Credit Cards with Airport Lounge Access

Pauline Hatch     

Access to airport lounges on your credit card means you can travel in style and comfort all around the globe. Here’s how it works.

Airport lounges are reserved for business class travellers or those who’ve paid a membership fee. They’re a place to wait with a little luxury between flights. Free passes are a nice perk on a credit card, although they’re often found on premium cards with higher annual fees.
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Cards with Airport Lounge Access

Airport lounges are a place to relax between long flights and can be found at most airports worldwide. Free passes on your credit card allow you to use comfy lounges, get complimentary drinks and snacks or use free WiFi without needing a membership or business class ticket.

In this guide:

What you’ll get with your lounge pass

Cards that offer lounge passes are usually higher-end cards that focus on travel extras. Typically they’ll come with travel insurances or flight vouchers as well (and a higher annual fee, which we’ll look at in a moment).

Lounge access is limited to the network linked to the card. For example, you might have access to the global LoungeKey network, Priority Pass, or Qantas-only airport lounges.

Some lounge passes can only be accessed once you’ve made certain purchases on the card. For example, you need to make an eligible purchase with Qantas before you can use the Qantas Club lounge invitations. 

Can I take my family in with me?

Taking a guest or 3 depends on your credit card. Some only give you a single-use invitation that can’t be transferred, so you’ll be lounging alone. Great for you, not so great for your travel buddy. 

But, some cards let you use your second pass for a guest, or you can choose to pay a fee for each additional person. Often the fees aren’t much - possibly around the $35 mark.


Here’s how lounge passes work:

  • You’ll get a number of single-use lounge passes to use each year (between 2 and 10, depending on the card).
  • You can visit lounges within your card’s associated network, such as Qantas, LoungeKey or Priority Pass lounges.
  • Your passes renew every 12 months for as long as your card is active.
  • You may be able to use one pass for a guest, but that depends on the credit card.


Which cards have lounge passes?

Typically you’ll find lounge passes on cards that focus on travel; for instance, the card might also come with frequent flyer points, bonus points, travel insurance and no foreign fees.

The cards in our comparison guide on this page come with lounge passes. Just click the card to read our review and find out more about how the passes work.


Are lounge passes a good deal?

Lounge passes are a great perk, but they’re not essential. Credit cards with travel extras and rewards points usually have higher annual fees, so you’ll need to make sure you’re getting the value out of the card via rewards points, insurance and other features like fee-free overseas transactions. 


An inside look at a lounge pass: Punta Cana airport lounge

One of our team, Matt, recently visited Punta Cana airport lounge in the Dominica Republic using a PriorityPass invitation.

"We dropped into the airport lounge at Punta Cana while we waited to board our flight home. There were free snacks, coffee and drinks there, and a pool, believe it or not. But the best thing was how comfortable the lounges were. It was so good to relax there rather than the hard plastic chairs at the terminal gate, especially after a very long wait to get through customs and check-in. We ended up staying for 3 hours. You do have to keep your eye on the clock though; there are no monitors or flight announcements in the lounge, and it's easy to lose track of time when you're waiting in a lounge with free food."
- Matt

Image of JFK Airport Lounge, Priority Pass

Image of Dubai International Airport Lounge, Priority Pass

Image of JFK Airport Lounge, Priority Pass

Image of Dubai International Airport Lounge, Priority Pass



Entry to a lounge (and what to wear)

Before you arrive at the airport:

  • Check if your credit card gives you instant access, or if you need to apply for the lounge pass before you travel. The information will be on your credit card terms and conditions.
  • Check if you need to become a member of lounge network (even if your passes are free). For instance, you’ll need to join Priority Pass before you can use the lounges.

When you arrive at the lounge:

  • Show your credit card or lounge pass
  • Present your boarding pass
  • Pay any fees for additional guests (if required, and if guests are allowed)

💡 It’s a good idea to have the physical credit card to show at the lounge entry, in case digital wallets aren’t accepted. 

While you don’t have to wear a stuffy business shirt to get into a lounge, you’ll likely be required to wear clothes that aren’t offensive and shoes that aren’t thongs. 


Comparing airport lounge brands

We’re often asked about the difference between brands of airport lounge. The truth is, some are 5-star fancy, and some are just a decent upgrade from the plastic chair at the boarding gate. 

If you’ve only got two passes per year, make them count. Do a little digging into the quality of the lounge before you use your invitations.

Priority Pass is often considered one of the schmickest lounges networks, but Qantas Club has some truly luxurious lounges, too.

We’ve put together a snapshot of the lounge types and quality here, to get you started.


JFK Airport Lounge

Image of JFK Airport Lounge, Priority Pass

Source: Priority Pass

Dubai International Airport Lounge

Image of Dubai International Airport Lounge, Priority Pass

Source: Priority Pass

Priority Pass has over 1500 airport lounges in over 600 cities. It’s one of the more luxurious lounge networks and offers complimentary drinks, refreshments and snacks. Many lounges have charging points, free WiFi, conference rooms and optional spa treatments.

