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Whether you’re a frequent flyer or not, having access to an airport lounge can really change your travelling experience. They are particularly advantageous when arriving at the airport early for an international flight or when dealing with multiple flight connections. Airport lounges typically provide more comfortable seating, access to complimentary drinks and foods, entertainment, luxurious restrooms, and other great amenities.
In order to enter these lounges, you need to buy a membership or a one-time guest pass. However, a one-time guest pass can easily cost anything between $30 and $50 while the membership can cost between $99 and $500. A better alternative is to get a credit card with Airport Lounge access. In addition, these cards typically provide other benefits like travel insurance, invitations to exclusive events, discounts, and of course the ability to accumulate points.
Own a credit card? Learn your rights and responsibilities as a credit card owner.
Types of Airport Lounge Access
In Canada, there are 4 types of Airport lounge programs you can access:
- Priority Pass – Priority Pass is the largest airport lounge access program in the world with over 1300+ lounges in 150 countries. You’ll have access to large quiet and comfortable spaces to relax as well as in-airport dining, retail, and spa discounts.
- American Express Global Lounge Collection – The American Express Global Lounge Collection program provides its clients with access to over 1200 airport lounges in 130 countries. The American Express lounge network is exceptional as you gain access to Priority Pass as well as 8 other lounges including exclusive lounges to Amex Platinum Cardholders: the Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge.
- LoungeKey – The Loungekey program has approximately 1000 airport lounges worldwide that you can enjoy and take advantage of. With this program, you’ll receive great dining, spa, and retail offers.
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge – The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge is only available in 17 airports, 11 of which are in Canada. Access to these lounges is restricted to Air Canada flyers and individuals with frequent flyer status. Through the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, you’ll be able to enjoy complimentary snacks and beverages, free wi-fi, and entertainment. If you’re feeling run down you can take advantage of their showers. You can also use their business center if you’re working and need access to computers, printers, and more.
Travel often? Check out these Aeroplan credit cards.
Best Credit Cards with Airport Lounge Access
- BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card
- BMO World Elite MasterCard
- TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card
- Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
- American Express Platinum Card
Best Credit Cards with Airport Lounge Access Overview
|Annual Fee||APR||Lounge Type||# of Lounge Visits||Welcome Bonus|
|BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card||$499||20.99%||Priority Pass||6||50,000 BMO Rewards points|
|BMO World Elite MasterCard||$150||19.99%||LoungeKey||4||40,000 BMO Rewards points|
|TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card||$399||20.99%||Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge||4||50,000 Aeroplan Miles|
|Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card||$139||19.99%||Priority Pass||6||35,000 Scotia Rewards points|
|The Platinum Card||$699||30%||American Express Global Lounge Collection||Unlimited||25,000 Membership Rewards points|
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card
The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card is a Visa card with an annual fee of $499. Despite its hefty price tag, it makes it up with a number of benefits and perks. For one, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card comes with a welcome bonus of 50,000 BMO Rewards points (valued at approximately $355) and an annual credit of $200. Moreover, you can earn 5 BMO Rewards points per dollar spent on groceries, travel, drug store purchases, dining and gas. All other purchases will earn you 1 point per dollar spent. Most importantly, you’ll get a Priority Pass membership card which includes 6 complimentary airport lounge visits each year. The 6 passes can be used for yourself as well as a companion. Any additional visits will cost you USD $32 each time. To redeem your visits, simply show your Priority Pass membership card at the participating airport lounges.
To be eligible for the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege* Card, you’ll need an annual minimum personal income of $150,000 or $200,000 as a household.Learn More
BMO World Elite MasterCard
The BMO World Elite MasterCard has an annual fee of $150 but if you apply now, you can get the first year annual fee waived. Moreover, you can earn up to 40,000 bonus points which are valued at $285 dollars. In general, you can earn 3 BMO Rewards points for every dollar spent on eligible dining, travel and entertainment purchases. All other purchases will earn you 2 points per dollar spent. The BMO World Elite MasterCard also comes with additional benefits like travel and medical insurance. Of course, you’ll also gain membership to their Mastercard Airport Experiences by LoungeKey which includes exclusive VIP access. It includes 4 complimentary passes each year and can be used at any of their lounges in the LoungeKey program.
In order to apply for this card, you must have a personal annual income of at least $80,000 or a household income of $150,000. You must also not have had any previous bankruptcies in the last 7 years.
