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Credit cards with lounge access

A credit card with lounge access gives you a way to relax in style before your next flight – here's how to get it for free.

PROMOTED
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
Up to 100,000 bonus Qantas Points
  • 1.25 points per $1 spent
  • $450 annual fee
  • Ends 23 August 2022
  • 1.25 points per $1 spent
  • $450 annual fee
  • Ends 23 August 2022
Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions apply.

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Compare credit cards with lounge access

A credit card with airport lounge access can offer you single-use lounge passes or unlimited lounge access. They also usually come with rewards and other perks.

Name Product Bonus points Rewards program Rewards points per $ spent Purchase rate p.a. Annual fee
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
100,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1.25
20.74%
$450
Up to 100,000 bonus Qantas Points (75k when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and 25k in year 2). Plus, a yearly $450 Travel Credit.
Citi Premier Qantas Card
80,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.5
0% for 6 months, reverts to 21.49%
$175 for the first year ($350 thereafter)
Get 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days and a 0% purchase rate offer. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount.
Qantas Premier Platinum
80,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
19.99%
$225 for the first year ($299 thereafter)
Earn 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and save with a reduced first-year annual fee.
American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card
150,000
Qantas Business Rewards
1.25
0%
$450
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 150,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 2 months. Plus, a $450 Qantas Flight Voucher.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
N/A
HSBC Rewards Plus
1
19.99%
$29 for the first year ($129 thereafter)
Save money with a 0% balance transfer rate for 36 months (with no BT fee), a first-year annual fee discount and free travel insurance.
Citi Premier Card - Cashback Offer
N/A
Citi Rewards Program
1
21.49%
$150 for the first year ($300 thereafter)
Receive $600 cashback when you spend $2,000 through Apple Pay or Samsung Pay in the first 90 days. Plus, save with a $150 first-year annual fee discount.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
100,000
Membership Rewards
2
20.74%
$395
Get 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a $400 Travel Credit each year.
Westpac Altitude Black
140,000
Westpac Altitude Rewards
1.25
19.99%
$99 for the first year ($250 thereafter)
Earn 140,000 bonus Altitude Points when you spend $6,000 in the first 120 days. Plus, save with a reduced first-year annual fee.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
100,000
Velocity Frequent Flyer
1.25
20.74%
$375
Earn 100,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a complimentary return domestic flight per year.
St.George Amplify Signature
150,000
Amplify Rewards
1.5
19.49%
$139 for the first year ($279 thereafter)
150,000 bonus Amplify Points when you spend $12,000 in the first 12 months. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount.
Qantas American Express Premium Card
30,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
20.74%
$249
Enjoy 30,000 bonus Qantas Points, 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year and the protection of complimentary insurance covers.
American Express Platinum Card
200,000
Membership Rewards Ascent Premium
2.25
0%
$1,450
Up to 200,000 bonus points (150k when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and 50k in year 2). Plus, a $450 Travel Credit each year.
American Express Cashback Credit Card
N/A
N/A
20.74%
$120
Earn 1% cashback per $1 dollar spent on your everyday purchases. Plus, an additional 5% for the first 3 months (up to $200) and $150 credit when you spend $200 at Amazon.com.au.
American Express Platinum Business Card
300,000
Membership Rewards Ascent Premium
2.25
0%
$875 for the first year ($1,750 thereafter)
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 300,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend $12,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount.
David Jones American Express Platinum Card
N/A
Membership Rewards
1
20.74%
$295
Receive $450 credit when you spend $1,500 outside David Jones within the first 3 months from card approval.
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Compare up to 4 providers

What credit cards offer airport lounge access?

Many premium frequent flyer and rewards credit cards offer you access to airport lounges. This gives you a chance to avoid crowds in the main terminal areas and enjoy drinks, food, a space to work and other perks while you wait for your flight.

Depending on the card and the lounge, you could even bring a guest or family members travelling with you into the lounge. So, let's take a look at how it all works.

Comparison: 4 credit cards with free airport lounge access

Compare the airline lounge options and annual fees offered on these four, premium credit cards.

  • ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Credit Card – Offers you two complimentary Qantas Club Lounge invitations every year, with an annual fee of $425.
  • Qantas American Express Ultimate Card – This card offers two Qantas Club Lounge invitations annually (after your first eligible spend) and two entries to the American Express Lounge at Sydney or Melbourne airport each year, with a $450 annual fee.
  • American Express Explorer Credit Card – This card offers two complimentary passes to the American Express Lounge in Sydney or Melbourne each year and has a $395 annual fee.
  • Westpac Altitude Black – This card includes two complimentary Priority Pass lounge passes each year and charges a $250 annual fee.

VIDEO: How to get free airport lounge access with your credit card

How do credit cards with free airport lounge access work?

Most cards that offer complimentary airport lounge access give you a limited number of single-use passes you can use each year you have the card.

