite status
- Priority Pass
- Lounge Buddy
- Lounge pass credit card
What is the cost of airport lounge access?
If you are looking to buy a one-day lounge pass, expect to pay around $40-$50. Although I have seen them lower. Alaska Airlines charge $45, the big 3 in the U.S, United, American and Delta, charge $59.
If you are frequent flier, you might want to invest in an annual membership. This would be the much cheaper option depending on how much you travel. Expect to pay between $450-$550 per year. I recommend using Priority Pass, see more below, they have some great discounts on memberships.
How To Get Cheap Airport Lounge Access
1. Pay as you go
Most airport lounges will allow you to access the lounge as needed. Perhaps you are not a frequent flier and only want to use the facilities once and a while. In this case, buying a full membership is not cost effective for only a few visits.
I find this to be an affordable option, you can search for all airport lounges including prices for daily visits on Lounge Pass. You can book directly on the site and find out the location, hours of operation, facilities available, conditions of entry and anything else you might need to know about the lounge.
2. Be a member guest
If you are traveling with someone who is a member of the lounge, you can most times be brought in as their guest for free. If you are not traveling at the same time, perhaps they will have a coupon or free pass voucher that you can have.
I have been a guest numerous times to airport lounges. It’s a great free way to get access. You can join online travel forums where people can share and swap passes, or help each other out with being a guest.
Another way is to basically, ask another passenger in the airport who is going to the lounge if they mind bringing you as a guest. It’s a bit bold to ask, but many people don’t mind bringing a guest in. If you don’t mind asking for a favor from a complete stranger, I say go for it!
3. Frequent flier Elite status
If you are a loyal customer to a certain airline and obtain Elite passenger status, it will come with many perks. Most airlines will reward their Elite members with various things, including free upgrades, extra baggage, and many other bonuses.
One of those perks is the airline will have some form of free or reduced-price access to the airport lounges. This access will be valid for the airline and its partners.
For example, one type of Elite membership is with Star Alliance. If you travel a certain amount with the airlines partnered with Star Alliance, the more miles you fly, the more points you will gain.
Once you reach Elite or Gold status, you will be able to access many airport lounges around the world. It’s an amazing program. I have been an Elite member of Star Alliance for years, and it truly is awesome!
Other ways to get airport lounge access
Airport Lounge Access Membership Programs
Priority Pass is the #1 recommended membership program. It is available for over 1200 airports around the world and you won’t need to worry about having a business class seat or Elite status.
Priority pass has been around for over 28 years, covers 500 cities and 140 countries. It is the most coveted program in the world at a great price.
Lounge Buddy is a website and APP that offers lots of great information about airport lounges from around the world. You can use Lounge Buddy to book online even if you are last minute and looking for access to a lounge right away.
You can buy airport lounge access for as little as $25. Lounge Buddy is simple to use and provides you with all the information you need for the most popular lounges.
What credit card gives you access to airport lounges?
Maybe one of the more convenient and easier ways to guarantee airport lounge access is to get a credit card with a lounge program. The American Express platinum card gives you the most benefits and features.
It comes at a cost of $550 annual fee, but for all the benefits you receive, it’s well worth it. See all benefits here.
Do you tip in airport lounges?
The answer is that it’s up to you. Tipping is accepted but not required and the amount you tip will vary on many things including your location, service you receive, and any other factors you normally use when deciding on tipping.
According to One Mile At A Time, tipping happens at airport lounges 50% of the time. Half the people tip, the other half don’t.
Are food and drinks free?
Yes, for the most part, expect food and drinks to be complimentary. Food can be anything from light snacks to hot meals and full-blown buffets. The one time you will be required to pay would be for certain premium drinks.
What is the etiquette for an airport lounge?
There are some things that you should not do when in an airport lounge. They include:
- Keeping quiet as some people are resting, reading or studying. Keep your alarms and rings off.
- Treat staff and others with respect. These lounges are not nightclubs or bars where people tend to act out.
- Wear appropriate attire. Most lounges require you to be dressed properly.
- Smoking is not allowed
Cathay Pacific airlines has a great read on airport lounge etiquette.
Where can I get a special deal on an airport pass?
As mentioned earlier, if you are not a frequent flier, I recommend you purchase a one day pass from Lounge Buddy or Priority Pass. But for a full membership, you should check out Priority Pass where if you are a first time customer, they have certain deals. They have up to 40% off when you use this link below.
You can get cheap airport lounge access, but it depends on a few factors. If you are only traveling a few times a year, don’t buy a full membership. There are other ways like pay as you go and being a guest.
Airport lounges are definitely something that everyone should use if it’s possible, as it makes your traveling much more relaxing and enjoyable.
Hopefully, you found this guide helpful. As always, feel free to leave a comment or send us a message anytime via our contact form.
Thanks for reading!