Wait for your flight in style by getting access to VIP airport lounges around the world with your credit card
The exclusive lounge is an oasis amidst the frenzy for the weary traveller waiting on a flight. If you travel often and long for the comfort those VIP lounges afford, it might be time to switch up your credit card. There are some that offer complimentary entry into these exclusive traveller’s hide-a-ways as one of their benefits, and these are worth looking into if you are stuck searching for a seat in the common lounge more than a couple of times a year.
Citi Credit Card Offer
Enjoy two complimentary airport lounge visits per year, overseas travel insurance cover, 50,000 bonus Qantas Points on signup and discounted annual fee in the first year.
- $199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter) annual fee
- 20.99% p.a. on purchases
- 0% p.a. for 6 months on balance transfers
- Cash Advance Rate of 21.74% p.a.
- Up to 55 days interest free
- Minimum Income Requirement of $75,000 p.a.
Compare Credit Cards with Free Airport Lounge Access
The best* credit cards with lounge access
Compare credit cards with lounge access and relax before your next flight:
|Credit Card||Annual fee||Airport Lounge benefits|
|ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Credit Card||$425 p.a.||Unlimited access to participating international airport lounges through Veloce.|
|Citi Qantas Signature Credit Card||$199||Receive two complimentary lounge visits to Priority Pass airport lounges.|
|American Express Explorer Credit Card||$395 p.a.||Enjoy two complimentary airline passes every year.|
|American Express Platinum Credit Card||$1,200 p.a.||Receive access to 800 VIP airport lounges worldwide.|
How do credit cards with free airport lounge passes work?
Frequent air travellers know that no matter where they are in the world, the airport public waiting lounge is going to be far from serene. There is generally more passengers than seats to go around, and carry-on luggage taking up any leftover available space. This is certainly not a relaxing environment for the nervous traveller, or for someone who prefers to wait in peace.
A credit card with airport lounge access gets you entry into the exclusive airline lounges that are meant for VIPs. With some of these cards, you are provided an annual membership into an airport lounge program, while others give you complimentary passes into a specific airport lounge each year. How often you fly, the importance of VIP lounges to you, and the other features and benefits of these cards will help decide which one is best for you.
How to compare credit cards with free airport lounge passes
In order to get the most value from your credit card with free airport lounge access, you will need to measure the features of each one and weigh them against each other. A few points to scrutinise that will help narrow down your options include:
- Annual fee. The amount of the annual fee will mainly depend on the type of credit card, its additional features and spending limit. The platinum and black cards that usually offer this feature will have higher rates than your typical credit card. You may get lucky and find one that waives the fee for the first year, making it more enticing to sign up.
- Rates. Depending on the way you plan to use the credit card, interest rates will make a big difference in the cards value. The purchase rate, cash advance rate and balance transfer rate may all differ in one card, so you will need a pretty good idea of how you plan to use it before you start out making comparisons. For example if you are using it to earn points towards flights, but don’t plan on carrying a balance, look for low purchase rates with extended interest-free days.
- The number of lounges you can access. This feature is dependent on the airline and network that the card is working with. A Qantas cardholder for example will have access to close to 20 VIP lounges in Australia, while Rex Lounge and Lounge by Virgin have three and six respectively. A priority pass membership allows access to approximately 600 airport lounges, and could be the best choice for travellers who always go with the airline that has the lowest price.
- The rewards program or airline provider. Many of the credit cards with airport lounge access are a part of a rewards program that could be tied with a specific airline. If you favour one airline over another, then this is definitely worth considering. Another thing to look for is whether or not your exclusive lounge access is contingent on the number of points you have earned.
- Perks. Airport lounges use various perks to please their first class and frequent flyers. This could be as elaborate as massage tables in a garden like setting like in the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney, or Wifi access, showers and free wine available in Virgin Airline lounges. The credit card you choose will determine the perks you are entitled to when waiting on flights.
- Other benefits. Look to see what else the card is offering outside of the complimentary access to airport lounges. You could find some that have money saving balance transfer offers if you are carrying a lot of debt, or bonus rewards points if you are trying for free tickets on your next holiday.
Relax at these lounges before your next trip
Virgin Australia Lounge
American Express Velocity Business Card
The American Express Velocity Business Card will give you two complimentary single entry passes to Virgin Australia lounges each year. There are 11 Virgin Australia lounges available around Australia, and each comes with free WiFi, food and beverages and state-of-the-art entertainment centres. However, given that the American Express Velocity Business Card only gives you two single entry passes to the lounges per year and charges an annual fee of $249, you’d want to make sure the card’s other features were of value to you as well.
