Emirates allows frequent flyers to buy lounge access

January 17, 2017

Money may not buy you love but it can now buy the comforts of an Emirates lounge.

The Dubai giant is allowing members of its Skywards frequent flyer program who do not already have access to its premium lounges to buy their way into the resting places of the elite.

But it isn’t cheap.

A four-hour stint in an Emirates business class lounge will cost $US100 while a similar stay in its first class facility costs $US200.

The offer is only available to Skywards members travelling on the carrier’s flights and guests accompanying eligible business and first class lounge customers.

“This has been implemented in response to increasing demand from our valued customers for guest access to our lounges,’’ a spokesman said. “Credit card payments can be made at the lounge check-in counters.”

Emirates is among a number of airlines that allow people to buy access to their lounges but there are alternatives.

Priority Pass touts access to more than 1000 airport lounges for an annual fee.  The basic pass costs $US99 a year but people using this pass must part with a further $US27 to access a lounge for three hours.  The $US249 standard plus pass comes with 10 free visits, while the $US359 gives the holder free access.

Not all airports have participating lounges but some, such as Singapore’s Changi, have a range of options from which to choose.

You can also sign up directly with a lounge operator.

Plaza Premium Lounge, for example,  has 140 lounges at 35 international airports that offer facilities such as comfortable chairs, showers, food and beverages, television and newspapers.

Online reviews of some lounges have been mixed but they are cheaper than Emirates with gift cards offering three visits at $US147, five visits $US219 and 10 visits at $US349.

Credit cards provide another way into airport lounges

Eligible American Express cardholders get free access to a network of high-standard lounges  the operates in the US and international locations such as Sydney, Mumbai and Buenos Aires. The free entry is limited to higher-end cards and in some cases to two visits a year. 

Diners Club also runs a lounge program with access to more than 700 lounges worldwide.