July 15, 2024

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Traveling With Kids? Here’s How to Get Airport Lounge Access for the Whole Family

12 min read

Lounges and clubs serve as an oasis in the sea of stressed travelers that crowd airports. With top-tier amenities and exclusive perks, these private, swanky spaces are geared towards executives and business travelers who rack up miles as frequent fliers.

However, some airport lounges embrace creature comforts for a different frequent flier altogether — children and their families. Several airline clubs and lounges now offer family rooms complete with toys, video games and kid-friendly snacks that promise parents a little respite before the next flight.

The problem? Airport lounges aren’t cheap, especially for large families. Here’s how to score airport lounge access and which are best for families with children.

Why scoring airport lounge passes can be worth it for families

Getting an airport lounge pass for the whole family can cost more than a few pennies. However, if your goal is to make traveling with kids in tow less stressful, here’s why a lounge pass fits the bill.

Space to stretch out

On a busy travel day, finding three or four seats together in a terminal can feel like a game of Tetris. Airport lounges and clubs are usually less crowded, and some offer private family rooms with comfy chairs where you can kick your feet up.

Plug in and power up

Sometimes, finding a coveted wall outlet and a decent Wi-Fi connection in an airport can feel as impossible as winning the lottery. Fortunately, airport lounges are stacked with spots to charge up and usually equipped with robust, free Wi-Fi connections. 

Free food and drink

It’s not just the internet that flows freely in airport lounges. You’ll be served complimentary water, coffee and other drinks, as well as a selection of snacks. Not having to walk to the outer reaches of the terminal when your hangry toddler is throwing a tantrum? Priceless.

Skip the bathroom line

Last but certainly not least, clean bathrooms with no lines and big stalls are certainly an amenity every traveler appreciates. Some airport lounges even offer showers for stressed out, weary travelers and plenty of clean counter space to freshen up.

Personalized travel assistance

If your flight is delayed, canceled or just causing chaos and confusion, many airport lounges offer the personal touch of tracking down your travel details and resolving concerns. This can be a lifesaver when you’ve already got your hands full.

How to get an airport lounge pass for the whole family

Getting airport lounge access involves either buying a day pass, securing a Priority Pass membership, booking a premium cabin seat on a major airline, or having an airline or travel credit card with lounge access. 

However, making sure your whole family can get their foot in the door may be a little more complicated. In some cases, a day pass allows a minor to accompany each paying adult. Priority Pass membership, which grants access to more than 1,500 airport lounges worldwide, requires paying for each guest over the age of 2. 

The best solution for the whole family may be a credit card with lounge access — but pay attention to the fine print. Some only grant access to the primary cardholder, while others restrict lounge admittance to two guests per card member. However, a few airline credit card companies let you add authorized users to the account so you can secure lounge access for the entire family.

5 family-friendly airport lounges that are worth the cost

There are a slew of swanky airport lounges, but these are the clubs that’ll cater to your entire crew, with perks like family rooms and conveniences for both kids and parents.

Centurion Lounge

Because you expect the best from American Express, the Centurion Lounges in major airports from Los Angeles to Miami will not disappoint. These premium clubs welcome tiny travelers, and their caretakers with soundproof family rooms outfitted with toys, books, TVs and even game consoles for teenagers.

How to get in: Centurion Lounges are only available to cardholders who have The Platinum Card® from American Express, Delta SkyMiles American Express, Hilton Honors American Express or Centurion credit cards. Platinum cardholders are allowed up to two free guests, and children under 2 are free.



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The Platinum Card® from American Express

6.6/10
CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards

Intro Offer

Earn 80,000 points



Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual fee
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APR
See Pay Over Time APR

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N/A

Recommended Credit



A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.

Good – Excellent

Rewards rate

5x
– 5x



Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.; Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

6.7/10
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Intro Offer

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Earn 85,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

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Recommended Credit



A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.

Good – Excellent

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– 3x



Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.; Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.; Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

6.9/10
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CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards

Intro Offer

Earn 70,000 points



Earn 70,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/31/2024.

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$0

APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable

Intro Purchase APR
N/A

Recommended Credit



A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.

Good – Excellent

Rewards rate

3x
– 7x



Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio.; Earn 5X Points per dollar on purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.; Earn 3X Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

Priority Pass Lounges

If you already have Priority Pass, you know that membership has its benefits. This independent membership provides access to airport lounges worldwide for an annual fee. However, only a few lounges, such as Club MCO (Orlando), offer private family rooms or children’s play areas.