American Express Platinum Card
Unlike the Velocity Business Card, the American Express Platinum Card gives cardholders a Priority Pass and unlimited complimentary Virgin lounge access all year round. The Priority Pass opens the doors of more than 600 VIP international lounges to the both the primary and supplementary cardholder. If you fly with Virgin Australia, you can also get access to Virgin Australia lounges plus preferential treatment and upgrades at 650 luxury hotels around the world. But with an annual fee $1,200 and a required minimum income of $100,000 this card is probably most ideal to the jetsetters and big spenders.
Europort Skyview Lounge – One of the 700 VIP airport lounges with Priority Pass
Westpac Altitude Black
The Westpac Altitude Black card comes with two complimentary Priority Passes, which can be used at hundreds of VIP airport lounges in over 275 cities around the world. If you don’t spend too much time on long international flights throughout the year, this could be a cheaper alternative than some of the more expensive and unlimited access options. The card comes with an annual fee of $395 so the card’s overall features would need to suit your financial needs to get the most bang for your buck.
St.George Amplify Signature
Also available through Bank of Melbourne and BankSA, the St.George Amplify Signature credit card offers cardholders two complimentary Priority Passes each year. If you’re an Amplify Qantas member, you can also receive two bonus Qantas Lounge invitations per year. Geared towards regular jetsetters, the card also boasts 1.5 Amplify Points for every dollar spent at eligible Australian merchants, or 3 points for every dollar spent overseas. This Visa card attracts an annual fee of $279 so as always, you should consider more than the lounge access before committing to the card.
Qantas Club Premium Lounge at Sydney Airport
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
In addition to a higher earning rate and access to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, the ANZ Black Frequent Flyer card offers unlimited access to participating lounges worldwide and complimentary Qantas Club passes. There are 25 Qantas Clubs in Australia alone and a number of international and associated lounges located around the world. Unlike some lounge passes, the Qantas Club membership also allows you to bring one guest with you. And let’s face it, pretending to be VIP for a day is only fun if you can bring a friend along. The annual fee is $425, so, again, you’d need to use the card for more than just lounge access for it to be worth your while.
ANZ Rewards Black Credit Card
Not to be mistaken for the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black card, the ANZ Rewards Black card also provides its cardholders with airport lounge perks. Similar to its Frequent Flyer counterpart, the Rewards card also comes with exclusive and unlimited access to airport lounges for you and any additional cardholders. However, ANZ Rewards Black cardholders can only access participating airport lounges outside of Australia. With an annual fee of $375 this could be a cheaper option for those after an ANZ card with unlimited lounge access.Back to top
What are the pros and cons?
- A relaxed environment. An exclusive airport lounge takes you out of the chaos that is typically found in an airport waiting area.
- Freebies. Enjoy free drinks and snacks while waiting to be called for your flight, in some cases even a glass of wine.
- Convenience. With cozy chairs, tables and work stations, you can spend your time wisely by taking advantage of free WiFi to catch up on work, or your social media status.
- Other benefits. Since the majority of these cards are a part of a rewards program, using them will earn you points that can later be redeemed for airfare, merchandise and more.
- Restrictions. In some cases, you might be restricted to which amenities are available to you inside of the airport lounge.
- Fees. As a result of the benefits and perks that come with these cards, you will find that the annual fees are higher than with regular credit cards.
- Accessibility. With some of these cards, you will find that the lounge you have free access to is not available at certain airports.
- Limitations. Complimentary passes are usually offered in pairs. If you are travelling with a large group, you might find that not everyone will be able to wait with you inside of the lounge.
Airport lounge access is just one small part of an entire credit card package. As you are taking into consideration the type and amount of access each card is offering, don’t forget about comparing that information against the other features and benefits that the credit card is offering.
Frequently asked questions about airport lounge access
I want to order an additional card for my partner, will they also have access to airport lounges?
With most of these cards, at least one of your additional cardholders will be given the same passes as the primary card holder. Make sure you confirm this before you arrive at the airport to avoid any inconvenience.
How do I use the passes for airport lounge access?
In order to enter, you will need to show your pass along with a boarding pass for the same date.
Can I give my airport lounge pass to a relative or friend to use?
Generally, no. The name on the pass and on the boarding pass must usually be the same.
If I have a Qantas Club lounge pass but am flying with a different airline can I still get into their airport lounge?
No, the boarding pass will have to show that you are flying with Qantas that day if you wish to use your complimentary pass for their airport lounge.