Cheap Lounge Access at Airports
Remember that time you showed up to the airport way too early? Or had a grueling 8-hour layover?
Now you’re probably wandering around the terminal like a lifeless zombie, looking at all the overpriced food and trinkets for sale. Or, sitting next to another traveling near the only outlet.
Today, I’m going to tell you how to get cheap airport lounge access at airports for nearly half-off.
First, there is a handful of ways to get access to an airport lounge for cheap:
- Buy a Single Day Pass (my favorite first) – Buying a single day pass is expensive if bought at the airport – anywhere from $35 to $75 depending on the lounge. However, you can save a good bit of money on lounge passes, like Continental and Delta, by purchasing them on eBay. You can typically get a pass for about half-off the original price. Anything below $25 is worthwhile in my opinion.
- Book a business or first class ticket – Simply put, if you pony up 3-10x the cost of an economy class ticket or have a ticket bought for you by your company, you are more than likely able to access that airline or their alliance lounges for the day. Keep reading if you like to travel on the cheap (like me).
- Have Elite Status on the Airline (or their alliance) – Gone are the days when you could easily acquire Aegean Gold status to be able to access all other Star Alliance airline perks. Getting elite status is getting tougher year after year since frequent flyer programs are becoming monetary based, rather than mileage based.
- Get a Credit Card with Your Favorite Airline – Sometimes airlines will offer two free lounge passes per membership year in order to incentivize you to pick their card. This is usually accompanied by a barrage of miles added to your frequent flyer account as well – helping you reach Elite Status quicker.
- Use LoungeBuddy or Another App – LoungeBuddy is an app that helps you figure out which airport lounges you can access based on your current frequent flyer miles. It is also useful for letting you know which lounges allow you to purchase a one-day pass, as well as the other options available – like Priority Pass or Lounge Club. There are also a handful of other apps to help you find comfort in between flights.
- Be a Guest of a Frequent Flyer – As they say in The Hunger Games – “May the odds be ever in your favor.” This comes down to sheer luck. Try to befriend a fellow passenger before your flight or just sit outside of the airport lounge to see if anyone will strike up a conversation with you. I’ve been lucky once where I was chatting with an American Airlines lounge representative that was working that she let me use her guest pass for the day and two free drink tickets. All because I was polite and talked about how I traveled in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for cheap.
If you’re a frequent airport traveler, you could also purchase a year-long membership to your favorite airlines’ lounges for a nominal fee. These usually come with all the perks like bringing in a guest for free and drink coupons for flights.
In my opinion, airport lounges are hit or miss in terms of quality. Some lounges look like relics of the past, with retrofuturism furniture with dusty ceiling tiles and bland off-white lighting.
When I flew back from the UAE, I was able to utilize the beautiful Delta Sky Club at JFK Airport. The pass cost me $25 and afforded me a nice hot shower after a 14-hour flight.
Travel smarter this holiday season and spend a few extra dollars on yourself. It’s well worth it.