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The Ultimate Guide to Canadian Airport Lounges Access

To the point How do I get access to a Canadian airport lounge? Discover in this guide our strategies to get there for free!

This post is also available in: FR

This guide has been updated regularly since 2015 with new credit card offers.

How do I access airport lounges with a Canadian credit card?

There are several ways to access an airport lounge with Canadian credit cards.

This will be with:

  1. a credit card partner of many airport lounge networks
  2. a credit card granting a Priority Pass membership
  3. a credit card with a DragonPass subscription
  4. a credit card from the bank managing the lounge
  5. an airline-branded credit card giving lounge access

Priority Pass and DragonPass are two of the most popular airport lounge networks for access to airport lounges worldwide.

A single lounge can be accessed in several ways. For example, the National Bank lounge at Montreal-Trudeau airport is accessible :

Here are the 5 ways to access airport lounges, and a list of accessible lounges at major Canadian airports.

Amex 1000px

1/ A credit card partner of lounges

American Express has two charge cards granting access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection:

card Platine Max Platinum Card

In Canada, these two card allowdirect access to 1,300 airport lounges, simply by presenting the credit card at the entrance:

  • Plaza Premium lounge : Free Attendance and One Guest
  • Swissport Executive lounge(National Bank YUL, Aspire Lounge in Ottawa and Calgary): free cardholder, spouse and 2 children under 21

In addition, you must present your Priority Pass digital card(subscription obtained after joining one of the two Platinum card ) for this lounge:

Here is a list of all airport lounges in Canada you can directly access with one of American Express Platinum cards:

Airport City Lounge
YYC Calgary Aspire Lounge(Transborder E)
Aspire Lounge(International D)
YEG Edmonton Plaza Premium Lounge(Non-US Departures)
Plaza Premium Lounge(US Departures)
YHZ Halifax
YUL Montreal National Bank Lounge (International)
YOW Ottawa Aspire Lounge(Departures)
YQB Quebec VIP Lounge by Club Med Lounge(Departures)
YYZ Toronto Plaza Premium Lounge(T1 Domestic)
Plaza Premium Lounge(T1 International)
Plaza Premium Lounge(T1 US Transborder)
Plaza Premium Lounge(T3 Domestic)
Plaza Premium Lounge(T3 International)
Plaza Premium Lounge(T3 US Cross-Border)
Wellbeing(Cross-Border T3)
YVR Vancouver Plaza Premium Lounge(Pier C Domestic)
Plaza Premium Lounge(Domestic)
Plaza Premium Lounge(International)
Plaza Premium Lounge(Cross-border)
YWG Winnipeg Plaza Premium Lounge(Departures)

In addition to the direct access offered by the two Platinum cards, they also offer

  • a Priority Pass membership
  • with unlimited access for the Cardmember AND one guest
lounge VIP of YQB Quebec Jean Lesage Intl 9
VIP Room - Quebec City (YQB)

The best credit cards partners of airport lounges

As a result, there are only two cards in Canada that are partners with as many airport lounges.

We recommend these cards for frequent flyers: their annual fee will be quickly profitable after several visits to lounges! Especially with unlimited access for the Cardmember and one guest, and even his – big – children!

Charge cards Details
American Express Platinum Card® Unlimited annual access
Business Platinum Card® from American Express Unlimited annual access
Priority Pass 1000px

2/ A credit card with a Priority Pass membership

The other easy way to access a Canadian airport lounge is to hold a credit card with a Priority Pass membership.

  • some will offer unlimited access
  • others will offer some annual visits

To gain access to dozens of airport lounges, simply present your Priority Pass membership card at the entrance.

Here is a list of all airport lounges in Canada you can access with a Priority Pass membership:

Airport City Lounge
YYC Calgary Aspire Lounge(Transborder E)
Aspire Lounge(International D)
YEG Edmonton Plaza Premium Lounge(Non-US Departures)
Plaza Premium Lounge(US Departures)
YHZ Halifax
YUL Montreal National Bank Lounge (International)
Pork and Pickle Restaurant(Domestic)
Restaurant Houston Bar and Grill (Cross-border)
YOW Ottawa Aspire Lounge(Departures)
YQB Quebec VIP Lounge Lounge(Departures)
YYZ Toronto Plaza Premium Lounge(T1 Domestic)
Plaza Premium Lounge(T1 International)
Plaza Premium Lounge(T1 US Transborder)
Plaza Premium Lounge(T3 Domestic)
Plaza Premium Lounge(T3 International)
Air France-KLM Lounge(T3 International)
Plaza Premium Lounge(T3 US Cross-Border)
Wellbeing(Cross-Border T3)
YVR Vancouver Plaza Premium Lounge(Pier C Domestic)
Plaza Premium Lounge(Domestic)
Plaza Premium Lounge(International)
Skyteam Lounge(International)
Plaza Premium Lounge(Cross-border)
YWG Winnipeg Plaza Premium Lounge(Departures)

