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Get into an Airport Lounge Faster with These Tips!

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If you're like me, my first destination after getting out of the TSA security line is the airport lounge for a quick bite before my flight. 

Having lounge access through your travel credit card is a great way to save on food and beverage costs at the airport, but actually getting in isn't always so simple. Fumbling around at the check-in desk to get out your card, boarding pass, and ID can be quite cumbersome. Or worse, maybe you schlepped all the way across the terminal to the lounge only to find it's full and you'll have to wait. 

Fortunately, there are a couple of handy tricks and digital tools that can make getting into an airport lounge faster, and more efficient so you can relax and and take full advantage of all the complimentary food, drinks, and amenities. 


Scan the Amex App to Get Into Centurion Lounges

At most lounges, getting in requires showing your boarding pass as well as handing over whichever credit card gets you in the door. To get into the American Express Centurion Lounges, though, you can leave your *amex platinum* in the drawer at home, so long as you have the Amex app

Forget fumbling with your wallet: Simply pull up the Amex app and select “Airport Lounge Access.”


Amex App


Find the lounge for the airport you're at, then click the “Get Eligibility Code” button to generate a QR code for the front desk lounge attendants to scan.


The Centurion Lounge Check-In


This will generate a QR code for the lounge attendants to scan, eliminating the need to pull out your Amex Platinum Card, if you brought it at all. 


The Centurion Lounge QR Code


You'll still need to show your boarding pass and a form of ID to get into the lounge, but this makes the check-in process a tad more efficient. 

Read next: The Ultimate Guide to Amex Centurion Lounges: Locations, Access & More


Add Your Amex Card to Your Delta SkyMiles Account

If you hold the Amex Platinum Card or co-branded *delta reserve card* (or both), you have access to Delta Sky Clubs. But you don't need to show your physical card with you to get in. 

So long as you've saved your eligible Amex card as a payment method in your Delta SkyMiles account, you can just scan your boarding pass and head right into the lounge. 

To do so, first, head to Delta.com and log into your SkyMiles account. Click on your name in the upper right-hand corner, and select “Profile” to be taken to your account settings. 


Delta Air Lines Homepage


Select “Payment Methods” and add your Delta Reserve or Amex Platinum Card as your primary credit card for your SkyMiles account. 


Delta Air Lines Payment Methods


You are not required to pay for your flight with the card but you must have it linked with your SkyMiles account as the primary card for you to gain entry into the SkyClub without the physical card. This way, all they will do is scan your boarding pass and let you in.


Delta Air Lines Add Card 1


You'll also need to make sure to include your Delta SkyMiles number when booking your ticket, whether you booked it through Delta or a partner airline like Virgin Atlantic

I've made the mistake of associating a different airline's frequent flyer number with my Delta ticket before and had to pull out my physical credit card for entry. Don't make this mistake!

Read more: The First Thing You Should Do Before Heading to a Delta Sky Club 


Use the Priority Pass Digital Membership Card

Most premium travel credit cards these days come with a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. With access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide, it's one of the best travel perks, period. 

When you activate your membership, you'll get a physical Priority Pass card that will get you into participating lounges, and while you could carry that card around, why would you? Priority Pass has its own mobile app that provides a digital membership card with a QR code that the lounge attendants can scan for entry. Just click “Card” once you access the app to display your scannable code. 


Priority Pass App


No need to remember to pack your Priority Pass card: The digital version makes it quick and easy to get into any of these lounges. 

Thrifty Tip: If you've got the *venture x* card, you can show that to the lounge staff to get into a Priority Pass lounge. This is the only premium travel card we know where you can access a Priority Pass lounge without a Priority Pass digital or physical card. 

Read next: The Cheapest Credit Cards for Lounge Access 


Queue Up for Capital One Lounges Via App 

Capital One now has its own branded lounges where travelers who hold the *venture x* can get in free. But like other airport lounges these days, they can get full fast. 

But rather than wait in line to get in, Capital One recently launched a new feature in its app where you can scope out how full the nearest Capital One Lounge is – and digitally join the waitlist to get in if it's full. It's not a reservation system, but a virtual queue takes away the frustrating guesswork of whether or not you'll have to wait – and saves you from hoofing it all the way across the airport only to find you can't get in. 

Start by logging into your Capital One app. Scroll down to the “Explore Rewards and Benefits” section, select “Travel,” then choose “Lounges” in the upper right-hand corner. That'll bring you to a dedicated tab for all three Capital One Lounges that are currently open: Dallas-Forth Worth (DFW), Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD), and Denver (DEN)


capital one lounge app


Choose the lounge you're planning to visit and within a few seconds, you'll see a capacity indicator showing how full the lounge is. If it's at capacity, you'll see an option to join the waitlist –  and the estimated wait time to get in. 


capital one lounge wait list
Courtesy of Capital One


Just fill out the waitlist form with your name, phone number, and how many travelers are in your party – whether they're guests or hold their own Capital One cards. 


capital one lounge waitlist
Courtesy of Capital One


Once it's your turn, you'll get a text from Capital One.


capital one lounge text
Courtesy of Capital One


When that comes, you've got 15 minutes to get to the lounge before you lose your place. Just head back to your Capital One app to open your pass into the lounge.


capital one lounge phone


This new feature means you can check how full the lounge is and join the waitlist while you're waiting in the security line or deplaning your connecting flight. By the time you get to the lounge, your name might be up! 

Read next: How to Get Lounge Access for the Whole Family With 1 Credit Card


Bottom Line

Nothing makes a trip or long layover better than getting airport lounge access, and with these tips, you'll be able to get in more efficiently. 

None of these tricks are groundbreaking, but if you didn't know about them, they can save you some time and stress the next time you're checking into a lounge at the airport. 


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

5 Responses

  • I think for Centurion it’s easier to pull out the card to go along with all the other proof you need since you’re already trying to juggle everything in your hands anyway, you know, the boarding pass, ID, fingerprint scan, retinal scan, pat-down, cavity search, proof of kindergarten graduation, high school yearbook photo…

  • I don’t have the Venture X, but I only have to show my Amex Platinum to access Priority Pass lounges – I can’t remember the last time I used the PP card for entry.

    “Thrifty Tip: If you’ve got the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card card, you can show that to the lounge staff to get into a Priority Pass lounge. This is the only premium travel card we know where you can access a Priority Pass lounge without a Priority Pass digital or physical card.”

  • I believe you noted that access was granted if holding the AMEX Platinum Delta card, but I was under thr impression that no longer was an option as of Jan 1, 2024. Is this no longer the case?

    • Different – but similarly named – Platinum cards, I’m afraid.

      The (non-Delta) Amex Platinum Card still gets you in.
      Delta SkyMiles Platinum Cardholders can no longer purchase a day pass into Sky Clubs as of Jan. 1, 2024.

  • While in some instances it definitely helps to have access to these clubs/lounges, the experience I’ve had in the past couple of years, once inside the lounge, has resembled more the luxury of a mediocrily-ran, cafeteria-type establishment than the premium locale they are supposed to represent for cardholders with access. It’s pretty sad, like the Centurion Lounge at JFK or some of the microscopic Delta Clubs in [fill in your desired airport]. I think these banks / airlines need to invest in & think more about how they treat their premium clients rather than the take- you- for- granted attitude they usually display these days in terms of perks and services before now clients flock to cheaper, similarly structured credit cards.

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