No one likes spending their long layovers sitting in a stuffy airport terminal waiting for the next leg of their journey or for that departure board to cease its display of that dreaded “Delayed” in big red letters. There are ways to make your temporary airport stay a comfortable and even enjoyable one. The traditional method of getting into a first class lounge is by possessing an international business or first class ticket. However, there are some great credit cards out there that offer the perks of free lounge access to a certain airline or to a certain program of lounges around the world. Some of these credit cards also offer free access to guest travelers or a discounted rate to enjoy the lounge with you. Below is a list of some of the finest and luxurious lounges around the world that can be enjoyed with a free business or first class reward ticket booked by your credit card points, or complimentary access thanks to some credit card perks outlined ahead.

5. Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic’s London Clubhouse in Heathrow’s Terminal 3, is the best lounge that Virgin has to offer. This Virgin first class lounge employs the classic Virgin style and ambiance of a modern sleek-style look with its party club feel.

The lounge includes a lively bar area to enjoy some cocktails and ease your nerves if you get a little anxious like me when you fly. There is a game room with the latest video games, pool table, and multiscreen TV’s displaying the latest news and sports.

Game Room

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Game Room

If you need a place to relax and unwind, the Poolside Lounge has a Japanese water wall that runs into a pool that spells tranquility. The lounge has a full menu of delights to grab a bite before your flight and if you need a business station to catch up on your work, there’s a business room complete with laptops and WiFi that extends throughout the lounge. The lounge offers many other great amenities and the vibe and ambience of this lounge will leave you with a relaxed and satisfied feeling leading into the next leg of your journey.

virgin lounge bar

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Bar

4. Thai Airways Bangkok Lounge

The Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa and Lounge defines relaxation, luxury, and the elegant style one comes to expect from Thai Airways. If you have some time to kill while waiting for your connection in Bangkok, just make an appointment for a traditional Thai head, neck, and foot massage and relax in their spa suites.

Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa & Lounge

Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa & Lounge

The lounge also includes a jacuzzi, tropical rainfall, and slumber rooms to get some rest and come to your next flight fully relaxed and ready to go. Make sure to enjoy the family and kid rooms if you’re traveling with your family, and enjoy some of the many delicious and traditional Thai dining options a la carte and at their buffet bar. This lounge spells relaxation and will give you the opposite feeling of a really long flight in coach.

3. Lufthansa Frankfurt First Class Lounge

The Lufthansa Frankfurt First Class Lounge has all the luxurious amenities you could hope for from a lounge. The lounge is only available to those flying long-haul on first class or possessing elite status with Lufthansa. The lounge is also located outside of the terminal so you have to budget some extra time to make the next leg of your journey.

Lufthansa Frankfurt Lounge - Bar with expensive taste

Lufthansa Frankfurt Lounge – Bar with expensive taste

The bar has some amazing choices of rare alcohols as well as a fine dining restaurant to indulge and consume as your heart desires. The bathrooms include some state of the art private rain showers with premium amenities and toiletries. The lounge even includes private relaxing rooms for you to enjoy a private nap and rest in privacy! Once you’re finally ready to board your flight, a private luxury car picks you up and drives you on the tarmac to your plane for boarding. If that’s not first class service then I don’t know what is.

2. Cathay Pacific Hong Kong First Class Lounge

The Hong Kong airport boasts a whopping 5 lounges for Cathay Pacific, all luxuriously designed offering different experiences. The lounges are: The Bridge, The Cabin, The Wing, The Pier and The Arrivals lounge. The Wing lounge is the largest of the lounges and quite conveniently located just beyond the passport control, however, The Bridge lounge has become the critically acclaimed lounge that is impressively designed with marble, premium artworks, and comfortable furnishings.

