Hanging out at the airport is no one’s idea of a good time, but as the Transportation Security Administration warns of longer-than-usual wait times during this busy summer travel season, it (unfortunately) seems the prudent choice is to get to the airport early.
When flying somewhere, I’ve always stared longingly at my fellow travelers who have gained access to those exclusive airport lounges, daydreaming about what it’s like to enjoy such luxury, always assuming it was far out of my reach. But it turns out airport lounge access is just one of the many perks offered by some airline rewards cards.
Here are seven credit cards offering the best perks for frequent flyers, from access to exclusive amenities to discounts on TSA PreCheck.
Annual fee: $395
The Capital One Venture X card not only includes unlimited complimentary visits to airports with Capital One Lounges, but also to 1,400 airport lounges around the world. As an added perk, you’re allowed two complementary guests per visit, so you don’t need to drink your free beer and eat your free pretzels alone. Other airport perks include a $100 credit when you apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck when you use your card to pay for the application, plus a yearly $300 travel credit applied to bookings made on Capital One Travel.
Annual fee: $695
The American Express Platinum card comes equipped with access to over 1,400 airport lounges, a $100 credit when you apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, as well as a yearly $200 airline fee credit which can be used on incidental costs such as checking a bag or in-flight refreshments. You can also get up to $200 in Uber Cash to use on transportation to/from the airport.
Annual fee: $550
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers access to over 1,300 airport lounges around the world for the cardholder, plus two complimentary guests (subsequent guests can enter at a fee of $27 per person). Other benefits: a $100 credit to those applying for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and a $300 annual travel credit. Perhaps the most interesting perk this card offers is the option to transfer your credit card points at a 1:1 rate to an airline loyalty program of your choice.
Annual fee: $400
The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite card includes twelve months of complementary access to over 1,300 airport lounges around the world, as well as a handful of other perks, including the industry-standard $100 credit to those who apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, as well as up to $325 annual credits on airline purchases. Not for nothing, this card also waives any foreign transaction fees when used abroad.
Annual fee: $450
The American Express Hilton Honors card not only offers access to over 1,200 airport lounges around the world, but includes some cool travel perks, including 7x points on any airline purchases (not to mention 14x points on Hilton hotel arrangements), plus a $250 airline fee credit that can be used for checked bags or in-flight refreshments. This card also includes a baggage insurance plan, with coverage for up to $3,000 worth of property should your checked suitcase or its contents gets lost, damaged, or stolen.
Annual fee: $95
With a considerably cheaper annual fee than the other options, the Citi PremierMiles card is definitely more bare bones than its competitors. While there is no included airline fee credit nor a reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, the Citi PremierMiles card does grant access to over 1,300 airport lounges across the world. Additionally, the card waives foreign transaction fees and offers 3x points on all air travel purchases.
Annual fee: $450
The American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card includes free access to over 1,200 airport lounges across 130 countries. Additionally cardmembers get a $100 credit when they apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, as well as a baggage insurance plan covering up to $3,000 worth of personal property. This card also offers trip cancellation and disruption insurance, which can reimburse non-refundable expenses purchased using the eligible card.