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card
The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card is a great travel card with an annual fee of $399. You can earn 1.5 Aeroplan points for every dollar spent on eligible grocery, gas, drugstore and Air Canada purchases. All other purchases will earn you 1.25 Aeroplan points. An additional 25,000 points can be earned through its welcome bonus offer by simply making a purchase with your card. The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card also comes with a suite of travel insurance and a 50% discount on a companion ticket. In regards to their airport lounge access, you’ll get 4 one-time guest access pass to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge. Moreover, you’ll also get 6 complimentary lounge visits through Global Airport Lounge Access (through Priority Pass).
You should apply for the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card if you are a Canadian resident who has reached the age of majority and have an annual household income of at least $200,000.
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card is another card that is great for travel. While it has an annual fee of $139, it comes with a $350 welcome bonus that easily outweighs the costs. In general, you can earn 2 Scotia Rewards points per dollar spent on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment, and transit. All other purchases will earn you 1 Scotia Rewards point.
It also offers no foreign transaction fees for online or abroad shopping. You’ll also be able to benefit from their comprehensive travel insurance package which includes insurance for medical, trip cancellation, car rental collision, and more. In regards to the Airport lounge access, you’ll get a Priority Pass membership including 6 free lounge visits per year.
To qualify for this card you must have a personal annual income of $60,000 or a minimum household income of $100,000. You could also qualify for the card if your assets under management are valued at $250,000 or more.
The Platinum Card
The Platinum Card is a charge card offered by American Express. It has a hefty annual fee of $699 and is recommended for those who frequently travel. You can earn 3 points for every dollar spent on eligible dining, 2 points on eligible travel, and 1 point on all other purchases. You can also take advantage of their 25,000 welcome bonus points and $200 annual travel credit. Other benefits included access to travel insurance and shopping protection like “Buyers Assurance Protection Plan”. You’ll also be able to enjoy unlimited airport lounge access whenever you travel. Through the American Express Global Lounge Collection, you’ll have access to over 1,200 airport lounges across 130 countries.
While this card is expensive and offers high-value rewards, you simply need a good to excellent credit score to be considered for this card.
Factors to Consider When Getting a Credit Card with Airport Lounge Access
There are a plethora of credit cards available, some of which have airport lounge access. While it may be easy to pinpoint the cards with Airport Lounge access, it can be difficult to determine which credit card best suits your needs and lifestyle. Depending on your spending habits and travel frequency, one card will usually provide you with more value than the other.
- Travel Frequency – How often do you travel? If you travel once or twice a year, you may only need a couple of free airport lounge visits a year. Moreover, you should also consider the number and the time gap between your connecting flights. If you usually opt for flights with no stops, you won’t really need access to an airport lounge.
- Lounge Program – Is there a particular part of the world you like to travel to? Depending on the lounge program, some may not be available in that country. For example, the Air Canada Maple Leafs Lounge is only available in 17 Airports, 11 of which are in Canada and 6 in the US and EU. You should also evaluate what amenities are available in your most frequented travel spot as they usually differ from place to place. In general, you can expect comfier seating, complimentary food and drinks, luxurious restrooms, free wi-fi, massages areas, and more.
- Spending and Points – In addition to the airport lounge access, you should also assess how the points system works with your spending lifestyle. Is a cash back card or a points card better for you? Would you prefer redeeming your points on a big reward or gain cash back that you can use towards anything you want?
- Fees – Always calculate the fee you pay on your credit card versus the value you get from it. For example, a priority pass membership with 6 free lounge visits is valued at approximately $300. If you know you’ll be using all these and have a credit card with an annual fee of $120, then you know the card is worth it. Moreover, as you spend you’ll be earning even more value back.
- Extra Perks – Most cards have additional perks that you can take advantage of. The perks are a good way to decide between two cards that are a tie in terms of fees, points and airport access. For example, some credit cards will provide extra perks like an annual fee rebate or an annual credit or discounts or exclusive events.
Getting a credit card with Airport Lounge access is not only cost-effective but overall more advantageous and valuable than simply purchasing a one-time guest pass. Depending on your income and spending habits one of these cards will meet your needs better than the other. Be sure to calculate your potential rewards to see which card is most worth your money.
* BMO, TD Bank, Scotiabank, and American Express are not responsible for the accuracy of this information or for maintaining the content on this page. Please visit the website of the credit card provider to the most up to date information.
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