Airport lounges completely change the travel experience. Thanks to cool apps, and credit cards that include lounge access,ย there are more ways to get in than ever. When it comes to getting in via your frequent flyer card, things get a bit more confusing. Here’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about lounge access, getting in and making sure you don’t get the ‘turn away’ of shame…

If You’re Accessing A Lounge With Priority Pass, Lounge Club Or An App…

Accessing a lounge with a membership from your credit card, Priority Pass or an app like LoungeBuddy is very straight forward. It does not matter which airline you are flying, or what class of service. Yep, flying economy on a random discount airline is fine. Your criterion for entry is just your Priority Pass, Lounge Club or LoungeBuddy pass. You can see which lounges you have access to in advance via your membership, so just check with your app, membership or credit card in advance.

Example: You’re flying EasyJet or JetBlue and found a lounge you can get into via an app or your credit card. You can get in.

If You’re Accessing A Lounge By Flying International Business or First Class…

If your access to the lounge is based on your airline ticket alone (frequent flyer status doesn’t matter), you can use the lounge of the airline you’re flying, or any of their alliance partners, offered to your class of service. Basically, if you’re flying business class, you can use any of your airline, or their partner’s business class lounges. If you’re flying first, you can use their or their partners first class lounges or business class lounges. Check out a map of your terminal in advance to scope out options.

Example: You’re flying British Airways First Class, so you can use the Qantas or Cathay Pacific First Class lounge in the airport. Same would go for any other partners. All good! A couple notable exceptions happen with Lufthansa, Swiss and Qatar, who restrict first access only to those on their flights. Otherwise, no worries!

If You’re Accessing A Lounge Via Frequent Flyer Status…

If you’re accessing a lounge via frequent flyer status, you can use any lounge of your airline, or any of their partners SO LONG AS you’re flying on an airline within that alliance. If you’re flying with an airline from a different alliance, you’re not eligible to use your frequent flyer privileges and get in. So, no, if you’re a OneWorld frequent flyer, flying Air France, you get nothing via frequent flyer status. You’d need to be flying business class on Air France to use their lounge, or have a Priority Pass or LoungeBuddy membership for access to another lounge. Just an FYI, all US airlines exclude their own members from lounges on domestic flights, even if flying first. International only, unless you’re a member of a foreign frequent flyer program, like British Airways, then you can get in on any flight.

Example: You have Air France frequent flyer status, and you’re flying Delta economy. You can use the lounge based on your status. No problem!

But, You May Be Able to Pay Your Way In Regardless…

More and more airlines offer paid lounge access for all flyers. Yes, again, even economy flyers. So if you’re flying with Delta, American, United, Emirates, Etihad, Cathay Pacific or any other number of airlines, you may be able to access a lounge, even if you don’t have elite status and aren’t flying business or first class.

Example: You’re flying Etihad in economy, and you realize you can pay $50 to use their lounge. You’re in!