Yesterday I received my Lounge Club membership card in the mail. This is one of my favorite benefits of the Chase Ink Bold business credit card — a benefit that I believe stacks up very well against old standards like the AMEX Platinum Card (more on that later).
As stated on the Chase website…
The Chase Ink Bold includes “complimentary airport lounge access to over 350 VIP lounges worldwide. Lounge amenities include internet access, complimentary snacks and beverages, phone, fax, conference rooms and more. ($150 annual value)”
The lounge service Chase provides is a partnership with a company called Lounge Club. The lounge network provided by Lounge Club is not typically those swanky lounges provided by the major airlines. Instead, Lounge Club generally grants you access into the independent lounges operated by the airport and independent agencies. (There are a few exceptions to this, but browsing through the pamphlet I received in the mail I can see only a few airline branded lounges represented like Alaska Airlines boardrooms, for example.)
How Chase Ink Bold Lounge Club Works
To join the Lounge Club, first you must obtain the Chase Ink Bold Business credit card. Then, when you receive the card in the mail, you’ll also receive a special sign-up code with your credit card materials. You can use that code to sign up at the www.LoungeClub.com website. About one week later, you’ll receive your membership card in the mail.
There’s no fee to join Lounge Club, but as a member you must pay $27 per lounge visit. Your first two visits are free. In order to gain access, you only need to present the Lounge Club card and your boarding pass. You can also bring along up to 2 guests for each visit. Your guests must also have boarding passes, but guests are not required to have the Lounge Club card.
Chase Ink Bold vs. AMEX Platinum Cards
Both of the AMEX Platinum cards (personal and business) provide a lounge access benefit. The advantage for AMEX Platinum is the number of lounges available and the overall quality of lounges. AMEX grants access to over 600 lounges, while Chase Ink Bold only grants access to about 350. AMEX lounge access is also totally free for you and up to 2 guests. Chase Ink Bold, on the other hand, only provides 2 free visits per year and then $27 per visit thereafter.
AMEX Business Platinum and AMEX Personal Platinum are great cards with many other benefits! But they come with steep $450 annual fees which are never waived. The Chase Ink Bold’s first year fee is waived and is only $95 per year going forward. That means you could have the Chase Ink Bold card for almost 5 years before paying the equivalent of AMEX’s steep $450 annual fee.
If you’re a very frequent traveler, that $450 will definitely pay for itself very quickly. If not, you might be paying mostly for AMEX cachet and prestige.
My Review of the Lounge Club Benefit
While I’ve yet to use my new Lounge Club card, I’m excited to cash-in my two free lounge visits soon. I have an upcoming flight from SFO-DFW and I’ll be flying economy class on Virgin America. One of my employees and I are headed to a conference in Dallas, so having some time to chat about business projects together in the lounge will be an excellent way to spend an hour or so before our flight. I’m anticipating this first visit will be free, though I’m curious to find out whether or not my “2 free credits” will both be deducted since I’ll be bringing a guest.
This is exactly the type of scenario where I see the Lounge Club benefit really coming in handy. I’m not flying business class, so I won’t have automatic access to an airline lounge (which is always free with business class tickets).
I’ll be sure to report back after I make use of my new Lounge Club card, but I’m already excited about it!