Enjoy access to airport lounges around the world for free with your credit card.
Here, you can compare and apply for credit cards that offer complimentary airport lounge entry. You can also look at the common requirements you need to meet to get airport lounge access with your card, discover popular lounges and consider the pros and cons so you can find the right card for your needs.
Compare credit cards with free airport lounge access
Free airport lounge access cards
Compare your options and see which exclusive airline lounges you could visit with your credit card.
- ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Credit Card - Annual fee: $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($425 p.a. thereafter). Two complimentary Qantas Club Lounge invitations every year.
- Citi Qantas Signature Credit Card - Annual fee: $199 p.a.. A Priority Pass membership with 2 complimentary lounge visits to over 950 lounges worldwide.
- American Express Explorer Credit Card - Annual fee: $395 p.a.. Two complimentary passes to the American Express Lounge in Sydney each year.
- Westpac Altitude Black - $250 p.a.. Up to four complimentary airport lounge visits per year.
How do credit cards with free airport lounge passes work?
A credit card with an airport lounge pass gives you with complimentary access to exclusive waiting areas at the airport. This means you can relax in style and comfort before your eligible flights, with popular airport lounge features including Wi-Fi, food and beverages, premium seating and even beds and showers in some locations.
Most cards that offer complimentary airport lounge access provide a limited number of passes for each year you have the card, and a few provide lounge passes as an introductory benefit. Depending on the card and the type of lounge pass available, you may be able to invite a guest or provide access to a supplementary cardholder. Usually you will have to meet specific requirements to access this feature, such as spending a certain amount, keeping your account in good standing or requesting the passes directly through your card provider.
Common requirements to get airport lounge access with a credit card
While the requirements you need to meet to get lounge access with a credit card vary based on the provider and the airport lounge, some of the most common conditions include:
- Valid ticket. Most airport lounges require all guests to have a valid ticket for a flight departing that day.
- Dress code. Lounges often have specific dress code requirements, such as smart casual dress and no shorts.
- Program enrolment. Credit cards that offer airport lounge access through a member-based service such as Priority Pass may require you to enrol in that program to receive your complimentary passes or access.
- Spending requirement. Your credit card provider may require you to spend a specific amount of money each year to be eligible for complimentary airport lounge passes. For example, the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card offers two complimentary Virgin Australia domestic airport lounge passes hen you spend $500 on eligible purchases using the card in the first 3 months.
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 compare the features of each option, including:
- 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 fees 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 Wi-Fi 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.
What do complimentary credit card airport lounges look like?
The design and features of airport lounges vary depending on the company or airlines that operate them. But if you've never set foot in a lounge and want to know what they offer, here are some of the locations you could gain access to with specific credit cards:
Virgin Australia Lounges (domestic)
Virgin Australia has 10 domestic airport lounges in locations including Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Each lounge offers unique design elements and services, with popular features including complimentary Wi-Fi, meeting rooms and complimentary food and beverages. Credit cards that offer complimentary access include the American Express Platinum, the American Express Velocity Platinum, the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures and the Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer. You can also enjoy complimentary access as a Velocity Gold or Platinum member, a business class guest, or for a fee of $65 when you have a valid Virgin Australia fare. Note specific lounge terms and conditions apply.
Priority Pass Lounges
Priority Pass is a subscription-based service that provides members with access to over 800 lounges around the world. Depending on the level of membership, you can get a unlimited access at no extra cost, a fixed number of free passes per year, or entry for a reduced fee. Credit cards that provide Priority Pass access and/ or membership include the Citi Prestige, the Citi Rewards Signature Credit Card, the St.George Amplify Signature and the Westpac Altitude Black. You can also pay for a membership, with fees ranging from US$99 per year to US$399 per year.
Qantas Club Lounge at Sydney Airport
This premium Qantas Lounge at Sydney Airport has a reputation as one of the top lounges in the world. It includes sweeping views of Sydney airport, a premium restaurant, spa treatments and complimentary business and leisure services. Several credit cards provide complimentary access to the Qantas Lounge when you're booked on an eligible flight, including the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black, the Qantas American Express Premium and the Westpac Altitude Black (when you choose Altitude Qantas Rewards). You can also enjoy complimentary Qantas Lounge access when you have an eligible first class or business class fare with Qantas, Jetstar (Business Max only), if you're a Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold, Platinum or Platinum One member, a Qantas Club member, or have matching status with a partner airline program including Emirates Skywards and oneworld alliance.Back to top
What are the pros and cons of a credit card with airport lounge access?
- 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 Wi-Fi 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.