If you are a frequent flyer, you are probably wondering how an airline lounge membership works. Every year, hundreds of millions of people fly throughout the world’s busiest airports and many frequent flyers are looking for lounges to patronize before their flights. Airline lounges are an awesome benefit for those who simply do not want to wait in a normal airport terminal before their flight due to the lack of privacy and potential noise issue. This is especially true and important for business executives and professionals who frequently travel for work and cannot afford to waste time while waiting for their flights. If you find yourself interested in a possible membership, here is an overview of how they work.

What exactly is an airline lounge?

An airport lounge is usually a large hospitality facility operated by a private airline carrier at an airport. Usually, these lounges are offered as an exclusive benefit for select passengers who want extra privacy and quiet from the normal airport terminal. Accommodations usually include private meeting and conference rooms, telephone service, hi-speed WIFI and other relevant business services. Additionally, many of these lounges feature full-scale bars, small restaurants or other dining options.

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What is the typical price associated with an airline lounge?

Well, this will actually depend since lounges are operated by private airline carriers. The largest carriers that have lounges are American Airlines, Delta, Alaska Airlines and United. Prices range based on the type of membership, which often are associated with the types of credit cards that passengers have. Take for instance, the Citi Executive/AAvantage World Elite MasterCard offered through American Airlines offers an Admirals Club membership and will cost members/credit cardholders around $450 a year. Nonetheless, the devil is buried in the details with these types of memberships. The market rate for these types of memberships usually go for around $450, but certain memberships charge extra to bring guests, while some have zero fees associated with bringing up to two guests.

Is it more advantageous to buy a day pass versus a membership?

While most, if not all lounges, offer some sort of day pass that will allow passengers day entry into their respective lounges, it is probably most cost-effective to buy a membership depending on the frequency of one’s travel. Day passes are designed more so for casual travelers who may not need access to special accommodations and benefits offered by the lounge. However, if you are traveling on a weekly or monthly basis, spending $40 for a day pass will quickly add to more than $1,000 a year versus the $450 to $500 you would spend on a membership.

Is there a way to not pay for a membership?

This is often one of the biggest questions most people ask when inquiring about an airline lounge membership. Usually, the most effective way to avoid having to pay such a large fee a year is to attain elite status through one’s respective credit card. Many airline-based credit card programs offer free lounge access when frequent fliers hit a certain mileage threshold or milestone.

Lounges are a perfect, quiet option for frequent flyers who need to get away from the crowd of a noisy airport terminal. It is important to consider all options and benefits when looking to purchase a membership. With ample due diligence, one can easily find the most effective airline lounge membership suitable for one’s needs.