LoungeKey – A Review

October 29, 2020
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As much as we look forward to travelling, shuttling between airports can be the least favourite part of your journey. The wait time, the red tape, the ambience… Thinking about it is enough to make you reconsider the travel plan. With airport lounge access, this can prove to be a game-changer in your airport experience. Picture a quiet, tranquil ambience with complimentary finger food and quality service to keep you feeling relaxed before your flight is due. The LoungeKey program gives you access to a series of airport lounges available globally for your usage. Is this airport lounge program the one for you?

What is LoungeKeyTM?

LoungeKeyTM is an airport lounge program that gives you access to more than 1,000 airport lounges in 400 airports globally at 120+ countries. Before you decide the LoungeKey program is for you, you should check if your airport is part of the program.

Now that you’ve made sure of that, let's get into the details of the LoungeKey program:

loungekey airport lounge

Key Benefits Of The LoungeKey Porgram

Global Airport Coverage >1,000 lounges
Canadian Airport Coverage 21 lounges:
• Calgary International Airport – 3
• Edmonton International Airport – 2
• Montreal International Airport – 1
• Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport – 1 
• Toronto Pearson International Airport – 8
• Vancouver International Airport – 5
• Winnipeg Richardson International Airport – 1
Lounge Amenities • WiFi 
• Television
• Reading material – newspaper/magazines
• Showers 
• ‘No Smoking’ zone
• Flight monitors
Food & Drink  • Alcoholic drinks available – select lounges offer complimentary up to beer and wine only. Otherwise, alcohol is subject to payment. 
• Complimentary snacks available 
Membership Not available for membership or daily passes
Only available as complimentary access to eligible Mastercard product holders from BMO, RBC, HSBC, or Rogers
App Availability Yes

You should consider that if you are a LoungeKey program member, changes to any program benefits, terms and conditions will be notified to you 30 days in advance. This is good so there won’t be any surprises should you choose to exercise your membership rights. 

LoungeKey Accessibility

The accessibility to LoungeKey program lounges is through credit card benefits. Therefore, you need to be eligible to own the respective credit card. Compared to many other airport lounge programs, LoungeKey doesn't have a daily pass or annual membership that you can just purchase online or via an app.

How do I gain access to the LoungeKey program? 

You can only gain access by being a cardholder to eligible Mastercard or Visa products. For Mastercard, it is a partnership program between LoungeKey and Mastercard called ‘Mastercard Airport Experiences’. For Visa, you have LoungeKey program access with any Visa Platinum, Visa Signature and Visa Infinite cards

Once you own an eligible Mastercard or Visa card, you might be awarded a complimentary pass for a few visits (depending on your card issuer). For subsequent visits once your complimentary pass finishes, you will need to pay a fee of approximately USD$27 per visit. Guest entries are only allowed if the eligible Mastercard holder is accompanying the guest. The only free entry to LoungeKey program lounges is for children up to 4 years old. Your LoungeKey program access does not expire unless you cancel the credit card or if the card expires. Your LoungeKey access gets reactivated once you receive your new card after it’s expiry. 

Below is a checklist of items you would need to access a LoungeKey program lounge:

  1. Your eligible MasterCard or Visa 
  2. Your boarding pass to be presented to enter the lounge. It has to be the same name as your Mastercard. Also, it has to be for a flight departing on the very same day.

Certain lounges may request additional documentation such as passport, national identity card or driving license. As a consequence, it’s best to check with the lounge you intend to visit on what is required before you arrive. 

Cards That Qualify For LoungeKey Program Membership

Only eligible Mastercard and Visa products allow access to the LoungeKey program. 

What are the eligible Mastercard products to gain Lounge access?

mastercard airport experience

All World Mastercards and all World Elite Mastercards have the ‘Mastercard Airport Experience’ privilege as part of their card. Here are the cards that are part of the Mastercard Airport Experience program:

World Mastercard

  • BMO Cashback World Mastercard
  • BMO Air Miles World Mastercard
  • BMO AIR MILES World Mastercard

World Elite Mastercard

  • BMO® AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard
  • BMO Cashback World Elite Mastercard
  • World Westjet RBC World Elite card
  • HSBC Premier World Elite
  • HSBC World Elite Mastercard
  • ATB World Elite Mastercard

What are the eligible Visa products to gain Lounge access?

Any credit card with the following Visa status is eligible for LoungeKey program access:

  • Visa Platinum cards
  • Visa Signature cards
  • Visa Infinite cards

Here are the most important Visa cards in Canada that will grant you access to the LoungeKey program:

Visa Platinum cards

Visa Signature cards

Visa Infinite cards

LoungeKey Review Summary

The LoungeKey program has a good range of airport lounges to access especially with Canadian airports with 21 lounges available across 7 airports. However, compared to other existing airport lounge programs such as Priority Pass, LoungeKey is not as attractive a program. LoungeKey still requires you to pay an access fee despite having a membership by being the eligible Mastercard/Visa cardholder. You can get complimentary access as a Priority Pass member with credit cards such as Amex Platinum card, Amex Business Platinum card, Amex Air Miles Reserve Card. What's more, LoungeKey airport lounges are a subset of Priority Pass. As such, it may be more worthwhile to look into Priority Pass <insert Israel's Priority Pass article post publishing> as an option if you plan to get the Amex cards for complimentary access. If you prefer to not take up a credit card just for airport lounge access, then you can consider DragonPass which has almost the same airport lounge access as PriorityPass but with a cheaper rate. You can get more details on the different airport lounge programs available in our review of major airport lounge programs.

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