This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that we will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. All opinions are those of the author.
An airline lounge membership is a hefty investment, and will likely set you back hundreds of dollars. Membership to an airline lounge means that you do not need to pay every time that you want to access the lounge; you will pay an annual fee that gets you as many visits as you would like. Airline lounges typically have free snacks, cleaner bathrooms, and better WiFi – if you are lucky, you may get full meals or shower access included.
Once you have visited an airline lounge, you will not want to wait in the busy terminal ever again. Purchasing a lounge access membership will change your airport experience. However, before you hand over the money for an airline lounge membership, read the following tips below.
Be cautious about which lounge membership you purchase
There are lounge memberships for specific airline alliances, and there are also generic airport lounge memberships. You do not have to purchase an airline lounge membership for the airline you travel on the most. However, the airline-specific lounges will usually be closer to your gate, so you can maximize the amount of time that you spend in a lounge. The downside is if you do not have an airline that you typically fly on, you might even find your lounge in a separate terminal from your flight.
Check the locations of the lounges for the membership you are purchasing: not only the cities they are in, but the terminals. For myself, I primarily travel domestically. I have many friends that have talked about the Priority Pass membership, but that lounge membership would not be beneficial for me. Even in the airports that have a Priority Pass Lounge that I travel to, the lounge is often located in international terminals. I don’t want to travel to another terminal for a layover and risk missing my flight. When I am traveling for work, I also do not get more than 30 minutes in a lounge on each visit.
Consider how often you will use the membership
Do the math. An airport lounge membership may cost $500 for an annual pass or $30 per visit. This means that you would have to visit the lounge at least 17 times in order to get your money’s worth. Even then, is a visit to the lounge worth $30 to you? If you only spend 15 minutes in the lounge and get one drink, you may save money going to a bar outside.
You may also think about how frequently you travel. If you have a career that travels and takes you on the road at least 50% of the year, a lounge membership may make sense. However, if you only travel personally once a month, a lounge membership would not be cost effective. A lounge membership may be a great benefit to a travel card, but you may not want to purchase the membership by itself.
Read the lounge membership fine print
Each airport lounge membership will have its own rules about accessing the lounge. Ask the following questions:
- How many guests can I bring with me into the lounge?
- Can I add on another person to my lounge membership?
- Does it cost money to bring guests with me into the lounge?
- Can I access this lounge if I am not flying with this airline?
- Are there any additional fees that I will have to pay once I am in the lounge?
- Are there limitations to the partner lounges that I can access?
Consider if the guidelines of the membership will fit in with your travel style. If you are always traveling with family or coworkers, an additional fee to bring guests into the lounge may not work for you.
There are many factors that not only go into which airport lounge membership you should get, but also into whether or not you should get a lounge membership at all. Consider your travel style and the above tips, and you’ll make the best decision for your wallet.