There are also a few credit cards that offer unlimited lounge access through programs such as LoungeKey or Priority Pass. Sometimes these cards will offer a limited number of free entries, then give you the option of paying for individual lounge visits.

How do I get free airport lounge access with a credit card?

Usually, you need to meet a few requirements to enjoy airport lounge access through your credit card. These vary depending on the provider and the airport lounge, but some of the most common conditions include:

  • Spending requirement. You may need to make an eligible purchase or spend a specific amount of money on your credit card each year to be eligible for complimentary airport lounge passes.
  • Invitation requests. With some credit cards, you may need to contact the bank or provider and request the lounge invitations before they are issued in your name. The invitations will then be emailed or posted to you once you have met this requirement, and any other conditions that may apply to your card.
  • 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.
  • Valid ticket. Most airport lounges require all guests to have a valid ticket for a flight departing that day.
  • Dress code. Lounges often have dress code requirements, such as smart casual dress and no shorts.

Once you've met these requirements and are at the airport, you can use your lounge passes in just a few steps:

  1. Go to the participating lounge.
  2. Present your credit card or single-use lounge pass.
  3. Show your boarding pass to confirm your travel.

What if I'm travelling with family or friends?

There are a couple of options for bringing family or friends into the lounge. If your credit card gives you single-use lounge passes, you could give them one pass and use the other for yourself.

Or, if you have access through a program like LoungeKey, let the lounge staff know you're travelling with someone. Depending on your access and the lounge, they could give your guest entry for free or for a fee. It does depend on the type of lounge access you have, so check the fine print for your card or contact the provider for exact details.

What are the pros and cons of a credit card with airport lounge access?

Pros

  • An exclusive environment. An airport lounge takes you out of the chaos that is typically found in an airport waiting area.
  • Refreshments and meals. Enjoy free drinks and food while you're waiting for your flight, as well as entertainment such as Wi-Fi, TV or magazines.
  • 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 part of a rewards program, using them will earn you points that can later be redeemed for airfare, merchandise and more.

Cons

  • Restrictions. In some cases, you might be restricted to which amenities are available to you inside the airport lounge.
  • Card 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. If you are travelling with a large group, you might find that not everyone will be able to join you in the lounge.
Promoted
100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a $400 Travel Credit each year and complimentary insurances.

How to compare credit cards with free airport lounge passes

Airport lounge access is just one feature you'll get on a credit card. So, as well as looking at the type of lounge access you'll get, make sure you compare the card's other features and costs to decide if it's worth it for you. This includes:

  • Annual fee. Credit cards with complimentary lounge passes are usually platinum or frequent flyer cards with high annual fees. Depending on the card, these can cost hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars per year. Make sure the extra features including the lounge passes, frequent flyer program and complimentary insurance can help justify this cost. You may get lucky and find one that waives the fee for the first year, which could make 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 card's value. The purchase rate, cash advance rate and balance transfer rate may all differ in one card, so you will need a good idea of how you plan to use it before you start 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. For example, if you got Qantas Club lounge passes, you could use them at over 20 lounges around Australia, while Priority Pass membership would give you access to over 1,300 airport lounges and experiences around the world.
  • 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, this is definitely worth considering.
  • Other benefits. 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 types of airport lounges can I access with a credit card?

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 an eligible credit card.

American Express Lounges

amex lounge
Many high-tier American Express credit cards give you complimentary passes to American Express lounges in Australia, including the American Express Explorer, David Jones American Express Platinum and the American Express Qantas Ultimate (which also offers Qantas Club invitations).

At the moment, there are 2 Amex lounges: one is in Terminal 1 at Sydney International Airport and one is in Terminal 2 at Melbourne International Airport. Both of these lounges have a mix of seating – including lounge chairs and bar seats – as well as food, drinks, Wi-Fi and charging points. Want to know what it's really like to visit an American Express lounge? Check out our review of the Sydney lounge and the Melbourne lounge for more.

Amex lounge access at international airports
American Express has a network of international lounges, as well as partnerships with other lounge networks around the world – including Priorty Pass and Plaza Premium. You can get access to this network of over 1,200 airport lounges if you have an American Express Platinum Card, Amex Platinum Business Card or an invitation-only American Express Centurion.

LoungeKey Lounges

A seating area at the Plaza Premium lounge at Melbourne International Airport.

LoungeKey is an airport lounge program offered by credit card providers. If you have an eligible credit card, you'll get access to lounges at over 500 airports around the world, regardless of which airline your flying with or the fare class. As the lounges are independently operated, features do vary but typically include food and drink, seating areas and bathroom facilities.

Credit cards that offer LoungeKey membership in Australia include the HSBC Platinum and CommBank Ultimate Awards Credit Card with Qantas Points.

LoungeKey credit cards and airport lounge program

Priority Pass Lounges

Europort Skyview Lounge

Priority Pass is a membership-based service that gives you access to more than 1,300 lounges and airport experiences around the world. Depending on the level of membership, you can get unlimited access at no extra cost, a fixed number of free passes per year, or entry for a reduced fee.

