VIP Access to Luxe Airport Lounges Can Now Be Yours

See which credit cards let you wait in style.

You might’ve noticed the discreetly placed placards etched with lofty names like “Centurion Club” and “Admirals Club” as you’re running through the airport terminal, juggling your carry-on and personal item and maybe even wrangling a small child. It’s natural to wonder what happens beyond those closed doors.

Behind them is an oasis of comfort that is so far removed from the hubbub associated with airports that it’s practically unrecognizable. Free from moving escalators and fast-food chains, frequent flyers — and luxury credit card holders — sit in the lap of luxury, sip premium wine and spirits and feast on refreshments as far as the eye can see, all while watching TV and enjoying free Wi-Fi. Some clubs even boast shower facilities for weary travelers to freshen up after long-haul flights.

If a summer of air travel is in your future, carrying one of these luxury credit cards in your wallet will literally open doors for you. After all, amid the bustle of getting to the airport, TSA checks and navigating to the gate, a complimentary cocktail served away from the masses goes a long way.

Check out some of the best credit cards for travelers:

The Platinum Card from American Express

Long considered an elite status symbol, the Platinum Card from American Express comes with a steep annual fee of $550. But if you travel even just a few times a year, the card ends up working for you. Among the laundry list of benefits is access to more than 1,100 airport lounges worldwide, including the Centurion Lounge, Delta Sky Club and Priority Pass Lounges — layovers and delayed flights won’t seem so bad. The card clearly wants you to spend less time in security to maximize your time in airport lounges: American Express offers a free credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck, valued at $100 and $85, respectively.

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Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

If Delta is your preferred carrier or you want to start building loyalty to one airline, consider the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express. With its annual fee of $450, cardholders — and up to two guests at a rate of $29 per person — can enjoy access to any of the 223 Sky Clubs and partner lounges located around the world when traveling on a Delta-coded or Delta-operated flight.

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United MileagePlus Club Card

Ideal for people who don’t travel light, the United MileagePlus Club Card — with its annual fee of $450 — offers up to two free checked bags each for the primary cardholder and a guest on a round-trip flight. Beyond the baggage perk, the card grants access to more than 45 United Club locations conveniently located in the busiest airports and Star Alliance lounges.

To decide which card to apply for, weigh the annual fee against your lifestyle and upcoming air travel plans. Before your research gets too in-depth and you’ve started to visualize yourself enjoying airport lounges for the foreseeable future, it’s worth mentioning that luxury creditors look favorably on applicants with stellar credit.

Improve your chances of qualifying for these luxury credit cards by raising your credit score.

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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been endorsed by American Express.