Having access to an airport lounge while traveling has obvious benefits. The convenience and cost-savings of complimentary food and beverages alone may be reason enough to secure a membership. Additionally, the opportunity to have a comfortable space to relax between flights, free Wi-Fi, and clean restrooms makes the prospect of purchasing a lounge membership very compelling.
Unfortunately, annual lounge access can cost more than $500 for just an individual membership and much more if you want your traveling companions to join you.
The easiest, and potentially most cost-effective, means of securing lounge access is with a premium travel rewards credit card that offers complimentary access.
Utilizing a premium travel rewards card for airline lounge access is the focus of our article today. We’ve selected 2 of the best cards out there with airport lounge access — The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
Both offer complimentary worldwide lounge access, but each has its own network of available properties.
Join us as we dig deeper to find out which of our 2 featured cards offers access to the most lounges.
Before we discuss the level of lounge access for the Amex Platinum card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, let’s look at a quick overview of some of the exceptional benefits you’ll find with each card.
With so many premium benefits, you’ll want to compare these cards carefully to determine which card is a better match for you. We’ve put together a detailed comparison of the Amex Platinum card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card, as well.
Now it’s time to dive into the specific lounge access benefits of the Amex Platinum card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. We’ll look at each lounge network, where the properties are located, the approximate number of properties available, plus information on accessing these lounge and lounge alternative properties.
Please keep in mind that trying to count lounges is like trying to count a large herd of sheep; you’re bound to miss some and count others twice. Some lounges have closed, some have reopened, and new lounges may be added. Not all lounges in a network may grant access using our featured cards, some lounges are affiliated with more than 1 network, and lounge network affiliations can change.
However, even with these variables, the end result is the same — one of our featured cards offers greater lounge access than the other.
Let’s continue and explore all the lounge access options available on our featured cards.
Lounge Network Comparison Summary
|Lounge Network||Amex Platinum Card||Chase Sapphire Reserve Card|
|Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club||✓|
|Escape Lounges — The Centurion Studio Partner||✓|
|Delta Sky Club||✓|
|Plaza Premium Lounges||✓|
|Priority Pass Lounges||✓||✓|
|Priority Pass Lounge Alternatives||✓|
|Select Lufthansa Lounges||✓||✓|
|Select Virgin Clubhouses||✓|
Amex Platinum Card
The Amex Platinum card (and the business version, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express) offers a wide variety of lounge selections, both in the U.S. and internationally. With the card in your wallet, you’ll be able to find a lounge in most major airports.
Let’s look at some of the options in the Amex Global Lounge Collection that you’ll have during your travels.
Aspire Lounge (1)
Amex Platinum cardmembers flying out of Terminal 2 at San Diego (SAN) can enjoy access to the Aspire Lounge. The lounge offers showers, complimentary snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages. Beer, wine, cocktails, and food items are available for purchase.
Cardmembers receive an up to $10 food and beverage certificate when entering.
Just show your Amex Platinum card (or digital card) along with a same-day boarding pass and ID to enter. You can bring up to 2 guests at no additional charge.
Hot Tip: Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders also have access to the Aspire Lounge via their Priority Pass membership.
Centurion Lounges (27)
One of the most prestigious lounge networks available with the Amex Platinum card is the Centurion network of lounges. Centurion Lounges take pride in serving featured local food items, complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, and personal amenities such as spa services and showers. Amenities will vary by location.
There are 13 lounges in the U.S. and the number continues to increase. You’ll find Centurion Lounges when you travel internationally as well, with 14 additional properties worldwide.
Amex Platinum cardholders can now enter all Centurion lounges and bring 2 additional guests at no charge. Effective February 1, 2023, cardholders who have not spent $75,000 in a year on the card will have to pay $50 per adult guest for a day pass and $30 for a guest between 2 and 17.
You will need to show your Amex Platinum card and same-day boarding pass.
Hot Tip: You can add up to 3 authorized users to your Amex Platinum card for a flat annual fee of $175 (then $175 per additional user; rates and fees). Authorized users have full access to all the lounges in the American Express Global Lounge Collection, including Centurion Lounges. And, until February 1, 2023, authorized users may bring 2 additional guests for no extra cost.
Escape Lounges — The Centurion Studio Partner (14)
The Escape Lounges network is expanding, now with 14 total properties. Each location features cuisine developed by a local chef, a dedicated mixologist, and a locally-crafted beer selection. Here are the current and soon-to-open locations of Escape Lounges:
- Bradley (BDL)
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (CVG)
- Columbus (CMH)
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
- Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP)
- Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP)
- Oakland (OAK)
- Palm Beach (PBI)
- Phoenix (PHX) (2 locations)
- Providence (PVD)
- Reno-Tahoe (RNO)
- Sacramento (SMF) (2 locations)
Amex Platinum cardmembers can fly on any airline to enjoy access to Escape Lounges. The cardholder can bring 2 additional guests and children under 24 months at no cost.