*American Express Platinum card do not offer Priority Pass restaurant access.

premium plaza yyz 1
Premium Plaza Lounge - Toronto YYZ - Crédit: Murielle D.
prioritypass

The best credit cards with a Priority Pass membership

Previously, Visa and Mastercard were linked to this network. But since June 30, 2022, Visa and Mastercard have decided to go with the DragonPass network from July 1, 2022. These Priority Passes have been transformed into access via the DragonPass network.

So, only American Express cards offer Priority Pass membership.

If you’d like 10 free accesses to Priority Pass airport lounges per year, you may want to apply for the Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card, which offers an excellent accumulation rate, including groceries.

Also, enjoy free access to Priority Pass lounges if you travel frequently. With the Platinum CardMD from American Express or the Business Platinum CardMD from American Express, their annual fees will quickly pay for themselves. These are the only card in Canada that offer unlimited access for the cardholder and one guest to Priority Pass airport lounge.

Credit cards Details
Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card 10 annual visits per year included
American Express Platinum Card® Unlimited access for the Cardmember and one guest
Business Platinum Card® from American Express Unlimited access for the Cardmember and one guest
Loungekey 1000px

A credit card with LoungeKey

**LoungeKey is no longer available since July 2022. We leave this section for the archives.

Another method of accessing a Canadian airport lounge was to have a credit card that offers LoungeKey membership, such as World, World Elite or Muse level Mastercard credit cards.

However, as of June 30, 2022, Mastercard has decided to go with the DragonPass network, so the LoungeKey network is no longer available for free through credit cards in Canada.

Note that LoungeKey members no longer have access to Plaza Premium lounge as of July 1, 2021.

Af A Lounge Yyz
Salon Air France-KLM de Toronto YYZ
Loungekey 1000px

3/ A credit card with DragonPass

Specific Visa and Mastercard credit card holders have access to lounges that are part of the DragonPass network.

To access these airport lounges, you will first need to register the eligible card to obtain the membership:

Then, simply present the credit card or QR code from your DragonPass membership card at the entrance to the show.

The following is a list of all airport lounges in Canada with DragonPass credit card access:

Airport City Lounge
YYC Calgary

Aspire Lounge Transborder

Aspire Lounge International

YEG Edmonton Plaza Premium Lounge(Non-US Departures)
Plaza Premium Lounge(US Departures)
YHZ Halifax
YUL Montreal

Air France Lounge(International)

National Bank Lounge (International)

YOW Ottawa Aspire Lounge(Main Terminal)
YQB Quebec V.I.P. Lounge by Club Med
YYZ Toronto Plaza Premium Lounge(T1 Domestic)
Plaza Premium Lounge(T1 International)
Plaza Premium Lounge(T1 US Transborder)Plaza Premium Lounge(T3 At Level International)Plaza Premium Lounge(T3 Interior)
Plaza Premium Lounge (Air France KLM Lounge)(T3 International)Plaza Premium Lounge(T3 US Cross Border)
YVR Vancouver Plaza Premium Lounge(Pier C Domestic)
Plaza Premium Lounge(Domestic)
Plaza Premium Lounge(International)
SkyTeam VIP Lounge(International)
YWG Winnipeg Plaza Premium Lounge(Departures)

The best credit cards offering DragonPass

The best Visa cards with DragonPass

Visa and DragonPass offer a travel benefit to holders of specific Visa credit cards. This partnership is called Visa Airport Companion.

In Canada, 8 Visa Infinite Privilege credit cards offer 6 complimentary visits to airport lounges:

Here are the current welcome offers for some of these cards:

Then, the following cards also offer free access to the DragonPass network lounges. Free access is renewed on every anniversary of the card membership:

Finally, two CIBC Visa “Infinite” cards offer 4 complimentary visits to airport lounges:

The best Mastercard cards offering DragonPass

Mastercard and DragonPass offer a travel benefit to holders of certain Mastercard credit cards. The partnership is called Mastercard Travel Pass.

