Airport lounge: how to access without flying in business
Airport lounge: how to access even without traveling on business?
You have always heard of those VIP lounge rooms located in airports where only a select few can enter? Well yes, they are for a few but it is not that difficult to get into the circuit. We explain to you how to access airport lounges even without flying in business class. We assure you that – once you try it – you won’t be able to do without airport business lounge (word of frequent traveler).
Airport Lounge Access What is it actually?
The airport VIP lounges they are like mythological beings. Everyone talks about it but many have never set foot there and don’t know much about it. Some consider them super exclusive places reserved only for VIPs or travelers who have the privilege of flying in business or first class. In reality this is not the case.
The airport lounges they are real waiting rooms where all passengers with access rights can spend their time between flights (or simply before the flight). The lounges change from airport to airport and offer any type of comfront. Armchairs, sofas, free food (from breakfast to lunch) often with sumptuous buffets, wifi connection, showers, international newspapers and magazines, sometimes massage and fitness centers but also areas where you can sleep maybe before a night flight.
Think about it: when you have 5 or 12 hours of stopover at an airport – if you don’t have the opportunity to go out for a ride in the city – what do you do? Go to a bar where you have the obligation to drink, or throw yourself into one of the uncomfortable chairs that you always find near the departure gates.
I use them very often because, finding myself traveling a lot, I try to make the most of all the dead times to work or to feed myself in a quiet and “sheltered” environment. And come to think of it, if you were to spend some money on a full meal, you might as well buy an entrance to a lounge.
Lounges are of two types
The Vip rooms however, they are not all the same. The lounge that you will find in the various airports around the world can be two different types:
- Airlines lounge: they usually belong to a specific airline and guarantee access to all their passengers who fly with a business class ticket or in first class (both of the airline itself and of their membership). This means that if you have purchased a business class flight with AirChina (or any other airline belonging to the Star Alliance alliance), you will be able to access the Lufthansa lounge. This is obviously also valid for other alliances such as SkyTeam (to which Alitalia and Airfrance belong) and One World (British Airways, Iberia).
Alternatively, if you have an economy ticket but have a frequent flyer card of a certain status, you can still access the lounge. But we will talk more about this later.
- Independent pay-per-use lounges: these VIP lounges instead they belong to private companies and their access is guaranteed for a fee with the purchase of a single ticket or a membership.
Access for those who fly in business or in first class
I often visit the lounges every now and then because I fly on business but most of the time thanks to the frequent flyer status I have acquired.
If you have a business class ticket but do not have a frequent flyer card, you will still be able to access the airline’s lounge. All you need to show at the entrance is your boarding pass. Some companions also allow you to bring a guest for free.
If you can’t find the lounge room correspond to your company aerial, my suggestion is to check which alliance they belong to and direct you directly to that of the allied company.
Here is how the three main alliances are composed:
- SkyTeam: Aeroflot, AerolineasArgentinas, AeroMexico, AirEuropa, AirFrance, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Easterna, Czech Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, MEA, Saudi, Tarom, VietnamAirlines, XiamenAir;
- OneWorld: American Airlines, British Airwais, Cthay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Latam, Malesya Airlines, Qantas, Qatar, Royal Jordan, S7 Airlines, SriLankan Airlines
- Star Alliance: Adria, Aegean, AirCanada, AirChina, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asian Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, CopaAirlines, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair, Ethiopian, Eva Air, LOT, Lufthansa, SAS, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South Africa Airways, Swiss, TAP Air Portugal, Thai, Surkish Airlines, United Airlines,
But the rules are meant to be broken. Some airlines, such as Ethiad Airways, allow access to their lounges even for a fee only in selected airports such as Abu Dabhi, Paris, New York, Los Angeles and Dublin. All in a price range that varies from 30 to 200 dollars, also payable in accumulated miles. Here you will find all the information you need to access the Ethiad lounges.
Frequent flyer cards: get the right status
The frenquent flyer cards airlines – if you reach a certain status – will give you free access to airport VIP lounges even if you have an economy class ticket.
Before you can have lounge access however, you must first choose which card is best for your needs.
