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Pay Per Use lounges?
I usually only fly once a year to a conference in Dayton, Ohio (an airport without any kind of lounge as far as I know), and once for a vacation to Europe or domestically. I’m wondering if there are pay-per-visit lounges in EWR and most major European international airports. My United credit card gives me two free passes per year but I don’t always fly on UA. My Dayton trip this year will be on AA out of LGA, for example, and I’ll be doing a segment from HEL->JFK this year using AAdvantage miles. And we’ll use my two UA passes for me and my wife going to Dublin, but would like to have lounge access coming back home from Shannon.
I’m not looking for luxury, just a place to grab a snack, charge my devices, and most importantly, relax before boarding away from GenPop in the main terminal.
I don’t have any of the premium cards. Just the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business Preferred and a few other non-premium cards. And like I said, I don’t travel enough to warrant having these cards in my portfolio.
I know you mention you don’t have any of the premium cards, and aren’t necessarily into them, but I feel like your situation is a perfect one for the Amex Platinum. It would come with a Priority Pass membership, which would give you lounge access in Shannon and Newark. When flying out of LaGuardia, you could visit the Amex Centurion Lounge. Sounds like you aren’t loyal to one airline, so if you fly Delta, you’d have access to the SkyClub.
The annual fee is high at $550, but if you’re willing to pay around $25 per use at a lounge, that’s probably around $100/year based on your travel patterns, right? Then, you get a $200 travel credit. If you use Uber at all, you get $200 in credits each year. So, if you value all of that at face-value, it brings you down to below-premium card annual fee range.
That’s my immediate reaction reading your situation. Hope that helps!
I’m somewhat loyal to United and Star Alliance at the moment since I live close to EWR, and I *maybe* use Uber 4 or 5 times a year for a total of well under $40 (basically to/from the repair shop when my car is being serviced). I’m mostly retired at the moment and I’m not the traveler I once was. I don’t think I’ve ever flown a SkyTeam carrier in my life, in fact. AA, United, and Chase are my big points reservoirs. In another 2 years I’ll be eligible to upgrade my CSP to a CSR (I regret not getting that card initially now), but I don’t think there’s any way I can justify both that one (in May 2021) and an Amex. Plus I can’t run a balance on an AMEX, if/when necessary.
Totally fair. The same logic works for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, in my opinion. You can transfer the points to United to book your Star Alliance flights (as needed). You lose the Delta/Centurion Lounge access, but sounds like that didn’t pique your interest anyway.
You still get the Priority Pass – which gets you your lounge access.
Yeah, I’d really like a CSR. My understanding is that I have to wait 48 months before I can change out of the CSP to the CSR, or else (in 2021) downgrade the CSP to something else and apply for a new CSR. I’m trying to convince my better half to get her own CSR before this trip. She’s not into the miles game in the slightest and balks at the $450 fee, despite the much more useful $300 credit and all the other perqs. For the Ireland trip we’d max out the minimum spend in pre-bookings alone.
Going directly through Priority Pass may get you what you want, but it is somewhat steep. It has a starter package for something like $99 a year plus $32 a visit to each lounge. I think they have a middle package for $299 a year that comes with 10 free visits. Naturally I would check their lounge locations and think hard about whether it is really worth it to you. Here is their website. [URL]https://www.prioritypass.com/en/join/step2[/URL]
Access to certain lounges at certain airports on certain dates can be purchased. Lounge buddy is one example of a third party that seems to be set up to connect lounges and travelers.. [URL]https://www.loungebuddy.com/?booking_date=02-19-2019&source=homepage[/URL]
Remember some lounges will sell you day passes directly.
But like rickyw suggests, I find the priority pass provided as a credit card perk to be the most economical way of gaining access for the little travel I do these days. It is very handy since I usually travel with one or two family members and they get to join me for free when we travel. The trick is to find the card that gets you the biggest bang for the buck and has the priority pass thrown in. I am sure OMAT has some articles on how to figure that one out.