The Bridge Lounge at Hong Kong

The Bridge Lounge at Hong Kong

The lounge features walls made of Venetian glass tiles by Fabbian of Italy. The South Wing includes high-quality Asian and Western dishes as well as the spacious shower suites. You can really get lost in this lounge and explore the many beautiful details and intricacies that were put into creating such a sleek and elegant style. The other lounges all offer their own details and are worth exploring in their own right. The Pier has closed for renovations but will reopen with the goal of trying to match The Bridge and add to the already premium portfolio of lounges Cathay Pacific has to offer.

1. Qantas International First Class Lounge Sydney

Topping off our list as the number one first class lounge in the world is none other than Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong First Class Lounge. The Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney is world renown for its elegance and classical touches that make this lounge a site worthy of seeing when making a visit to Australia. From elegant marble dining, to Marc Newson’s architectural design, to the warm personal Aussie service, this lounge will make you not want to leave. The lounge is visually stunning and is open to any first class passengers flying in the OneWorld alliance.

Qantas Sydney First Class lounge

Qantas Sydney First Class lounge

The business rooms are equipped with Mac desktop computers and flat screen TV’s to get some work done while you grab a bite. The food ranges from sumptuous aged delicacies to modern tasty food, or you can help yourself to anything ranging from burgers and sandwiches to cheese platters, desserts, and seasonal fruits.

Tucked away in the corner of the lounge is the Payot Spa, which offers a wide range of facial and massage treatments that can be booked in advance. Then, you may freshen up in your private shower before heading over to the library and enjoying some books while you prepare to set off for your flight. The countless amenities, stunning visuals, and the unbelievable service make this lounge one of the top to visit in the world. Just make sure you book that first class reward ticket or if you happen to hold Platinum elite status with Qantas, you can enjoy these amenities at any time.

Payot Spa

Payot Spa

Credit Cards with Lounge Access

  • The Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard grants the cardholder access to all American Airlines Admiral Club lounges (up to a $500 value). This card currently has an amazing 100,000 point bonus when you spend $10,000 in 3 months and carries a $450 annual fee (which is really $250 after a $200 statement credit). Check out the San Francisco Admirals Club lounge for a pretty interesting environmentally friendly experience. For a list of Admiral Club lounges, click here.
  • The United MileagePlus Club Card offers complimentary access to all United Club lounges (up to a $500 value). The card carries a $395 annual fee ($295 after $100 statement credit) and includes other great perks for flying with United. The United MileagePlus Explorer Card comes with 2 United Club one-time lounge passes after you receive the $95 annual fee card. For a list of United Club lounges, click here.
  •  The American Express Platinum Card has long been known for being the best travel credit card and includes some great lounge access to multiple programs. The American Airlines Admiral Club recently dropped from the Amex Platinum card, but the Platinum card still carries access to the Delta Sky Club lounges and the Priority Pass program. Make sure you call Amex to ensure you receive Priority Pass access, which includes access to over 600 lounges all over the world. The card carries a $450 annual fee but the cardholder can receive a $200 airline credit each year. So if you buy a ticket with your platinum card, you will receive a $200 statement credit each calendar year. If you get the card in December, you can use the card and its $200 statement credit in December and January to essentially receive $400 in credit.
  • The Chase Ink Bold & Plus cards come with a perk that is little known to many cardholders. With each Chase Ink card you hold and for each additional card user, you receive 2 free lounge passes to Lounge Club, which includes over 350 lounges worldwide. Once you receive the card, make sure you enroll each of your cards to receive your free passes. Once you use those passes, your membership with Lounge Club will allow you to enter any of their lounges for $27 per visit.

There are other various credit cards for airlines around the world that will grant you access to their lounges like Qantas, Emirates, or Air Canada’s Aeroplan. Elite status with various airlines and their alliances may grant you access as well. If you don’t have elite status or a first/business class international ticket, and you travel often but would like to have access to some of these great lounges, I would recommend you consider some of the credit cards outlined above. They not only provide some really valuable lounge memberships, but great perks and statement credits that make these cards well worth holding. Enjoy and travel in comfort and style!