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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 guide has been regularly updated since 2015 based on new credit card offers. With the return of travel, not all lounge may be open at this time.

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 granting a LoungeKey membership
  4. a credit card with a DragonPass subscription
  5. a credit card from the bank managing the lounge
  6. an airline-branded credit card giving lounge access

For your information, Priority Pass, LoungeKey and DragonPass are three airport lounge networks and will be the most common methods of accessing airport lounges worldwide.

Here are the 6 methods of accessing 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:

  • The V.I.P. lounge by Club Med Québec: holder and a guest and 2 children under 18 years old

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)

Besides to these direct accesses offered by the two Platine cards, they also provide:

  • a Priority Pass membership
  • with unlimited access for the Cardmember AND one guest

Below, you’ll see what it’s all about in the Priority Pass section.

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
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. There are many credit cards like this in Canada:

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

To access dozens of airport lounges, you will have to present the Priority Pass Card at the lounge 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

Here are the best credit cards with a Priority Pass membership and annual visits to airport lounges.

This is valid only until June 30, 2022, as Visa and Mastercard have decided to go with the DragonPass network from July 1st 2022. If you have any free Priority Pass lounge visits remaining on your Visa or card , you must use them by June 30, 2022. After that, since Priority Pass lounge access will no longer be offered, it will be lost.

If you travel a few times a year, the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card is perfect. It offers 6 airport lounge passesper year and is one of the only credit card in Canada with no foreign currency conversion fees.

If you would like ten visits to airport lounges per year, you could apply for to Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card, also offering a high point earning rate, especially at the grocery store.

Finally, if you travel more frequently, the investment in the Platinum Card® from American Express or the Business Platinum Card® from American Express will quickly pay off. 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
Aventura CIBC Visa Infinite
4 annual visits per year included
Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card 6 annual visits per year included
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* Credit Card
6 annual visits per year included
BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card 6 annual visits per year included
Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card 10 annual visits per year included
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

3/ A credit card with a LoungeKey membership

Another easy way to access a Canadian airport lounge is to have a credit card that offersLoungeKey membership. These will only be World, World Elite or Muse level Mastercard credit card.

However, Mastercard has decided to go with the DragonPass network and issuers have until June 30, 2022 to make the transition. The LoungeKey network will no longer be available.

In the meantime, to access dozens of airport lounge, you will simply have to present your credit card at the entrance of the lounge.

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

The following is a list of all airport loungein Canada that have access through a Mastercard credit card linked to LoungeKey:

Airport City Lounge
YYC Calgary Aspire Lounge(Transborder E)
Aspire Lounge(International D)
YEG Edmonton
YHZ Halifax
YUL Montreal National Bank Lounge (International)
YOW Ottawa Aspire Lounge(Departures)
YQB Quebec VIP Lounge by Club Med Lounge(Departures)
YYZ Toronto Air France-KLM Lounge(T3 International)
YVR Vancouver Skyteam Lounge(International)
YWG Winnipeg
Af A Lounge Yyz
Salon Air France-KLM de Toronto YYZ
Loungekey 1000px

4/ A credit card with a DragonPass membership

Certain Visa credit card holders will be able to access lounge that are part of the DragonPass network. This partnership is called Visa Airport Companion.

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

The following is a list of all airport lounge in Canada that have credit card access to DragonPass:

Airport City Lounge
YYC Calgary
YEG Edmonton Plaza Premium Lounge(Non-US Departures)
Plaza Premium Lounge(US Departures)
YHZ Halifax
YUL Montreal Air France Lounge(International)
YOW Ottawa
YQB Quebec
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(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)
Plaza Premium Lounge(Cross-border)
YWG Winnipeg Plaza Premium Lounge(Departures)

The best credit cards offering DragonPass

The best Visa cards with DragonPass

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:

Also, the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card is the only “Infinite” card to offer 6 complimentary visits to airport lounges.

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

The best Mastercard cards offering DragonPass

The only card in Canada that offers both a DragonPass membership 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 are the current welcome offers for some of these cards:

NBC Desjardins 1000px

5/ 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’s 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

6/ An airline credit card associated with 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
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.

Conclusion

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 annual accesses airport lounge.

Need more visits? The Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card will provide you with 6 annual accesses(including Priority Pass restaurants until June 30, 2022). 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 Montreal-Trudeau, the National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard® will give you unlimited access to the National Bank Lounge.

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

And if you travel regularly, the Platinum card from American Express or Platinum Corporate 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!

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