Best Airport VIP Lounges in North America

Why would FareCompare readers want to visit airport lounges when they travel? After all, aren’t these the same people who seek out the cheapest airline tickets? Perhaps they want to put their savings to good use on long layovers by visiting a lounge, which offers a nice respite from the chaos of the rest of an airport terminal.

Sure, airport lounges are pricey, but one-day passes are available, and discounts often come with certain frequent flier programs and credit cards. Airport VIP lounge amenities vary, but expect free Wi-Fi, comfortable chairs, snacks, free soft drinks, and in some cases, free alcoholic drinks. Airport lounges are also a great place to be stuck if your flight gets canceled or delayed. Lounge staff can rebook you, and the scene is far more relaxed than a gate full of angry passengers vying to rebook.

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Here are FareCompare’s top VIP lounges in America, alphabetically by city.

Denver (DEN) American Airlines’ Admirals Club
Located at the north end of the A Gates Bridge, this lounge offers PCs you can use, a children’s area and free liquor.

  • Annual membership: $350-$500 single, $525-$825 with spouse (depending on frequent flier status), renewal rates $300-$450 single, $475-$775 with spouse
  • Day pass costs $50, may be applied to yearly membership
  • Monthly pass cost $99, can purchase annual pass at renewal rates within 30 days

 

Houston (IAH) Terminal E Continental President’s Club
It’s three stories tall and has work areas, showers, free drinks and free snacks.

  • Annual membership: $425-$525 single, $600-$750 with spouse (depending on OnePass Elite status), includes $50 initiation fee
  • Day pass costs $50, may be applied to yearly membership
  • Membership cost $395 for those with Continental Presidential Plus credit card

 

Los Angeles (LAX) International Terminal OneWorld Lounge
Here you will find showers, free food and drinks, and free Wi-Fi.

  • Access free for AAdvantage Executive Platinum and AAdvantage Platinum membership
  • Access for those flying other OneWorld airlines, click here.

 

Los Angeles (LAX) International Terminal ReLAX Lounge
This lounge costs $50 for an all-day pass, and you get free soft drinks, snacks and Internet access. It’s a great place to relax on a long layover.

  • One-hour access costs $15
  • Three-hour access costs $30
  • Open to anyone flying any airline

 

Miami (MIA) Terminal J Club America Lounge

New and roomy, with great views, you can get free soup, sandwiches and free drinks. Showers are also available.

  • Available to Lufthansa and Swiss First Class passengers and Lufthansa Miles & More HON Circle members

 

 

New York City (JFK) Terminal 4 Emirates Lounge
You have to be a first class, business class or Skywards Gold Emirates Airline customer to get in, but as luxury goes, you can’t beat this lounge. This lounge features showers, plasma TVs, an amazing food buffet, full bar and free Internet access. Massages are available, too.

 

New York City (JFK) Terminal 8 Concourse B Admirals Club Lounge
Extensive business facilities, showers, meals, a bar and satellite TV are available to first-class American Airlines passengers on international or cross-country flights.

  • Annual membership: $350-$500 single, $525-$825 with spouse (depending on frequent flier status), renewal rates $300-$450 single, $475-$775 with spouse
  • Day pass costs $50, may be applied to yearly membership
  • Monthly pass cost $99, can purchase annual pass at renewal rates within 30 days

Five Ideas to Get You in Cheap First Class Seats

New York City (JFK) Terminal 7 British Airways Terraces Lounge
Free spa services for premier-class travelers, plus showers, an extensive pantry and free beverages (alcoholic and otherwise) make this a top-rated lounge.

  • Access free to British Airways First, Club World and Club Europe passengers

 

San Francisco (SFO) International Terminal United First Class Lounge
Your United first-class ticket gets you access to showers, free drinks and unlimited free sushi.

  • Access available to United First passengers on long-haul flights to Europe, Pacific region, South America or the Middle East.

 

Seattle (SEA) Concourse D Alaska Airlines Board Room
The two-story lounge features excellent food options, including an automatic pancake maker. Both floors have bars.

  • Annual membership: $295-$450 (depending on Alaska Air Mileage Plan status), renewal rates $295-$350; spouse annual membership $250
  • Day pass costs $45

 

Toronto City Airport (YTZ) Porter Lounge
It’s not in the U.S., but it gets a nod for its cozy, classy vibe. Porter travelers can use iMac workstations, and everyone gets free cookies, soft drinks and newspapers.

  • Access available to Porter Airline passengers with valid boarding pass

 

 

 

Washington Dulles (IAD) Lufthansa Lounge
This lounge features European styling, plus a fantastic food buffet. It’s perfect if you arrive hungry and face a long layover.

  • Access free with same-day First Class Lufthansa or Swiss boarding pass
  • Access free with valid HON Circle membership card and same-day boarding pass on Lufthansa or Star Alliance network airline
  • Access free with valid Senator Card and same-day boarding pass on Lufthansa or Star Alliance network airline

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Published: November 9, 2011