I just published a post about how to buy access to Etihad lounges in Abu Dhabi. Since I covered that, I figure it’s also worth dedicating a post to buying access to Emirates lounges, as the airline sells access to its global network of lounges. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know — how much does it cost to buy Emirates lounge access, and is it worth it?
Cost to buy Emirates lounge access
Lounge access is a standard feature for Emirates first class and Emirates business class passengers. However, even Emirates economy passengers can buy access to lounges (and for that matter, business class passengers can upgrade their lounge experience).
Below I’ll cover the policies for buying access to the Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai, Emirates Business Class Lounge Dubai, and then Emirates’ network of outstation lounges (all around the globe).
Before I get into the details of each, let me cover some of the basics:
- In each case, lounge access can be purchased directly at the lounge, and not in advance
- All lounge prices are for one-time access — in Dubai you can access lounges up to four hours before departure, and at all other airports up to three hours before departure
- Only Emirates passengers are eligible to buy lounge access, so you can’t buy lounge access if flying with another airline; however, it doesn’t matter if another airline issued your ticket
- You must pay for lounge access by credit or debit card; you can’t pay with cash or with Emirates Skywards miles
- There are potentially lounge capacity constraints, so this may not be available during peak periods
- Children below the age of 12 can receive lounge access for half the cost of an adult, assuming they’re accompanied; infants younger than two can be brought in for free with an adult
- The cost to access lounges doesn’t include VAT, so that’s on top of the published cost
- Emirates has separate lounge pricing for Skywards and non-Skywards members; since it’s free to join the Skywards program, you’ll definitely want to join if you’re going to buy access
With that out of the way, let’s get into the details.
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai access cost
The cost to buy access to the Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai depends on whether you’re traveling in economy class or business class:
- If traveling in economy, access costs $250 for Skywards members or $300 for non-Skywards members
- If traveling in business, upgraded access costs $150 for Skywards members or $175 for non-Skywards members
Emirates Business Class Lounge Dubai access cost
The cost to buy access to the Emirates Business Class Lounge Dubai is $150 for Skywards members and $175 for non-Skywards members.
Outstation Emirates Lounge access cost
The cost to buy access to any outstation Emirates Lounge is $125 for Skywards members and $155 for non-Skywards members.
All Emirates outstation lounges are shared first and business class lounges, so there’s no separate area for first class passengers. Emirates has lounges in Auckland, Bangkok, Birmingham, Boston, Cape Town, Colombo, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Hamburg, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Manchester, Melbourne, Milan, Munich, New York Kennedy, Perth, Rome, San Francisco, Sydney, Tokyo Narita, and Zürich.
Is buying Emirates lounge access worth it?
Let me cut to the chase — the cost to buy access to Emirates lounges is steep, and under a vast majority of circumstances I don’t think it’s worth it:
- It’s one thing if this cost covered a very long stay, but you can only access lounges three to four hours ahead of departure, so when you factor in heading to the gate an hour before departure, that’s like two to three hours in the lounge
- Personally if I didn’t otherwise have lounge access, I’d rather spend that money on a nice restaurant in the terminal, or on a room in a transit hotel
- While Emirates has solid lounges for business class passengers, there’s nothing about them that’s going to totally wow you, so spending $125-150 for a buffet meal and drinks, plus somewhere comfortable to sit, is more than I’d want to spend
- I think it’s only worth upgrading from the business class lounge to the first class lounge if you really value a much quieter environment, and if you care about a la carte dining and a higher end alcohol selection, but even then, the difference isn’t that huge
At least that’s my take. Let me of course acknowledge that if you’re really well off and you wouldn’t think twice about dropping that kind of money on something, then it could be worth it. Furthermore, if you’re celebrating a special occasion, it could be worth the splurge. But I think the pricing is beyond what I’d consider to be a value.
Emirates sells access to its global network of lounges. You can buy access to the carrier’s first and business class lounges in Dubai, as well as all the carrier’s outstation lounges. For Skywards members, the cost of lounge access varies anywhere from $125 to $250, and I’d say that’s very steep, given that you’re limited to accessing lounges three to four hours before departure.
So this option is something to be aware of, and maybe it’s worth it for a special occasion, but otherwise I’d say it’s not a great value.
Would you consider buying access to an Emirates lounge?