Access to airport VIP lounges
In almost all airports there are VIP lounge. They are real havens of peace for the most part, in which you will be able to 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, airport lounges represent an attractive advantage in the traveler’s experience. They are often reserved for a certain clientele:
- Frequent flyers of an airline (such as Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges)
- high-end bank / Credit union customers
Goal: access to airport VIP lounges
In short, airport lounges represent an attractive advantage in the traveler’s experience. But they are often reserved for some customers:
However, most of these lounges are franchisees. To increase their revenue, they sell access rights to lounge networks such as DragonPass and Priority Pass. A single airport lounge can even be a member of several 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 according to YOUR travel profile, you too can access the unknown world of airport lounge!
Also, use the LoungeBuddy app to help track all the airport lounge access available to you!
Here, you will have to establish your traveler’s profile. For example, a card with unlimited access to airport lounges for two people is not relevant when you only travel solo once or twice a year.
Programs to access airport lounges
Airport lounge benefits for credit cards may vary. A distinction must be made between a program subscription (Right to enter the Lounge) and visits (to enter the lounges).
Many cards offer both. A subscription to a lounge program AND the ability to access.
Best credit cards to access airport VIP lounges
Many credit cards offer free or paid access to airport lounges.
Some will only offer you a Priority Pass or DragonPass membership, but you will have to pay for each visit.
For others, they will include between 4 and 10 visits per year. Want unlimited access to Priority Pass lounges? Subscribe to the Platinum CardMD from American Express or the Business Platinum CardMD from American Express.
Let’s see which card to apply for, according to YOUR needs.
How to get a few individual visits per year to airport VIP lounges
If you plan to use airport lounges less than 6 times a year, there’s no need to go for expensive cards.
Our best choices are:
- Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card: this card offers 6 free annual airport lounge accesses, which is unmatched for a card at this fee level ($139)
- CIBC AventuraMD Visa Infinite* Card: 4 free annual airport lounge passes (if you don’t have the $60,000 income requirement for this card, opt for the CIBC AventuraMD Gold Visa* Card, which also offers 4 annual passes).
- BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard: 4 free annual airport lounge passes.
One free visit = one free entry (adult or child over 2, depending on the lounge).
If the number of free visits on the credit card exceeds the number of people, you have to pay. So if the credit card gives 4 free visits and you’re a family of 5, the fifth person will cost US$32.
How to get more than 6 visits per year to airport VIP lounges
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®: Unlimited access to the National Bank of Montreal lounge. If you regularly fly internationally from Montreal, this is the card for you. You, an accompanying traveller and up to two children will have free access.
- Platinum CardMD from American Express: Unlimited access to over 1,300 lounges worldwide. This is the card for frequent travellers and offers the most options for accessing airport lounges.
- Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card: 10 free annual airport lounge passes
How to access Air Canada's Maple Leaf VIP Lounges
If you travel regularly with Air Canada in North America, choose one of the premium Aeroplan cards such as :
- TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* Credit Card
- American Express®* Aeroplan® Reserve Card
- American Express® Aeroplan®* Business Reserve Card
With these cards, you will gain unlimited access for you and one guest to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges in North America.
See our guide to accessing Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounges.
How to access the American Express Centurion VIP 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:
They will give you unlimited access to American Express’ exclusive Centurion Lounges.
As well as over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide that are members of the Priority Pass network.
This strategy for accessing airport lounges should make your travel more comfortable!
Remember, you can apply for two different cards to get more access to suit YOUR needs!
Our six recommended cards in this strategy are:
|Card||Number of visits to airport VIP lounges||Details|
|BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard||4 visits per year||DragonPass Lounges|
|CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card||4 visits per year||DragonPass Lounges|
|Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card||6 visits per year||DragonPass Lounges|
|TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* Credit Card||6 visits per year + Unlimited access to Maple Leaf Lounges||DragonPass Lounges
Unlimited access to Maple Leaf Lounges in North America
|American Express Platinum Card®||Unlimited access for 2 people||1,300 VIP Lounges worldwide|
|National Bank World Elite Mastercard||Unlimited access for 2 people and 2 children||National Bank Lounge at Montreal-Trudeau|
How can I get access to airport VIP lounges?
There are several options:
- High airline status
- Travel in Business or First Class
- Buy access
- Buy a subscription to an airport lounge network
- A credit card giving free access to airport lounges
- Own a credit card giving free membership to a network of lounges and pay for access
Which card gives access to airport lounges?
Which card gives access to VIP airport lounges in Montreal and Quebec City?
How do I access Air Canada's lounges?
There are many ways to enter an Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge. Read our article on How to access these lounges here.