How to get in: Priority Pass has three tiers of paid membership (Standard, Standard Plus and Prestige), but there are also several credit cards, including American Express Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, that provide complimentary Priority Pass memberships.



CNET’S PICK

The Platinum Card® from American Express

6.6/10
CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards

Intro Offer

Earn 80,000 points



Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual fee
$695

APR
See Pay Over Time APR

Intro Purchase APR
N/A

Recommended Credit



A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.

Good – Excellent

Rewards rate

5x
– 5x



Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.; Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

7.8/10
CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards

Intro Offer

60,000 bonus points



Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Annual fee
$550

APR
22.49% – 29.49% Variable

Intro Purchase APR
N/A

Recommended Credit



A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.

Excellent

Rewards rate

1x
– 10x



Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠.; Earn 5x total points on flights through Chase Travel℠.; Earn 3x points on other travel and dining.; Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

7.6/10
CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards

Intro Offer

75,000 miles



Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual fee
$395

APR
19.99% – 29.99% (Variable)

Intro Purchase APR
N/A

Recommended Credit



A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.

Excellent

Rewards rate

2x
– 10x



Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.; 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
; 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Admirals Club and Alaska Lounges

Got babies or young children on board? From Boston to Los Angeles, American Airlines Admirals Club and Alaska Lounges host families across the country in dedicated children’s rooms or play areas. For instance, the San Francisco airport Alaska Lounge has a Giants-themed kids room complete with a candy bar.

How to get in: A one-day pass to the Admirals Club costs $79 but covers an adult and up to three children under 18. Customers flying first or business class on American Airlines get complimentary access for themselves and a guest. The Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® also provides lounge access to cardholders flying American and up to two guests.



CNET’S PICK

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

6.5/10
CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards

Intro Offer

100,000 miles



For a limited time, earn 100,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $10,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

Annual fee
$595

APR
21.24% – 29.99% (Variable)

Rewards rate

1x
– 4x



Earn 4x AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases.; 1 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on other purchases

4x

Earn 4x AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases.

1x

1 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on other purchases

Delta Sky Club®

While you won’t find children crowding every Sky Club, Delta offers several family-friendly spaces in major travel hubs like Boston and Chicago. These include quiet, private spaces for nursing mothers, as well as family rooms stocked with toys and other entertainment.

How to get in: If you hold a Delta first-class or business-class ticket, you’ll have access to the SkyClub® for yourself and two guests. Otherwise, access is limited to elite SkyMiles members with a Delta Sky Club® executive annual membership and up to two guests. Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express cardholders and two guests can access the Sky Club for a $50 per person fee (see rates and fees).



CNET’S PICK

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

6.4/10
CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards

Intro Offer

Earn 95,000 miles



Earn 95,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual fee
$650

APR
20.99% – 29.99% Variable

Rewards rate

1x
– 3x



Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
; Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.

3x

Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.

1x

Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

You probably don’t think of children when you picture Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses, but they have several amenities for families. Notably, clubhouses in New York’s JFK and London’s Heathrow have Young Flyers menus with kid-friendly fare, gaming consoles and child-friendly seating.

How to get in: Diners Club, American Express Platinum and CapitalOne cardholders can access some Virgin Clubhouses. Delta SkyMiles, Flying Blue, Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic and Singapore Airlines elite members typically also have lounge access. Upper-class ticket holders should have access for themselves, and a guest and children under 2 are free.

Which airport lounges are best for your family?

The airport lounge with the best value for your family depends on two things: which airline you fly and where you travel. If you tend to be in and out of the same hub with kids in tow, check out the lounge offered by your preferred airline and decide if purchasing a pass or membership is worth the price.

In many cases, having a dedicated place for your whole family to stay before the flight can be worth the investment. Often, the best way to purchase these perks isn’t out of pocket but through earning airline elite status or as a benefit of a travel credit card. Because, while flying with kids means you won’t always ride the friendly skies, finding supportive, family-friendly airport spaces shouldn’t be an exercise in frustration.

Disclosures:

  • For rates and fees of the Platinum Card from American Express, click here.
  • For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card, click here.
  • For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, click here.
  • For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card, click here.

*All information about the Capital One Venture X Credit Card and Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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