Credit cards that offer Priority Pass access and/or membership include the Citi Prestige 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 Lounges

Qantas Lounge

Qantas Club lounges are designed for domestic travellers and offer perks including barista coffee in the morning, bar service in the afternoon and evening, other refreshments and meals, Wi-Fi, family areas and more, although some features vary depending on which lounge you visit.

Several credit cards provide complimentary access to the Qantas Club or Qantas Lounge invitations when you're booked on an eligible flight, including the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black, the Qantas American Express Premium and the Westpac Altitude Black Qantas card.

Full guide to Qantas airport lounges

Virgin Australia Lounges (domestic)

Virgin Australia Lounge
Virgin Australia has domestic airport lounges in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Each lounge offers different seating areas 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 Velocity Platinum and the Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer. Want access without a credit card? Finder's guide to Virgin Australia lounges goes through your options.

Compare Virgin Australia Velocity credit card features and benefits

Pictures: Shutterstock

Frequently asked questions about airport lounge access

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  • Finding the best credit card for overseas travel

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    26 Responses

    1. Default Gravatar
      CTApril 23, 2019

      Have a black credit card and according to some lists, I have access to various lounges. I have been to several of these lounges in countries like NZ, India, Bahrain and Singapore where this card is listed as accepted. In each case, the people in the lounge check their own list, and this black card is not on it. So far it has not been accepted in any country I have visited. How can it be listed but then not accepted. I think it is false advertising for the banks to say one can gain entry to lounges with this card when it is not so. Who actually checks these lists?

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        MaiApril 24, 2019Staff

        Hi CT,

        Thank you for contacting Finder.

        Each credit card provider has different terms and conditions as well as lounge accessibility. There are different black card listed on this site and the policy and lounge list may differ from one provider/bank to another.

        I feel sorry that you see that your card can access a specific lounge but as you arrive at your destination country, you cannot enter. I suggest that you check your card’s lounge access terms and conditions to check or maybe try to contact your credit card provider to raise it. They may have a way on how to fix this from their end to ensure that you know what lounge you can access for using your black card.

        Hope this helps! 😊

        Kind Regards,
        Mai

    2. Default Gravatar
      PatrickFebruary 4, 2019

      I have an ANZ Platinum QANTAS FF card. The new customer ANZ offers of bonus points are not available to me. What is the best CC offer currently available to me to maximise
      Points and other benefits?

      • Default Gravatar
        AshFebruary 9, 2019

        Hi Patrick,

        Thank you for contacting Finder.

        You may compare a range of Qantas Frequent Flyer Credit Cards where you can earn up to 100,000 bonus points. To receive the bonus points, you must meet the eligibility requirements and spend. Kindly click on the name of the credit card on the table to see the complete criteria for the card itself and the bonus points as well. When you are ready, press the ‘Go to site’ button to apply.

        I hope this helps.

        Please do not hesitate to reach out again to us if you have additional questions.

        Cheers,
        Ash

    3. Default Gravatar
      KenOctober 16, 2018

      I have a Jetstar platinum card, does this cover travel insurance when trips booked on the card? Specifically, does it cover rental car excess in case of an accident?

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        JhezOctober 16, 2018Staff

        Hello Ken,

        Thank you for your comment.

        To be eligible for the complimentary insurance benefits, you must first purchase and pay for the full amount of a Trip using the Jetstar Platinum MasterCard Credit Card Account. Yes, it will cover you if you become legally liable to pay any Collision Excess in respect of loss or damage to a Hire Car during the rental period stipulated in the Vehicle Rental Agreement. They will reimburse you any Collision Excess that you have paid under that Vehicle Rental Agreement(s) up to $5,000. This is with a condition, so it’s best to check the Jetstar Platinum MasterCard Credit Card Insurance PDF found on their website.

        Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

        Regards,
        Jhezelyn

    4. Default Gravatar
      WinsSeptember 12, 2018

      Currently I have a Westpac Altitude Black Reward card. I am the primary card holder and my wife is having the supplementary card . Will she get the complementary Priority Pass membership ?

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        JoshuaSeptember 12, 2018Staff

        Hi Wins,

        Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

        Upon checking, the two complimentary airport lounge visits can only be used by the primary cardholder. If you’re travelling with your wife,
        she can join you in the lounge by paying a fee which is US$27 (at the time of this writing). This will be charged directly to your card.

        I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

        Have a wonderful day!

        Cheers,
        Joshua

    5. Default Gravatar
      GopalakrishnanJuly 1, 2018

      Can I use my SBI debit card to access the air port lounge at Kuala Lumpur lon my way to Chennai India?

      • Default Gravatar
        NikkiJuly 3, 2018

        Hi Gopalakrishnan,

        Thanks for contacting finder.

        Unfortunately, your SBI debit card doesn’t have access to the KLIA airport.

        Hope this clarifies!

        Cheers,
        Nikki

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