With these credit cards, you will have free access to VIP airport lounges around the world! Find out how.
In almost all airports there are VIP lounges, most of which are real havens of peace, where you can relax:
- focus if you have to work
- relax before taking your flight
- eat at the buffets
- celebrate your departure on a trip with an alcoholic beverage
- take a shower, incredibly convenient after a red-eye flight
In short, VIP airport lounges represent a real plus in the traveller’s experience but are often reserved for a specific clientele:
- Frequent flyers (for Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounges)
- “premium” clients of a bank/credit union (such as the National Bank lounge or the Odyssée Desjardins lounge in Montreal-Trudeau YUL)
However, most of these lounges are franchisees: to increase their revenues; they sell access rights to lounge networks such as Priority Pass and/or LoungeKey (lounges can be members of both networks).
These networks then partner with credit card issuers to offer access to airport lounges as a “travel benefit” for cardholders.
So, by choosing the right credit card based on YOUR traveller profile, you will also be able to access airport lounges!
1/ Objective: access to airport lounges
You will have to establish your profile as a traveller; we are not going to suggest a card allowing unlimited access to airport lounges for two people when you are alone and only travel once or twice a year!
That would not make sense.
Similarly, if you travel frequently with Air Canada for work, for example, but don’t have Elite status, you may want to access Maple Leaf lounges with a credit card!
2/ Programs to access airport lounges
Beyond these programs, some credit cards will allow you to access airport lounges directly, upon simple presentation of these.
Finally, there are credit card that offer both: a subscription to a lounge program AND the possibility to access on presentation of it. Here, there is an opportunity to accumulate the authorized entries which is very convenient for the family!
3/ Credit cards to access airport lounges
Many credit cards offer free or paid access to airport lounges.
Some come with a Priority Pass or LoungeKey subscription, but you’ll have to pay a fee for each visit.
Let’s see which card to apply for, according to YOUR needs.
Goal: less than 6 individual visits per year
If you plan to access airport lounges less than 6 times a year, there is no need to go to expensive cards.
Our best choices are:
- BMO® World Elite®* Mastercard®*: the only card to offer the first year free AND 4 annual airport lounge access.
- Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card: this card comes with 6 annual airport lounge visits, which is unmatched for a card at this fee level ($139)
- CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card: 4 annual airport lounge visits.
- CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card: 4 annual airport lounge visits.
Goal: more than 6 visits per year
If you plan to access airport lounges more than 6 times a year, you’ll have to apply for high-end cards.
Our best choices are:
- National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard®: If you regularly fly internationally from Montreal, this is the card for you. You, an accompanying traveller and up to 2 children will have free access.
- Platinum Card®: this is the frequent flyer card and offers the most options for access to airport lounges.
- Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card: This card comes with 10 annual airport lounge visits!
Goal: access to American Express Centurion lounges
If you regularly travel to the United States, and especially to the cities where American Express Centurion lounges are located (Las Vegas, Miami, San Francisco, New York LGA, etc.), it is best to have one of these 2 cards:
You’ll get unlimited access to American Express’s exclusive lounges: Centurion lounges.
Goal: Access to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges
If you travel regularly with Air Canada, here are the cards that give you access to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges:
Thanks to this strategy, you’ll travel more comfortably with access to airport lounges!
You can apply for two different cards to get more airport lounge passes according to YOUR needs!
Our 5 recommended cards in this strategy are:
- CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card: 4 annual visits for a card with no fee in the first year, ideal for a beginner without a high income
- BMO® World Elite®* Mastercard®*: 4 annual visits for a first-year free card ($80,000 income required)
- Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card: 6 annual visits for a card with no foreign exchange conversion fees, ideal for an international traveler ($60,000 income required)
- American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card: unlimited access to Maple Leaf Lounges in North America, ideal for Air Canada frequent flyers (no minimum income required)
- Platinum Card®: unlimited access for two to more than 1,200 airport lounges, ideal for frequent travellers (no minimum income required)