AIRLINE TRAVEL during the pandemic can be frustrating. There’s mask-wearing on all trips, and COVID test results are required before boarding international flights. Then there’s the spate of last-minute cancellations, leaving passengers unhappily stranded at the gate.
On that score, Spirit Airlines has recently made headlines. I’ve also personally endured last-minute cancellations by British Airways and American Airlines. Even when you finally board a flight, many domestic airlines have suspended serving alcoholic beverages, except to first-class passengers. It’s due to drunken belligerence and mask-protesting confrontations in aircraft cabins.
Want to fly? I have one recommendation: Sign up for a credit card that permits entry into an airport lounge. Recently, I flew from Dallas to Denver to Las Vegas. All three airports had lounges that served complimentary meals and drinks. While leaving the Las Vegas hotel in an Uber, American Airlines texted me that my morning flight was canceled. I knew that I could access the airport lounge to relax and eat—even take a shower—while I waited for the airline to reschedule my flight home.
After I got home, I did some research on what my credit card cost me. After deducting the card’s annual fee from the statement credits that I earn, I was pleasantly surprised. My credit card gives me statement credits for travel, hotels, brokerage account balances, Uber, streaming services, Home Depot spending and Best Buy purchases. The upshot: The credit card that provided me access to the airport lounge was not a cost to me at all. Rather, it provides a net profit of a few hundred dollars a year.
It’s possible that some of these perks will disappear once more flyers return to the skies. But for now, the welcoming airport lounge has been well worth its non-cost to me.