I did it this way: I figured out which company I use most for my flights and then I signed up for frequent flyer programs (one company for each alliance):
- One thousand miles of 11 for Skyteam: you must reach the “Club Freccia Alata” status to access the lounges for free;
- Miles & More Lufthansa for Star Alliance: first “Frequent Traveler” status must be achieved to access lounges;
- OneWorld by British Airways: you must reach the third “Silver Member” status to be able to grant you access to the lounges;
Sign up for a membership as a Priority Pass
If, on the other hand, you do not fly often and therefore do not have the opportunity to accumulate miles in a systematic way, the only way to obtain theaccess to independent pay-per-use lounges is to pay the entrance. Also in this case there are two types of payment: through memberships or by paying the single entrance, directly at the desk of the room or by hunting for discounted prices.
One of the most famous and used memberships in the world is called Priority Pass and grants members access to over 1200 VIP lounges around the world. There are three levels of membership: standard, standard plus or prestige.
Evaluate well how many trips you make during the year and try to make your own calculations. If you already take 20 flights in a year, each entry with Prestige membership costs you the equivalent of € 19.95. If you make far fewer trips, forget the membership cards and go for single entrances.
Access to VIP lounges with credit card programs
Many credit cards “give” access to the business lounges of airports. For example, Priority Pass is included in the annual cost of American Express Platinum. The American Express circuit, however, is not the only one that guarantees access to the lounges. Other circuits also offer this type of service:
- American Express Platinum: within the 700 € of the annual fee, the free Priority Pass Prestige card worth 399 € is also included (here all the info to get it) which also gives access for a guest. So: 2 free logins. For the record, American Exprexx Platinum also includes Fast Track to skip the lines at airport security.
- Mastercard Airport Experiences: All Mastercard World Elite cardholders will be able to access the Mastercard Airport Experiences program in partnership with Lounge Key, an application that allows free access to over 1000 lounges worldwide;
Mastercard Airport Experiences
Mastercard Airport Experiences
Lounge Key Ltd
- Visa Airpot Companion: all holders of enabled Visa cards will be able to access the Visa Airport Companion program, a program in collaboration with DragonPass. Participants will obviously be able to access the circuit’s lounges for free.
Visa Airport Companion
DragonPass Company Limited
To be announced
Attention! To get the credit card World Elite Mastercard without paying any fees, you can rely on the bill buddybank lovethe premium account of Unicredit’s iPhone bank.
Purchase lounge access through apps such as LoungeBuddy or Flio
There is an iOS application called LoungeBuddy and very recently purchased by American Express which allows find and purchase individual lounge passes of over 280 airports. There is no need for a memebership, no credit card adhering to the circuit and obviously you do not need to travel in business. All you have to do is search for the lounge, book it and finally buy the pass. When you are at the desk you will have to present the QRcode and that’s it.
The costs for each single entry start at $ 25 and up.
LoungeBuddy Airport Lounges
The Flio application, on the other hand, is available for both Android and iOS and – in addition to keeping track of your flights and boarding passes – it allows you to easily purchase individual lounge accesses starting from 19 euros. I always use it to bundle boarding passes in one place and I have often bought some lounge access.
FLIO – Travel Assistant
Air Media Service
Revolut: airport lounge access with flat rates
The last service we suggest is the one offered by Revolut, the current account for smartphones that allows you to travel around the world without paying exchange fees. So perfect for all “world travelers”.
Revolut Premium and Revolut Metal account holders (€ 7.99 and € 13.99 per month respectively) will be able to purchase for one fariffa flat of 24 euros a single pass in one of the 1000 lounges of the LoungeKey circuit. The first entrance ever is free.
Making a purchase with Revolut is very simple. Just go to the Dashboard section of your application, click on Lounge, Add pass for areas and lounges and finally search for the airport where you want to “rest”. At large airports, there are many lounges, so select the one closest to your departure gate and proceed with the purchase.
With revolut, the cost of accessing the lounges as we said is always the same – 24 euros – but keep in mind that the costs of the lounges vary all over the world from 30 to 70 euros per single entry.
Purchase individual lounge accesses directly at the desk at the airport
This is the last of the solutions we offer you. You can always go directly to the desk of one of these lounges and purchase a single entrance crossing your fingers. Yes, because in this way you will not be able to take advantage of one of the discounts that the various services reserve for you. For example, at the Muscat airport lounge in Oman, I found myself paying 56 euros for a single entry when I could have paid 28 euros through one of the applications.
Yes, these were all secrets of airport VIP lounges. Do you have any other suggestions? Do you use other methods? Let us know!