Credit Cards With Airport Lounge Access

Hate sitting around waiting for your plane while travelling? Your credit card might offer free access to an airport lounge.

Many rewards and platinum credit cards offer exceptional benefits that can make them worth considering. Some have high-rate reward programs, complimentary travel insurance, discounts at various stores and more. What you may not know is that one such feature is complimentary access to some of the airport lounges across Australia.  

In this article, Canstar will help you compare and review credit cards in Australia that offer free airport lounge entry. We will also explain how they work and the pros and cons of using such a card.  

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Credit cards with airport lounge access  

As the name suggests, these credit cards are regular rewards or premium credit cards that have the added benefit of supplying the holder with free or discounted access to an airport lounge. While you can simply buy airport lounge access or use your accrued reward points, having this card feature can be a much cheaper way to obtain access to such comforts, potentially saving you up to hundreds of dollars a year.  

These visits to airport lounges usually aren’t unlimited. Most cards tend to offer around 2-4 complimentary visits per year. You’ll also find most cards that offer airport lounge access will only do so for certain airlines, such as the Qantas Club or Virgin Australia Lounges. 

If you combine this benefit with others, such as complimentary travel insurance and free flights thanks to your rewards program, and you can look forward to travelling in style!  

Pros and cons of credit cards with airport lounge access  

Credit cards that offer airport lounge access aren’t a different type of card – they’re similar to many other rewards and premium cards on the market. This means they come with many of the same pros and cons these cards do, as well as some unique ones.  

These pros and cons are summarised in the table below:

Pros Cons
  • Since they likely come with a reward program, these cards will often offer a string of other benefits
  • You can potentially save hundreds of dollars a year if you travel often and pay off your card in full.
  • You can get free food and drink, such as a nice glass of wine
  • Convenience and comfort. Relax in a comfortable setting with wi-fi and charging ports instead of a cramped airport gate
  • As a premium feature, these cards will often have higher interest rates
  • The card will likely have higher fees than regular credit cards
  • Your family/travelling companions may not be granted access to the lounge with you – check with your card provider
  • Access may not be granted at some airports and only for certain airlines
  • You still might have to pay for certain amenities

Which credit cards offer airport lounge access in Australia?

There are a handful of credit cards in Australia from providers such as American Express, ANZ, Citi, Diners Club and more that offer up to four complimentary airport lounge visits per year.

The table below shows a snapshot of some of the highest rated credit cards on the market with airport lounge access. This table includes providers that have a link directly to their credit card page.

See a snapshot of credit cards that currently offer access to airport lounges in the table below. Results have been sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest) and are based on a monthly spend of $5,000.

According to Canstar’s database, there are currently 34 cards on the market from 12 providers that offer complimentary lounge access. For a better look at each of them, use the Canstar comparison tables for credit cards:

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Airport lounges in Australia

Free access to an airport lounge is the pinnacle of Frequent Flyer rewards. These lounges offer an escape from the frantic, hostile environment of the airport, allowing you to settle into a comfy chair with a wine and some cheese. If you need to charge your phone there are endless power points available, and you can even take a shower if you feel like it.

You’ve no doubt heard of the Qantas Club and Virgin Australia lounge. According to Business Traveller, these are two of the top 5 airport lounge schemes for Aussie travellers. We’ve included below details of how much a one-year membership costs for each to give you an idea of what you could save with complimentary access if you travel often and pay off your card in full.

  1. Qantas Club – $510
  2. Virgin Australia Lounge – $420, $9,750 for lifetime membership
  3. Priority Pass – $511 for more than 700 lounges worldwide
  4. United Club – $637
  5. American Airlines’ Admirals Club – $641

Requirements to get access to airport lounges

Be aware that even if you do have a membership or free access to a lounge with your credit card, you may not be granted access if you fail to meet certain requirements on the day. Most airport lounges require some or all of the following to be met, so it’s best to be safe:

  • A valid airline ticket for a flight departing that day with the correct airline for that lounge
  • A smart casual dress code at the minimum
  • It must be your name on the card and not someone else’s, meaning you can’t lend it to someone else

There are some cards, such as the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures Card, that also require you to reach a minimum amount of expenditure on eligible purchases each year before you gain access to a lounge. Make sure you check with your provider before applying for the card as to what the conditions are to utilise this feature.

To have a look at other premium and rewards credit cards that offer similar benefits such as free travel insurance and concierge services, check out your options on the Canstar website:

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