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Airport Lounge Access

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Regular Contributor

Airport Lounge Access

Hey folks, happy new year!

 

  2018 was a really good year for me regarding my credit card "journey" and now I started to think about getting a credit card that offers lounge access as one of the perks. I only travel maybe once or twice a year with my wife but normally, when we travel, we end up hitting like 6 airports (round trip) at once and it would be nice to be able to enjoy airport lounges during long layovers or when flying out.

 

  What I've been considering: 

  - So, as I have the Chase Sapphire Preffered I was thinking about upgrading that card once the annual fee hits to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I already got the 50k points for the CSP so I'd just upgrade for the lounge access and the other perks that the card offers.

 

  - I also been thinking about the Amex Platinum but $550 feels like a little hard to swallow as annual fee. What makes me consider the Amex Platinum is the fact that it offers Centurion Lounges and some other lounges (airline ones) + priority pass. I've heard great things about the Centurion lounges and since I got the Amex Gold back in November, I've been a big fan of Amex and their customer service.

  

  - I've been also considering the Amex Hilton Ascend card that comes with a $95 annual fee but it offers 10 free yearly passes for lounge access (priority pass). I like the idea of only paying $95 for 10 free priority pass passes but I'd pretty much use all those passes in one trip as I'd want to take my wife with me into the lounge (can you imagine? "Hey babe, go enjoy some cold Starbucks while I hit the lounge" LOL).

 

  I know that there are more cards out there that offer lounge access but I wanted to hear from you guys. What do you guys think that I should do, which card should I pick? Please, feel free to add another card here so we can talk about it.

 

Thanks!

 

Amex Gold: No pre-set spending limit

Chase Sapphire Reserve: 10k

Amazon Prime Store Credit Card: 4k

Citi American Airlines MileUp: 3.1k

Capital One Quicksilver One: 2.5k

Capital One SavorOne: 2k

Discover it Miles: 1.5k

AAdvantage Aviator Red: 1k

Chase Sapphire Preferred: 800

EX: 730 | EQ: 723 | TU: 705
Message 1 of 16
15 REPLIES 15
Valued Contributor

Re: Airport Lounge Access

Sounds to me that you are counting on Priority Pass to be your means of lounge access.  Before you make that assumption, I think you need to look carefully at the locations of the Priority Pass lounges in the airports that you use.  Many US airports simply don't have Priority Pass lounges, and many of those that do either have them outside the security perimeter, have them at inconvenient locations, or if the lounge is owned by a foreign airline, access is restricted to that airline's customers from mid-afternoon until early evening.

 

I have had the CSR since August 2016 and have yet to find a Priority Pass lounge that works for me in a US airport.  However, Priority Pass lounges seem to exist in most European airports.  Since I travel often to Europe, I get to use the benefit over there before boarding my return flight to the US.  In the US, I use the United Club twice a year with the two free passes that come with my United Explorer credit card, and the rest of the time I just find a bar in the airport.

 

The Centurion Lounges will work for you here in the US if your airport has one.  Neither my home airport nor my regular destination airports have Centurion Lounges.  I hear they're nice lounges but overcrowded.

 

The Platinum Card will get you into Delta Sky Clubs, but only if you are flying Delta.

Chase Sapphire Reserve • PenFed Power Cash Rewards • and five cards in the sock drawer

No CC debt • No bonus chasing • No app sprees • No gift cards • No AZEO • No airline incidentals • No hotel cards • No store cards • No business cards • No authorized users
Message 2 of 16
Contributor

Re: Airport Lounge Access

Like UpperNWGuy mentioned, it’s best you check out what airports you’ll be flying to most often. The chase CSR does give you priority pass with unlimited guests, but priority pass for me has been more miss than hit. Amex does offer you priority pass but limited guest, but if it’s only yourself and your wife then it’s no problem. The centurion lounges are awesome (wife and I are currently in one now 😁 ) and since it’s a bit more limited than the priority pass, there’s usually less people. Star alliance lounges are also available but usually through airline branded cards or memberships. If the AF works out to your typical spend (Uber+airline credits) in a sense that you’re already spending money on the perks to begin with, then my 2 cents is on the Amex Plat só you can get the SUB. CSR though I heard is easier to retain the $300 travel credit.
Gardening till 12/2019!




Message 3 of 16
Established Contributor

Re: Airport Lounge Access


@chriz_r wrote:
Like UpperNWGuy mentioned, it’s best you check out what airports you’ll be flying to most often. The chase CSR does give you priority pass with unlimited guests, but priority pass for me has been more miss than hit. Amex does offer you priority pass but limited guest, but if it’s only yourself and your wife then it’s no problem. The centurion lounges are awesome (wife and I are currently in one now 😁 ) and since it’s a bit more limited than the priority pass, there’s usually less people. Star alliance lounges are also available but usually through airline branded cards or memberships. If the AF works out to your typical spend (Uber+airline credits) in a sense that you’re already spending money on the perks to begin with, then my 2 cents is on the Amex Plat só you can get the SUB. CSR though I heard is easier to retain the $300 travel credit.

Depending on OP's credit status, it may be worth waiting for the 100K SUB.

