Airline Lounge access pays for itself for our family. Here’s Why – The Motley Fool

A waitress brings a tray of drinks to a customer in an airport lounge.

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Could lounge access be really good value?


Most important points

  • I recently signed up for an airline lounge access credit card — for an annual fee of $450.
  • Paying the lounge access fee is well worth it as we save on food costs and have access to better quality food than we would get from airport fast food outlets.

Recently my husband and I signed up for one credit card with the main purpose of gaining access to an airline’s lounge, which the card offered as a member perk. We already have other cards that offer bonuses for travel expenses or that offer others generous rewardsso the big draw of this card was just the lounge access.

The card came with a $450 annual fee. This may seem like a lot of money just to get into an airline lounge. But in reality, it probably pays for itself every year. This is why.

If we pay $450 for lounge access, we can end up saving money

My husband and I have a house in Florida and a house in Pennsylvania, and we go back and forth because my son is going to preschool and my husband has to work in Pennsylvania (I’m lucky enough to be able to work anywhere).

Although we sometimes drive, this year we decided to fly because my eight month old is not a big fan of her car seat. Since we often visit our home, we take 12 airline flights during the year (that’s a round trip for six trips).

Before we could access an airline lounge, we had to buy food at the airport for our family of four on each of those trips. Sometimes my parents-in-law also traveled with me and then there were two more meals. Between meals and drinks, we would usually spend anywhere from $40 to $60 (if my in-laws came along).

However, with access to the lounge, we get access to meals and drinks at the airport. This means we end up saving a minimum of $480, assuming we save $40 on meals each of the days we’re at the airport – or more, when you consider that my in-laws are allowed to come to the lounge to eat as guests also free.

Not only do we save money on food, but we end up with better quality meals. The last time we flew, we had chicken and rice soup, meatballs and brownies, and Rice Krispies treats for dessert — along with freshly squeezed orange juice and a couple of Ruby Red grapefruit juice bottles that delighted my son.

The lounge also offered us unlimited refills of the food and drinks – which meant we could eat as much as we wanted rather than settling for what our meal money bought us at the airport fast food chain.

Consider the big picture when deciding if a card is worth your while

While I was initially hesitant at the idea of ​​paying $450 for a credit card, when I did the math on how much we’d save on meals, paying the price was worth it. This brought up the lesson that sometimes by spending a little more money up front you can save over time.

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