Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
An Analysis of the Best Airport Lounges in the U.S. [2023 Study]
We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.
Let’s face it — most people don’t enjoy traveling through the airport. Between crowded terminals, expensive shops, and limited seating, a private jet looks much more desirable. Thankfully, airport lounges provide a bit of respite in the midst of chaos. These mini oases provide a quiet place for you to make a phone call, charge up your devices, or even shower in between layovers.
While airport lounges sound amazing, they’re not all created equal. To discover the airports with the best lounges across the country, we analyzed over 225 lounges from 50 of the biggest U.S. airports and ranked them on factors like the number of amenities they offer, customer ratings, and more. Keep reading to see which airports and lounge operators offer the best lounge experiences!
- LaGuardia Airport (LGA) has 5.21 lounges per mile, the most in the U.S.
- Miami International Airport (MIA) has the best airport lounges overall, with an average score of 81.09 out of 100 across our ranking factors. Portland International Airport (PDX) has the worst, with an average score of 33.66 out of 100.
- American Express is the operator with the best lounges. Its Centurion Lounges have an average score of 91.89 out of 100, which is the best of those we analyzed. Lufthansa has the lowest average score at 44.49 out of 100.
U.S. Airports With the Most Lounges
There’s nothing worse than trekking from one end of the airport to the other, just to reach an already crowded airport lounge. To prevent this nightmare from occurring, we uncovered the U.S. airports with the most lounges per square mile so you can be sure there are plenty of lounges within walking — or moving sidewalk-riding — distance.
LaGuardia Airport (LGA) was first on our list with 5.21 lounges per mile and 5 lounges in total. LGA is only 0.96 sq. mi., which means you’re bound to bump into some of the best airport lounges on the way to your terminal.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), located in Arlington, Virginia, boasts 4.10 lounges per mile with 5 total lounges. DCA is 1.22 sq. ml., which means the odds of finding some cool lounges are in your favor — so long as you can gain access to them.
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) comes in third on our list with 4.04 lounges per mile and 12 total, giving you plenty of options, while Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), ranked fourth, is home to 3.50 lounges per mile and 18 total. Just be sure to wear your walking shoes at LAX, as it’s 5.15 sq. ml.
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, certain airports are less fortunate when it comes to the number of airport lounges per square mile.
Surprisingly, Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) placed 43rd due to having 0.13 lounges per mile and only 2 lounges total — proving airports in large cities aren’t always the best places to fly out of.
You may want to skip your lounge time in Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), which placed 44th and features 0.09 lounges per mile and 1 lounge in total.
Airports like the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) ranked 45th on our list and only feature 0.08 lounges per mile with 1 lounge total.
Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), and Kansas City International Airport (MCI) had no lounges listed that met our criteria.
Which U.S. Airports Have the Best Lounges?
If you live close to a few large airports and are looking at lounges as your deal breaker on which one to fly out of, then look no further. We compiled a list of the U.S. airports with the best lounges so you can be in the know.
To curate our results, we focused solely on airports with at least 5 lounges, which gave us a list of 22 airports. To determine which airports have the best lounge game, we considered factors such as hours of operation, amenities, and dining options.
Miami International Airport (MIA) placed first with a score of 81.09 out of 100 and features 1.85 lounges per mile. The average lounge at MIA is open for 16 hrs and 54 minutes per day (beating out all other airports). Most MIA lounges offer premium food options and all of them have showers available for freshening up before takeoff.
LaGuardia Airport (LGA) places second with a score of 76.40 out of 100 and features the most lounges per mile — 5.21 per mile. Based on customer reviews, their luxury airport lounges are rated the best in our study at 3.84 out of 5. You can visit the Centurion Lounge at LGA, which boasts comfortable seating and high-quality amenities like Wi-Fi and snacks.
A few of the other airports we looked at floated toward the bottom of our list.
Denver International Airport (DEN) placed 20th with a score of 44.01 out of 100 and has 0.14 lounges per mile, which is the lowest amount in our study. Very few lounges at DEN offer premium food and beer and wine options, so you’re less likely to take the edge off before a long flight. On top of that, only 57% of their lounges have restrooms, which means you will most likely have to use the public airport bathrooms instead.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) came in second to last with a score of 42.16 out of 100 and features only 1.16 lounges per mile. None of its lounges offer shower areas or family rooms. Plus, only 1 in 5 have premium food options, so you may want to pack your own snacks ahead of time.