 

But back to the OP's question, I think it's up to you. You have to decide how often you will travel and how often you'll actually end up in airports with PP access, whether it's for the lounge or the restaurant credits. Layovers that are more than an hour, and potentially departing and arriving early (while waiting for a ride to leave, etc) are typically when you'll be able to take advantage of a lounge. Also, if you travel internationally more often than domestically, I think the lounges tend to have more value outside the country, but the recent surge of restaurants in domestic airports have been nice as well. 

 

For the Hilton Ascend, specifically, the only real way to recoup the $95 AF is through lounge access and maybe breakfasts at a Hilton. 



[2/2019]
Message 4 of 16
Regular Contributor

Re: Airport Lounge Access

If I were you, I would go with the Citi AA Executive.  Reason being Priority Pass is hit or miss especially in large metro areas when they close due to overcrowding (this happens all the time at JFK and LAX).  Since you have to fly through so many airports, it seems that you are not in a large metro area (forgive me if I am wrong) so Centurion Lounge access is probably limited.  I have a Platinum card and am seriously considering the Citi card as a coverall when PP does not work.  There are so many AA lounges, so you are probably covered at smaller regional airports.  Remember, at the moment the AA card gives access regardless of airline whereas Delta Amex requires a Delta ticket.

I am a huge proponent of lounges as they save me a lot of money since I will generally have a cocktail at the airport.  I was flying internationally last week, and the PP was closed as we went for lunch in the terminal, we would have saved $90 if the lounge was open...

Message 5 of 16
Contributor

Re: Airport Lounge Access

@jdbkiang yeah I wish I had that offer as well when I signed up but I heard the 100k bonus comes and goes and highly targeted. I know when I apped for mine I was targeted for 60k but during the application process it suddenly changed to 75K which surprised me so I ofcourse took the bullet. And also I definitely agree with you for the the Plat being a bit more valuable for international travel because of the longer possible layovers and less crowded lounges outside of the US. I used to hate connecting flights, now I don’t mind them anymore.

OP, are you able to utilize the Uber credits easily without spending more than you already do? There’s also a complimentary Boingo WiFi accesss included in the perks, and I’ve been able to use it on airports that I’ve flown to outside the US, so it’s useful if your phone carrier doesn’t have free international data plan and you happen come across it.
Gardening till 12/2019!




Message 6 of 16
Established Contributor

Re: Airport Lounge Access

I will get to either get to experience or not my first PP lounge visit in May i will be flying into DFW on AA we have a one hour and 25 minute layover. I looked at the DFW airport map and the PP lounge should be close by my departing gate. I will see how it goes. 

Message 7 of 16
Established Contributor

Re: Airport Lounge Access


@chriz_r wrote:
@jdbkiang yeah I wish I had that offer as well when I signed up but I heard the 100k bonus comes and goes and highly targeted. I know when I apped for mine I was targeted for 60k but during the application process it suddenly changed to 75K which surprised me so I ofcourse took the bullet. And also I definitely agree with you for the the Plat being a bit more valuable for international travel because of the longer possible layovers and less crowded lounges outside of the US. I used to hate connecting flights, now I don’t mind them anymore.

OP, are you able to utilize the Uber credits easily without spending more than you already do? There’s also a complimentary Boingo WiFi accesss included in the perks, and I’ve been able to use it on airports that I’ve flown to outside the US, so it’s useful if your phone carrier doesn’t have free international data plan and you happen come across it.

It is true that the 100K offer comes and goes, but it's something I have and will continue to hold out for, just because Amex is a "lifetime" bonus company and I already have the CSR to cover a lot of the benefits of the Plat. 



[2/2019]
Message 8 of 16
Established Contributor

Re: Airport Lounge Access


@bigpoppa09 wrote:

I will get to either get to experience or not my first PP lounge visit in May i will be flying into DFW on AA we have a one hour and 25 minute layover. I looked at the DFW airport map and the PP lounge should be close by my departing gate. I will see how it goes. 


you know the gate 5 months ahead? That is only vaguely possible if you don't fly AA, or fly an international route.

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Message 9 of 16
Regular Contributor

Re: Airport Lounge Access

Thank you all for the responses!

Answering some questions to clarify, my local airports are SJC (San Jose, CA) and SFO (San Francisco, CA). I’ve been leaning towards Priority Pass because San Jose ( I much rather fly out of San Jose right now BUT if I get lounge access, this might change) only has one lounge which is The Club in SJC through priority pass.

The reason why I hit so many airports at once is because whenever we fly overseas, we go to multiple destinations like Asia and Europe, so we end up hitting many airports in one trip.

Right now I don’t use Uber as much but wouldn’t mind using it to maximize the credit just like I do with my Amex Gold getting Grubhub once a month for $10 so I can get the credit back. If I were to get the Amex Platinum, I’d just make sure that I actually use the Uber credit.

Thanks for all the responses again!
Amex Gold: No pre-set spending limit

Chase Sapphire Reserve: 10k

Amazon Prime Store Credit Card: 4k

Citi American Airlines MileUp: 3.1k

Capital One Quicksilver One: 2.5k

Capital One SavorOne: 2k

Discover it Miles: 1.5k

AAdvantage Aviator Red: 1k

Chase Sapphire Preferred: 800

EX: 730 | EQ: 723 | TU: 705
Message 10 of 16
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