The rapid renal clearance of peptides in vivo limits this attractive platform for the treatment of a broad range of diseases that require prolonged drug half-lives. An intriguing approach for extending peptide circulation times works through a 'piggy-back' strategy in which peptides bind via a ligand to the long-lived serum protein albumin. In accordance with this strategy, we developed an easily synthesized albumin-binding ligand based on a peptide-fatty acid chimera that has a high affinity for human albumin (K-d = 39 nM). This ligand prolongs the elimination half-life of cyclic peptides in rats 25-fold to over seven hours. Conjugation to a peptide factor XII inhibitor developed for anti-thrombotic therapy extends the half-life from 13 minutes to over five hours, inhibiting coagulation for eight hours in rabbits. This high-affinity albumin ligand could potentially extend the half-life of peptides in human to several days, substantially broadening the application range of peptides as therapeutics.