Portland International Airport (PDX) came in dead last with a score of 33.66 out of 100 and only has 1.11 lounges per mile. Only 3 out of 5 of its lounges have a business center and only 1 in 4 offer spirits/liquor to guests.
Ranking Airport Lounge Operators in U.S. Airports
With more than half of frequent travelers using airport lounges, the demand for luxurious airport lounges is growing. Below, we break down the top 10 airport lounge operators based on factors like consumer ratings and available amenities.
American Express placed first with a score of 91.89 out of 100. American Express Centurion Lounges have a strong average customer rating of 3.96 out of 5. American Express knows how to treat its guests right, as 3 out of 5 of its Centurion Lounges have family rooms.
All of its lounges feature both shower areas and premium food options as well. The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express may be a worthwhile investment to access over 1,400 lounges, including Centurion Lounges.
Plaza Premium Group ranked second with a score of 69.5 out of 100. This lounge operator has the highest average customer rating in this study at 3.99 out of 5, but lost points due to the amount of time it’s open (8 hours and 21 minutes). However, a number of its Plaza Premium Lounges and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses offer snacks, beer/wine, and premium food options so you can feast like royalty.
Airport Dimensions placed third with a score of 68.59 out of 100. Airport Dimensions is known for its inclusive lounge brand The Club which caters to flyers with Priority Pass lounge benefits, as well as those who have LoungeKey and Lounge Club access, irrespective of their airline, class ticket, or frequent flyer status.
Airport Dimensions had the lowest average customer rating at 3.00 out of 5. Don’t discount the operator yet, however, as the average amount of time its lounges are open (16 hrs and 13 minutes) and the fact that all of the locations offer liquor/spirits and beer/wine could make The Club a cool lounge to visit.
Delta Air Lines finished fourth with a score of 67.79 out of 100. Delta Sky Club is a popular lounge across the country and for good reason. It has an average customer rating of 3.84 out of 5 and is open for an average of 16 hrs and 32 minutes. The only real detractors are the lack of premium food options and that only about 1 in 4 of its lounges offers a shower.
American Airlines placed eighth with a score of 57.52 out of 100. Its Admirals Club and Flagship Lounges are open the longest (16 hrs and 41 minutes), but only half of its lounges feature showers. 28% of locations have family rooms and only the Flagship Lounges offer premium food options.
United placed ninth with a score of 54.04 out of 100. 1 in 10 United Club lounges didn’t have a restroom, and these locations had fewer family rooms, business centers, and showers than many in our study. United also had a relatively low customer rating (3.27 out of 5).
If we take a closer look at United, its Polaris Lounges had a strong average customer rating of 4.24 out of 5, with all of them offering premium food options, business centers, and showers. On the whole, United’s Polaris Lounges will offer a better experience for guests than the United Club.
Lufthansa fell to the bottom of our list with a score of 44.49 out of 100. The poor average customer rating (3.32 out of 5), comparatively short amount of time the Lufthansa Lounges are open (8 hrs and 52 minutes), and lack of alcohol offerings contributed to its overall low score.
To determine the airports with the most lounges, we pulled data on the number of lounges from the 50 largest U.S. airports using websites such as LoungeReview.com and LoungeBuddy. We then framed those numbers against each airport’s size to normalize the data and make for more accurate comparisons.
Next, we found the airports with the best lounges based on 15 ranking factors, including hours of operation, customer ratings, and amenities, to inform passengers about the airports they should consider spending some extra time in on their travels. Only airports with at least 5 lounges listed were included in the ranking.
Finally, we performed a similar analysis for the entities that operate each lounge. This ranking only includes operators with at least 5 different lounges in the 226 we analyzed.
Note, since we gathered data from third-party lounge review websites instead of individual airport websites, minor discrepancies may occur. We did not include USO lounges in the study.
Airport lounges invite you to sit back, relax, and prep for your long flight ahead. From luxury airport lounges to ones with very few amenities — not all lounges are created equal. We hope this study helped sway you to a particular airport lounge or lounge operator so you can have all of the amenities you need to make your trip to the airport a success!
Featured Image Credit: Upgraded Points
Was this page helpful?
INSIDERS ONLY: UP PULSE™
Get the latest travel tips, crucial news, flight & hotel deal alerts...
Plus — expert strategies to maximize your points & miles by joining our (free) newsletter.
Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.