Corporate Traveller

The basics of business lounges

You’ve mastered the art of packing, perfected your pitch, and nailed your networking strategy – now it’s time to conquer the business lounge. When you’re travelling for business, flight delays and long layovers are part of the package, but you want to be well rested and focused when you arrive at your destination; ready to impress. Unfortunately, you don’t always travel in first or business class, so how do you gain access to the rest and respite of the proverbial oasis in the airport desert?

Fly first or business class

You could get access if you fly first or business class internationally. Airlines and alliances have different rules regarding who may access which lounges, and whether or not you may bring a guest in for free.

Earn points to reach elite status

Alternatively, you could earn enough points with an airline to become an elite flyer. Again, different airlines have different rules that dictate whether you may access the lounge of an alliance partner, and whether you may bring a guest.

Access with your credit card

Check whether lounge access is one of the benefits of your credit card, but read the fine print. Owning a particular credit card does not necessarily guarantee you free entry. You may only qualify to pay for entry into the lounge, and you may not be able to bring a guest.

But not all cards are created equal. Diners Club, for example, will offer you free entry to over 600 airport lounges internationally if you have met your spend requirements for the quarter, or entry at a discounted rate if you have not. They do limit your lounge visits to 18 visits per quarter, but an average of 6 visits a month is not bad. In addition, they have an airport finder app that will help you locate the lounge on your next trip.

Join the club

One of the simplest ways to guarantee access to the lounge is to reserve and pay for your access before you travel. Travel enhancement programmes like Lounge Pass allow you to pre-book access to over 300 lounges worldwide. Other programmes like Dragon Pass and Priority Pass offer three different packages depending on your travel requirements. On the first package, you pay a joining fee plus an entry fee. The joining fees on the two programmes differ slightly, but their entry fees are the same.

On the second package you pay a joining fee, and are given a number of free entries (Dragon Pass gives you 8, and Priority Pass gives you 10 free entries), after which you pay per entry.

Finally, the third package consists of a premium joining fee and unlimited free lounge access to over 700 lounges worldwide.

Guests are allowed at the same entry fee as members, or a member may spend one of their free entries on a guest.

What can you expect in the business lounge?

Business lounges vary in their offering. In the swankier lounges, expect spa treatments, comfortable beds, and a chauffeur drive to your plane in a luxury car, but at the very least you’ll find comfortable seating, clean rest rooms, steady Wi-Fi, and complimentary snacks and drinks.

Next time you need to brave the long layover, ask Corporate Traveller to arrange your business lounge access to ensure you reach your destination well rested and ready for that winning presentation.