You can prebook to reserve your seat in the lounge using the membership website or the Priority Pass app, but it’s not required.

Savings: US$169 (approx. AUD$260). The cheapest Priority Pass Membership plan is US$99 per year and US$35 per lounge visit.

Guests: Bring additional guests for US$35 each.

Entry: You’ll need to register your free membership at the Priority Pass website, and show the physical or digital membership card on your phone to gain entry. 


LoungeKey Airport Lounges


Sydney Plaza Premium Lounge

Image of Sydney Plaza Premium Airport Lounge, LoungeKey

Source: LoungeKey

Heathrow International Airport Lounge

Image of Heathrow International Airport Lounge, LoungeKey

Source: LoungeKey

LoungeKey is another global network with over 1500 lounges. You’ll be able to access free WiFi, complimentary drinks and snacks, power outlets and charging stations.

Some lounges also come with showers, desks and meeting rooms. 

Savings: US$64 (approx. AUD$100). There is no membership fee, but you can pay $32 per visit after your complimentary invitations are used.

Guests: Additional guests are US$32 each. Some lounges offer free entry to children, which you can find using ‘lounge finder’ on the LoungeKey app.

Entry: There is no registration necessary, just download the LoungeKey app and show your digital card at the lounge entry. You may also need to show a boarding pass. 


Qantas Club Lounges


Qantas Club Sydney International First Lounge

Image of Sydney Airport Qantas Club Lounge

Source: Qantas Club

Qantas Club Los Angeles International First

Image of Qantas Club LAX International First airport lounge

Source: Qantas Club

You’ll get Qantas Club Lounge access on - you guessed it - cards that earn Qantas Points. The Qantas Club network includes 37 lounges in Australia and more internationally, although some of those are run by partner airlines such as American Airlines Admirals Club lounges.

To use your Qantas Club Lounge passes you’ll need to have a ticket with a Qantas flight number (QF) or Jetstar flight number (JQ, 3K or GK). 

Savings: $99 one-off join fee, plus $360 annual membership fee. 

Guests: If you’re using a complimentary lounge invitation, you can’t bring guests or children into the lounge with you.

Entry: You’ll need to link your pass to your flight at least 24 hours before departure using the Complimentary Invitations Portal


The Centurion Lounge


The Centurion Lounge, Melbourne Airport

Image of The Centurion Lounge at Melbourne Airport

Source: The Centurion Lounge

The Centurion Lounge, Sydney Airport

Image of The Centurion Lounge at Sydney Airport

Source: The Centurion Lounge

The Centurion Lounge is Amex’s brand of global airport lounges. There are two locations in Sydney and Melbourne airports, which are the lounges you’ll have access to on Amex credit cards. 

The exception to that is Platinum Amex cardholders, who have unlimited access to The Centurion Lounges worldwide and can bring children aged 17 and under, and up to 2 guests with you.

Savings: Lounge access can only be accessed by credit card holders. 

Guests: You can use one of your passes for a guest travelling with you. Children aged 17 and under are complimentary but have to be the cardholders dependants.

Entry: You’ll need to show your eligible American Express credit card plus your boarding pass that shows you’re departing on a flight that same day. 


Virgin Australia lounges

Virgin Australia Melbourne Lounge

Image of Virgin Australia Airport Lounge, Melbourne Airport

Source: Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia has lounges at most major domestic airports (Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney). 

While you may not get spa treatments, you’ll get Virgin’s own brand of friendly features. Alcohol is served from 12pm, there are fresh salads, wraps and healthy snacks and barista coffee and soft drinks available daily. 

Some lounges have shower facilities and meeting rooms.

Savings: $529 per year ($399 annual membership fee plus $130 for 2 lounge visits).

Guests: If you have a Velocity Platinum credit card, you can bring up to 3 extra guests plus up to 3 children aged between 2 and 17 years.

Entry: You’ll need to show your eligible Velocity credit card plus your boarding pass that shows you’re on a flight that same day. 


DragonPass (Mastercard Travel Pass)


Dragonpass Airport Lounge, Brisbane Airport

Image of Dragonpass Airport Lounge at Brisbane Airport

Source: Mastercard Travel Pass

DragonPass is a global network of airport lounges that leans heavily into digital access. You’ll get personalised lounge recommendations based on your trip, member discounts at airport restaurants and locate airport transfer services all via the DragonPass app. 

CommBank is the only credit card provider offering Mastercard Travel Pass lounge access. 

Savings: US$99, 259 or $429 per year (depending on the tier you choose).

Guests: Guest passes are US$35.

Entry: You’ll need to show your DragonPass membership as well as a valid same-day boarding pass with your name on it.

Pauline Hatch

Pauline Hatch is a personal finance expert at with 8 years of finance writing under her belt. She loves turning complex money concepts into simple, practical actions so you can win financially. You can ask Pauline any questions by submitting a comment below and get a personal reply.

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