We all want that VIP treatment when we arrive at the airport, if not for our celebrity culture enlarged egos at least for the ease of mind it would provide.
Your travel experience would be that more enjoyable if you could bypass the excessive security lanes and be whisked away to an exclusive airline lounge where you comfortably wait to be called for boarding.
In this article we will discuss which travel rewards credit cards are the best at providing precisely that VIP feeling.
American Express Platinum is King of The Airline Lounge
It might shock some people that a card with a $450 annual fee might actually provide well over $450 worth of benefits but that is exactly what the AMEX Platinum card delivers.
AMEX Platinum cardholders gain complimentary access to hundreds of participating airport club lounges across the globe included with their membership rewards program.
To gain admission you have to provide your Platinum Card, ID and your ticket for same day travel on the Club’s respective airline.
1. American Airlines Admirals Club (40 Locations)
2. Delta Sky Club (50 Locations)
3. U.S. Airways Club (13 Locations)
4. AirSpace Lounges (1 Location)
Note that access to Continental/United Airlines United Clubs is not available through the Airport Club Access Program.
The U.S. Airways Club is the only lounge that does not need you to provide a ticket to use their amenities. You could be flying on another airline and it would not prevent you from accessing their club while American Airlines Admirals Club and Delta Sky Club locations would not.
If you were to buy a one-day pass from the 3 Airline lounges, Airspace only has 1 location, it would cost you over $150 in fees (taxes not included).
Being an AMEX Platinum cardholder you get access to all 3 airline clubs year-round, not only for one day, included in your benefits and the airport club lounge benefits do not stop there.
You also get the chance to sign up for Priority Pass Select program that has a network of over 600 lounges in 100 countries. You can use their lounges regardless of what airline your flight is with or what class of service you are booked for.
It does cost an extra $27 to bring a guest in with you in the Priority Pass Select program.
The annual fee for the equivalent Priority Pass membership is $249 but Platinum cardholders have this fee waived.
That is $399, not including taxes & fees, worth of airport lounge access alone. Only available to Membership Rewards First program that is available for Platinum cardholders.
Now you relaxing at one of those swag airport club lounges but how was your check-in process?
Hyper Speed Airport Lanes
If you really want that stress free, VIP airport experience you have to get Global Entry.
Global Entry is U.S. Customs program that allows for expedited clearance for pre-approved travelers upon arrival in the U.S.
This allows you to skip that maze of ropes you typically encounter when coming back from a great “Someday I Will…” trip abroad.
Now you can cut all that frustration out and skip ahead to the automated kiosks in 20 U.S. international airports.
Once you are accepted into the Global Entry program you can add the TSA Pre check to your credentials.
While Global Entry helps you on your way back into the USA, TSA Precheck has you covered on your flight out.
Passengers would qualify for designated screening lanes for expedited security screening and additional potential benefits:
1. Keeping Shoes On
2. Leaving Laptop in Bag
3. Leaving on Belt
4. Leaving on Light Jacket/Sweater
5. Keeping 3-1-1 Compliant Bag in Carry On
The application process does require an interview at one of their designated Global Entry Enrollment Center. More often than not this is the international airport in your neighborhood.
The $100 annual fee for the Global Entry program is reimbursed to your Platinum Card statement pending your approval for the program.
That’s $499 in airport swag for a VIP treatment next time you are flying out of your favorite airport.
The co-branded Airline Credit Cards Laggards
There are tons of cards that don’t get you all that VIP swag but may give out annual club membership to their co-branded airline.
United Club Card: Appropriately named, of all the airline credit cards this is the only one that gives you United Club Lounges and Star Alliance affiliated lounges around the globe. With a network of 50 United Clubs spanning multiple countries, you and your travel companion will always be able to relax in style. With a annual fee at $395, rivaling the AMEX Platinum Card, you should make sure you get your money’s worth.
Delta Reserve Card: A second card from AMEX that offers airline club lounge benefits. This is the highest tier of Delta card that you can apply for, ranking higher than the trustworthy Delta Gold and Delta Platinum branded cards; this is the premier level of Delta credit cards.
Executive AAdvantage The only card that will give you access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges around the world. All of that for the low annual fee of $450. Notice the trend with these cards?
Alright then, you get access to over 700 airport lounges, across all airlines and in over 100 countries with the AMEX Platinum.
While the airline credit cards only give access to their supported airline lounges and no credit statement for the $100 Global Entry application fee.
If you want the best travel credit card for VIP Swag then go with the AMEX Platinum card.