You will need your Amex Platinum card, same-day boarding pass, and ID to enter.
Hot Tip: If you have more than 2 guests, you can book a paid access pass for $40 at EscapeLounges.com at least 24 hours in advance (normally $45). There is also an onsite discount for AAA members and for military members.
Delta Sky Club (50)
Delta Sky Clubs offer free premium Wi-Fi, a large selection of hot and cold food items, snacks, complimentary beer, wine, cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages, and premium alcoholic beverages for purchase. With an individual Sky Club membership costing $545 annually, having complimentary lounge access via the Amex Platinum card is a nice benefit if Delta is your preferred airline.
Amex Platinum cardmembers will have access to most Delta Sky Clubs when traveling the same day on Delta flights (ticket numbers that begin with 006). Just present your Amex Platinum card and your Delta boarding pass to enter. You can gain access for up to 2 guests, who are also traveling on Delta, for a fee (currently $39 for each guest).
Hot Tip: You may be able to utilize up to $200 in statement credit for airline incidentals on your Amex Platinum card for guest access purchases. Our article gives you several ideas for taking advantage of this card benefit.
Plaza Premium Lounges (130+)
Amex Platinum cardmembers who travel internationally will appreciate having access to any of the over 130 Plaza Premium Lounges worldwide. And, with the lounge network having left the Priority Pass network, perhaps the lounges will be slightly less crowded.
Cardmembers can access Plaza Premium Lounges regardless of airline or flight class with their Amex Platinum card and same-day boarding pass.
Priority Pass Lounges (1,300+)
With more than 1,300 lounges and lounge alternative properties, Priority Pass is by far the largest lounge network. The value of a Priority Pass membership that provides complimentary lounge access is at least $429 each year (the cost of purchasing a direct membership), as this purchased pass will not include any complimentary guest access (+$32 each guest per visit).
The complimentary Priority Pass Select membership found on the Amex Platinum card includes access for the cardmember plus 2 guests at no extra charge. This Priority Pass Select membership grants access to only airport lounge properties and not participating lounge alternative Priority Pass restaurant venues, Minute Suites, Be Relax, or Gameway video lounges.
You must first enroll in your membership via your online card account under the benefits section. You’ll then receive a Priority Pass membership card in the mail that you will use to access lounge properties.
Show your boarding pass for a same-day flight on any airline, your ID, and your Priority Pass card or digital card to gain access.
Hot Tip: Several credit cards offer Priority Pass Select membership or a set amount of 1-time visit passes each year. Here are some of the best credit cards with Priority Pass membership.
Select Lufthansa Lounges (30)
Lufthansa has a broad worldwide network of dozens of lounges both in the U.S. and internationally. While Amex Platinum cardmembers do not have access to first class lounges with their card, cardmembers flying same day on Lufthansa Group flights in any class of ticket can access participating Lufthansa Business Lounges. Members flying on Lufthansa Group flights in business class may access participating Lufthansa Senator Lounges.
Some Lufthansa Lounge locations are still closed, there is no access with the Amex Platinum card to first class lounges, and not 100% of the remaining Lufthansa Lounges are participating. For these reasons, we’ve estimated access to around 30 of the approximate 50 lounges.
To access Lufthansa Lounges, you will need to show your Amex Platinum card, a same-day boarding pass for Lufthansa, SWISS, or Austrian Airlines, and a government-issued ID. Some lounge properties will allow you to bring guests for a fee.
You can look up participating lounges here.
Hot Tip: Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders also have access to several Lufthansa Lounges via their Priority Pass membership.
Select Virgin Clubhouses (5)
Virgin Clubhouses are known for their stylish décor, delicious food selection, on-site mixologists, and personal amenities.
Amex Platinum cardmembers will enjoy access to these Plaza Premium-operated clubhouses:
- Boston (BOS)
- Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB)
- New York (JFK)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- Washington, D.C. (IAD)
Cardmembers must show their card and same-day boarding pass to enter and can bring up to 2 guests. Because these locations were included in the above Plaza Premium total, we are not adding these locations to the number of lounges accessible with the Amex Platinum card.
Bottom Line: The Amex Platinum card offers the American Express Global Lounge Collection, featuring a stellar lineup of airport lounges that can be accessed with the card. Cardmembers will have access to more than 1,400 properties worldwide.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
You won’t find a long list of lounge networks partnering with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, but you’ll still find more than 1,300 lounges and lounge alternative properties that could provide plenty of value and variety during your travels.