The only Mastercard in Canada to offer both a DragonPass subscription AND 4 free accesses is the BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard®*.

Other World and World Elite Mastercard credit cards offer subscription, but access remains paid.

Here is the current welcome offer for this card:

NBC Desjardins 1000px

4/ A credit card from the bank managing the lounge

Another less common method of accessing a Canadian airport lounge is to hold a credit card from a bank managing the airport lounge.

In Canada, two financial institutions are managing an airport lounge: National Bank of Canada and Desjardins.

To access these airport lounges, you will have to present the credit card at the lounge entrance.

Airport City Lounge
YUL Montreal National Bank Lounge (International)
Desjardins Odyssey Lounge (International)
NBC Featured 2
National Bank Lounge - Montreal

The best credit cards for Bank Lounges

Access to the National Bank Lounge is possible with this card (in addition to all other card offering Priority Pass, DragonPass and LoungeKey):

Credit card Details
National Bank World Elite Mastercard Complimentary entry for the cardholder and one guest

Access to the Desjardins Odyssey Lounge is possible thanks to the cards below:

Credit cards Details
Desjardins Odyssey® Visa Infinite Privilege* Card 12 annual visits per year included
Desjardins Odyssey World Elite Mastercard 8 annual visits per year included
Desjardins Odyssey® Gold Visa* Card 50% off the entrance fee
Air Canada 1000px

5/ A credit card from the airline managing the lounge

Finally, you can access Air Canada’s Maple Leaf lounges with a credit card from the airline’s loyalty program.

In Canada, three financial institutions are partners with Air Canada: American Express, CIBC and TD.

To access these airport lounges, you will have to present the credit card at the lounge entrance.

Airport City Lounge
YYC Calgary Maple Leaf Lounge(Hall C)
YEG Edmonton Maple Leaf Lounge (Indoor and international only)
YHZ Halifax Maple Leaf Lounge (Indoor and international only)
YUL Montreal Maple Leaf Lounge(Domestic)
Maple Leaf Show(Cross-Border)
Maple Leaf Show(International)
YOW Ottawa Maple Leaf Lounge(excluding cross-border flights)
YQB Quebec
YQR Regina Maple Leaf Lounge(Level 2)
YXE Saskatoon Maple Leaf Lounge(Domestic)
YYT St.John’s Maple Leaf Lounge(Domestic)
YYZ Toronto Maple Leaf Lounge(Express)
Maple Leaf Lounge(Domestic)
Maple Leaf Show(Cross-Border)
Maple Leaf Show(International)
YVR Vancouver Maple Leaf Lounge(Domestic)
Maple Leaf Show(Cross-Border)
Maple Leaf Show(International)
YWG Winnipeg Maple Leaf Lounge(excluding cross-border flights)
air canada – classe affaires – yul – gru-04
Air Canada - Signature

The best credit cards for Maple Leaf Lounges access

Access to the Maple Leaf Lounge is offered by several Aeroplan credit card .

The following card are the only ones that offer unlimited access to the Maple Leaf lounge for both the primary and secondary cardholder. Until December 31, 2022, they are allowed to bring one guest for free.

Bottom Line

There are many ways to access Canadian airport lounges.

You could start accessing them for free with the BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard, which offers 4 free annual accesses to airport lounges.

Need more visits? The Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card will give you 6 free annual accesses. Plus, you’ll save money on your foreign currency transactions because this card doesn’t charge any conversion fees!

Or if you regularly travel internationally from Montréal-Trudeau, the National Bank World Elite Mastercard® will give you unlimited access to the National Bank Lounge.

Finally, if you’re a frequent Air Canada traveler, the American ExpressMD AeroplanMD* Reserve Card and the American ExpressMD AeroplanMD* Business Reserve Card will open all the doors to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf lounges in North America.

And if you travel regularly, the Platinum CardMD from American Express or Business Platinum CardMD from American Express are perfect. They will give you unlimited access – with the person of your choice – to more than 20 airport lounges in Canada and more than 1,300 around the world!

These are the five cards we recommend, depending on your needs.

This post is also available in: FR

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Jean-Maximilien
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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