There are quite a few good credit cards that offer airport lounge access out there, but some stand out above the rest for their high promotional point earn rates, complimentary concierge services, and discounts on travel purchases. I make my recommendations below based on years of experience travelling.
I recommend the American Express Business Platinum Card as Canada's #1 credit card with airport lounge access. It offers premium travel perks, comprehensive insurance, and access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, the Centurion Lounge network, the Plaza Premium Lounges, and more.
What Is A Credit Card With Airport Lounge Access?
Credit cards with airport lounge access are a type of travel credit card that allows you to access exclusive airport lounges worldwide. Many airport lounge programs operate in Canada and worldwide, including Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, American Express Global Lounge Collection, Priority Pass, and LoungeKey. Usually, these cards offer between 4 to 6 free visits to airport lounges every year.
Depending on your card and their partnerships with other lounge programs, you may access some or all airport lounges when you travel. These credit cards require a good-to-excellent credit score (660+) and usually have hefty annual fees ranging from $150-$700. Still, they make up for it with generous welcome bonuses and excellent travel benefits. Some of the benefits you can expect from these include exclusive hotel stays and room upgrades, access to the priority lane in airports, discounts on fares, and comprehensive health and travel insurance.
Without further ado, here are the best credit cards with airport lounge access Canada has to offer:
The Best Credit Cards With Airport Lounge Access In Canada
- American Express Business Platinum Card: Best for welcome bonus and lounge access worldwide
- American Express Gold Rewards Card: Best for complimentary Priority Pass membership
- American Express Platinum Card: Best for earning MR points
- American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card: Best for hotel room upgrades
- BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard: Best for complimentary Mastercard Travel Pass membership
- BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege Card: Best for access to priority security lane & priority boarding
- Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card: Best for no foreign transaction fees
- Scotiabank Gold American Express Card: Best for low annual fee
Pros & Cons Of Airport Lounge Credit Cards
Pros: Why A Airport Lounge Credit Card May Be Worth It
- Avoid crowds and wait comfortably for your flight
- Drinks, snacks, and dining at no additional cost
- Access a workspace complete with PCs, and high-speed wifi
- Lounges are available worldwide in most large airports
Cons: Why An Airport Lounge Credit Card May Not Be Worth It
- Credit Card with Airport Lounge access usually requires a good-to-excellent credit score (700+)
- High annual fees – if you don’t travel frequently you will miss out on most benefits and end up losing money
Types Of Airport Lounge Credit Cards In Canada
#1 American Express Global Lounge Collection
The American Express Global Lounge Collection provides access to over 1,200 airport lounges in 500 airports worldwide. All you need to do is show your Platinum Card, and you can enter the Centurion Lounges, International American Express Lounges, Plaza Premium Airport Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, and more.
#2 Priority Pass
Priority Pass is a lounge program by the Collinson Group, and it provides members access to over 1,300 lounges in over 600 cities worldwide. These passes come as a complimentary bonus of some travel credit cards, and some of the best features include discounts on airport purchases, shopping, dining, and spa experiences.
#3 Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey
Through its partnership with LoungeKey, Mastercard offers eligible cardholders access to a lounge program that includes over 1,000 lounges in 400 airports worldwide – no matter the airline, class ticket, or frequent flyer membership. Just show your Mastercard, and you’ll access dining offers, retail discounts, and a relaxing spa break.
#4 Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounges
Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounges are available in 16 airports across North America and Europe, and they offer amenities in cell-free quiet zones, showers, wifi, and business centers, plus snacks and beverages. Access to these lounges is granted automatically to ten types of customers, including Aeroplan members, Star Alliance Gold members, and Air Canada Maple Leaf Club members.
How To Choose A Credit Card With Airport Lounge Access In Canada
Lounge Visits Per Year
If you’re a frequent traveller you want a card that offers plenty of lounge visits per year. Cards like the BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard and the Scotiabank Gold American Express card offer discounted or free lounge visits every year through DragonPass and Priority Pass directly. If you are a frequent traveller, choosing a card that offers enough lounge stays should be a priority.
Another important fact to consider is the annual fees. In general, the type of credit card that offers airport lounge access is travel credit cards. Annual fees for these cards start at $120 and can go as high as $599, or more. This may seem high, but if you’re a frequent traveller you will easily offset this fee with all the benefits like free stays at hotels, flights, and quality of life benefits like access to airport lounges and priority boarding. can oftentimes be enough to cover for your first year, or even more.
Credit Card Insurance & Purchase Warranties
If you’re travelling often, you want a credit card that offers comprehensive travel and medical insurance. These cards usually have high annual fees but are a great option if you travel often and want to ensure you and your family are covered. Here are some of the typical insured categories you can expect:
- Baggage loss insurance
- Baggage delay insurance
- Car rental insurance
- Extended warranty
- Mobile Insurance
- Flight delay insurance
- Purchase assurance
- Travel emergency medical
- Travel accident insurance
- Trip cancellation
- Trip interruption
How To Apply For A Credit Card With Airport Lounge Access In Canada
In Canada, the minimum age to apply for a credit card is the age of the majority. Teens under that age can’t get approved for credit cards but can be added as authorized users to one of their parent’s credit cards. For reference, the age of the majority in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan is 18 years old. In all other provinces, the age of the majority is 19.
Canadian credit cards are available to residents and non-permanent residents. However, most premium credit cards require you to be a Canadian resident. You don't even need a credit history for other card types like prepaid and secured credit cards.
Most credit cards with lounge benefits require a good to excellent credit score, starting at 700. Keep in mind that the higher your credit score, the more likely your application will be accepted, and the cards with the higher requirements usually have the best perks and benefits.
Personal Or Household Income Requirements
Not all credit cards have an income limit, but some premium airport lounge cards have an annual income requirement ranging from $60,000-$80,000 for individuals or $100,000-$150,000 for households. These cards also require a higher credit score and come with the best travel perks.
Airport Lounge Credit Card FAQs
Are Airport Lounge Credit Cards Worth It?
Airport Lounge cards might be worth it for you:
- If you are a frequent traveller who can take advantage of all the annual free lounge visits
- If you want comprehensive travel and medical insurance when you travel
- If you earn enough points every year to compensate for the annual fee – this is not hard to accomplish if you travel often
- If you have no trouble keeping up with your monthly credit card payments and are very unlikely to fall behind on payments
Airport Lounge cards might not be worth it for you:
- If you don’t travel a lot, chances are you will not make enough from the card to justify the high annual fee
- If you often find yourself falling behind on payments
What Is The Most Inexpensive Credit Card In Canada With Lounge Access?
Canada's most affordable Airport Lounge credit card is the Scotiabank Gold American Express card. It has low annual fees for a travel credit card and comes with discounted access to lounges and comprehensive travel and medical insurance.
How Do I Know If My Card Has Airport Lounge Access?
The easiest way is to call the customer support reps of your credit card. Alternatively, you can visit your issuer’s website and read the small print. Any information about lounge access should be under the Complimentary Visits section.
Are Airport Lounges Worth It?
If you’re a frequent traveller – and even if you’re not – access to airport lounges is absolutely game-changing. For starters, you will save a lot of money on food and drinks, something airports are notoriously bad for. Additionally, you will have access to an exclusive place where you can rest before your flight, or get some work done in a calm environment with high-speed wifi.
Domestically or internationally, most major airports have lounges.