Let’s look at how Chase delivers the lounge access benefit that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Priority Pass Lounges (1,300+)
The collection of Priority Pass airport lounge options is the same for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card as it is for the Amex Platinum card. The complimentary membership found on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card also includes the ability to bring 2 additional guests at no charge.
You’ll need to register for your Priority Pass Select membership in the benefits section of your online Chase card account. You’ll receive your Priority Pass Select membership card in the mail and will be able to use it to access over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide.
Priority Pass Lounge Alternatives (70+)
One advantage of having the Priority Pass membership associated with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is complimentary access to Priority Pass alternative lounge properties. These properties include participating airport restaurants, Minute Suites, Be Relax spas, and Gameway video game lounges.
If your travels include airports that have participating venues, you’re sure to find additional value. Here’s how the alternative lounge Priority Pass benefit works:
Whether it’s Bobby Van’s Steakhouse at JFK or the Lark Creek Grill at SFO, no need to depend on an airport lounge for your meal and cocktail. Priority Pass participating restaurants are located throughout the U.S. and internationally. The numbers vary as restaurants open, close, or leave the network, but there are approximately 25 participating airport restaurants in the U.S. and another 40+ internationally.
Just show your Priority Pass Select membership card associated with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card and your boarding pass to the server. You’ll typically receive $28 in food and beverage credits applied to your bill. If you have brought a guest, you will receive an additional $28 credit. There is a limit of 1 guest credit.
Terms and conditions vary by property, so be sure to review before visiting. To find a participating Priority Pass restaurant, start with our Priority Pass location article, download the Priority Pass app, or visit the Priority Pass Select website.
Hot Tip: If you choose to do so, you can visit more than 1 Priority Pass participating restaurant in the same airport on the same day. If your companion also has a Priority Pass (Chase-affiliated), you could use the pass for another free Minute Suite hour during the same visit as your free hour.
If you need to grab a nap, get some work done, or take a shower, a Minute Suite could be a welcome space during your travels. Your Chase Sapphire Reserve card’s Priority Pass will give you 1 free hour, after which you will be charged $28 per hour. You’ll also have access to showers (not at all locations) at a discounted price. You can find a Minute Suites location here.
Be Relax Spa
Perhaps a nice massage would help relax you during your travels. With approximately a dozen locations at major airports, Be Relax offers complimentary spa massages treatments varying from 10 to 30 minutes. Most locations allow you to bring 1 guest and there is a limit of 1 treatment per person. Each treatment has a value of $35 to $40.
Treatment availability and guest policies vary by location.
You’ve had your Priority Pass restaurant meal, a nap at Minute Suites, a massage at Be Relax, and now it’s time to play some video games! Pull out that Priority Pass card once again to enjoy up to 2 hours of free play, a cold soda, and some snacks at a Gameway video lounge.
Locations at Charlotte (CLT), Dallas (DFW), and Los Angeles (LAX) airports accept the Priority Pass associated with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club
While the first Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club has yet to open, we do know these premium lounges will be part of the Priority Pass network like The Club lounges are today. We should see the first lounge open by the end of 2022 and another 8 opening after that.
Here are the 6 airport locations that are in the works and the expected opening year.
- Boston (BOS) 2022
- Hong Kong (HKG) 2022
- Las Vegas (LAS) TBD
- New York (LGA) TBD
- Phoenix (PHX) 2022
- San Diego (SAN) 2023
We’ll know more about the lounges and access requirements as it gets closer to opening time. Until then, we won’t include these lounges in our total count of lounges you can access with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Still, we wanted to mention this exciting upcoming lounge network addition.
With over 1,400 locations, the Amex Platinum card offers the most lounge access overall. Plus, having exclusive access to Centurion Lounges can offer the best level of lounge experiences.
Chase does offer the unique opportunity to utilize lounge alternative airport properties for complimentary food and beverages at participating Priority Pass restaurants — something you won’t find with American Express cards. Additionally, you’ll receive complimentary services at Minute Suites, Be Relax, and Gameway, also not found with American Express.
If the airports you frequent have participating Priority Pass lounge alternatives, you may prefer the lounge access benefits Chase Sapphire Reserve card has to offer. And the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a lower annual fee.
In the end, the better lounge access card for you will depend on your priorities, how much you travel, the airports you frequent, and if you can realize enough card value overall to help offset the annual fee.
Finally, with more people traveling and not all lounges fully functional, lounges have become crowded. Access can be limited during peak times, wait times to enter may be long, and hours of operation may be limited. Airports can often have several available lounge options, however, so be sure to check for alternative choices before you fly.
The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.