We compared 3 of the most popular premium airline credit cards — and the winner was clear

All of the cards will give you a first-class airport experience, even if you’re flying economy.

Paying the $450 fee for any of these cards could essentially wipe out the typical frustrations of flying.

To enjoy the perks below, your card may need to be open for a certain number of days before your trip, and you may have to purchase your airfare using the card. Make sure to read the fine print so you aren’t disappointed when you arrive at the airport.

Priority treatment, from check-in to boarding

Regardless of where your seat is on the plane, all three cards offer priority check-in, priority security lanes, priority boarding, and priority baggage handling. That means you can breeze through the airport like a first-class flyer, even if you’re paying economy prices.

Check your bags free

United cardholders and one companion can check two bags free, while Delta and American limit free checked bags to one for each passenger on the reservation, up to eight travel companions. If your travel crew is large, you’ll get more free checked bags with Delta or American, but United is better if you tend to travel with only one other person.

Relax in the lounge before your flight

Complimentary lounge membership is included with premium airline credit cards, which comes in handy if you arrived early at the airport only to realize security is easier with your new card and now you have a couple of hours to spare before your flight. Both Delta and United offer about 50 lounges worldwide, while American has 90.

Delta Sky Club access is free only for the cardholder, but discounted passes can be purchased for up to two guests. American cardholders and guests enjoy the full benefits of an Admirals Club membership, including partner lounge access.

United cardholders gain entry to all United Club locations and participating Star Alliance lounges worldwide. It’s unclear whether you also get access to the secret, invitation-only restaurant located in Newark Liberty International Airport’s Terminal C, but one can hope.

Best airport perks: Citi/AAdvantage Executive Card (but just barely)

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